Socialist Worker

Rally speakers

Issue No. 1820

'WE REPRESENT the overwhelming majority round the world. We are not a 'protest movement'. It may be that Bush will go to war in a matter of weeks. It may be that prime minister Blair will send troops into battle. But nothing can take the British people into a war they don't accept and don't want. If the war begins it is our plain duty to take time out at once to see everybody understands what has happened, and mobilise against the war. There is a good chance of stopping Britain going to war if we carry on organising in this brilliant way.'
Tony Benn

'We have sent a magnificent message to Tony Blair today that British people are saying no to war and no to the gang of oil spivs who occupy the White House. If war goes ahead it will be a war for oil. It will lead to the Bush doctrine taking over elsewhere. Bush has a list of other countries-Syria, Iran, North Korea - and he is willing to use nuclear weapons. If Russia and China compromise over a United Nations resolution, then we still have to say no to war. I have been a lifelong Labour Party member and I am deeply ashamed at its leaders who believe that their first duty is to Bush.'
Alice Mahon, Labour MP

'The RMT has got no gripe with Iraqi workers. We don't want war. How can people go to bed at night when people are starving in Iraq? They want a war while people are starving in Africa. The media are presenting trade unionists who take action over pay and conditions as the enemy within. I think the enemies within are Blair and Bush. This is the message of the people: No war on Iraq - let's have a war on poverty!'
Bob Crow, general secretary RMT rail union

'THE NUMBER one issue in the world today is the suffering of the Palestinian people. We as a trade union are in solidarity with working men and women across the world, which includes those in Iraq. The US wants to show the UN who is boss. The US wants to develop and deploy its own weapons. Oil is at the heart of this issue. Our message is, we should stop kneeling to George Bush.'
Barry Camfield, TGWU transport union national executive

'IF THERE are public funds for war, there are funds to keep the Post Office public and to pay the firefighters. The US government says it wants full spectrum dominance. That means domination of all the peoples of the world. Today for the first time in many years trade unionists are showing they are right behind the anti-war movement.'
Billy Hayes, general secretary CWU communications union

'NOTHING CAN justify the assassination of the Palestinian people. Bush and Blair's silence is encouraging Sharon to do whatever he wants. The only threat to this world is George Bush. The US has a long list of invading other people's countries. There is no hiding place, Tony. We have had a gutful of collateral damage in Afghanistan. Bush bleats about regime change. I would like to see one in Number Ten.'
Yvonne Ridley, journalist who reported on Afghanistan

'All colours, all nationalities, all religions agree today. No to war - and justice for the Palestinians. I ask you who has been killing children in the Middle East? Sharon. Who had been demolishing hospitals and persecuting civilians? Whose weapons have not been checked? Our rally is sending a message to the people of Palestine that they are not alone. Millions around the world support them.'
Muslim Association of Britain

'FIVE YEARS ago we heard about an ethical foreign policy. Well, that didn't last long. They are not concerned about human rights. They are concerned about oil. People voted for their government to represent their interests, not to simply be a reflection of the White House. I will do all I can to oppose this war.'
Ken Livingstone, London mayor

'TODAY is the beginning of true democracy. Today we represent the majority of the British people. If they attack Iraq, Bush and Blair will be war criminals. We are the moderates. They are the extremists. Our resistance to their murderous plans must be unrelenting.'
John Pilger, journalist

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Article information

Sat 5 Oct 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1820
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