The Stop The War Coalition is calling for workplace walkouts and mass anti-war rallies at 6pm in town centres everywhere on the day war breaks out. It will also call a national demonstration the next Saturday.
Organised working-class industrial action could really put the pressure on the Government to reverse it's policy on this war. It is what the Government most fears. It has already said it wants to ban firefighters' strike action in the event of war. If we can organise enough solidarity to make the FBU confident to defy the Government's ban and war blackmail, then we can check the war drive.
Walk-outs at the outbreak of war will be a symbolic, but important, step towards mass working class action. This, and other kinds of action can also be organised by college and school students.
In the East London PCS (civil servants union) we had quite good success at getting people along to the anti-war march on 15 February. At our branch AGM we passed a motion which included a call for members to walk out. Nobody voted against it, an only two people abstained. Everyone, with one exception (a comrade from the SWP) wanted to make a condemnation of the Iraqi regime. There will be a few walkouts and there arelots of other things that we plan to do such as wear stickers and black armbands.
School students' action
Around five hundred school students walked out of lessons on Friday 28 February to join an anti-war rally in the centre of Glasgow. The action, organised by the Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Coalition For Justice not War, went ahead in spite of threats from schools that they would suspend pupils who took part.
One participant told the Glasgow Herald: "The teachers tried to stop us coming but we just ran past them and out the gates. We do not want Britain to go to war. I hate it when adults tell young people what to believe in or what to do."(Action in London on 5 March, see page 6)
At my school in Norfolk we had a teach-in recently. One fifth of the teachers took part as well as a dozen students - from Year 11 and the Sixth Form. The plan was to argue for a walk out but this didn't get off the ground. Instead we are going to wear black armbands and make posters against the war.
Communication Workers Union backs action
On 27 February the National Committee of the postal workers and telecoms union, CWU passed the following motion:
"The CWU reaffirms its total opposition to the impending war on Iraq and will campaign for all members to take protest action on the day it is officially declared."
The union also passed an amendment calling for a day of protests outside workplaces on the 17 March if war is going ahead without UN sanction, and to call on other unions to do the same. Unfortunately the original text of the motion calling for a walk out was ruled illegal by the chair of the meeting, so it is not clear if members will be supported if they take action not in line with anti-union laws.
The CWU agreed to support the Labour Against the War conference on 29 March.
Lewisham Workers' Liberty is organising a series of four localised meetings around the war. The first one is on 7.30 pm Tuesday 11 March at St. Mary's Church, Lewisham High Street. It will be followed by meetings at Jerningham Road, Tanners Hill and Forest Hill. Localised meetings are a good way to build up opposition and involvement in the anti-war effort. Already in the build up to these meetings we have sold over 20 copies of Solidarity and got over a hundred signatures on the Stop the War petition.