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Stop The War campaigners call all-Scotland demo over Ukraine on 7 May

Anti-war protesters in Glasgow will demand Russian troops out, no to Nato escalation
Issue 2801
People hold up Stop The War leaflets in a dark room

Activists at the Stop The War teach-in hold up posters promoting the all-Scotland demonstration on 7 May

Anti-war campaigners have issued a call for an all-Scotland demonstration in Glasgow on Saturday 7 May. It will demand, “Russian troops out—no to Nato escalation,” and, “No nuclear war—scrap Trident” as part of an international day of action against the Ukraine war. 

They launched the call at a teach-in organised by Stop The War (STW) in the city on Saturday. Around 85 people joined plenaries and workshops across the day. Themes ranged from Resisting Putin—the rise of the Russian anti-war movement to A brief history of Nato and Workers united—oligarchs, the cost of living crisis and war.

Lindsey German, STW convenor, argued the war in Ukraine is an “inter imperialist conflict” between the West and Russia. “This conflict didn’t start a few weeks ago or a few months ago,” she said. “It’s a product of a long chain of inter-imperialist conflicts going back to the end of the Cold War. This has effectively become a conflict between Russia on the one hand and the Nato powers on the other”.

Vijay Prashad from the Tricontinental Institute for Social Research warned that “a full-scale war between Western powers and Russia is not off the table”. “It’s right there on top of the table,” he said. “We are led by people who seem to prefer war, they seem to prefer total destruction.” 

In a workshop on the Russian anti-war movement, people debated how activists in Britain could build solidarity with it. One speaker from the floor asked, “If sanctions aren’t the answer, what should the West do?” 

In response, another person argued that sanctions would only escalate the conflict, cause hardship for ordinary Russians and bolster Vladimir Putin’s rule. They said that the “most important thing we can do to help is build the anti-war movement here”.

The workshop was led-off by Serbian-based activist Anja Ilic and STW member Tomáš Tengely-Evans, who reported from Ukraine in 2015

Around 30 people joined a workshop on Scotland, Trident and Nato—building the movement at home. Jonathon Shafi from Glasgow STW said “there’s a lot of confusion out there” and “there can be a lack of confidence in making the arguments because of the political atmosphere”. But he argued the anti-war movement organising events can boost activists’ confidence and “move those ideas into wider parts of society.”

“While the arguments might be hard at the present, we should engage with lots of organisations and individuals,” he said. “The anti-war movement in Scotland has to develop links with the trade unions, I also think we’ll have to have arguments in unions.” 

Isobel Lindsay from the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said it’s “crucial that there are people who will develop the right kind of anti-war narrative”. “People in the broad peace movement have got to take the initiative,” she said. “We’re in a situation where there’s an openness to our message. The nuclear question is real—people are afraid of what might happen and they are looking for answers.”

 

Bill Ramsay from the Scottish National Party (SNP) CND group denounced calls for a no-fly zone “as an escalatory step”. 

Speaking from the floor, Hector Sierra from the SWP said the SNP “leadership uses the rhetoric, but is not willing to address the questions” around Trident, Nato and war. He said the movement had to tap into the anti-war feeling among the grassroots of the SNP’s voters. 

“The most important thing everyone here can do is make sure the demonstration on 7 May is built on the biggest possible basis,” he said. “We have an opportunity to send a message to the Scottish government that we oppose Nato, war and Trident.” He added that we have to fight for it now, “not in some abstract future after independence”. 

Other speakers at the teach-in included STW steering committee member Rob Ferguson, Dundee UCU university union member Carlo Morelli and refugee campaigner Pinar Aksu.

Scotland STW co-chair Keir McKechnie called on people “to build the forces of the anti-war movement” and get onto the streets on 7 May. 

  • Assemble Blythswood Square, Glasgow, Sat 7 May, March at 12 noon to George Square for rally 

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