Sixty-seven years ago this month the Nazis began their final assault on the Warsaw Ghetto, where 40,000 Jews were making a last desperate, heroic stand against Nazi barbarians determined to annihilate
War and Terror
The School Students Activists' Forum, held in London on Sunday 16th March, attracted around 150 school and FE students. Most of these were from London, although activists from cities such as Nottingham, Manchester and Birmingham also attended.
There are many sorts of pacifist: the recent votes in the Commons on war against Iraq have shown that. Many of those who opposed Blair will now "come on side" and support "our troops" like the Daily Mirror.
In this article from early 1917 Leon Trotsky discussed the nature and limits of 'official pacifism' in the run-up to World War One, and counterposed to it socialist class struggle-the only force on earth with the interest and the strength to stop all war.
edited by Matthew Hollis and Paul Keegan, with an afterword by Andrew Motion (Faber)
There is a lot of poetry about war and against unjust war. Often highlighting the human suffering involved, much of it provokes a revulsion against all war. I'm not a pacifist but I reserve my right to feel this horror too. Certainly, even if the most powerful nation on earth were not about to bomb the Iraqis (in order to save the Iraqis), then these poems would stir up the hardest heart.
By Gerry Byrne
One voice has been surprisingly absent or muted in the debate on the coming war. Women are probably the majority of the anti-war movement. Women and children are the main sufferers under the UN-imposed sanctions. Women and children will feature hugely among the predicted half a million direct and indirect casualties, and the millions who will be forced to flee the destruction of their homes once the bombs start to fall. US military strategists are planning on a short hard war. This is code for not counting the cost in civilian casualties. Hundreds of Cruise missiles are expected to be dropped in the first few days of the war. The lie of smart bombs and surgical strikes in the last Gulf War was revealed in all its hideousness only long after that war was over.
Not in our name
The anti-war demonstrators on 15 February were marching against Bush's and Blair's war plans, but also against the shutting-down of democracy by deception and manipulation, the transformation of politics into a business transacted between think-tanks, advisers, bureaucrats, spin-doctors and the billionaire media.
Tony Blair has refused a parliamentary vote on the war. Last year one Labour MP, Graham Allen, was driven to talk of hiring a hall in Westminster so that MPs could at least meet unofficially to discuss the war.
Pop music can be escapist — nothing wrong with that — but occasionally it transcends that to give voice to popular concerns and question jingoistic assumptions. Here is my “top ten” of anti-war songs, some well known and some hidden gems.
Edwin Star, War
There a good reason why an anti-war song can’t just say “war is wrong”. It has already been done perfectly. When Edwin Star sings “War- urgh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing” there might not be any deep understanding of why the Vietnam War was happening, but as a a guttural rant against the injustice and waste of it all, it can’t be beaten.
by Vicki Morris
From a sense that "women" have something distinctive to say on the threatened war, and from a sense that they are not getting a chance to say it anywhere else, a number of groups recently held a women's teach-in titled "War/anti-militarism; fundamentalisms/ secularism; civil liberties/anti-terrorism legislation".
They were Act Together, Southall Black Sisters, Women Living Under Muslim Laws, Women Against Fundamentalisms, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and Women in Black.
When the great powers of Europe went to war in August 1914, Leon Trotsky was living in Vienna. Fearing arrest, he fled to Switzerland for three months. In November 1914 he moved to France as a war correspondent for Kievskaya Mysl, a liberal newspaper for which he had worked since 1909, including during the Balkan wars (1912-13). Trotsky was a participant in the anti-war socialist conferences of Zimmerwald (September 1915) and Kienthal (April 1916), which laid the basis for a new international. He was deported from France in October 1916, travelling through Spain, where he was briefly imprisoned, arriving in New York in January 1917. He left for Russia at the end of March 1917, and there, with Lenin, helped lead the revolution that created the world’s first workers’ state.
This is a sort of companion volume to the Black Book of Communism produced by a team of mostly ex-Communist-Party French writers a few years back. It is much more businesslike, brisker, and less inclined to extrapolate vast (and preconceived) philosophical conclusions from data partly real but partly contrived.