BY NICK EVERETT
SYDNEY — Twenty-two anti-war activists met at the Gaelic Club on August 25 to found the Stop the War Coalition. Participants represented the Chippendale-Darlington, Newtown and Marrickville peace groups, as well as the NSW Greens, the Socialist Alliance, Resistance, Socialist Alternative and the Erskineville branch of the ALP.
The meeting followed an unsuccessful campaign by supporters of unity in the anti-war movement to prevent the dissolution of the Walk Against the War Coalition, which wound up on August 18. The new Stop the War Coalition will be open to all those interested in campaigning against the occupation of Iraq and Washington's "war on terror". The aims and objectives of the coalition are to be discussed at its next meeting on September 8.
After some debate it was agreed that both individual members and delegates of organisations would be able to vote at the coalition's meetings. This is a departure from the structure of the Walk Against the War Coalition, which individuals were unable to join.
The meeting unanimously adopted a call to mobilise against the occupation of Iraq in solidarity with the October 25 march on Washington, called by the US anti-war coalition ANSWER. ANSWER's call for the October 25 march has now been endorsed by over 1700 individuals and organisations, including United For Peace and Justice, the main coalition involved in organising a half-million strong demonstration in New York on February 16.
The Sydney demonstration — one of many to take place around Australia — will take place on November 2, meeting at noon in Belmore Park (the Sydney Social Forum will be taking place on October 25-26).
The coalition has also begun to discuss a campaign for the two Australian prisoners, David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, held by US authorities without charge at Guantanamo Bay. Stop the War Coalition is supporting a public meeting, that will be addressed by Hicks' father, Terry Hicks, Habib's solicitor Stephen Hopper, and Habib's wife, Maha Habib, on September 20, organised by the Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group and Actively Radical TV.
The next meeting of the Stop the War Coalition will take place at 7pm on September 8 at the Gaelic Club, 64 Devonshire St, Surry Hills. To find out more about the coalition, or endorse the call to action for November 2, email <email@example.com> or phone 0409 762 081.
From Green Left Weekly, September 3, 2003.
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