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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 September 2009

End the war in Afghanistan

Bring the troops back now!

Stop The War Coalition demonstration 8 October 2007, photo Paul Mattsson

Stop The War Coalition demonstration 8 October 2007, photo Paul Mattsson

"I JUST don't want anyone else to feel as bad as I feel" said the girlfriend of a soldier killed just five weeks ago as she signed our petition to bring the troops home.

Alec Thraves and Mike John, (Socialist Party Wales)

Hundreds of people across Wales have been supporting the Socialist Party's campaign to bring the troops home from the futile and unjust war in Afghanistan. People have crowded around our stalls to sign our petition.

US general Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, has admitted that the military intervention in Afghanistan has been a failure. "The situation in Afghanistan is serious," he said, and plans to send even more troops in. As more troops are poured in it is becoming clear that Afghan civilians and working-class western soldiers are being sacrificed in an unwinnable war, dubbed by one observer as "Obama's Vietnam".

Also, people here are asking why the Brown government is sacrificing troops to prop up a corrupt regime of warlords in Afghanistan.

The response to our Socialist Party anti-war stalls has been overwhelming positive, with just a handful of individuals supporting the continuation of the war. 'We shouldn't have been out there in the first place' is a common refrain. The comments of soldiers, parents, relatives and friends signing our petitions have expressed anger over the war and frustration. Some have been very moving.

In Newport, a girlfriend of a serving soldier in Afghanistan asked to join the Socialist Party because she said "something must be done to bring them home safe".

Most people say we are doing a great job and 'keep it up'. Others want to help us, like a young woman whose partner has just come back injured from Afghanistan. Hundreds of wounded soldiers have returned home - 94 were wounded in August alone - some with horrific injuries.

A grandfather told us that since he learned his grandson was due to go out to Afghanistan: "I've been so worried I haven't slept all week! It's our youngsters being killed not the politicians, bring them home now".

With one million young people facing unemployment, for some there seems to be little alternative except the armed forces. Working-class areas like South Wales have a higher number of young people in the armed forces due to the lack of jobs and a decent future. These economic conscripts don't want to be out in Afghanistan, which is the reason why so many soldiers and their friends are supporting our campaign.

Someone signing at our stall correctly said that "most of those young lads joined up to learn a trade, earn some cash and get out of a dead end - not to be blown up in Afghanistan!"

The majority of people do not believe Gordon Brown when he says the troops are fighting the Taliban to stop terrorism in Britain, and also wonder at the sheer hypocrisy of the West that funded and helped build the Taliban when they were fighting the Russians in the 1980s. As one young student put it: "It's about capitalism".

The mood against this war is growing rapidly and the message is getting louder - End the Afghan war and Bring the troops home now!

Demonstrate

Saturday 24 October,

central London (details to be confirmed)

Marking the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan.
Called by Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and British Muslim Initiative.

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In The Socialist 9 September 2009:

One million unemployed young people: 'We demand real jobs!'

Youth Fight for Jobs action

Youth unemployment: Future jobs or fake schemes?


War and occupation

Bring the troops back now!


Trades Union Congress

TUC conference: Workers willing to fight - in spite of leadership

Socialist Party TUC meeting

No to bosses' agenda

Time to fight back!


Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Workers' action can stop NHS cuts

PCS members prepare to fight cuts and privatisation

Unite election: United Left hustings

Witch-hunted Unison member given extra charge

Construction workers protest

Inaugural meeting to establish a North Wales branch of the National Shop Stewards Network

Socialist Party trade unionists meeting


Postal workers strike

Postal workers national ballot: Vote 'yes' for strike action

Protesting against scabbing managers


RMT action

RMT action: Bus workers strike for pay rise

Vestas workers: Stop the blades

Comment: Vestas protest

RMT wins no compulsory redundancy position but future battles loom


Marxist analysis: history

Marxists and the Second World War


International socialist news and analysis

Return of al-Magrahi to Libya ignites a political storm

Northern Ireland: Councillor joins Socialist Party


Education

Failing academies


Socialist Party review

City of Life and Death


 

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