Get involved!

Spring came to Leeds on Saturday March 15 in the shape of a marvellous and huge demonstration against the threat of war on Iraq. The Yorkshire Evening Post reported the organisers' estimate of 10,000 people, and although it might not have been quite that big it was certainly the biggest in Leeds in living memory. The demo, led by people carrying a coffin and the Leeds Coalition Against War banner, was one of the liveliest political events to hit the city. There were numerous local groups with their banners. The diversity of the protestors and the energy of so many young people in the face of such a serious situation was a real boost. There was one weakness - the scarcity of trade union banners: Leeds Trades Council was there, and Leeds National Union of Teachers, but I did not see any others. The final rally had at least a dozen speakers, including representatives of the muslim community, local Labour MPs Harold Best and John Trickett, and Julie Waterson of the Socialist Workers Party. What made the demonstration even more impressive was that it was only called 12 days prior. The Leeds Coalition Against War gatherings every Monday have been the most dynamic political meetings in the city for a while, regularly attracting over 40 people eager to get involved in activities against the war. A fortnight ago a discussion about whether the war had already started in view of the increase in bombings in Iraq by US and British air forces led to a discussion as to why we were waiting for war to break before organising another demo, and that led on to a passionate debate about whether to hold it on March 15 or March 29. Any readers of the Weekly Worker who have not been involved in local groups are doing themselves a real disservice. Matthew Caygill