by New Worker correspondent
MORE THAN 300 supporters of Stop the War attended the organisation’s successful conference in London last weekend, times to coincide with the imperialist invasion of Afghanistan, which triggered the foundation of Stop the War.
There were many international speakers, including Arab Spring activists, students, artists, military family members, historians, and Members of Parliament.
The conference discussed plans to deliver a petition against bombing Libya to Downing Street, along with a number of members of Parliament on 28th June, and they are planning to occupy Trafalgar Square in October on the 10th anniversary of both the invasion of Afghanistan and the creation of the Stop the War Coalition.
Jeremy Corbyn MP, was introduced on Saturday by Stop the War Coalition's Andrew Murray as working with a pack of warlords.
Corbyn agreed; he said that Parliament is made up of war lords and war criminals. He also credited the Stop the War Coalition with helping to prevent an attack on Iran in recent years.
The Labour MP called the idea that more time is needed to finish a job in Afghanistan a "load of tosh." He also pointed out that the two sides fighting in Libya can exchange parts for their rifles, because they both have rifles provided by Britain.
A young woman from Tunisia expressed the sentiment shared by many other Arabs: "Our countries do not want Western intervention, or money! It comes with policies. It's not free or even just with high interest."
A number of speakers argued that a counter-revolution against the Arab Spring is being fought by Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United States, the UK, France, and Nato.
An opposition leader from Bahrain said that what his people want is for the West to stop training troops to oppress and torture.
Author John Rees said that after Tunisia and Egypt took the imperial powers by surprise, they went into Libya and Bahrain as a counter-attack, misusing popular sympathy with the Arab Spring to rehabilitate the idea of war that had been so discredited in Iraq and Afghanistan. Egypt, Rees argues, is still the central struggle, where the new military government is working to demobilise the people and imprison those who demonstrate or strike.
Tariq Ali said that people should be left free to succeed or fail. No one ever proposed that China invade Indochina, he said. Why should Nato invade Libya? Or Syria? Or Yemen? Bahrain didn't ask for intervention, he pointed out, but got it anyway.
Former Respect MP George Galloway was the last speaker on Saturday. He recalled telling Jack Straw in Parliament eight years ago that contrary to Straw's assertion, British troops would not be home by Christmas, nor would they be home 10 Christmases hence.
Straw laughed. But the war will eventually conclude, Galloway said, on the very terms it could have concluded with 10 years earlier.
The BBC, Galloway complained, is denouncing Syria for using Apache helicopters to attack its own people. "I've never understood," said Galloway, "why it is worse to kill your own people than other people's people."
The BBC had cheered a week or 10 days earlier for Apache helicopters used by Britain to kill Libyans.
Galloway said: “The problem with Syria, Galloway said, is not that it's run by the latest Adolf Hitler of the month, but that it harbours Palestinian leadership, supports Lebanese national resistance, and refused to participate in the attack on Iraq.”