Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 51 Number 8, March 6, 2021 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

The Fight For an Anti-War Government

Important Stands of the Stop the War Coalition

The Stop the War Coalition held its 2021 AGM on February 27. We reproduce here the motions presented which were all formally passed by the AGM.

THE ROLE OF STOP THE WAR

This AGM notes

1. That the US and its allies are by far the greatest military powers in the world.

2. That for strategic and resource reasons the US and its Western allies remain committed to exercising control over the fate of the peoples of the Middle East.

3. That the US and its Western allies continue to decisively shape European defence and security policies through NATO, and by renewed Cold War rhetoric aimed at Russia.

4. That China's industrial development has posed a new challenge to US and Western economic predominance in world markets and this has resulted in a new era of international tension.

This AGM believes

1. That the Biden administration will not represent any substantial alteration in the defence and security policies of the US state.

2. US policies will continue to support Israel, the Sisi dictatorship in Egypt, the Gulf monarchies and other clients in the Middle East whilst maintaining hostile policies directed at Iran, the Palestinians, and others perceived as a threat to US interests. Despite distancing himself from the Saudi offensive in Yemen, Biden will not fundamentally break from these policies.

3. That the Biden administration will continue the propaganda war with Russia, and continue to pressure NATO allies to pay more to its budget and commit more forces to East European war games and cyber-warfare projects.

4. That the growing military tension and competition between the US and China will continue under a Biden presidency.

This AGM resolves

1. To continue work to end UK support for the Saudi War on Yemen, the most serious hot war currently in progress.

2. To resist NATO war games and pro-war propaganda aimed at Russia.

3. To resist attempts to dragoon the UK into political, diplomatic or military threats against China.

4. To campaign against the domestic threats to civil liberties generated by pro-war policies.

5. To oppose racism directed at Muslims, Palestinians, Chinese or any other citizens, as a result of war propaganda and chauvinism.

YEMEN: CONTINUING THE CAMPAIGN TO END THE WAR

1. This AGM commends the national campaign for its contribution to the success of the international day of action for Yemen on January 25th. Through international co-ordination a broad alliance of 385 organisations was established which engaged in a series of on-line and actual protests against the Saudi/UAE led coalition's war against Yemen.

2. The international on-line rally was outstanding, with speeches from influential figures. The student rally, organised by STW students and allied organisations, made an important step forward for work with young people. Despite the limits imposed by the pandemic it was encouraging to see a number of open air protests in North America and a number of European countries.

3. It was inspiring to see the extensive mobilisation inside Yemen, where millions took part in demonstrations in 17 cities across 12 provinces. It was also wonderful to see protests across Bahrain, where the level of repression makes such protests very dangerous.

4. We note the temporary ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE imposed by the US government from January 27th, and the ban imposed by the Italian government from January 29th. The AGM agrees the immediate priority for our work in Britain is to secure a ban by the British government on further arms sales to the Saudi and Emirati governments. Branches should consider meetings with peace movement partners such as CND and CAAT. Branches should also use the lobby tool for MPs, and EDM 1399, promoted by Jeremy Corbyn.

5. The anniversary of the start of the war will be on March 26th.

This AGM resolves

1. To support national action on that date, and international action if possible.


SUPPORTING JULIAN ASSANGE

This AGM notes

1. That Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is still held in Belmarsh prison despite the ruling by Westminster Magistrates Court that he should not be extradited to the United States.

2. The US are appealing the decision of the Magistrates Court in the High Court in an attempt to reinstate the extradition.

3. If Assange is successfully prosecuted in the US he faces 175 years in prison.

4. That Assange is charged because he revealed the truth about the Afghan and Iraq wars, about Guantanamo prison camp, and about the secret diplomacy of the great powers.

5. That the extraterritorial application of the US Espionage Act in the indictment of Assange criminalises journalistic activities, in this case activities carried out on UK soil by a non-US national, in collaboration with numerous UK media (including The Guardian, Channel 4 and The Telegraph).

6. That previous statements by the Amnesty International, Unite the Union, the NEU, Aslef and the NUJ, among many others, have supported Assange.

7. That there is a political dimension to extraditions and that the 'special relationship' between the UK and US makes the extradition of Assange more likely to go ahead.

This AGM believes

1. That Assange's indictment comes at a time of heightened threats to the press in Western countries in the form of raids on newspapers and broadcasters, government claims that the press are 'the enemy of the people', and actual prosecutions involving life-long sentences for publishing accurately.

2. That Assange's extradition to the United States would establish a dangerous precedent with regard to the prosecution of journalists in this country under the UK Official Secrets Act given the requirement for the UK courts to accept US arguments as to dual criminality for the extradition to go ahead.

3. That press freedoms in this country will be weakened if the courts accept that journalists' publishing activities in this country can give rise to criminal liability in foreign states and to their consequent lawful extradition.

4. That the publication of the Afghan and Iraq war logs and other material by Wikileaks that are the subject of the US indictment revealed important information that has benefitted the public.

5. Disclosing information to the public should never be equated with espionage.

This AGM resolves

1. To campaign to stop the extradition of Julian Assange to the US.

2. To collaborate with the Don't Extradite Assange Campaign to ensure that Julian Assange is set free.

ABOLITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

1. The Stop the War Coalition warmly welcomes the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons coming into force on 22 January 2021 as a significant step towards the realisation of a nuclear-weapon-free world. We share the deep concern expressed in the preamble to the treaty about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons and we recognise the consequent need to eliminate these inhumane and abhorrent weapons.

This AGM resolves

1. To pledge to work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by the UK Government, as we consider the abolition of nuclear weapons to be a global public good of the highest order and an essential step to promote the security and well-being of all peoples.

THE QE AIRCRAFT CARRIER AND THE NEW "GLOBAL BRITAIN"

This AGM notes

1. The HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group armed with US F-35s will sail to the Pacific to demonstrate the government's commitment to "make global Great Britain a reality".

2. This profound shift in international orientation aims to cement the UK into a US New Cold War with China, joining military containment by resuscitating past colonial links East of Suez, and giving a lead to NATO's new orientation against China.

3. Entering the South China Sea may provoke China, risking substantial economic benefits to universities, tourism etc., whilst escalating the likelihood of direct conflict with another nuclear-armed state.

4. Billons were being poured into the project - and still are - whilst an underfunded NHS was left to struggle against COVID.

5. With anti-China propaganda at epic levels, renewed jingoism will soften public opinion for further increases in military spending and a more aggressive military posture.

This AGM believes

The aggressive stance of Western powers towards China presents a serious threat to world peace:

- it presents an obstacle to tackling the real global threats, not least climate change, and may unleash a costly arms race;

- public debate on Britain's role in the world amidst the multiple crises and New Cold War on China is urgent;

- the QE launch presents the opportunity to focus a broad campaign against the Tories' 'Global Britain' and its mindset of militarism, racism and Sinophobia, and foreign interventionism.

This AGM resolves

1. To welcome the call of CND/StWC for a coordinated campaign against the deployment.

2. To endorse:

(i) reallocating military spending from global power projection to welfare and social provision;

(ii) international cooperation for a progressive agenda tackling the problems of poverty, inequalities, racism (including Sinophobia), nuclear threat and climate catastrophe.

3. To call on politicians, trade unions etc. to join the campaign and commit to (i) and (ii) above.

STUDENT WORK

The AGM notes

1. That the current political situation, combined with the rise of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders into mainstream politics over the last five years, has radicalised students, particularly in relation to foreign policy and anti-war politics.

2. That students are acutely aware of the effects of the so-called War on Terror, having spent most of their lives hearing about the devastating wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Israeli repression of Palestine.

3. That Stop the War has increased its activity amongst students, hosting several successful online meetings, including on war and the climate crisis, the Julian Assange case and on the Yemen War as part of the Global Day of Action in January.

The AGM believes

1. That students will continue to play a vital role in organising against imperialist wars, whether organising on campus at universities, colleges or in wider society.

The AGM resolves

1. To continue to support students in organising meetings around issues such as the Yemen War, Islamophobia and the new cold war on China and continue using Stop the War's social media platforms to help promote these.

2. To work to contact more students and encourage them to set up student branches of Stop the War in universities.

3. To encourage local Stop the War groups to contact students in their area and work with them to organise meetings and other actions.

4. To work with other student groups, such as London Students for Yemen or the Palestine Sol-idarity Campaign's Youth and Student Committee, to build a broad base of opposition to war amongst students.

CAMPAIGNING 20 YEARS ON

This AGM notes

The dangers posed by Biden's foreign policy and the UK's commitment to 'Global Britain' 20 years after the start of the War on Terror

The successes of Stop the War over the last year in campaigning and winning a new audience. Our campaigns against increased military spending, the Yemen War, the cold war with China and Assange's extradition have involved thousands. Over 370,000 people have watched our events since March 2019. Our new website has attracted an increased readership. Our membership has increased by 615.

Stop the War remains the most popular political campaign amongst Labour Party members

This AGM believes

1. Anti-war campaigning remains an essential priority for the movement.

2. Campaigning can be continued even in lockdown conditions through passing resolutions, and through lobbies, petitions and online protests.

3. National success needs to be translated more widely to local organisation. Local groups should hold regular zoom meetings, keep in touch with local membership and systematically work to get support for our initiatives in local trade unions, political party branches and other civil society groups.

This AGM resolves

1. To continue our key campaigns and profile the campaign against the cold war on China by pro-testing against the dispatch of the aircraft carrier to the Pacific Rim.

2. To launch a campaign of resolutions and speakers at Labour Party branches using the No Re-turn to Blair Wars pamphlet.

3. To mark the 20th anniversary of the war on terror with a conference, an exhibition and briefings.

4. To expand our student work.

5. To step up the level of activity in our local branches.


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