Solidarity 026, 20 March 2003

EDITORIAL: Unite the left to meet the new challenge!

There are openings for the growth of the revolutionary left such as we have not had for two decades. The tremendous upsurge of opposition to Bush's and Blair's war on Iraq, together with the rise of the anti-capitalist movements and the as yet limited, but radically important, revival of real trade unionism in Britain, have combined to create this situation.

UK marches to a different drum

Over the last two weeks many cities in the UK have seen their biggest demonstrations for years, and in some cases ever. Here are some reports.

The biggest demonstration in York in living memory was proclaimed from the speakers' platform outside York Minster on Saturday 15 March, as police estimated that almost 5,000 protestors rallied against the war. Organised by York Stop the War, the march and rally was attended by groups from as far afield as North Lincolnshire and Scarborough.

Students plan 'peace bombs'

By Jim Byagua

More than fifty anti-war demonstrators blocked Whitehall on Monday 18 March in a protest outside the emergency meeting of the War Cabinet. The protest brought together higher education students and school students in a three-hour sit-down.

The demonstrators refused to move despite repeated warnings from the police. They sat in a line, arms locked together, shouting "They break the law. We'll break the law." Police eventually dragged the group from the road, although no arrests were made.

If this is the people's parliament, where's the democracy?

By Gerry Byrne

Tony Benn, addressing the 'People's Parliament' on 12 March, said it was an historic event. The school students who addressed the meeting to a standing ovation would look back when they were as old as him and ask: "Were you there that day?"

The movement we need

  • Mobilise the unions
  • Stop work to stop war
  • Cut the roots of war
  • No to war - and no to Saddam
  • Solidarity with the peoples of Iraq
  • Internationalist, democratic, secular
  • No alliance with Islamic fundamentalism
  • "Broad" - or effective?

Mobilise the unions

The key to any serious anti-war movement is mobilising the organised working class. That includes political mobilisation as well as industrial.

The main enemy is at home

As we go to press the invasion of Iraq is imminent. Millions of people around the world oppose it, but that has not stopped the "leader of the free world", George W Bush, and his loyal toady Tony Blair, from sending in the troops.

Journalists strike against low pay

The NUJ chapel at Newsquest Bradford began a 10-day strike over pay on 14 March.

The company had failed to improve on their 2% pay offer since the NUJ chapel staged a week-long stoppage in February. Trainees are on as little as £12,000 and qualified senior journalists on just £15,000.

Newsquest workers at Kendal, who had four days on strike in February, took another four days from 18 March.
Another Newsquest chapel at Bolton has rejected a 2% pay offer, and began balloting over industrial action on March 11.

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