Pro-peace movement now stronger on Iraq than in Vietnam war times

Bush vs. Bremer on decision to disband the Iraqi army: here.

Andrew Murray is national chair of the Stop the War Coalition in Britain and director of campaigns and communications for the Transport and General Workers’ Union.

He writes in British daily The Guardian:

Opposition to the Iraq war far exceeds the fury over Vietnam

Demonstrations can close the gap between popular outrage and parliamentary apathy, says Andrew Murray

[Guardian columnist] Polly Toynbee is right (Lance Corporal Redpath is another victim of our apathy, August 21) about the “Iraq catastrophe” and to argue that the criminal disaster of the British military occupation in Basra should dominate political life in this country.

However, she misrepresents the Stop the War Coalition and the broad anti-war movement of which it is the central element. It is not true that there was “one great anti-war demonstration” and little since. It is obviously difficult to match the size of our protest in February 2003, in which an unprecedented 2 million people took part. But the coalition has organised more than a dozen national demonstrations since. None has been attended by fewer than 50,000 people and some – including the march against George Bush’s state visit – have drawn more than a quarter of a million.

This testifies to the strength and endurance of the British people’s opposition to Blair’s war – far greater in scale and duration than the “fury over Vietnam” that Toynbee contrasts with what she describes as today’s “inertia”.

Her claim that “political activism seems moribund” is wide off the mark. Who can forget the school-student walkouts against the war in 2003, in which we estimate more than 100,000 pupils took part? And the Military Families Against the War campaign led by Rose Gentle and Reg Keys, and sustained by the Coalition, has ensured that the death of Lance Corporal Kirk Redpath and the others do not pass without protest.

The continuing cultural initiatives undertaken by eminent artists and writers opposed to the Iraq aggression, and the huge mobilisation of British Muslims (in the teeth of increasing Islamophobia) all testify to the extent and depth of the movement against the war.

The next national Stop the War demonstration in London will be on Monday 8 October, at 2pm, outside the Parliament building.

“The Vietnam Analogy” [by Bush]: here.

Peace movement in the USA: here.

1 thought on “Pro-peace movement now stronger on Iraq than in Vietnam war times

  1. Pingback: Steven Spielberg’s The Post, film, media and wars | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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