A new movement is being born in Britain, building on the previous anti-war mobilisations.
The Lebanese community led the way with two demonstrations outside parliament, the second blockading the entrance. That then fed into the various actions initiated by the Stop the War Coalition and other forces.
The sheer verve of the Lebanese and Arab demonstrators acted to strengthen and revitalise the anti-war movement. In the build up to this Saturday’s demonstration there were echoes of the mood prior to the two million strong demo against the Iraq war in February 2003.
Over 1,000 people were contacting the Stop the War Coalition office every day.
The fact that the resistance in Lebanon has not only stood up to the Israelis but stopped them in their tracks has also electrified the mood, quickly making it anti-imperialist.
The 21st century does not need to be the new American century after all.
Beyond Saturday’s demonstration all of us must strive to ensure this new mood flows into the Stop the War Coalition, reinforcing the networks of resistance. And we should all strive to be outside the Labour Party conference in Manchester on 23 September.
The old order shakes
George Bush and Tony Blair have reiterated their dream of a new Middle East this week - pro-Western, pro-Israel and neo-liberal.
Indeed a new Middle East is emerging, but not the one they dream of. Egypt is the US’s main ally among the Arab states, receiving $2 billion a year from the US. Along with Jordan, it is the only Arab country to have signed a peace agreement with Israel.
Yet in Egypt demonstrations have moved into the centre of Cairo, defying police. This week a delegation including leaders of the Kifaya pro-democracy movement and the Muslim Brotherhood was to meet Hizbollah in Lebanon.
The road to freedom in Palestine and Lebanon lies through the overthrow of pro-Western Arab rulers and the mobilisation of the masses across the region.
The global intifada
“They are bombing entire cities. Where will this madness end? God only knows. It extends from Iraq to Lebanon and Palestine.”
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s comments on the Israeli assault on Gaza and Lebanon are making him a hero in the Arab world and beyond. During his recent whirlwind tour of the globe Chavez stopped off in Iran and pledged to stand by the country against US aggression.
A statue of Simon Bolivar, a symbol of resistance in Latin America, now stands in Iran’s capital. In Vietnam Chavez made speeches comparing Bolivar to Ho Chi Minh, who led the country’s struggle against US imperialism.
Chavez’s anti-imperialist rhetoric is a sign of something deeper. Just as resistance is being reborn in the Middle East, so too it is in Latin America.
The rise of radicals such as Chavez reflects powerful movements from below which are the real hope for change. The connections between these movements of resistance form the “axis of hope” that can challenge the likes of George Bush, Tony Blair and Ehud Olmert.