Stop the US-UK warmongers

November 18 meeting in London: stop the war movement becomes a stop the occupation movement

At least 2,000 people - considerably more than the seating capacity of the hall - attended a protest rally called by the Stop the War Coalition in Friends House, London on November 18.

The event was called to kick off several days of protests against the visit of George W Bush. The numbers meant that hundreds of people were forced to assemble outside, in the garden, for an overflow rally - with a rotation of speakers from the main hall repeating their speeches.

Such was the outrage against the provocative visit - evidently designed, as was said by many, as a photo-opportunity to aid the increasingly precarious project of a Bush second term.

Speakers included Harold Pinter, Deirdre Scott from the US anti-war coalition Answer (Action Now to Stop War and End Racism), a speaker from School Students against the War, John Rees from the Socialist Workers Party (speaking in the name of the STWC), Caroline Lucas from the Green Party, Kate Hudson from CND, Tony Benn, and expelled Labour MP George Galloway.

The final, and extremely inspiring, speaker was disabled Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, author of Born on the fourth of July, who spoke at length about his own experiences, both as an initially patriotic soldier, cripplingly wounded in battle, and later as a politicised fighter against the war - indeed fighting imperialism over decades, including its latest venture in Iraq.

Ron Kovic received by far the greatest ovation of the rally - his speech added a tangible reality to the internationalism that is necessary if a truly global revolutionary movement is to be built; a movement that can reach out to the American working class itself as allies in the struggle to overthrow the most powerful and dangerous imperialist state in history.

The other event of immediate significance was that George Galloway once again trumpeted his determination to challenge Blair’s New Labour on ‘super Thursday’ - the European and GLA elections next June, with a new leftwing coalition.

No more details were as yet forthcoming than have already been fed into the public domain, but from the agitational emphasis of Galloway’s speech, it appears that whatever is being planned will be ambitious and aimed at inflicting serious damage to Blair.

One important preparation for this is the publication by Bookmarks of a pamphlet containing the transcript of the show trial of comrade Galloway by his New Labour inquisitors.

The blatant cynicism and complete disregard for elementary truth and integrity of any supposed ‘natural justice’ is laid out in pretty exhaustive detail in the pamphlet. Political dynamite, and quite possibly legal dynamite as well - Galloway has begun the process of challenging his inquisitors in court: he may well win.