Anti-war teach-in helps strengthen campaign



CANBERRA — More than 100 people attended an anti-war teach-in on April 5, organised by the ACT Network Opposing War. Most participants, including students and academics, had attended anti-war protests in Canberra and the surrounding region. Many ACTNOW activists appreciated the opportunity to step out of the rapid pace of organising and discuss the issues behind the war and the next steps for the anti-war movement.

Associate Professor Ahmad Shboul from the University of Sydney was a key-note speaker, discussing the history and role of imperialism in the Middle East. Shboul criticised those intellectuals who have themselves become “casualties of war” by appearing in the media as experts on the situation but not questioning the war or the government's position. Amid this “silence of criticism”, now is the time to stand up and be counted, he said.

After workshops discussing Palestine, Australian imperialism, globalisation and the United Nations, the teach-in concluded with a panel on “Building an anti-war movement”. Victoria University lecturer Michael Hammel-Green gave a lively account of the movement to stop the Vietnam War, and the lessons we can apply to the campaign today.

National Tertiary Education Industry Union industrial officer Peter Davidson and Rick Kuhn from ACTNOW also spoke on the panel. The session was used by many activists to discuss how to strengthen the anti-war movement on university campuses, and how unions could play a bigger role in the campaign.

From Green Left Weekly, April 9, 2003.
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