< < <
Date Index
> > >
England Rises Up in Protest; When Will US Do the Same?!?
by Saima Alvi
05 October 2002 05:51 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >

London Report
by Tariq Ali; September 29, 2002  

London: Saturday 28th September. 

It was a beautiful clear blue sky. No mists but a great deal of
mellow fruitfulness. The Stop the War Coalition--- a united
front that includes socialists of most stripes, liberals and
radicals, pacifists and the moderate Muslim groups----had
expected 200,000 people, but the mood in Britain was uneasy and
large numbers of people, many of them conservative or even
apolitical, had decided to swell the march. 

The week before the march, New Labour issued the so-called Blair
dossier, a farrago of half-truths and stale facts that was a
very crude attempt at war propaganda. It  backfired miserably.
Blair was at his worst. The grinning disk-jockey in clerical
mode. Everything reduced to a pseudo-morality tale. War-talk and
piety is such an ugly combination. It may have convinced his
ghastly cabinet, a bunch of mediocrities, most of whom would
find it difficult to gain employment elsewhere. Blair prefers it
like this: in the land of the blind, the one-eyed beggar is

The DAILY MIRROR, a leading London tabloid devoted 8 pages to
denouncing the dossier and Blair. This newspaper has turned
decisively after 9/11, in sharp contrast to its rivals and
'betters'. The only pro-war piece in the paper, hallucinatory on
every level and published to give the White House a voice, 
appeared under the byline of the former NATION columnist,
Christopher Hitchens. The man with the Orwell-complex has fallen
really low. He will fall further. 

No war in Iraq and Justice for Palestine were the themes that
united everyone present on Saturday 28th September. Murdoch's
Sky TV reported 400,000. Irish radio insisted there were
half-a-million. Channel Five News said 'over a quarter of a
million'. Only BBC TV reported the 'police figure' of 150,000.  

Let's be modest. Let's accept that there were over 350,000
people who came from all parts of the country to show their
contempt for Tony Blair and his backing for Bush's planned war
against Iraq. I met people, old and young, who had never been on
a demonstration before. Rites of passage. And the mood was one
of defiance and anger. 

The new wave of trade-union leaders who have been elected to
defy the New Labour Thatcherites were solidly against the war.
Bob Crow, the 40--something leader of the  railway workers
denounced Blair in vitriolic language. So did Mark Serotka from
the Civil Servants Union and others. 

Then there was Tony Benn and George Galloway and Jeremy Corbyn
(the last two still Members of Parliament)  spoke for the Labour
Party members opposed to Blair. It was the Jewish sabbath. So
the contingent of Hassidic Jews could not speak, but their
moving plea for Palestinian rights was read by a young Muslim
from Leicester. 

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was also there strongly
denouncing the Prime Minister. Many Londoners heaved a sigh of
relief when Blair refused to let Livingstone back in the Labour
Party. No longer needing to suck up to the New Labour
leadership, Livingstone  shifted his position once again.
Sometimes opportunism can lead in the left direction. 

Nobody on the demonstration was taken in by the talk of a UN-led
war being somehow more acceptable than a Bush-Blair attack. The
British peace movement, for one, will not be taken in if the
permanent members of the UNSC allow their arms to be twisted and
their purses filled by the Bushmen. Here the movement will
continue. And when the bombs begin to drop there will be acts of
non-violent civil disobedience all over the country. We need the
same in the United States. 

Do you Yahoo!?
Faith Hill - Exclusive Performances, Videos & More

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >