Niall Mulholland, East London Socialist Party
The protest in central London on 6 March was a few thousand strong. Attacks by the media and others, including Labour’s leadership, against the Stop the War Coalition, probably had an effect on the turnout.
People are also confused about the situation in Ukraine. They have sympathy for the people in Ukraine and oppose Putin’s invasion, but they may not see how protesting can make a difference at the moment.
The Labour leadership will not accept any criticism of Nato. So John McDonnell and Diane Abbott decided not to speak at a Stop the War meeting on 2 March, and eleven Labour ‘left’ MPs took their names off a petition against the war.
But only one of the speakers at the protest correctly called this a “capitulation”. The MPs involved have not even attempted to explain their decision to not sign the petition.
The Socialist Party found a good response to our leaflets. The front page of the Socialist called for an end to the war, a withdrawal of all Russian troops, and no trust in Nato. We will not be silenced like so many Labour Party members. Passers-by that didn’t even know about the protest liked what we said.
There have been lots of protests called by Ukranians living in London, including Russian-speaking Ukranians, against the war. Unity of working people can be forged in these trying circumstances in Ukraine and Russia. Stop the War’s rally coincided with one of these protests.
Ukraine: Support for workers’ unity in Reading
On 5 March, the Socialist Party had a campaign stall in Reading calling for workers’ unity to stop Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 20 bought a copy of the Socialist, with our demands on the front page, and they donated £90 in total to help our campaigns. Working-class people felt that this war isn’t for them, that it’s a war between ruling elites, with working-class people suffering.
This campaign stall was one of the best Reading Socialist Party has had in a while. Not everyone agreed, some people didn’t like our demand of no trust in Nato. But most did agree with our demands.
There were lots of good discussions. You could really feel people’s anger, and the enthusiasm for change.
After explaining that we are a socialist, campaigning and internationalist organisation, a lot of people wanted to donate. It shows the real desire for change. Many people coming up to us came to the conclusion that we need a new system, and that system is socialism, in order to stop war.