“We’ve Got Work to Do” - London Activists Discuss No War on Iran Campaign
"Anywhere that our country tries to go into - we stop it."
“Iran is surrounded by wolves” said Navid Anthony from the Campaign Against Sanctions and Intervention In Iran. “They have two eyes and have to borrow another two.”
These were the Iranian idioms that Navid told to the activists in the Leslie Foster suite during Stop the War Coalition’s London Activist meeting – a call to London’s activists and fighters had been sent out and the room was filled. A quiet yet focused atmosphere as old and new activists filed in shortly before the meeting began.
This is where young people, newly informed on the War on Iran, and rightly dismayed found their way to – and the same place where long-term activists, who have spent twenty years campaigning for a non-militarised government showed their faces: a testament to the fact that the people and the movement have not wearied.
It was not long before the floor opened up to discussion when the young voice of school-student Jamal chimed in with his desire to spread Stop the War’s message on social media.
A general desire for the anti-war movement to reach a wider audience was expressed by both the long-term activists and new. A ‘visual breakthrough’ was mentioned: a movement of cinema, documentary and film.
A few questions were raised on Stop the War’s name as an activist expressed the insecurity she felt when so often, after declaring that she be part of the anti-war movement, she would be faced with the dismissive question: ‘well, what war?’
This was counteracted by one activist, “I think we have a great brand. It tells us exactly what we want. We stop the war. What war? Any war. Anywhere that our country tries to go into - we stop it.”
This insecurity, brought about by a clear concern for outreach, and helping people understand the movement, was pinpointed very succinctly by long-standing activist Ellen: “We are up against the British press.” A truth that has been brought to light quite recently in the British election.
When it comes to stopping wars, we cannot waste any time in having an identity-crisis. We have people’s minds to change, and without the mainstream media telling the truth, an activist’s job is to make sure that the truth gets out there, no matter what.
“We need people on the streets” Chris Nineham stated “We need to get 20,000 people on the streets; we need to do everything we can do to win the argument as the pro-war movement gains traction.” These words were welcomed with a warm applause.
Navid Anthony’s words were welcomed with warmth as well, bringing perspective on the history of Iran. Anthony also made an important point in questioning the use of language to explain the situation in Iran, that we should call Trump’s sanctions a ‘siege’. And explained further that “depriving people of food and medicine is a war-crime.”
Both speakers, Nineham and Anthony, agreed that the propaganda campaign from the pro-war side is attempting to demonise Iran whilst not taking any responsibility in the West – and this type of propaganda must be met by full force. This include setting up stalls and holding as many public meetings as possible.
“We need to have a whole network of people in every area who are in touch and prepared to move when the time comes (..) There is an enormous amount of work that you need to do in order to mobilise on the kind of scale necessary. And I think that is the kind of work that we need to discuss, starting today.”