BY NICK EVERETT
SYDNEY On October 14, a meeting of the Palm Sunday Committee agreed to establish a new coalition of Sydney anti-war groups to organise a "walk against the war" on November 30 around the slogans "No war on Iraq! No Australian involvement!"
This agreement represents a significant step forward for the Sydney anti-war movement, which has been divided between three committees.
When first proposed in mid-September, the Walk Against the War was to take up the slogans: "Stop President Bush!", "UN not unilateralism!" and "Peace with justice!". This sparked considerable debate among anti-war activists, with the significant possibility that a war against Iraq might be launched with support of the UN Security Council before the Walk Against the War took place.
Representatives of the No War on Iraq group and the Sydney Network for Peace attended the Palm Sunday Committee meeting to propose that these slogans be dropped in favour of clear anti-war slogans, regardless of the UN's position. It was pointed out that on the previous day, 45,000 people had mobilised in Melbourne at a rally for peace built around the slogans "No war on Iraq!" and "No Australian involvement!"
However, a debate emerged about the form of organising committee that would be most effective in building a rally on November 30. Bruce Cornwall, representing the Sydney Network for Peace and a member of the Beijing-aligned Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist), moved that an initial organising meeting be held on October 21 attended by representatives of organisations only.
Louise O'Shea, a No War on Iraq activist and member of Socialist Alternative, proposed an amendment that the organising committee for the Walk Against the War be open to anyone supporting the committee's aims. This position was supported by Democratic Socialist Party members (who have been active in building the No War on Iraq group on this basis). However, the motion failed to gain the support of anyone else at the meeting.
No War on Iraq will be sending representatives to the new organising committee, but will continue to function as an open organising group.
"No War on Iraq will continue to provide a forum for all those who want to express their opposition to the warmongering of George Bush and his allies, Blair and Howard, regardless of their affiliation", said Amy McDonell, a No War on Iraq activist. "Now is the time to build the broadest possible coalition to stop this war before it starts."
To get involved in No War on Iraq or find out more about the campaign, email <email@example.com> or phone (02) 9690 1977.
From Green Left Weekly, October 23, 2002.
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