Desire for politics

As US secretary of state Colin Powell told a German newspaper that he believed there would be, by the end of the month, a "persuasive case" that Iraq was not cooperating with inspection teams, anti-war demonstrators in Wales voiced their opposition to the impending invasion. Around 1,000 people, more than three times the number originally envisaged by the South Wales Coalition to Stop the War, marched through the centre of Cardiff on January 19. On the whole, the demonstration was more lively and upbeat than the capital has seen in recent times, with a definite sense of confidence in the air. Impressive too was the social composition of those marching. To see hardened elements of the left, who have been attending political demonstrations of this sort for years, marching alongside young working class muslims, many of whom were women, was very encouraging indeed. However, this obvious radicalisation could prove problematic for some of the left. In a discussion with a Weekly Worker seller, one Socialist Workers Party comrade displayed an attitude that was distinctly lacking in an understanding of the need to develop a consistent and independent working class approach to the problem of Palestinian oppression. The idea that any solution which denies the democratic rights of both Israeli and Palestinian workers is, in fact, a concession to nationalism, seemed lost on the comrade. The desire for politics was reflected by the fact that the three Weekly Worker sellers shifted in excess of 40 papers between them. One CPGB comrade commented that he did not remember another demonstration where it had been so easy to sell the paper - mostly to young people. Other left paper-sellers were strangely few and far between - just a few comrades with Socialist Worker and The Socialist and one Workers Power seller. On a less positive note, two anarchists attempted to disrupt the procession by chaining themselves to some railings. However, even though one of them appeared to be dressed as Santa Claus, their antics were largely ignored by the vast majority of the crowd. Ethan Grech