Stop the War Coalition 2006 National Conference
Resolutions passed by Stop the War members and delegates from affiliated organisations at Stop the War Coalition's National Conference on 10 June 2006, Friends House, London.
Stop the War Coalition Steering Committee
- The situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate. The rate of deaths remains high and must be considerably higher than the 100,000 estimated in the Lancet report 18 months ago. There has been evidence of torture and ill treatment of prisoners. The US forces now have 50,000 prisoners of whom only 1.5 % have been brought to trial. Malnutrition is a major problem, unemployment stands at 50% and incomes have halved.
- Oil production has halved and reconstruction has halted. Witness the inability of the regime to restore adequate levels of water and electricity for the mass of the people.
- The political process has failed millions of Iraqis, since power still remains in the hands of the US forces, along with their close allies among the Iraqis.
- The troops meet an increasing level of resistance, and are widely opposed or resented, to judge by the election results last December and by poll evidence. They are not playing a peacekeeping role, nor are they part of the solution in Iraq, since they are upholding an occupation resented by millions of Iraqis.
- The US and British governments, far from learning the lessons of their disastrous intervention in Iraq, are increasing their intervention elsewhere. More troops are being poured into an increasingly war torn Afghanistan, while the US is spearheading a process which is likely to end with an attack on Iran.
- To show support for the people of Iraq who oppose the occupation and who want the troops to leave.
- To organise practical solidarity where possible, and to continue to invite speakers from Iraq to Britain, as we did at the highly successful international peace conference last December.
- To continue to campaign for the immediate withdrawal of British troops.
- To oppose through demonstrations and other activities an attack on Iran by the US and Britain.
- To organise and call for a mass campaign to stop war with Iran, including mass protests, direct action and civil disobedience. This should include calls for union members to stop work in the event of an attack, and for stoppages, walkouts and strikes involving workers, students and school students across the country.
- To organise another international peace conference in conjunction with our international allies.
Stop the War Coalition Steering Committee
Civil liberties and the Muslim community
- This conference opposes the new terror laws, including the clause on ‘glorification of terrorism’. The response to last year’s London bombings should be to try to find political solutions to the problems of terrorism, and especially to see the connection between the rise of terrorism and the war on iraq. We believe that there are already adequate laws to deal with bombings and other terrorist attacks, and that these laws represent the scapegoating of one section of the community.
- We oppose increased stop and search which is aimed disproportionately at young Muslims and can only help to criminalise the community.
- We fully stand behind the Muslim community which has played such a prominent part in opposing the war. We oppose all Islamophobia. We oppose all racist legislation and attacks which affect Muslims disproportionately, but also affect non-Muslim black and Asian people such as the police murder of Jean Charles de Menezes. Racism in society affects us all as it can divide and therefore weaken our ability to unite against the war and the warmongers.
- The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act has led to restrictions on the right to protest within a kilometre of parliament. Microphones and megaphones are no longer allowed on protests and demonstrators must give 24 hours notice and gain police permission to comply with the law.
- Already a number of people have been arrested under this law. Brian Haw has seen attacks on his camp. Five PSC supporters involved in a protest over the attacks on Jericho jail have been summonsed for failing to obtain 24 hours notice.
- This law means we could not, for example, demonstrate on the day of an air strike on Iran. We call for the full repeal of this law and the right to protest around parliament. We fully support all those prosecuted under this law.
- We support the protest at the court hearing of the PSC demonstrators on June 15th.
African Liberation Support Campaign Network
The Stop the War Coalition advances the unity of all antiwar forces against the occupation and the neocolonial manipulation of Iraq by US and British imperialism;
Conference also notes that western countries engage in various forms of meddling in the affairs of countries around the world and this meddling occurs in similar ways;
Conference observes that the wars across Africa, which western imperialist powers and multinationals are taking advantage of to loot Africa’s resources, are examples of this type of interference;
Conference recognizes the work done by African Liberation Support Campaign Network (ALISC Network) and School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Friends of Africa in bringing this issue to the fore within the antiwar movement and Conference has responded to this recognition by organizing the workshop on Africa’s Forgotten Wars;
Conference resolves that all local Stop the War Coalitions and affiliated organizations should be encouraged to work with ALISC Network, SOAS Friends of Africa and communities from African countries where these wars are taking place to mobilize to put pressure on the government and institutions in UK to stop any such meddling and interference in the affairs of African countries;
Conference also resolves that all local Stop the War Coalitions and affiliated organizations should be encouraged to join in the June 30 Day of Action organised by the Congolese community in the UK on Africa’s Forgotten Wars and also encouraged to implement decisions from the Conference workshop on Africa’s Forgotten Wars.
Edinburgh Stop the War Coalition
Conference notes the continued use of British Airports for rendition flights. Conference further notes the success of airport protests at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Prestwick airports organised by the Stop the War Coalition and Scotland against Criminalising Communities. Conference encourages local groups across the UK to organise protests against rendition and supports the call by Edinburgh Stop the War for protests on 24 th June 2006.
Swindon Stop the War Coalition
This conference recognises the importance of national demonstrations in London which allow the Stop the War Coalition to show the size and diversity of its support, and also because London is the seat of government, and centre of most news organisations.
We also recognise that to maintain activist and media attention it is necessary to vary the type of activities that the Stop the War Coalition organises on a national basis.
This conference therefore welcomes the decision to build a major national demonstration to mark Labour party Conference in September 2006.
This conference notes that the vast majority of British troops flying into theatre in Afghanistan or Iraq depart from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. We also note the significant national news coverage that even a small demonstration at the base achieved in 2005.
This conference therefore resolves that the Stop the War Coalition should support and publicise a national demonstration at RAF Brize Norton during the coming 12 months.
British South Asia Solidarity ForumThe Fifth Annual Conference of the Stop the War Coalition endorses the following recent statement of the Steering Committee of the STWC on the struggle for democracy in Nepal:
“The Stop the War Coalition congratulates the people of Nepal on their initial victories in their struggle for democracy against the autocratic and feudal monarchy. The failure of the British and US governments to support the Nepalese people in their struggle highlights the hypocrisy of their claim to support the extension of democracy. We condemn the military support the British government has given the Nepalese monarchy and demand that it ceases immediately. We further demand an enquiry into the use of the socalled "Global Conflict Prevention Pool" fund, which has provided training, equipment and aircraft to the Nepalese armed forces and allegations highlighted in the Guardian recently that UK-supplied warplanes have been used to bomb civilian targets in Nepal. The Stop the War Coalition pledges to support the Nepalese people in their struggle and to oppose any British support in any form to the Nepalese monarchy.”
The Conference instructs the Steering Committee to (a) delegate a specific committee member to deal with the Nepal issue and (b) take appropriate measures in support of the demand for an enquiry into the use of the socalled “Global Conflict Prevention Pool” allocations to provide military aid to the Royal Nepalese Army.
This Conference rejects the use of the ‘war on terror’ as an excuse to sweep aside fundamental human rights and civil liberties and to criminalise legitimate protest.
Stop the War coalition should oppose any existing laws or proposed new laws that weaken our human rights or civil liberties.
Stop the War coalition should unite with the broadest movement in our opposition to these attacks on our hard won rights.
The Stop the War Coalition committee in both local and international activities should promote a peaceful and democratic solution for the Kurdish Question in the Middle East.
To oppose the attacks against the Kurdish people and their ‘Peaceful and Democratic Solution’ struggle.
To call for an immediate end to military operations against Kurdish guerrilla forces by Iranian and Turkish army and condemn the use of chemical weapons against the Kurdish guerrilla forces.
To call on the Turkish government to put on trial the agents of the ‘Deep State’ who were caught red handed by Kurdish people in the Semdinli incident.
To recognise Mr Abdullah Ocalan as a political representative of the Kurdish people and to consider Imrali prison as a Guantanamo type prison.
To actively support all campaigns for the freedom of Mr Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdish freedom struggle.
Socialist Workers Party
Conference notes with concern the preparations being made by the Bush administration to prepare an attack on Iran. Exactly the same steps that were taken before the invasion of Iraq are now being made by the Bush administration in relation to Iran – diplomatic efforts to isolate Iran and legitimize military action, the adoption of an official US policy of ‘regime change’, and military planning based on illusions in special forces and in the support of the Iranian people for an attack. The biggest difference is that Bush has refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons – against Iran’s nuclear programme!
The Bush administration’s political difficulties make an attack on Iran more rather than less likely, as the last desperate throw of the rightwing clique in the White House. But none of this makes a successful war on Iran inevitable. Mass mobilization around the world, together with a revitalized antiwar movement in the United States, can force a weakened Bush administration to retreat.
Conference accordingly resolves to make opposition to an attack on Iran one of the main campaigning priorities of the Stop the War Coalition. It endorses the call of the Assembly of the Social Movements of the European Social Forum in Athens (7 May 2006) for a international week of action on Iran between 23 and 30 September and pledges itself to mount the largest possible mobilization at the Labour Party conference in Manchester on 23 September.
Merseyside Stop the War Coalition
Merseyside Stop the War organisation applauds the decision of the National Stop the War Organisation for making the forthcoming demonstration outside the Labour Party conference a national event.
We call on the National Stop the War coalition to turn the demonstration into an event of peaceful non violent direct action. We suggest a Die-In of thousands of demonstrators outside the Labour Party Conference.
They will represent the many soldiers and civilians who have died in the illegal war of Bush and Blair. This would bring the war in Iraq to the streets of Manchester, Tony Blair and his cabinet and Labour Party members in a forceful and symbolic way.
We feel that these images can not be ignored by the media. We believe that whatever we do should be about stealing the media attention away from the conference to our antiwar demonstration. We have the majority of the public against the war Blair is at this most unpopular because of the war and we are trying to save lives here by shortening the war.
London Region CND
End Nuclear Hypocrisy - Prevent Trident Replacement
First over Iraq, and now increasingly over Iran, the US and UK have used the accusations of possession or development of nuclear weapons to justify hostility and aggression. In the case of Iraq this led to illegal war and a brutal occupation. At the same time as these accusations are made, the UK government is considering replacing its own Trident nuclear weapons system, at a cost of up to £25 billion. Nuclear hypocrisy on this scale will not contribute to peace and security in Britain or anywhere in the world. Replacing Trident will increase the risk of nuclear conflict, particularly in a situation where the UK has stated that it would be prepared to use nuclear weapons even against countries that do not have them.
This conference calls on the British government:
- To disarm its nuclear weapons as required under the nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty.
- To end its nuclear first use policy
Palestine Solidarity Campaign
This conference notes:
- The Palestinian elections in January 2006 were recognised as free and fair by the international community observers
- The response of Israel to the elections was to strengthen the economic blockade against the Palestinian people. This was summarised by the joke made by Sharon’s adviser that ‘it’s like an appointment with a dietitian. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die’.
- According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, 109 Palestinians have been killed since the elections (From 1 February to 24 May 2006).
- Israel’s seige has created a humanitarian crisis, particularly in Gaza, as Israel’s closure of the Karni crossing has resulted in severe shortages of food and medicine. Four Palestinians have died in Gaza as a result of their dialysis treatment being severely restricted due to the Israeli blockade.
- Following the Palestinian elections, the EU, US and Japan all moved to suspend funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
- Over 152,000 people are employed by the PA and are now facing unemployment. Their salaries support a million people — 25 per cent of the Palestinian population.
- The impact of this decision has been disastrous for the Palestinian people. Poverty and unemployment have risen dramatically. Basic services such as education and health are being destroyed by the removal of funding.
- Notes the opposition of numerous organisations to this decision, including the Israeli peace organisation Israeli peace organisation Gush Shalom which has told the EU: ‘don’t starve a whole people in order to overthrow its elected government’.
- Under international law the UK government is obliged to bring pressure to bear, including legal action, to sustain the rulings of the International Court of Justice against Israel’s Apartheid Wall. Instead the Palestinian people are being collectively punished by the British government, the EU and US for carrying out democratic elections resulting in a government opposed by Israel. Recent OCHA and World Bank reports have highlighted graphically the consequences of this policy.
- Believes that the Palestinian people have a democratic right to elect their own representatives.
- Believes that there can be no peace without justice.
- Rejects any attempt by Israel to unilaterally define its borders, and believes that Israel must abide by international law, including a complete withdrawal from all the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.
- Condemns Israel’s landgrab which is taking place in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, using the Apartheid Wall, settlements and roadbuilding to annex up to half of the West Bank to Israel, and calls for the British government to ensure that the International Court of Justice’s ruling on this matter be fully implemented.
- Welcomes the joint work between Stop the War and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in building the demonstration for Palestine on 20 May, where Stop the War branches worked with PSC and other groups to bring people out on the streets to demand an end to the policy of starving the Palestinian people, an end to Israeli occupation and demanding that the government recognise Palestinian democracy.
- Calls on the British government to demand the reinstatement of aid to the Palestinian Authority.
- Encourages branches to collect signatures for the petition launched to ‘stop starving the Palestinians’ (www.palestinecampaign.org)
- Supports the lobby of parliament called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign on November 29, and urges members to contact their MPs to ask them to support the Palestinians and sign EDMs on the issue including EDM 2041 tabled by Jeremy Corbyn MP, calling for the aid to be reinstated.
Communication Workers Union and Rail, Maritime & Transport Union
Conference agrees that it is important to strengthen the active involvement of unions in the Stop the War Coalition.
To this end the affiliated unions and officers should work together to:
- Increase the number of national, regional and local branch affiliations
- Produce briefing material which is suitable for unions, with the content being agreed with the affiliated unions
- Prioritise particular initiatives, including:
- A meeting between the TUC and MFAW
- A fringe meeting at the TUC
- Support for the September demonstration
Save Omar Campaign
This Conference deplores the inaction of the British government in not representing effectively Omar Deghayes, a Brighton resident, and all other British residents held in Guantanamo Bay.
This Conference notes the government's implicit condemnation of torture. It deplores its complicity in condoning torture through its own inaction in not applying the Geneva Conventions.
This conference demands that the Foreign Secretary makes urgent representation to the US authorities for the speedy and safe return of Omar Deghayes and all other British residents to the UK.
Oxford Stop the War Coalition
In relation to Iraq our main campaign demand is “Troops Out Now”.
Tyneside Stop the War Coalition
The Demand For Anti-War Government
Recognising that the agenda for discussion in political life and in the media is whether, or not, the government is justified in committing war crimes by invading and occupying Iraq and its attempt to create "debate" over whether it is justified to launch a criminal invasion of Iran and other countries.
This conference resolves to place on the agenda that such a "debate" by any government and politician and the covering media is a crime against the peace that should be challenged under international law and is also an incitement to terrorism on a state level which is a crime.
Therefore the Stop War Coalition resolves to place on the agenda the demand for antiwar government as a constitutional matter that no such wars of aggression can be advocated, or supported in word or deed, that ensures that Britain ends its collaboration in all aggressive military alliances with the United States, Europe and other countries; that it renounces the use of force in resolving and settling conflicts in international affairs amongst nations and pursues an antiwar policy in international affairs.
That it forthwith withdraws all of its troops from foreign soil and outlaws the stationing of British troops on foreign soil; that it stops the breaches of the Nuclear Non Proliferation treaty and ensures its implementation in Britain with elimination of all weapons of mass destruction and that the government pays reparations for the crimes it has committed in Iraq and other countries.
Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC)
Defence of Civil Liberties
Conference abhors the acts of mass murder carried out in London last July, expresses its sympathy with all the victims of these attacks and condemns the government’s exploitation of these tragedies to renew its assault on civil liberties.
Conference believes that the London bombings were a direct consequence of the involvement of British forces in the invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq.
Conference further believes that militarism overseas and repression at home are inseparable companions; that the assault on civil liberties will not end until British troops are brought home from the Middle East; and that resistance to this assault is an essential part of building mass opposition to the "War on Terror" and to racist and Islamophobic attitudes resulting from it.
We affirm our continued opposition to draconian police powers or special judicial procedures to deal with activities characterised as "terrorist"; to punishment without charge or trial; to offences based upon suspicion or association; to legislation that criminalises ordinary behaviour (such as the possession of ordinary items or the keeping of records or documents); to measures that have the effect of discriminating on the basis of ethnicity, faith or citizenship and to measures that threaten the right of people in Britain to discuss the international situation in a mature and straightforward way.
We are particularly concerned at the creation in the Terrorism Act 2006 of the new offence of "glorification" of "terrorism", and at the widelydrawn and politicised definition of "terrorism" contained in the Terrorism Act 2000, upon which the new offence is built. We believe this assault on freedom of expression to be a direct attack on the antiwar movement.
Conference notes that the term "terrorism" has been used by repressive governments on many occasions as a cover for the suppression of dissent; that it is a notoriously difficult term to define, and that no international agreement on a definition has yet been achieved. Conference further notes that Lord Carlile is currently carrying out a review of the definition of "terrorism".
Conference resolves that the Stop The War Coalition should:
- Encourage supporters to continue speak out in solidarity with people in the Middle East who stand against oppression and occupation.
- Encourage supporters to break down the isolation imposed on persons subject to "control orders" under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, or detained pending deportation for supposed connections with "terrorism", by visiting them, writing to them and telephoning them.
- Call upon Parliament to ensure that persons suspected of crimes connected with "terrorism" (however it is defined) are given all the legal safeguards and rights generally given to persons suspected of other crimes.
- Call upon Parliament to ensure that any legislation directed against "terrorism" (however it is defined) incorporates explicit safeguards acknowledging and protecting rights to dissent and rights to struggle against oppression and for selfdetermination, and that these safeguards include as a minimum the provision made in Resolution 42/159 of the United Nations General Assembly (passed in December 1987), on measures to prevent international terrorism,
which says that:
...nothing in the present resolution could in any way prejudice the right to selfdetermination, freedom and independence, as derived from the Charter of the United Nations, of peoples forcibly deprived of that right referred to in the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, particularly peoples under colonial and racist regimes and foreign occupation or other forms of colonial domination, nor, in accordance with the principles of the Charter and in conformity with the abovementioned Declaration, the right of these peoples to struggle to this end and to seek and receive support.
University College Hospital London Stop the War Group
The Stop the War Coalition notes that:
- The total cost of Britain’s involvement in Iraq so far is £5.5 billion
- The annual shortfall in the NHS budget is £800 million
We believe that it is totally unacceptable that billions of pounds of tax payers’ money is being spent on flattening Iraq and murdering its people. Meanwhile hospital after hospital in the UK is running into deficit, cutting jobs, shutting wards and rationing vital treatment.
The Stop the War Coalition therefore resolves to support the slogan Fund Hospitals Not War.
Hounslow Stop the War
Conference instructs the Steering Committee to support demands for a full and independent public enquiry into the London bombings of July 2005, and to continue to campaign against the Islamophobia and erosion of our civil liberties which are the result of the socalled “war on terror”.
National Union of Journalists
This annual meeting notes that French journalist Frederic Nerac disappeared in Iraq on March 22, 2003 while covering the war for ITN. Although it is believed that he was the victim of US fire at the same time and place as our colleague Terry Lloyd, there is no concrete evidence of this. Neither his body nor traces of his DNA have been found so that his family remains unsure of his fate to this day.
Nerac is unfortunately only one of almost 20 cases where there is the connection of US troops, disappearance and death, and an urgent need for independent investigation.
This annual meeting therefore, express its heartfelt sympathy to the families of those journalists so lost, and its horror that no independent investigation has occurred for either Nerac or the almost 20 others – and calls on the Stop the War Coalition to do all in its power to pressure the UK government to uncover what happened to Frederic Nerac, and to call for independent investigations into all unlawful killings of journalists by coalition troops.