The Stop the War Coalition annual general meeting on 7 September 2019 passed the following motions

1 – Membership

Submitted by StW Officers

  1. Membership currently stands at [Redacted], yet Stop the War has almost 50,000 followers on Twitter and 165,000 followers on Facebook. There is obviously a huge discrepancy between the number of supporters and membership numbers.
  2. Stop the War is sustained by its members. By becoming a member StWC supporters are making a financial and a personal commitment to the Coalition. Membership encourages participation and engagement with the Coalition and should be promoted.
  3. Membership subscriptions, along with affiliations from trade unions and other organisations, are the only regular source of income received by StWC. Sustaining and increasing membership is essential for the continued operation of the Coalition.
  4. In the 2018-19 financial year membership subscriptions provided over [Redacted] of income; with affiliation fees this rose to [Redacted]. Office and payroll expenses were approximately [Redacted] for the financial year.
  5. With this in mind the national office will be launching a systematic campaign this autumn to turn many more of StWC’s supporters into active members.
  6. In addition to recruiting new members, retention of members is crucial. Membership benefits and opportunities help to make membership more attractive. Nationally StWC is introducing membership benefits such as discounts for on-line merchandise, special offers for cultural events and a specific members’ newsletter.

Stop the War AGM resolves:

  1. To encourage local groups to join the national membership drive by
  2. Using social media and email to promote membership;
  3. Emphasising the importance of membership at all public meetings;
  4. Distributing membership leaflets at all events and on all stalls;
  5. Setting a ‘new member target’ for the local group – suggested target of recruiting ten+ new members per group by the end of 2019;
  6. Promoting benefits of national membership and looking at introducing local benefits for local members.
  7. To encourage all groups to ask current and new members to affiliate their local TU branch or political party to StWC.

2 – StW Societies in Universities

Submitted by University of York Student Society

This conference believes:

That it is essential to build the anti-war movement, given the current climate of escalation with regards to Iran, Venezuela, and others.

That crucial support for the movement could come from students, who are uniquely placed to create a popular protest movement, and who have a high level of political engagement.

That student groups have already been established across the country, for example in York, and that these groups have been working towards creating an anti-war student consciousness.

That through links with political parties, CND, Veterans for Peace, PPU, and others, these student groups are doing essential work.

This conference believes:

That student groups should be supported and established wherever possible.

That these groups are invaluable to the Coalition and need to be given space within the movement.

That by developing student groups, the coalition can ensure the future of the anti-war movement and create a broad base of support for future years, which will be an essential part of overturning the current regime which seeks conflict as a path to profit.

This conference resolves:

To encourage student groups by giving them platforms, speakers and other practical support where possible, giving guidance where sought.

To make events accessible to students and to actively invite them to attend.

To encourage the establishment of University branches of Stop The War Coalition in local universities, and to work closely with them to build the anti-war movement.

4 – The New Cold War and New Weapons of Hybrid Warfare

Submitted by Manchester Stop the War

Conference notes that:

1.1 US foreign policy under President Trump has shifted from the ‘war on terror’ to the containment of Russia and China. In January 2019, US Intelligence highlighted the “threat” from the “growing alignment between China and Russia” which it claimed is “eroding once well-established security norms and increasing the risk of regional conflicts, particularly in the Middle East and East Asia”.

1.2 The US is seeking to enforce a new Cold War worldwide; the UK position in this may well be pivotal.

2.1. The US is weaponising sanctions, using its economic and financial power to isolate target states with the aim of changing their foreign policies and alignments and/or fomenting regime change.

2.2 Economic warfare is used in a pattern of hybrid warfare combining with political/diplomatic warfare, fake news and information warfare as well as cyber-attacks.

2.3 These hybrid means are directed at civilian populations in target states, designed to affect public opinion and create instability, whilst bolstering opposition with economic and financial support so as to bring about civil war.

  1. At the same time, constant provocations aim to induce an aggressive response from the targeted state, thereby paving the way for a US-led armed counter-intervention.
  2. Information warfare and fake news are also directed at the populations of the warmongering states to soften up public opinion in favour of military response, increased military spending and closer military cooperation with the US.
  3. Under ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions, populations in Iran, Venezuela and North Korea, are suffering from inflation and shortages of vital supplies such as medicines hitting the poor and vulnerable the hardest.
  4. The UK is getting further drawn into hybrid warfare, in particular into maritime missions aimed at enforcing sanctions in preparation for ‘war at sea’ blockade scenarios.

Conference resolves to:

  1. Make campaigning against UK participation in hybrid warfare a central pillar of its future activities.
  2. Call on the government to (i) cease support for US unilateral sanctions and any sanctions with damaging humanitarian consequences; (ii) end provocative interference by the British military and government around the world.

5 – Local Groups, Public Meetings and Speakers

Submitted by Newcastle Stop the War

Effective local groups are the lifeblood of a national movement. Stop the War Coalition is committed to using its resources to build a strong network of local groups.

Public meetings are central to local activity. They increase awareness of important issues, raise the profile of STWC, bring a wide range of people together and strengthen our campaigning and organising.

It is vital that local groups organise regular public meetings on relevant and topical issues, with speakers reflecting the breadth and diversity of the movement. While groups will have knowledge of local campaigners who can speak, it can also be useful to invite visiting keynote speakers with expert knowledge or a higher profile.

To support local groups, STWC therefore resolves to compile a list of potential guest speakers who can be approached to speak at public meetings. This will be shared with all local groups.

6 – Climate Change & War

Submitted by StW Officers

Conference Notes:

In the New World Disorder and resisting war in the 21st century, you cannot ignore the impact of climate change.

We see this most immediately with the drums of war being beaten ( via weaponization of economic tools ) by the Trump administration as a prelude to regime change for access to oil and other fossil fuels, public opinion response to the climate emergency and the success of Extinction Rebellion.

  • “Regime change” wars are almost always aimed at fossil fuel rich countries like Venezula & Iran. This while oil corporations in the US are dramatically likely to increase their share of global oli supplies over the next decade.
  • the climate change impact of huge military bases around the world is considerable locally, regionally and globally. For example, it is estimated that US military consumes 395,000 gallons of oil daily alone.
  • the environmental damage caused by war is not limited, to climate change and CO2 emissions. It has been estimated that 20% of all environmental degradation around the world is due to military and other related activities.
  • the enormous cost of the military machine gives the lie to claims that dealing with climate change (and also delivering public services) is unaffordable for governments.Conference Resolves:
  • Emphasis climate change implications of War in our campaigning
  • Highlight the global military industrial complex take of the world’s environmental resources of planet Earth.
  • Work with other campaigns on Climate Change and lead on the issue of war as we are now doing with Extinction Rebellion.
  • Acknowledge future wars will also be about other environmental resources like water.

7 – Iran and the Special Relationship

Submitted by StW Officers

Conference notes: 

  1. The growing tension over Iran in the past year since the US under Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA nuclear deal with the country.
  2. The imposition of sanctions by the US which are having severely adverse effects on the Iranian economy and on the living conditions of millions of Iranians.
  3. The tension in the Persian Gulf following the illicit British seizure of an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar, supposedly for breaking EU sanctions, and the subsequent seizure of a British flagged tanker by Iran.
  4. The close relationship between the new prime minister, Boris Johnson, and US president Donald Trump, typified by the recent visit to London by neo-con John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Adviser.
  5. That Bolton is arguing for Britain to follow the US line over Iran, including breaking from the JCPOA, which is being closely tied to proposed trade deals with the US.

Conference resolves: 

  1. To oppose all attempts to withdraw Britain from the deal, which would only lead to further threat of instability and possible nuclear conflict.
  2. To campaign against any military intervention in Iran or any existing or further imposition of sanctions, which are a form of economic warfare.
  3. To continue our campaign against war in Iran, including producing literature, petitioning, holding meetings, and public activities.
  4. To contact all our affiliated organisations and other relevant organisations to plan coordinated activity opposing any escalation of military tension over Iran.

8 – Julian Assange

Submitted by Lewisham Stop the War

This AGM notes that

  • The signing of an extradition warrant for Julian Assange makes more likely the extradition of the Wikileaks founder, for the “crime” of whistleblowing about the secret activities of the US government.
  • Assange and Chelsea Manning have suffered terribly for their attempts to put these secret, illegal activities into the public domain. If Assange is extradited, he can expect many years in prison in appalling conditions. He is already held in maximum security Belmarsh prison in London, where he is reportedly very ill.
  • Assange will not receive a fair trial in the US.
  • None of the highly respectable newspapers which published his leaks have been sanctioned in any way, while Assange and Manning have been criminalised.
  • Extradition to the US will mean a life sentence – and possibly a death sentence given Assange’s health.

Stop the War Resolves to

  • Condemn unreservedly the actions of the UK government and judiciary in prolonging Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment without trial
  • Work with campaigns to defend Wikileaks and journalistic freedom
  • Encourage groups to support protests against the extradition of Julian Assange.

9 – US-UK War Drive on Iran

Submitted by Campaign Against Sanctions & Military Intervention in Iran

This Conference Notes:

1)    For 40 years, Iran has been the target of sanctions, destabilisation and military threats as well as an eight year imposed war by the US and UK and their allies whose imperial interests in the Middle East, with the world’s largest oil and gas reserves, have been challenged by the 1979 revolution in Iran.

2)   The Iran Nuclear Treaty (JCPOA), enshrined in international law in 2015 by the UNSC resolution 2231, has been a major achievement of international diplomacy between Iran and the permanent members of the UNSC plus Germany.

3)  The current crisis has been precipitated by the illegal withdrawal of the Trump Administration from JCPOA and imposition of crippling sanctions by the US on Iran, at the behest of the neo-cons, Saudi Arabia, UAE and above all Israel, the only nuclear armed state in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, had been fully complying with its obligations under the treaty.

4)  The neoconservatives of the Trump administration in alliance with Israel, Saudi Arabia and UAE are using their strategy of “maximum pressure” to inflict “maximum pain” on ordinary Iranian people, already resulting in hundreds of deaths due to shortage or high price of medicine, in order to enforce a regime change in the country.

5)  In building their war drive on Iran, the US and the UK have increased by more than 87 percent in the past five years their arms sale to Saudi Arabia and UAE, who with the US and UK support have created the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in their criminal war against Yemeni people. The US has sent thousands of troops and several war ships to the region in the past few months and has called on its allies to join an anti-Iran fleet under the pretext of protecting commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf.

6)  The UK, after illegally seizing the Iranian super tanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar at the behest of the US in July, has joined, with Australia and Bahrain, the anti-Iran US led armada and has sent several war ships to the Persian Gulf in the past few months. Together with the illegal deployment of the British Army in Syria in support of the US, this has massively increased the military intervention of the UK in the Middle East.

7)  While the US and its allies accuse Iran of “malign” regional activities, they turn a blind eye to Israel’s military aggression in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and, more recently, Iraq.

8)  Notwithstanding their lip service to the Iran treaty, the UK, Germany and France under pressure from US and in violation of JCPOA have refused to safeguard Iran’s economic benefits under JCPOA and have stopped buying oil amounting to 90% of trade with Iran.

9)  Since UK, Germany and France have failed to honour their obligations to protect Iran’s economic and trade interests after the US withdrawal from JCPOA, Iran has the right  under paragraphs 26 and 36 of the treaty to reduce its treaty obligations, which it says are reversible within a few minutes if the EU complies with their treaty obligations.

This Conference believes:

1)  By its withdrawal from JCOPA, the Trump administration bears the full responsibility for the current crisis and military stand-off. The same cabal of neoconservatives who in alliance with Israel concocted the pretext for the catastrophic 2003 invasion of Iraq are desperately seeking to repeat their mission this time regarding Iran with whatever means, including by false flag operations and hypocritical demonisation of Iran, given their own war crimes and crimes against peace in the region and the barbaric laws and conditions in their vassal states in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain.

2)  The US led and UK supported naval buildup in the Persian Gulf, as the tanker incidents in the region in May and June testify, as well as the military aggression of Israel against multiple countries in the region can potentially lead to a military conflict which can quickly explode into a conflagration and human catastrophe in the Middle East with the disruption of flow of oil from the Persian Gulf and the subsequent huge impact on the world economy.

3)  As in Iraq, Libya and Syria, illegal sanctions, foreign state interference, destabilization program and military threats and interventions by the West are greatly harmful to the cause of human rights, democratic rights and the civil society in Iran.

This Conference demands the Tory Government:

  1. To immediately withdraw British navy from the US led anti-Iran fleet in the Persian Gulf, withdraw the British army from Syria, call on the US to renounce its strategy of “maximum pressure” and rejoin JCPOA.
  2. To condemn the military aggression of Israel against Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
  3. To stop its de facto complicity with US sanctions on Iran and comply with its JCPOA commitments by safeguarding Iran’s economic and trade benefits from the treaty.

This conference resolves:

Stop The War Coalition to launch an online campaign for people to write to and meet their MPs for the above demands to be taken up by the House of Commons.

10 – The Need for an Ethical UK Foreign Policy

Submitted by Labour CND

STW’s 2019 Annual Meeting is aware of:

a) the USA’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in August this year
b) its unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement in May 2018;
c) the failure of Korean Peninsula denuclearisation talks to make progress; and
d) President Trump’s announcement of a $1.2 trillion programme for nuclear weapons ‘modernisation’ with an emphasis on ‘usable’ nuclear weapons.

We believe the Trump administration’s abandonment of international arms control treaties and greater focus on nuclear weapons development is likely to:

e) generate increased international instability;
f) lead to more regional conflicts; and
g) introduce the prospect of a new nuclear arms race.

We note with concern the greater likelihood of a UK government led by Boris Johnson aligning Britain with Trump’s militaristic approach to foreign policy, especially in circumstances where a Johnson-led government is seeking closer trade relations with north America.

In an increasingly dangerous world, this AGM:

h) recognises the need to develop an ethical foreign policy for the UK;

i) supports the approach of former STW chair Jeremy Corbyn, of a foreign policy guided by the values of human rights, conflict resolution, and social justice; and

j) decides that STW will take opportunities that arise to work in cooperation with others to encourage development of an ethical approach to UK foreign policy with conflict resolution and the abandonment of nuclear weapons at its core.

09 Sep 2019

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