The following resolutions passed unanimously at Stop the War’s 2023 AGM on 16th September:

Resolution 1 – Stop the War in Ukraine

The world situation is growing more menacing.  Stop the War long warned that the neo-colonial wars of the early years of this century would likely lead to major power conflicts if left unchecked.

That is what is now occurring, with a hot war between Ukraine and NATO on the one hand and Russia on the other taking place in Europe, and a cold war developing in the Far East.  The need for a broad, militant and principled anti-war movement has never been greater.

As ever, Stop the War campaigns against war and the policies that lead to it, and always prioritises the need to challenge the actions of the British government.  For us, our main opponent is always at home.

We reaffirm our opposition to the Russian invasion of February 2022 and to the reckless policy of expanding NATO and US hegemony which preceded and to an extent provoked it.

Stop the War campaigns for a ceasefire and peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.  We welcome efforts from countries in the Global South to promote peace talks to resolve the crisis. We do not seek to prescribe the outcome of those talks, beyond restating that any lasting peace should respect Ukrainian sovereignty and guarantee security for all in the region.  Ideally it should also move towards resolving internal conflict within Ukraine to help prevent any renewal of war.

We particularly oppose the conduct of Britain’s Tory government throughout the conflict.  It has worked to intensify the war, obstruct any moves towards peace talks and further inflame tensions.  In all this, it has been the most reactionary among the major powers.

In particular, it has poured arms, including depleted uranium, into Ukraine while blocking negotiations.  It has done this not to allow a military conclusion to the war but to protract it indefinitely.

Prolonging the war not only means more deaths, civilian and military and damage to Ukraine’s cities and infrastructure, it continues economic hardship for millions in the Global South and risks the expansion of the conflict to other countries and its intensification, including to the use of nuclear arms.

For all these reasons, Stop the War’s main focus is on forcing a change in government policy towards the conflict.  The British government needs to stop blocking peace talks.

The same bellicose politics shape Britain’s role elsewhere in the world.  It is in the lead in stoking up a new cold war with China.  The AUKUS pact with the USA and Australian will lead to a major escalation in the arms race in the Pacific, where Britian retains provocative pretensions to being a “regional power”.

There are other areas where the danger of war is going.  Stop the War opposes any aggression against Iran or elsewhere in the Middle East, condemns continuing British support for the Saudi aggression against Yemen and reaffirms its solidarity with the Palestinian people.  We also stand against any military intervention in Niger.

Campaigning in Britain against war is complicated by the Labour Party’s all-out support for Tory policy on Ukraine, and by Starmer’s witch-hunt against Stop the War, which has intimidated otherwise-sympathetic Labour MPs into silence on this vital issue.  This has deprived the anti-war movement of most opportunities for parliamentary expression.

More generally, a lack of understanding of the underlying dangers and of the need to challenge government policy is widespread, due to the bipartisan parliamentary war consensus.  Stop the War will step up its efforts to warn of the dangers and win support for peaceful solutions within the labour movement and society at large.

Resolution 2 – Southampton Stop the War

For the immediate cessation of military hostilities, the ending of all arms funding and weapons transfers to Ukraine. For the immediate end to ethnic cleansing and for restorative rehabilitation allied to continued humanitarian aid to war torn regions.

UN General Assembly to convene immediate and unconditional international negotiations for a new security architecture designed to end division of the world into military and economic blocs, thus eliminating competitive geopolitics.

That this new international architecture recognises the security concerns of all sovereign nations, large and small, along with autonomy for ethnic minorities.

For the closure of all foreign military bases and withdrawal of foreign armies and related proxy forces, from everywhere in the world.

For the disbandment and dissolution of both NATO and AUKUS. For design, production or use of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, biological and conventional) to be outlawed as a crime against humanity.

Resolution 3 – Manchester Stop the War

Opposing the preparation for war against China

  1. This Conference notes that:

Biden’s administration is overseeing a massive military buildup in the Pacific amidst constant talk of war with China – now the main ‘strategic competitor’ – predictions ranging from 2 to 10 years;

Just as Ukraine served as a proxy to aggravate Russia, the US is stoking Taiwan with arms and military trainers, creating uncertainty around the One China policy agreed with China and supported internationally, in order to provoke aggression;

Increasing military activity in disputed waters in the South and East China Seas and around Taiwan runs a high risk of accidental collision escalating rapidly into a catastrophic war;

increasing tensions jeopardise international cooperation essential to address the mounting climate catastrophe;

  1. We also note that:

with the claim ’Euro-Atlantic and IndoPacific security are linked’, the US is building an Atlantic-Pacific Global NATO-style partnership, drawing NATO into Asia, with Britain the most active accomplice;

through AUKUS and a military forces exchange with Japan, Britain is not only stoking a Pacific arms race but also runs the risk of a direct clash with China;

Rishi Sunak has identified China as ‘the biggest challenge to the world’;

spending on preparations for war with China is pushing up Britain’s military budget significantly.

  1. This Conference believes that a war between the US and China must be stopped before it starts.

We say no to war preparations and provocations;

We support the peaceful dialogue across the Taiwan Strait as well as between the countries bordering the South China Sea to resolve differences;

We oppose outside interference since this can only complicate dialogue, with failure likely leading into conflict;

We call for British withdrawal from AUKUS and from military commitments in the IndoPacific; the government should refrain from any moves that may contribute to destabilising the situation regarding Taiwan;

We support activists in the Pacific region opposing militarisation and the arms race, and calling for de-escalation of tensions.

  1. This Conference resolves to step up campaigning to oppose Britain’s part in the war preparations by

(i) developing understanding of the issues and dangers through discussion among our membership supported by educational materials;

(ii) raising public awareness of the dangers of Pacific militarisation and Britain’s part in this;

(iii) including in our campaigning to reverse the TUC’s decision on increasing military spending, factual material on the costs of Britain’s ‘IndoPacific tilt’.

Resolution 4 – Stop the War Scotland

This AGM deplores the 2020 increase of the UK defence budget by £16.5 billion over the four years to 2024 and the subsequent further £5 billion over the two years 2023-2025 – partly associated with the 2021 decision to increase nuclear warheads for the Trident submarines from 180 to 260 in contravention of Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The AGM notes that these increases come at a time of drastic reductions, both through direct UK budget cuts and the impact of inflation, in the funding for the essential services on which our communities depend – with serious consequential impacts on both the employment and the real wages of those who provide these services.

This AGM further notes that the scale of existing jobs being lost as a result of these cuts is much greater than the potential of future jobs to be gained in the defence sector: the minimum estimate would be 1.8 jobs lost for every 1 job gained in defence.  Moreover, these losses in employment also directly involve the well-being of local communities while even for those major general unions with a significant presence in the defence sector these figures still mean, overall, a loss of members.

This AGM therefore congratulates those unions that have taken a position to oppose these increases in defence expenditure and urges all unions to do the same.  A major potential now exists to build an alliance of unions, trade union councils, communities, and councils to reverse these real terms increases in arms expenditure, to restore the cuts and jobs made in social spending and to win a broader understanding of the dangers associated with the Tory government’s contravention of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Stop the War has a key role to play in winning the arguments required.

Resolution 5 – Labour CND

High military spending restricts investment in public services and tackling climate change

Conference notes

  1. we are facing multiple crises of climate change, cost of living and energy costs, and increasing attacks on our public services.
  2. the UK has experienced the highest inflation rate for almost 40 years and the longest pay squeeze for 200 years.
  3. The Chancellor’s Spring Statement increased the MoD budget by £5 billion in the next two years, with a total increase of £11bn over the next 5 years.
  4. UK military spending is the highest of all West European countries, and the fourth highest in the world as a percentage of GDP.
  5. Conference gives genuine applause to workers and trade unions who have taken industrial action to fight for better wages, and the future of our public services such as in transport and health.

Conference believes

  1. wage increases are not the cause of inflation. It’s the obscene profits of fossil corporations such as BP and Shell, and public subsidy to defence contractors which are profiting from war.
  • Increased defence spending, and nuclear weapons is undermining the investment needed in our public services and addressing the biggest threats to humanity of climate change.
  • a potentially incoming labour government must prioritise tackling these issues.

Conference resolves to

  1. oppose and campaign within the labour movement against increased defence spending and nuclear weapons.
  2. advocate for a social and ecological industrial strategy that includes a fully renewable – non-nuclear – energy transition and rebuilding the public services that are necessary as part of the wider decarbonisation of the economy and that workers are fully protected through this process.
  3. to campaign for workers’ wages over weapons.

Resolution 6 – Stop the War Officers – Building Stop the War in the Trade Unions

The AGM Notes:

  1. Stop the War has had the support and affiliation of most of the major trade unions since its inception.
  2. Over the past 18 months we have redoubled our efforts to build anti-war politics within the trade union movement in response to the war in Ukraine. We have taken the important steps of holding our first ever trade union conference, initiating our trade union network and holding fringe meetings, stalls and/or interventions at most of the major union conferences.
  3. We have had varying levels of success in getting our position adopted by the various unions but have had success with UCU, RMT and Unison who have all taken a stance calling for de-escalation in Ukraine.
  4. Last year, the TUC narrowly passed a resolution calling for an increase in arms spending.

This AGM Believes:

  1. The ongoing support of Trade Unions is vital for the organisation and is crucial to its function.
  2. That war is detrimental to the interests of the vast majority of the population and that resources allocated for the Ministry of Defence to help fill the coffers of arms dealers would be better redirected to help feed the poor and fund our public services.
  3. Supporting the Tory drive for more military spending at a time when they are smashing living standards and implementing pay cuts across the public sector is a deeply mistaken position for trade unions to take.That a ceasefire in Ukraine followed by a peace settlement which reflects the needs and interests of all states across Europe rather than the US-dominated NATO is the best possible outcome of the current conflict.

This AGM Resolves:

  1. To continue our vigorous campaigning to bolster anti-war politics within the trade union movement.
  2. To hold a second StWC Trade Union Conference in Spring 2024 and continue the work of building our Trade Union Network in the meantime in order to ensure the conference reflects the depth of anti-war feeling in the labour movement.
  3. To continue our work to get as many Trade Union regions and branches as possible to affiliate to StWC.
  4. To step up our work getting speakers at trade union branch meetings.

Resolution 7 – Lewisham Stop the War

Trade unions are the most significant agent for political change in the UK. Stop the War has already done a considerable amount of work on refining the arguments for why trade unionists should oppose war and the arms industry and on setting up a network for trade unionists within Stop the War. Unfortunately, conferences can be manipulated in various ways in order to ensure a particular outcome regardless of the political arguments, which is what happened at the TUC in 2022. Typical tactics include attaching controversial points to composite motions and the scheduling of statements and votes that will rule subsequent motions out of order. We therefore call on Stop the War to use its trade union network to facilitate the creation of a Web-based resource to guide members on how to negotiate the democratic structures of trade unions. This resource might include –

Information Gathered by Supporters in Trade Unions

  1. Structures and conferences in each union which can submit motions and to which motions can be submitted, such as
  • National policy conferences
  • Regions
  • Industrial sectors
  • Equalities
  1. Key individuals in each union who may be known to members and contactable
  • National Executive members
  • Standing Orders Committee members
  • Delegates to national, sectoral, regional and equalities conferences
  • Proposers of motions
  • Members of groupings within unions
  • Timetables for each unionElection of delegates
  • Submission of motions
  • Submission of amendments
  • Conference debate schedules, for lobbying and leafleting
  • Organising fringe meetings or speaking at fringe meetings
  • Policy and motions
  • Existing policy of union on relevant topics
  • Motions already submitted that can be amended or spoken and voted on

Resources that Might be Offered by Stop the War

  • Guidance on drafting original motions
  • Requiring specific, reportable action
  • Avoiding being ruled out of order
  • Interpreting and expanding on, rather than contradicting, existing policy
  • Motion content v proposal speech content
  • Guidance on getting elected as a delegate to the various structures and conferences of each union
  • Available speakers from Stop the War on specific topics for branches considering motions

This resource would require volunteers to set up the structure, and considerable input from members in the trade union network to populate it. It cannot depend on staff and officers of STW.

Resolution 8 – Counterfire

Conference notes:

  1. The British government has played a central role in all the major wars of the 21st Its support for these wars has led to it being one of the largest arms spenders in the world.
  2. It is one of the most belligerent of the NATO powers in urging, and providing arms to Ukraine and dismisses any call for peace and negotiations.
  3. Its role in the Pacific has been to join the AUKUS pact which provides nuclear powered submarines to Australia, and to enter various other deals aimed at greater military confrontation with China.
  4. Despite refusing to fund most public services adequately, there is cross-party agreement that ‘defence’ spending should rise.
  5. Stop the War Coalition was formed in opposition to our own government’s foreign policy, and that of its allies, chiefly the US.

Conference believes:  

  1. The war in Ukraine is a proxy war between the NATO powers and Russia and that it is in the interests of all those in the region to end the war as soon as possible.
  2. That the militarisation of the Pacific is likely to make war there with China a much greater possibility, raising real prospects of nuclear conflict.
  3. That the need for an international anti-war movement is as great as ever.
  4. For those of us living in an imperialist country such as Britain, we need to focus our opposition above all on our own government. We should not allow our government to increase arms spending and dispatch cruise missiles to Ukraine without mounting the strongest protests.
  5. We should not accept that a government determined to attack working-class people at home is acting in the interests of working-class people abroad, but rather in their own economic and imperial interests.

Conference resolves:

  1. To encourage the building of Stop the War groups in towns and cities, and in universities and colleges across the country.
  2. To campaign for ‘peace now’ as a unifying slogan.
  3. To campaign within the trade unions and Labour party to reverse the pro-war and pro-imperialist policies where they exist.
  4. To demand an end to increases in defence spending, and the channelling of that money to areas such as health and education.
  5. To actively mobilise for the peace bloc on the People’s Assembly demonstration at the Tory conference on October 1st.

Resolution 9 – Jonathan Steele

Statement of Solidarity with Russian anti-war activist and journalist Boris Kagarlitsky and Ukrainian anti-war activist Yurii Sheliazhenko.

The Stop the War coalition unreservedly condemns the detention of noted Russian anti-war campaigner and journalist Boris Kagarlitsky and the house arrest of Ukrainian peace activist Yurii Sheliazhenko.

Kagarlitsky was arrested in Moscow on July 25 this year and transferred to a prison in the remote northern republic of Komi close to the Arctic. A trial is expected later in the autumn after Russian authorities charged him with “justifying terrorism” in an article he wrote about a Ukrainian drone strike. Kagarlitsky is an author and a journalist and activist.  He founded the news agency Rabkor which produces daily analyses of Russian issues and chronicles the activities of grassroots radicals and other anti-war campaigners in towns and cities across Russia.

Kagarlitsky is no stranger to prison. He spent a year in Lefortovo gaol in Moscow in 1982 and he was arrested again in 1993 after Yeltsin used tanks against the Russian parliament. Thousands of other Russians have been arrested and convicted for opposing the war on Ukraine. Kagarlitsky’s detention now seems to mark a further slide towards all out repression in Russia.

The Ukrainian government has also committed serious violations of Ukrainians’ human rights, although to a lesser extent. Yurii Sheliazhenko has been put under house arrest after security officials forced their way into his Kiev apartment on August 3 this year. Sheliazhenko, from the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, is a Council Member of the International Peace Bureau and a recipient of the prestigious Seán MacBride Prize. Yurii lives in Kyiv and has regularly appeared at international online meetings calling for peace. He has been charged with the offence of “justification of Russian aggression” based on a single article he wrote.

The arrest of these two individuals underlines the fact that, as well as causing untold death and destruction, the war in Ukraine is leading to attacks on civil liberties on both sides. We call for the immediate release of both.

18 Sep 2023 by Stop the War

Sign Up