By Martin Thomas
the juggernaut is speeding towards war. There is no reason to doubt that the Bush administration is absolutely determined on war in the New Year. But we can still stop them. Public opinion in the US is turning against the war-mongers.
According to the latest Gallup poll, done at the end of November, 37% of the population of the USA are against President George W Bush's planned war on Iraq, and 58% in favour.
In a country where the mass media is almost unanimously pro-war, and at a time before any US war casualties, those figures represent a lot of opposition.
On 10 December, 104 showbiz people issued a statement opposing war, including Kim Basinger, Matt Damon, David Duchovny, Mike Farrell, Ethan Hawke, Samuel L Jackson, Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen, Michael Stipe, and Uma Thurman.
Anti-war protests were held across the USA, called for by a new umbrella group, United for Peace, formed on 25 October (http://uofp.meer.net).
Alongside many religious, community and Green groups, the sponsors of United for Peace include the International Socialist Organization, Left Turn, Socialist Action, United Students Against Sweatshops, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Z Magazine.
United for Peace has no significant trade-union sponsors yet, but there is movement in the unions, too. AFL-CIO president John Sweeney has declared: "We must assure [people] that war is the last option, not the first."
Michael Letwin, of New York City Labor Against the War, says: "It wasn't the strongest statement in the world, but it makes people in the labor movement feel they now have some room to oppose the war". There are groups similar to NYCLAW in many cities, strongest in San Francisco, where the Labor Council is anti-war.
New York's big health workers' union branch, 1199 SEIU, Teamsters Local 705 in Chicago (the second largest in the country), and the California Teachers' Union have all come out against war.
The launch of United for Peace may help ease further trade union opposition to the war.
On 10 December the Bush administration further upped the stakes by stating that it is ready to use nuclear weapons in its planned war if Iraq uses chemical or biological weapons. US/UK military exercises in preparation for the war started on 9 December in Qatar, with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in attendance.
Tony Blair is the chief international accomplice of war-mongering George W Bush. In Britain we must do what the anti-war movement in the US is doing: organise an effective anti-war campaign!
15 February 2003 London
Mass Lobby of Parliament:
Tuesday 21 January 2003