The Socialist 1 March 2007 |
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After 24 February demo
Make anti-war movement an unstoppable force
THE TENS of thousands streaming through central London and Trafalgar Square on Saturday 24 February had a clear message: 'No to Trident. Get the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan'.
Demonstration against Trident Feb24 2007, photo Pedro
All who took part in the demonstration, which took two hours to snake past the start point, were united in their anger and horror at the global conflicts created by Bush and Blair.
They were equally determined to stop the further growth of weapons of mass destruction and remove the 27,000 nuclear weapons that already exist worldwide.
The size of the demonstration shows there is a passionate determination to end wars. But, after several years of large national demonstrations, that anger now also needs to be channelled into actions additional to mass demonstrations. Mass movements have developed in Britain before against nuclear weapons and against the war.
However, since the massive 15 February 2003 demonstration and others did not stop the Blair government's war in Iraq, the millions who demonstrated and still want to end the occupation require concrete steps from the anti-war movement that will achieve their objectives.
Linking in to domestic issues, such as the state of public services and the anger against Blair and New Labour will be vital in mobilising a mass movement. Some speakers on the demonstration pointed out the many better things that could be done with the £70 billion pencilled in for replacing Trident.
Paul Mackney, general secretary of the UCU lecturers' union, pointed out that scrapping Trident could mean the abolition of tuition fees and the introduction of living grants for students.
Louise Richards, from War on Want, said that the "only war worth fighting is the war on poverty". This will ring true with millions in Britain and billions across the globe.
By giving a clear lead and calling for the best form of direct action - trade union action and mass protests - the anti-war movement can develop an unstoppable force that will bring the troops back, get Trident ditched and get Blair and his government scrapped.
SOCIALIST PARTY, International Socialist Resistance and Socialist Students' members marched proudly on the 24 February anti-war demonstration. We demanded an end to the occupation and war and the cancellation of Trident and for the resources spent on war and Trident to be used to finance public services, such as free education or NHS.
We were clearly one of the loudest, most vibrant, most youthful sections of the demonstration, and many young people joined in our contingent in order to march with us. In our chants and discussions on the contingent, as well as in the successful meeting afterwards, we raised the ideas of workers' unity and socialism as the way forward in Iraq.
Many people were interested in what we had to say, with several people wanting to have further discussions. Over 400 copies of the socialist were sold, a further indication of the support and interest for our ideas.