Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A tale of two coalitions

There was a very interesting post on Jim Jepp’s blog recently about the peace movement in Cambridge. In particular Jim relates how in Cambridge there is both a Stop the War Coalition group, and Campeace. This is far from unusual. In Manchester there is a Stop the War Coalition that has recently been reconstituted as quite a formal delegate body, and in parallel a “Stop the Warmongers” group that is more of an activist body. In Oxford the split is more bizarre, with a broad and inclusive Oxford Stop the War Coalition, that is an activist group with strong links with CND et al, and there is a separate “East Oxford STWC” that only includes the SWP!

I am a delegate from the South West to the national steering committee of STW, and a couple of weeks ago I went to the quarterly meeting in London. I don’t think it is appropriate to give a full report of that closed meeting, but it did occur to me that the Stop the War Coalition operates with two different organisational models.

At the national level it operates as a coalition of national organisations, like the SWP, CP, CND, Green Party, et al. This model of organisation sees the Coalition at a national level making decisions, and then the decisions being implemented in parallel by the different component organisations. This is the way that Birmingham and Manchester Stop the War Coalitions work as well.

But on the ground, there are a number of Stop the war groups made up of individual peace activists, who see it as their main political home, and who are not necessarily members of other political organisation. This is the way Bristol, Swindon and Oxford Stop the war groups operate. When STW used to have national council meetings with delegates from all the local groups it used to inspire me how diverse the STW groups are.

One of the problems we have in STW, is that there is no account taken of the fact that we are operating in two different way. This is a shame because they could be complementary.

At the moment I suspect that those who operate according to coalition of organisations model, see the local activist groups as conservative and ornery people who don’t enact the national decisions! And the local activist groups sometimes see the national coalition (and some of the groups in it) as trying to control them.

I have been active in the peace movement for a number of years now, and I am pleased to have learned a great deal from the older CND activists and other peace activist I have worked alongside. A lesson they learned as long ago as the 1950s is that the peace movement needs to work on the permissive principle – let a thousand flowers bloom – so that everyone respects the right of other peace activists to organise differently, and march to the beat of their own drums.

Finally, I will end by reporting that Andrew Murray, national chair of the STW gave a very mature and nuanced political introduction, that recognised that alongside the insurgency against the occupation there is also sectarian slaughter, and also he nodded towards the fact that the Iraqi government does have interests separate from the occupation forces, and is seen as having some legitimacy by very many Iraqis (after al they voted for it). Andrew argued that the continued presence of US/UK troops is an obstacle to resolving the violence, and we need to redouble our efforts to get British troops withdrawn, and to break Britain away from US foreign policy. Over the next 12 months our strategic direction needs to be demonstrating the bredth and depth of support for the anti-war movement, in particular to shift the balance of opinion amongst Labour MPs.

However we organise, through coalitions of organisations or local activist groups, we can all unite behind that task


Duncan Money said...

It isn't just an Oxford Stop the War Coalition and East Oxford STWC we have in Oxford.

There's now a Student Stop the War Coalition as well which some SWP students, bless them, are attempting to control.

The Sentinel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Sentinel said...


Andrew Newman, or 'an' by his Socialist unity blog alias, is one of the prime examples of the marxist threat we face in this country.

A short, fat gormless, bespectacled, grandad-jumper-wearing, scruffy menace.

His public actions aside, just from the that photo above, I can see why he is so full of hate for us all; hate for a society that never fully accepted him when he was a child. Hate for a society that left him with feelings of inadequacy. Hate for a world that left him with mere scraps of romance, the last offerings no one else wanted. Hate for the status quo.

Life is so much better for unfortunates like this man when they can find people that appear to have an even lower status in society then themselves.

It serves a multifaceted, deep-rooted need within their psyche to become the defenders of the underdog. The new underdog that they have helped to create, in order to elevate their own perceived position.

Any creed that will allow them to exercise their revenge on the society that rejected them, or the world at large is fully embraced.
As the 'right' do not generally appear to welcome such obvious runts like this one, and besides unconcealed authority scares them, it has to be the 'left' that they fall for.

As the empty rhetoric of brotherhood, fraternity and equality play into this angry man's mind he burrows further and further into the 'left' until he sits as close to the wall as he can.

At last he has found a home where all the pent up rage, all the bitterness and all the contempt that burns a hole in him is actually a deemed a positive.

The more he calls for society to be destroyed the more he is applauded. He can even come out of it looking like a hero.

Uncontrolled immigration for our global brothers and sisters! Marriage for homosexuals! No more prison for criminals! ...and all of the other insane mantras.
Of course, the recipients of such insane generosity will be most grateful, but only for a short time, so the campaign must go on.

Because the treacherous band of incompetents and thieves that pass for our government are largely composed of people cut from the same cloth as this man, these goals have been taken on as official policy.

But they do not go far enough for the likes of Andy Newman, the man who's life now revolves around this self-empowering game of politics. The movement that gave him a sense of belonging, a sense of worth and a reason to live cannot end, not even in victory. All of his struts in life would be swept away if it did.

No, the fight must continue with even more radical ideas, even more extreme actions.Of course he knows that the real by product of all of this folly is the complete destruction of the country he grew up in, but that is the whole unsaid point.

Of course he knows that 'rights' for ethnic groups and homosexuals really means the stripping of rights for Britons and productive citizens. But they deserve it.

Of course he knows that unpunished criminals commit more extreme crimes. But after all, if people are more afraid of what might happen on the way home from work then what the treacherous parasites that have wormed their way into power are doing, then that policy will have served its purpose.

The whole game is attack; attacking our values, our morals, our laws and our way of life until we collapse in confusion and exhaustion.

"Between 1995 and 1997, Andy Newman led a successful campaign against the deportation of Mumtaz Begum, a grandmother who lived in Broad Street. The campaign won because it was able to win support right across the community, and also because it was prepared to defend Mumtaz by any means necessary. Andy Newman explains: "Justice sometimes means you have to break the rules, we didn't comply with the deportation order, and we were able to get widespread support for that position across Swindon."

Sums up all of the elements I have described here perfectly.

Why on earth, in all reality, would a normal middle aged man from Swindon feel the overwhelming compulsion to campaign for a woman who lied to customs to enter our country on a visitors visa and deliberately stayed for years, showing complete contempt for our laws and all of us in general. If she had a legitimate reason to stay she could have applied for a legitimate visa.

But this is like the milk of the god's for this man and his ilk! A chance to display his complete hatred for us all, erode our system and purport himself as a hero!

"On the day of the threatened deportation we organised a picket of the family's home including the mayor and the leader of the council (Labour in those days). We made it clear we would defend Mumtaz by "any means necessary", and she was hidden by the local Islamic community. So we organised and supported self defence by the family and their religious community. However the political context for that was solidarity based upon compassion. We managed to create a supportive atmosphere, where no public voice was raised in the town in favour of deportation. At one stage we even had a Jazz band play at a benefit for the family that included US servicemen from nearby RAF Fairford! We held out for 3 years until the government changed, and the incoming Labour government overturned the deportation order on compassionate grounds."


You can feel the smug and gloating tone of this whole statement. It is almost tangible.

This wasn't about her it at all; it was all about him and his feelings of esteem and ego.

As for 'hiding her amongst the muslim community' besides the fact that he should have been charged with obstruction, this is a man who now seeks to deny islamic terrorism as a reality or the possibility that we could have many, many dangerous muslims in our country today, hidden out of sight.
It is distinct possibility that this man's action established a network of safe house within the muslim wards that are being used today to that end; at the very least he helped to consolidate an already existing network.

One capable of hiding someone for three years.

Of course double speak is the main tool employed by the marxists in their quest for destruction.

'Rights' actually means restricting the rights of the majority. 'Equality' actually means inequality for the majority. 'Respect' actually means contempt for the majority and 'tolerance' actually means intolerance for the rest of us.

It is a nasty, corrosive, warped and perverted form of politics that is practised by men such as Andy Newman (race and Equality Officer for the GMB union) and has pervaded, not just our society, but most of the western world's.


Primarily because most ordinary decent people have no interest in playing politics everyday, attending every union meeting or devoting their waking lives to committee meetings.

But it is the life blood of the social inadequate like this one.

The fact that it disgusts and angers people, and after provocation's made, it fails to sink into this very twisted man that his behaviour may have actually consequences and he screams out in anger when someone publishes his address on the internet.

"If it was just me who was affected, I would not be worried at all, but I have a family ­I have a four-year-old and a baby of three weeks" he cries.


So do most of us you fool, but you and your cronies are putting them all at serious risk and ruining their lives with your subversive actions.

Maybe that is the lesson you were being taught.