The Stop the War Coalition annual general meeting on 22 April 2017 passed the following motions.

Motion 1: Trump’s military escalation andthe Special Relationshipfrom the Officers group

Conference notes that in the first period of his term, US President Trump has demonstrated a definite preference for military solutions.  To date Trump has:

  • Proposed an increase of nearly 10% for military spending

  • Increased the use of the US air force in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

  • Adopted a more sympathetic attitude to the Saudi regime’s war on Yemen

  • Given military commanders greater authority to military commanders to initiate military action

  • Begun a review of US terms of engagement for military action

  • Increased number of US troops deployed in Iraq and Syria

  • Begun a review on the possible increase of US troops deployed in Afghanistan and Somalia

The Conservative government is showing all the signs of supporting this expansion of military action. Theresa May has endorsed his demand for all NATO members to devote 2% of GDP to military spending.  The Minister for Defence, Michael Fallon has indicated his support for increasing troops in Afghanistan. The RAF has been more heavily involved in bombing raids around Mosul.  The government introduced a laptop ban on some Arab countries, within hours of its introduction by the US administration.  In pursuit of “the special relationship”, we expect the British government to mimic US foreign policy.

In these circumstances, the AGM agrees to continue to promote “An end to the Special Relationship” as a major campaign theme.This will inform our work against the proposed visit by President Trump, later this year. It should also underpin the specific national and branch events in opposing British government support and involvement in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. Branches are encouraged to organise local meetings on this issue.

Motion 2: Local group activity from the Officers group

Conference notes that our local groups are the cornerstone of national activity and that their continued development is of crucial importance to the work of the Coalition. 

Over the past 18 months we have seen new groups – or the rejuvenation of inactive groups – spring up across the country. Conference welcomes these new groups and wishes to see further expansion in all areas of the UK to spread anti-war campaigning as far and wide as possible. 

Conference believes that it is important for the future of the coalition as a whole that groups reach out to attract new members that reflect the diversity of their local community in terms of age, race, religion and gender, and reflecting a broad range of the political views that support the Stop the War Coalition.

This requires an active approach to campaigning both on the ground and on social media. 

Conference calls on all groups to:

  • Actively engage younger people and students. All groups/members should try to ensure that there is student representation in their locality and if there isn’t a student group locally to try and organise a meeting or debate at the local University/college as a first step.

  • Organise regular public meetings and hold regular committee meetings that reflect the breadth of the movement.

  • Use Facebook and Twitter accounts in order to share national and local group events. This will build our online reach and attract the next generation of activists. 

  • Consider appointing a social media officer for your local group. 

  • Consider appointing a liaison officer to work with local mosques and help engage with the wider community if this is not already being done. 

  • Think about holding cultural events such as film showings, musical evenings or curry and comedy nights to attract a new audience. Supporting local events across the community may help forge new links.

The development of our groups through a range of innovative and interesting activities will be the basis on which the Coalition will grow beyond its current core support base. We need to reach out to those newly politicised by recent events in an inclusive manner, appealing to the young and to new activists.

Motion 3: Stop the War’s objectives from the Officers group

This conference reaffirms that the main task of the Stop the War Coalition is to oppose its own government’s role in supporting or involvement in wars, especially those relating to the ‘war on terror’ which began in 2001. Such opposition to government policy does not in any way imply support for any other power. We are against all foreign intervention in countries such as Iraq or Syria, and believe it is for the people of those countries alone to decide their future. 

Motion 4: Brent Stop the War

This meeting recognises that the number of civilian fatalities resulting from the US-led western coalition’s aerial bombardment of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, is now reportedly higher than the number of fatalities reported at the height of the bombing of Aleppo in Syria, yet despite this, there is almost no media coverage of this aspect of the war in Mosul. 

We call on the leadership of the Stop the War Coalition to mount a major campaign to highlight the civilian casualties resulting from this bombardment.

Motion 5: Kurdish Community Centre, London N4

This Conference notes that:

  1.  Since June 2015 when President Erdogan lost his parliamentary majority, the conflict in the Kurdish majority South-East of Turkey has been re-ignited, with the loss of 2000 lives and the displacement of up to 500,000 people, including numerous cases of excessive use of force; killings; enforced disappearances; torture; destruction of housing and cultural heritage; incitement to hatred; prevention of access to emergency medical care, food, water and livelihoods; violence against women. 

  1.  During 2015 and 2016 Turkish security forces shelled densely populated Kurdish areas with heavy artillery and tanks, including an incident when up to 189 men, women and children who were trapped in basements of buildings were subjected to shelling by security forces and burnt to death. 

  1.  Since 2015 the UK has sold Turkey £330 million worth of arms, including £26m-worth of ML13 licences, which relate to exports of armoured plate, body armour and helmets. In addition, the UK has sold Turkey £8.5m-worth of ML10 licences, for aircraft, helicopters and drones, and almost £4m-worth of ML4 licences, for missiles, bombs and “counter-measures” and is a priority market for British arms exports. 

  2. The OSCE election observers reported that the Turkish Referendum of 16th April 2017 did not meet Council of Europe standards, was not a genuinely democratic process and that the mass arrests of journalists and the closure of media outlets denied the Turkish people a real choice. 

  1. The achievements of the Rojava Cantons set up by Kurds in Northern Syria are genuine examples of radical democracy and efforts of establishing an egalitarian, ecological and democratic society. 

This conference therefore resolves to:

1. Call for an end to all British arms sales to Turkey, particularly in the context of Turkish weapons being used against Kurdish people.

2. Condemn the grievous and systematic human rights violations perpetrated against the Kurdish people by the Turkish State. 

3. Condemn the UK government’s failure to criticise Turkish human rights violations and to defend democracy in the run up to the Referendum of 16th April 2016.

4. Condemns the Turkish military aggression into the area as it believes that the peaceful resolution on Syrian war is to respect the rights of peoples to exist and determine their future without any external aggression.

Motion 7: The general election and the Stop the War Coalition from the Officers group

Conference notes:

1.     That the outcome of the general election will be of the first importance in deciding issues of war and peace.

2.     That the Stop the War Coalition is not a political party but a broad movement that contains members of many different political parties as well as many unaffiliated unions, organisations, and individuals.

3.     That the leader of the Labour Party is a former chair of the Stop the War Coalition and a life-long anti-war campaigner.

Conference believes:

1.     That issues of war and peace should be central to the election campaign.

2.     That any anti-war candidate should be supported by the anti-war movement.

3.     That the re-election of a Tory government is a grave danger to peace and that such a government will lend its support to the US in its imperial projects in the middle east, the far east, and elsewhere.

Conference resolves:

1.     To campaign in the general election on the theme of ‘kick the warmongering government out.’

2.     To produce material and publicity, to hold meetings and rallies, to promote this campaign.

3.     To produce a briefing outlining the various parties’ positions on issues of war and peace.

4.     To encourage our supporters to vote for anti-war candidates and to encourage the return of a government committed to peace.

5.     To continue our anti-war work no matter what the outcome of the election, either to assist a government with an anti-war leader in the face of opposition, or to redouble our efforts should a pro-war government be returned on June 8th.

26 Apr 2017

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