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For those of us 1.5 million + who went on the march in February 2003 in London any subsequent march is always going to be something of a low-key affair. Moog summed it up very succinctly when she said “In February 2003 I got the feeling we were really changing something there was an atmosphere of that whereas today it was more relaxed.” Does that mean it was ineffectual? I don’t believe so entirely, I think I will also feel that public protest is important and I felt that it was vital that we got down there and made a presence again. However it is true such a demonstration was perhaps more a roll-call of those who already know they stand in agreement with one another than a truly galvanising force drawing in new people to an ever-mobilising cause.

Don’t get me wrong I like to stand shoulder to shoulder with Brian Eno and Tariq Ali and members of the Palestinian organisations, representatives of the Iraqi resistance, the de Menezes family etc. I am proud to be supporting causes that are ultimately concerned with the liberation of ordinary people from capitalist and imperialist tyranny.

For me the most impotent part of the march is the fact that many of the rather liberal groups seem too blinkered to make the political link about what we are fighting against. I suspect much the same will be the case at the Climate Change march in December as many of the environmental groups are suitably woolly about politics.

The Stop The War coalition has made the first step of bringing together many groups under a common theme however for fear of imploding from within it has in many cases attempted to shy away from politics. This is especially true of many religious groups, both Christian and Muslim, and many traditional anti-war groups like some of the charities and CND. In StW meetings there is often an apolitical correctness a fear that somehow a representation of any particular political group would somehow hijack the movement into sectarian territory and alienate parts of the group. Sadly I suspect this would actually be the case in certain instances and therefore the StW coalition is one based on an uneasy avoidance of the facts, this renders it considerably weaker than it should be.

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