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From: The Socialist issue 525, 19 March 2008: Global Economic Crisis

Search site for keywords: Anti-war - Socialist - War - Iraq - Students - Gaza - Afghanistan - Capitalism

Interest in socialist ideas on anti-war demo

International Socialist Resistance on the 15 March 2008 anti-war demo, photo Paul Mattsson

International Socialist Resistance on the 15 March 2008 anti-war demo, photo Paul Mattsson

THE 15 March national anti-war demonstration in London, marking five years since the invasion of Iraq, attracted 30,000-40,000 people.

James Kerr

Significantly, many of those on the march were attending their first ever anti-war demonstration, angered at the ongoing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and the continuation of Blair's foreign policy by Gordon Brown. Others felt compelled to come because of the Israeli state's continued siege of Gaza.

International Socialist Resistance on the 15 March 2008 anti-war demo, photo Paul Mattsson

International Socialist Resistance on the 15 March 2008 anti-war demo, photo Paul Mattsson

This anger flowed into the demonstration. International Socialist Resistance (ISR) and Socialist Students had a young and lively contingent, but this wasn't just a day to let off steam and go home again. The Socialist Party stalls, adorned with the slogan "Join the Socialists" were inundated with people wanting to find out more and discuss our ideas.

International Socialist Resistance on the 15 March 2008 anti-war demo, photo Paul Mattsson

International Socialist Resistance on the 15 March 2008 anti-war demo, photo Paul Mattsson

In recent weeks we've heard about the Ministry of Defence's PR offensive to sell the war as being about promoting democracy and freedom. But clearly, few people have been bought off by their propaganda campaign.

Sam Goodwin, secretary of University College London students union, recently suspended after students at UCL passed a motion banning military organisations from recruiting on campus, spoke about how the university authorities had undemocratically annulled this vote and suspended her from office.

Some of the speeches from the platform in Trafalgar Square from leading Stop the War Coalition representatives seemed to be re-runs of those we've heard for the last five years.

However, young people in particular are looking for answers on how the occupations can be ended and further wars prevented.

Some are coming to the conclusion that capitalism cannot offer a solution to war and economic instability and are searching for alternative ideas.

Five years on, anger at the Iraq war is still very strong. That anger needs to be channelled into ending it, and into opposing all war and oppression.

Anti-war demo video - Socialist Party members discuss the anti-war movement on the 40,000 strong 15 March 2008 demonstration in Trafalgar Square (8 minutes)

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