Archive article from The Socialist Issue 270
Build The Anti-War Movement
GEORGE W Bush's US administration appears to have adopted a 'permanent war' strategy to pursue the aims and objectives of US imperialism.
By pursuing an indeterminate war against 'terror' and the 'axis of evil', Bush's regime has signalled that it intends to continually try and use its overwhelming military power to resolve problems in its favour.
Such a policy is fraught with difficulties and will store up many new problems for the US around the world. But with war and the threat of war becoming increasingly the norm in the world capitalist system, the question of how to stop war is the most critical one facing all those hoping for a better world.
In the build-up to a war the mobilisation of mass public opinion against war through demonstrations, rallies, public meetings, strikes and mass peaceful civil disobedience, can have an effect in forcing Bush and Blair to hesitate and even delay going to war.
In the last week, opposition to military action against Iraq has increased by six points; more people in Britain are against the war than in favour. This anti-war mood has led to a drop in Labour's lead in the opinion polls with their support falling to under 40% for the first time since the fuel protests two years ago.
This opposition will be reflected on the streets of London on 28 September in what is likely to be the biggest anti-war protest in Britain so far - certainly the biggest since the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in the 1960s.
Show of strength
This massive show of strength, if built on, has the potential to shake the Blair government to its core. We have to go back from the demo to our workplaces, colleges, schools and local communities to organise an anti-war movement of the maximum size and scope possible. This will mean organising meetings, discussions, protests and direct action.
The most effective form of direct action is by the working-class, organised in the workplaces and trade unions. It has a key role to play in the building of an anti-war movement. Its potential strength has been revealed in developments around a possible fire-fighters strike over pay.
The army has admitted that if troops are used to try and break a strike, as the government is planning, it will affect their war plans. "We can't fight fires and Saddam Hussein at the same time", said one senior army official.
We need to build on the support that the anti-war movement has from the newly elected radical union leaders, who are backing Saturday's demonstration. A one-hour workplace protest and campaign of civil disobedience has been proposed for the day any attack is launched. This would be an important step forward.
If a campaign is prepared in advance, linking the anger that workers feel about low pay and privatisation to opposition to a war against Iraq, it will be possible to organise a stoppage. But it needs to be built for now, through meetings and pledges to support action in the workplaces.
The Socialist Party will also be campaigning on a second front in the struggle against war - to build a massive political alternative, a new workers' party, to take on the anti-working-class policies of Blair and New Labour and take forward the fight for a new socialist society, free from poverty, exploitation and war.