Leading the way

Some 40 people attended the Hackney Stop the War coordinating committee on March 17. The meeting was somewhat confused and lacking in focus, partly because people felt nervous and tense about the fact that war was so close. There were reports from the weekend workshops, which 60 people attended - disappointingly few, given the large number of political activists in Hackney. However, there were more positive reports of walkouts by school students which had taken place across the borough spontaneously that day. It was generally agreed that school and college students were leading the way for the unions and that we needed to get out with leaflets to schools and encourage such actions. The CPGB proposed that we set up a people's assembly in Hackney to coordinate action and create our own democratic forum. Unfortunately this was not agreed. But we must move beyond STWC committees, and the one-off event in Westminster Hall is certainly not enough. Arrests have taken place of Turkish and Kurdish political activists under the Terrorism Act 2000. It appears they are being pursued on trumped-up charges, conjured up to intimidate that section of the population and the anti-war movement. It was agreed that we would organise support and solidarity. The meeting broke early so that people could get out fly-posting for the March 22 demo. Leaflets were also taken for school students and Day X - the day of action once war starts. It was also agreed to get in touch with the local RMT branch with a view to establishing closer links. There was a lot of enthusiasm to get active. This is positive, but we must also discuss the way to broaden out the movement and create our own democratic forums. Otherwise we will, in the words of George Galloway, be in danger of "marching people to the top of the hill and back down again". Anne Mc Shane