I attended the Stop the War Coalition Steering Committee on Saturday representing the Green Party. Everyone is mobilising toward the national withdrawal from Afghanistan march on Saturday week, Oct 24th and are looking for Green support in this. Towards this end they are asking local Stop the War groups to adopt Underground stations and give out leaflets about the demo over the next two weeks. It would be great if local Greens can help with this in their areas and approach local STWC groups or get leaflets from them. The National STWC is very short of funds at present and leaflets were being sold on Saturday. I would like to get some for our use. Is there any funding for this? Also can we encourage local parties to adopt Underground stations etc. If local parties outside London could concentrate on transport hubs to distribute leaflets for the demo that would be great. They also want support from TU branches etc.
Manchester STWC reported that they were beating people off their stall there is so much support. Many buses are being chartered to come to the national demo. No details on who the speakers are yet but I am liaising with officers. They are also going to run a general election campaign, giving support to candidates who they feel are anti-war, although they admitted that this could be difficult in some constituencies.
Gordon Brown and Cameron will be reading out lists of casualties at the opening of parliament on Oct 14th, the war is growing more and more unpopular and devouring more resources. However, there are mounting concerns that the cuts in benefits and growing dole queues are leading to ‘dole queue conscripts’ particularly from working class areas and areas with high youth unemployment.
As regards London there are two areas of action at present.
· On Tuesday, Joe Glenton, the soldier being court martialled for refusing to fight in Afhghanistan is appearing at a public meeting in Haringey. Haringey Greens have been invited by STWC to have a stall there and I have passed this on.
· In Hackney, there is a War Showroom, where teenagers are invited in to play video games in order to encourage them to join up. STWC are trying to campaign against this and any assistance from Hackney GP would be welcome.
The national ‘Bring the Troops Home’ march will be setting off from Hyde Park Corner on Saturday 24th October. It is imperative that we have a good Green Party turnout for this. Our Campaigns Coordinator will be sending out more info about this.
It is also possible that Blair the war criminal could be nominated as President of Europe within weeks and STWC are trying to get MEPs and others to speak out about this, plus a possible protest action in Brussels.
Stop the War Coalition Steering Group