MORE than 100,000 people are expected to take part in the anti-war demonstration in London today, according to its organisers, the Stop the War Coalition.
The organisers are calling for an end to the war in Iraq, an end to its occupation and for British troops to be withdrawn by Christmas.
The demonstration has the official support from major trade unions, like UNISON, the CWU and PCS.
The march takes place only a week after the Trades Union Congress conference adopted a policy calling on the ‘British government to set its own date for an early and speedy departure from Iraq’.
It is also taking place on the eve of the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, next week, where the continuing occupation of Iraq will be one of the issues on which Prime Minister Tony Blair faces huge opposition.
Last Monday, the barbarity of the US-British occupation of Iraq was on display for all to see.
In Basra, six British Warrior tanks were sent to ‘rescue’ two undercover SAS troops by attacking Iraqi police and demolishing a prison. The two were clearly up to ‘dirty tricks’ and had killed one Iraqi police officer and wounded another.
The Labour Government’s Defence Secretary, John Reid, declared this was perfectly ‘legal’. He was justifying something described by Mohammed al-Waili (the Iraqi Governor of Basra put there by the occupation forces) as a ‘barbaric act of aggression’.
For all the talk by US President George Bush and Blair about bringing ‘freedom and democracy’ to Iraq, Reid made clear that the Iraqi authorities must follow the dictates of Washington and London, or face the consequences.
Iraqi ‘governments’, ‘constitutions’ and ‘police’ count for nothing. There is no ‘peace and liberty’ in Iraq, nor in Britain for that matter!
Blair has made clear that he will continue his war policy in Iraq and join Bush in a war on Syria, to maintain his ‘special relationship’ – doing what the White House tells him to do.
Here, draconian so-called ‘anti-terror laws’ are being prepared by Home Secretary Charles Clarke, giving police the right to hold people for 90 days without charge, or even knowing if there is a charge.
Everyone knows that Blair and his cronies in the Labour government have a blood pact with Bush to maintain the occupation of Iraq in order to control the region and grab Iraq’s oil. They have no intention of changing course.
Those who call for Blair to change his policy and withdraw British troops are either setting out to deceive people and protect Blair, or they cannot see the obvious.
The only way to stop the war, end the imperialist occupation and withdraw British troops is to bring down the Blair government.
A refusal by leaders in the trade unions to take on the Blair government, has allowed the war to continue, which has cost the lives of roughly 100,000 Iraqis and almost 100 British troops.
The leaders of the trade unions voted for ‘an early and speedy departure from Iraq’ at the TUC conference last week. These fine words must be turned into deeds.
There can be no repeat of last year’s Labour Party Conference, where the union leaders reneged on the official policy of their unions and the TUC, which was to set a date for the withdrawal of British troops.
Trade union representatives and anti-war Labour Party delegates must make sure that Blair is defeated and is not let off the hook again, and a policy is adopted for withdrawing British troops, at next week’s conference.
It is therefore necessary that the trade unions organise for a general strike that will bring down the Blair regime. This must then be replaced with a workers’ government that will withdraw troops from Iraq immediately.
Such action will deliver a fatal blow to the US/British imperialist occupation and create conditions for the Iraqi people to decide their own future.