Swindon against the war
Swindon Stop the War Coalition has been hosting a series of Public
find these reach out to a wider audience, and also generate press and
coverage, as well as providing an excuse for fly posting anti-war
posters in the
town. For example about 35 people came to hear Alex Gordon in January
back from his visit to Iraq. In November Dr Kemil Mahdi of Exeter
drew a similar crowd.
At Stop the War Conference Swindon moved a resolution that local Stop
groups need to have a regular series of Public Meetings and activities
to keep opposition to the war in the public eye in-between national events.
there has been some discussion in Swindon StWC about whether our
organising meetings are worth continuing with, and what sort of activity
should be doing - this is a challenge for the whole anti-war movement,
has been quite a bit of debate about this, for example on
Bristol, Indymedia. We
have agreed to develop a medium term strategy at our AGM on 27th April.
On 6th April, Matt Foot a practicing solicitor spoke on the government's
on Civil Liberties. Matt successfully defended two of the British
arrested at Genoa. Twenty five people attended the meeting, including
the Communist Party (CPB), a leading Liberal Democrat, and Swindon
Alliance. Members of RESPECT were present but strangely it was not
was chairing so was not able to undertake any other activity anyway).
a mix of all ages, including a retired clergyman, however members of the
community have stopped coming to meetings although they are still on
terms, and I speak quite regularly with the head of the Islamic
A bizarre twist was that Barbara Packer, the town's most infamous
up. I wouldn't let her in, although she pleaded with me that she was no
active in the BNP, explaining that she supports Tyndall and doesn't like
present leadership! As if this would endear her to me - the woman is
rabid and has been an active fascist for at least 30 years. Many years
was involved with thugs attacking left wing paper sellers, and I have
heard her spout appalling pro-genocide filth at Roma people.
Barbara's exclusion caused a lively debate, because a number of people
should have been allowed in because she would expose herself by the
talks, and that public meetings should be open to anyone, particularly
topic was Civil Liberties. On the other hand people made excellent
she should be excluded on the grounds of security, as she is in contact
people who literally pose a violent threat to our activities. It was
pointed out that her presence would send out a message that Stop the War
Meetings were not a welcoming place for blacks and Asians. Others
that as the BNP seek to smash democracy it is a bit rich for them to
being excluded from a meeting whose aims they totally disagree with.
The following Saturday we held a mass leafleting of the town centre with
(click here to see it)
that generated further press coverage. We also agreed to send a
picket Bristol Crown Court on 26th April, when protestors who sabotaged
equipment at Fairford are on trial. Their defence is that they were
obligated to disarm the planes as the US Air Force were engaged in an
war. It will be an interesting court case.