Monthly Archives: March 2003

Brent Stop the War Notes of Meeting

Brent Stop the War Notes of Meeting 31st March 2003

un | 02.04.2003 13:56 Michael Letwin from Labor Against the War in New York, addressed the meeting. He spoke of growing opposition in the States to the war, particularly in San Francisco, Washington and New York, and particularly amongst women and ethnic minorities.

Michael Letwin from Labor Against the War in New York, addressed the meeting. He spoke of growing opposition in the States to the war, particularly in San Francisco, Washington and New York, and particularly amongst women and ethnic minorities. The majority of trade unions supported war, but there was growing dissent. By early this year the US equivalent of the TUC, the AFL-CIO had issued some statements critical of the potential war, a significant step away from their usual support for the government. There has been some backtracking on this since the war began. But unlike here the anti-war movement was quite divided into at least three main factions. Pressure had forced the US invasion to hold back on eShock and Awef and the American public was not prepared for large numbers of civilian casualties.

In the USA since 9/11 there had been the most appalling violations of civil liberties for ethnic minorities, with internment, special registration, and deportation, – sometimes applied to people who had lived in the US most of their lives, as well as torture being committed in Guantanamo Bay.

During a thorough discussion, both Michael Letwin and Mike Marquese (who was accompanying him on the tour) gave interesting insights into the situation in the USA. Blairfs part in propping up U.S. opinion was identified as very important. The question of boycotts of American goods was raised, and it was suggested that perhaps US oil companies should be targeted. There was debate on the extent the war on Iraq is linked to the question of Palestine.

Reports March on the BBC. There had been a stall in Harlesden, followed by a march from Harlesden and from Ladbroke Grove, as well as other parts of West London, all successful, and a good crowd outside the BBC. Labour Against the War there had been a local meeting of about 50 people, including some local councillors, and a meeting in Central London on Saturday with quite a number of M.P.s. Labour Against the War was growing, and some rejoining the Labour Party to reclaim it.

Future Activities Public Meeting 7th April The speakers already found were agreed Mark Steel, and Asad Rehman. It was agreed we should approach other local people, representing as wide a range of opposition as possible, inviting them to speak from the floor eg, Palestinian speaker, Students, (Preston Manor and Hands Up for Peace) Councillors, relations of troops, someone from the Pakistan Centre, etc It was agreed to ask Anne Drinkell to Chair. It was agreed to arrange for speaker slips. It was agreed to show Euanfs video of the picket of Paul Boatengfs surgery and the march. Ian agreed to do the collection. A schedule of leafleting was agreed.

Labour Against the War National Delegate Conference


With a Labour Government backing Bush’s plans for war on Iraq, Labour Against the War is calling a conference of Constituency Labour Parties, trade unions, affiliated organisations and individual Labour Party members to debate the international crisis and to consider strategies to reclaim the Party for peace.

29th March 2003
(9.30am – 4.30pm)

at Friends Meeting House,
173 Euston Road, London NW1.
(very close to Euston and Kings Cross stations).

Alan Simpson MP (Conference Chair). Speakers include: Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Bob Crow (General Secretary, RMT), Jeremy Dear (General Secretary, NUJ), John Edmonds (General Secretary, GMB), Rozanne Foyer (Assistant General Secretary Scottish TUC), George Galloway MP, Andy Gilchrist (FBU), Billy Hayes (General Secretary, CWU), Michael Letwin (New York City Labor Against the War), Kamil Mahdi (Iraqi exile), Alice Mahon MP, Dr. Glen Rangwala (Lecturer in Politics, Newnham College, Cambridge) Mark Seddon (NEC & Editor of Tribune) and Christine Shawcroft (NEC).

Advance registration recommended.


Protests erupt across the U.S. as war begins

Protests erupt across the U.S. as war begins
No war for oil and empire

By Elizabeth Schulte, Lee Wengraf and Chris Brown | March 28, 2003 | Page 12

THE RESPONSE was immediate–and overwhelming: Stop the war on Iraq! Hundreds of thousands of people–in dozens of cities, from every walk of life, in actions large and small–took to the streets in the days after the U.S. launched its bloody attack on Iraq.

The massive protest of more than a quarter of a million people on March 22 in New York City was too big even for the media to ignore. The signs at the protest expressed anger at the brutality and hypocrisy of Bush’s war: “No more blood for oil,” “Sending our children to kill their children,” “Freedom fries while Baghdad burns,” “Bush and Co. are weapons of mass destruction,” “No war for empire,” “Regime change begins at home,” and simply “No war!”

Susan Klitzman, whose sister Karen was killed in the September 11 attacks, came out to take a stand against the war. “For each person who dies, it touches hundreds,” Klitzman said. “And we’re killing thousands right now in Iraq. I’m thinking about the thousands of innocent lives that are being destroyed.”

Peace groups mobilized from all over the Northeast, as did high school and college antiwar groups. “It’s important for our voices to be heard,” said Paul Brunetti, a freshman at CW Post University on Long Island. “This is supposed to be a democracy, but the government doesn’t listen,” added math professor Ann Burns.

The New York protest was the biggest of the weekend demonstrations that took place in major cities around the country. Anger boiled over in the days before, as activists turned out for emergency response demonstrations as the war began.

In Chicago, one of the biggest Day X protests swelled to 15,000 people, who marched through the downtown to take part in mass civil disobedience–taking over all eight lanes of Lake Shore Drive.

“You’re not going to believe me,” one demonstrator told Socialist Worker, “but I’m in the Army Reserves. I was a soldier in the Middle East in the 1980s. I can’t stand what they’re doing there. This is going to be my last hitch.”

As demonstrators wound through downtown streets, the police–overwhelmed and confused by the huge crowd at every turn–had to step aside to give up the streets to protesters. “Whose war? Their war! Whose streets? Our streets!” rang through the crowd. There was a jubilant atmosphere as the marchers took over Lake Shore, leaping over the center dividers and weaving through stopped cars.

The next day, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley painted a picture of furious people trapped in cars. But that was in sharp contrast to what demonstrators saw–many drivers flashing the peace sign, honking and giving marchers high fives.

Hours later, police evidently decided to end the protest–period. Lines of cops in riot gear surrounded the remnants of the march–now numbering no more than a few thousand–as it tried to move through the tony Michigan Avenue shopping district.

The police first arrested anyone who appeared to be an organizer–in several cases, tossing them to the ground and hitting them–and then started randomly arresting anyone else. To exact their revenge for losing control of the streets, the cops kept the more than 500 people that they grabbed behind bars for the next 12 hours at least–some even longer.

But if Chicago officials thought they could instill fear in antiwar protesters, they failed. The next day, 10,000 people again turned out to rally and march as U.S. warplanes began their “Shock and Awe” bombardment of Baghdad.

The same story was repeated in San Francisco, where tens of thousands from around the Bay Area took to the streets on the day the wary began. Police arrested more than 2,200 people and brutally beat and pepper-sprayed hundreds over the course of two days.

But they failed to break the spirit of the antiwar movement. At the March 22 demonstration, more than 80,000 people took over the streets again. “It takes courage to be here with these repressive cops all around, but it’s urgent and necessary to stand up to Bush and the system,” Masha Albrecht, a San Francisco teacher, told Socialist Worker.

“Bush’s talk about building democracy in Iraq and liberating the people there is all bullshit,” said Chrissy Dressler, a Sacramento college student. “We don’t have democracy and liberation here in the U.S., except here on the streets where we’re in control today.”

In addition to these big demonstrations, there were countless actions across the country, both big and small–a sit-in at University of California-Berkeley; a takeover of the Massachusetts Avenue bridge in Boston; veterans rallying against the war in Washington, D.C.; marches, protests and candlelight vigils from Madison, Wis., to Greensboro, N.C., from Burlington, Vt., to Bush’s home state of Texas.

Reports on these actions flooded into Socialist Worker’s e-mail account, and many more circulated around the Internet. And opponents of this war promise more actions to come. We will protest, walk out, sit in–whatever it takes to stop this war!

Student activists leap into action

COLLEGE AND high school students around the country leapt into action to protest the start of a war on Iraq.

On March 24, 1,000 students at San Francisco State University (SFSU) came out for a demonstration sponsored by Students Against War. When President Robert Corrigan tried to preempt the rally by telling students to “calmly discuss” the slaughter, students took over the stage and turned it into a speak-out. Then, they marched to the administration building, and hundreds began a peaceful sit-in occupation, chanting, “Whose school? Our school! Whose war? Their war!”

Students Against War are demanding that the university refuse cooperation with FBI harassment of international students and scholars, lift sanctions against the SFSU General Union of Palestine Students for a peaceful protest last year, and not raise tuition or lay off campus workers.

The same day in Chicago, students staged a walkout at the University of Illinois-Chicago, with 800 attending a packed speak-out.

On the day that the war began, 7,000 students jammed the University of California-Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, and hundreds rushed into Sproul Hall, where they sat in. After several hours, police began arresting people–in many cases using pain-holds on people who weren’t resisting arrest and pushing them into metal doors and down steps. About 120 people were arrested.

Campus police also bared their teeth at the University of Texas (UT) in Austin. When they found antiwar activist and ISO member Jon Bougie chalking the campus walls to advertise for an emergency response protest, UT cops snuck up behind him and slammed his head against the wall. Bougie’s glasses were broken, and his face cut up.

But this harassment didn’t stop 1,000 students from protesting the war the next day. Students at countless secondary schools across the country responded to Bush’s war. Thousands of students from 18 Montgomery County, Md., high schools walked out of classes, later joining a rally of D.C.-area students in the afternoon.

“This is part of a war on workers”

IN THE last few months, labor activists have organized an unprecedented union opposition to war. Numerous locals have passed antiwar resolutions, and activists formed the national U.S. Labor Against the War in January.

Even the AFL-CIO Executive Council passed a resolution critical of George W. Bush’s war drive at its annual meeting in February. Unfortunately, the federation caved as soon as the war began–with AFL-CIO President John Sweeney issuing a “rally around the flag” statement.

But many rank and filers aren’t buying it. At the huge March 22 demonstration in New York City, Dorothee Benz outlined the issues facing workers. “The money spent on war instead of social needs is criminal,” said Benz, communications director for Communications Workers of America Local 1180, representing city workers. “This war is a piece of the war on workers at home. They’re not asking for sacrifice from any quarter except us.”

Members of New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW), which formed right after September 11, were out in force, marching under the banner, “Labor’s Enemies are in the White House and Corporate Board Rooms, Not in Iraq.”

“It was wrong to attack a country that has not attacked us, and it is working people that will pay the price,” Michael Letwin, co-convenor of NYCLAW said at a press conference the day the war began.

REPORT: 3/22 NYC Labor Contingent & 4/7 NYCLAW Mtg.

REPORT: 3/22 NYC Labor Contingent & 4/7 NYCLAW Mtg.

The 250,000+ NYC antiwar marchers on Saturday, March 22 included a thousands-strong labor contingent convened by New York City Labor Against the War.

Further labor action will be discussed at the next NYCLAW meeting, Monday, April 7, 2003 6:30 p.m., at DC 1707 AFSCME, 75 Varick St., 14 Floor
(1/2/A/C/E to Canal St.).

Over thirty NYC labor bodies have come out against the war, including:

**AFM L.1000
**AFSCME DC 1707
**AFT Local 3882
**APWU NY-Metro/Local 10
**Bergen Co. (NJ) CTLC
**CWA District 1
**CWA Local 1180
**Federation of Union Reps.
**IAM Lodge 340
**NJ Labor Against the War
**NJ Industrial Union Council
**NY Taxi Workers Alliance
**NYC Labor Against the War
**NWU/UAW Local 1981
**Org. of Staff Analysts
**PACE Local 1-149
**PSC-CUNY/AFT Local 2334
**SSEU Local 371, DC 37, AFSCME
**Teachers Against the War
**TWU Local 100
**UAW Local 2110
**UAW Region 9A NYC
**UNITE Local 169
**UUP/AFT Local 2190
**Working Families Party

No War on Iraq! Labor Contingent

[Download formatted version:  nyclaw-flyer-for-32203.doc ]

Sat., March 22, 11 a.m.
37 St. between B’way & 7 Av., March to Washington Sq. Park

Friday, March 21: No Business As Usual! Converge from 12 Noon On, Union Square Pk. & March to Times Sq. for 5 p.m. rally

Labor Info: Michael Letwin 917.282.0139

Sponsored by United for Peace & Justice NYC http://www.united for


NYC-Area Antiwar Labor Bodies
(list in formation)

NYC-AREA LABOR ANTIWAR BODIES (list in formation):

**AFM L.1000
**AFSCME DC 1707
**AFT Local 3882
**APWU NY-Metro/Local 10
**Bergen Co. (NJ) CTLC
**CWA District 1
**CWA Local 1180
**Federation of Union Reps.
**IAM Lodge 340
**NJ Labor Against the War
**NJ Industrial Union Council
**NY Taxi Workers Alliance
**NYC Labor Against the War
**NWU/UAW Local 1981
**Org. of Staff Analysts
**PACE Local 1-149
**PSC-CUNY/AFT Local 2334
**SSEU Local 371, DC 37, AFSCME
**Teachers Against the War
**TWU Local 100
**UAW Local 2110
**UAW Region 9A NYC
**UNITE Local 169
**UUP/AFT Local 2190
**Working Families Party



And Now That War Has Begun: No Business As Usual!
Converge Daily 12 Noon at Union Sq. & March to Times Sq. for 5 p.m. rally


Sat., March 22, 2003, 11 a.m.
37 St. between B’way & 7 Av., March to Washington Sq. Park

No Cuts to Social Services!
No Attacks on Immigrants/Racial Profiling!
No Attacks on Civil Liberties!
No to US Militarism from Palestine to Colombia to Korea to the Philippines!

NYC-Area Antiwar Labor Bodies:
AFM L.1000
AFT Local 3882
APWU NY-Metro/Local 10
Bergen Co. (NJ) CTLC
CWA District 1
CWA Local 1180
Federation of Union Reps.
IAM Lodge 340
NJ Labor Against the War
NJ Industrial Union Council
NY Taxi Workers Alliance
NYC Labor Against the War
NWU/UAW Local 1981
Org. of Staff Analysts
PACE Local 1-149
PSC-CUNY/AFT Local 2334
SSEU Local 371, AFSCME
Teachers Against the War
TWU Local 100
UAW Local 2110
UAW Region 9A NYC
UNITE Local 169
UUP/AFT Local 2190
Working Families Party

Sponsored by United for Peace & Justice NYC
http://www.united for
Labor Info:, 917.282.0139

Labor Donated 3/21/03

Support Our Troops–Bring Them Home Right Now!

Support Our Troops–Bring Them Home Right Now!
New York City Labor Against the War

Bush’s war on Iraq isn’t about “weapons of mass destruction”—the U.S. can’t even prove that Iraq has any.  And who has more WMD than the U.S.?

It isn’t for “self-defense”—Iraq hasn’t attacked us.

It isn’t to support the U.N.—the U.S. pays Israel billions of dollars each year to violate U.N. resolutions that guarantee Palestinian rights.  And Israel already has nuclear weapons.

It isn’t for “democracy”—for years, the U.S. armed Hussein (and Osama bin Laden).  U.S. allies include numerous dictatorships, including Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Colombia.

In reality, Bush’s war is a “weapon of mass distraction”—from oil profit, from U.S. empire, from corporate thievery and from a crumbling economy at home.

As Nelson Mandela puts it, Bush and his cronies “just want the oil.”

This war can’t be made right.  Not by Bush.  Not by the U.N.

We need to ask ourselves some hard questions:

What have the Iraqi people ever done to us?

Fifty-eight thousand G.I.s—most of them working class and people of color—were killed in Vietnam.  Are we
ready to pay for this war with the blood of our sons and daughters in uniform?

With destruction of our social services?

With zero-wage increases?

With Bush’s attack on labor, civil and immigrant rights?

With more blowback like 9/11?

In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. refused to remain silent about the Vietnam war and “the greatest purveyor
of violence in the world today—my own government.”

We have the same obligation.  Regime change begins at home.

We also have the power to stop this war.

When G.I.s refused to fight in Vietnam, the U.S. war machine ground to a halt.

In January, British railway workers refused to drive trains loaded with weapons for war against Iraq, and last
week, millions of workers in Europe held an antiwar strike for 15 minutes.

In this country, millions of people have protested the war, even before it began.

And on February 27, 2003, the AFL-CIO came out against the war–its first antiwar statement ever.

Now it’s up to us to mobilize our co-workers and our unions to do whatever it takes to stop this war.

If you believe that labor must stand up against the war, contact:, or at NYCLAW,
Prince Street Station, PO Box 233, New York, NY 10012-3900.