Stop the war conference
The Socialist Unity Network
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Stop the war coalition conference

Mike Bater and Simon Watson (Colchester Peace Network)


Simon’s Overall Impressions 

The conference was very positive in facing the issues of the lies about the invasion of Iraq, the ongoing occupation and the attacks on civil liberties. It displayed a great deal of unity and there was a high level of understanding of Imperialism.

There were also useful examples of local activity. It took steps towards increasing the democratisation of the coalition, elected a new steering committee, and supported the forthcoming European Social Forum in London in October.

The conference recognised the important role and achievements of the coalition over the last two and a half years in opposing the attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, the Palestinian people, our civil liberties, and the increase in racism and Islamophobia. it is vital that the movement continues and grows for several reasons.

(A) We were lied to about the reasons for the war. The government has refused to accept any responsibility and has white washed itself.

(B) There is a growing resistance to the illegal occupation of Iraq.

(C) There has been an increase in racist attacks in Britain and attacks on civil liberties (the civil contingencies bill, etc.), which are related to the war on terror.

(D) There is growing instability in the middle east, especially around Palestine.

 

 Michael's personal summary

 

the conference basically went the steering committee's way.

 The only bit of controversy was resolution 28, and the points of order raised by Hackney members of why an earlier resolution could be amended, but 28 couldn't.

Resolution 28

Forwarded by: Hackney STW.

 Note: this resolution was supported by Colchester Peace Network  (CPN)

 THE STWC RESOLVES TO IMPLEMENT THE FOLLOWING MEASURES, IN ORDER TO INCREASE DEMOCRACY AND DIVERSITY IN OUR MOVEMENT.

 (1)    THE NAMES AND CONTACT DETAILS OF EACH MEMBER OF THE STWC STEERING COMMITTEE, TOGETHER WITH THE NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION THE REPRESENT (IF THEY ARE ELECTED IN A REPRESENTATIVE CAPACITY), WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE STWC WEBSITE.

(2)    THE DATES OF STEERING COMMITTEE MEETINGS WILL BE POSTED ONE THE WEBSITE AT LEAST 14 DAYS IN ADVANCE, SO THAT STWC MEMBERS CAN ATTEND AS OBSERVERS IF THEY SO WISH.

(3)    SIMILARLY,  THE STEERING COMMITTEE’S AGENDA WAIL BE POSTED ON THE STWC WEBSITE AT LEAST 14 DAYS IN ADVANCE OF THE MEETINGS SO THAT LOCAL GROUPS  CAN SEND IN ANY COMMENTS TO INFORM THE STEERING COMMITTEE’S DECISION MAKING.

(4)    THE MINUTES  OF THE STEERING COMMITTEE MEETINGS WILL BE POSTED ON THE WEBSITE WITHIN SEVEN DAYS OF THE MEETING TAKING PLACE.

 This resolution was opposed by the steering committee, because:

(A)      An over emphasis on procedures, detrimental to campaigns and or national demonstrations.

(B)       Contact details outside of the STWC are private to the individuals concerned, and it is up to him/her, if he/she puts their contact details into the public domain.

(C)      Minutes  of steering committee’s meetings are private and should be only accessible to the steering committee.

 

This motion was rejected by conference.

 

However, the Green Party became 'miffed' by the end of conference. To them, and I quote a Green Party member who I overheard in the lunch queue:

 "This organisation has become an affiliate of the Socialist Campaign Group (Labour Party), through it's mouth pieces of Labour Against the War and RESPECT."

It was disappointing that the resolution that CPN was supporting was opposed by conference. I believe that if the resolution had been carried by the conference, it would have made the steering committee more accessible to the local affiliate groups, there by enhancing the democracy of the STWC.

 Though what the steering committee has proposed, and carried at conference, could on the face of it make the STWC more democratic (or in my opinion less as it will enable the steering committee to dictate policy 'top down', similar to the Labour Party).

 Te STWC has to become more democratic, and allow local groups more say in what is going on nationally, instead of the London based steering committee.

MICHAEL

 

March 2004

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