Motions and nominations
At the Stop the War Coalition annual general meeting on October 27, the CPGB urges support for the motions drawn up by Communist Students and Hands off the People of Iran and calls for the election of Ben Lewis and Yassamine Mather to the STWC steering committee
Iran and the war danger
1. Conference notes that:
1.1. The Bush administration's debacle in Iraq makes the prospect of an attack on Iran more, not less, likely.
1.2. The growing tension between the countries serves the interests of their respective reactionary governments. In the US, the supposed Iranian danger is being used to divert attention from Iraqi disaster and the domestic economic crisis; in Iraq, the Ahmadinejad regime labels all movements for progressive social change and against the state as "traitors" and tools of imperialism.
1.3. Brown's government in the UK remains subservient to the foreign policy aims of the United States and will support any action Bush takes against Iran, no matter what the disastrous consequences for stability in the region and globally.
2. Conference believes that:
2.1. Imperialism has no progressive role to play in the Middle East. It can only introduce chaos, societal breakdown and barbarism.
2.2. The Tehran regime is not an anti-imperialist force in any meaningful sense. In its domestic policies - neoliberal attacks on the people, vicious repression against the workers, women's and students' movements and corrupt looting of the wealth of the country - the mullahs actually undermine the only consistent anti-imperialist forces in the country.
2.3. Democracy in Iran will comes from below, from the struggles of the working class and the masses. It does not come from above - either from the supposed self-reforming potential of the regime or Bush-style regime change.
3. Conference resolves to:
3.1. Campaign against any imperialist attack on Iran, whether it takes the form of direct military intervention, economic sanction or diplomatic pressure.
3.2. Campaign for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all imperialist troops from the Gulf region.
3.3. Oppose all Israeli expansion and aggression in the region.
3.4. Support all working class and progressive struggles in Iran against poverty and repression and seek to build practical links of solidarity and material aid with these popular movements, as against the theocratic regime.
3.5. Support and participate in the founding conference of the Hands Off the People of Iran, an organisation that campaigns for these demands.
Submitted by Hands off the People of Iran
Democracy in our movement
1. Conference notes:
1.1. the critical importance of democracy to any progressive movement, including Stop the War. The decisions taken at all levels of our movement must be accountable and actions clearly mandated;
1.2. that effective democracy requires free discussion and debate, in all public arenas, from bulletins and newsletters to internet message boards. The Stop the War Coalition must have an open and dynamic political culture;
1.3. that any political censorship in the anti-war movement harms the struggle.
2. Conference believes:
2.1. that there have been occasions when the high standards of democracy the movement must aspire to have not been met - ie, when no motions were allowed at the Student Stop the War organising meeting at SOAS in September 2007;
2.2. that the sudden closure of the discussion board by the unelected STWC student organiser on the internet social networking site Facebook's Stop the War page was wrong;
2.3. that this represents an egregious violation of the norms of democracy we need. This was designed to close down discussion of complex political issues in the name of a keeping a bureaucratic peace.
3. Conference therefore resolves:
3.1. to reject all such acts of political censorship;
3.2. to guarantee the organisational autonomy of Student Stop the War;
3.3. to democratically elect all leading positions within Student Stop the War in free, fair and open elections;
3.4. to allow individuals or groups within Student Stop the War to submit their own motions and resolutions to be heard and voted on at the annual conference of the organisation - if the 'adult' conference allows for this, then the 'student' wing of Stop the War must have the same right.
Submitted by Communist Students
Ben Lewis, Communist Students
Ben is a 23-year-old gap-year student living in London and a well-known student activist. He has been politically active in a variety of forums since the famous anti-war march of February 15 2003. He was an active member of the WASG/Die Linke in Germany, is currently the Communist Party's student organiser and a member of the national executive of the autonomous organisation, Communist Students.
"Through my involvement in the Hands Off the People Of Iran campaign, I have built strong political links with radical anti-war students in Iran and gained a real insight into their struggles. These are the same type of brave young people who protested on October 8 against Ahmadinejad's visit to the Tehran University campus, chanting "Death to the dictator" outside a hall where the president spoke and fighting with police and reactionary squads of students.
If elected to the Steering Committee I would seek to give these comrades a voice at the very centre of the anti-war movement in this country - against any imperialist attack on their country: but, at the same time, against the theocratic regime.
I believe the movement in this country must campaign uncompromisingly against any military intervention/sanctions on Iran and demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. We must also look to provide support and practical material aid to progressive, grass roots anti-war trends in Iranian society that are in conflict with the regime "“ the workers', women's and students' movements.
No to Bush-style regime change in Iran! Democracy must come from below, from the struggles of the Iranian people themselves!"
Yassamine Mather, Workers Left Unity Iran
Yassamine Mather is an Iranian socialist in exile in Scotland. Her political activities on the Iranian left started in the 1980s in Tehran and later in Kurdistan. In exile, she has been a member of the coordinating committee of Workers Left Unity Iran (an alliance of a number of important Iranian left organisations).
She is a member of the Centre for Socialist Theory and Movements (Glasgow University) and the deputy editor of the journal Critique. Recently she has been active in the Hands Off the People of Iran campaign and a member of the Faslane academic blockade.
"With the threat of war against Iran growing ever stronger, I am in a unique position to mobilise the Iranian exiles in the UK and across Europe. Anti-imperialist Iranian exiles, many of whom were forced to leave their country because of their socialist beliefs, are the natural allies of the Stop the War Coalition and I am ideally placed to forge links between the STWC and Iranian socialists. In the current climate of strident war propaganda, there is a need to ensure that the voice of grassroots workers', women's and student organisations inside Iran are heard.
"'Iran' does not confront imperialism as a unified entity. Like all others, this nation is split into bitterly divided classes. The real opponents of imperialism are not to be found in the ranks of the reactionary theocracy that suffocate this society. They are to be found amongst the masses organised in the progressive movements - of women, workers and students - who oppose both the external and internal oppressors."