Iraq: No to war – Tens of thousands protest against NATO’s war drive

Members of the SLP (Sozialistiche LinksPartei, Austrian section of the CWI)- and ISR-comrades from Vienna and Salzburg joined German CWI and ISR members in the SAV and ’WI!’ (International Resistance), in the anti-war and anti-Nato demos held in Munich  last Saturday.

No to war in Iraq.

Anti-war movement reports from Austria and Germany.

Tens of thousands demonstrate against NATO’s war drive

Report from Austria

Over 35,000 participated in two demos, one called by the DGB (German trade unions) against a US war on Iraq, and the other, large protest against both the Iraq war and the "Security Conference" which was taking place.

In the train to Munich we linked up with a group of youth from Rosenheim, near Salzburg in Austria, where an ISR group has been active since spring 2002.

Despite the horribly cold weather conditions we sold 25 copies of Vorwärts, the SLP’s paper and 180 anti-war-stickers. The paper sales of the SAV’s Solidarität of course were much better.

On the demonstration we gave a political emphasis to the role of German imperialism, especially to counter illusions of fighting war together with the Schröder-Fischer led government. This was quiet unlike the campaign of Linksruck, the German affiliate of the British SWP, whose main slogan is "Weiter so, Gerhard" – Go on, Gerhard (Schröder) – i.e. simply calling for a German "No" in the UN Security Council. This misleads the movement by building hopes in Schröder, downplays the urgent task of building an independent movement against imperialist war and ignores the 16 foreign interventions of German troops in recent years. The German and Austrian ruling class are no alternative to Bush and Blair!

Report from Germany

Tens of thousands demonstrated on Feb 7th and 8th in Munich against the NATO-Conference. The DGB (German Trade Union Congress) called only for a general peace protest in the morning, yet 15,000 protesters followed the call of the more radical Munich alliance against the NATO-Conference (including ATTAC, Ver.di and the SAV).

On the follow-up demonstration the number of protesters doubled, thus growing to 30,000. Despite fierce police controls beforehand and heavy snowfalls, demonstrators made it clear that they opposed both the US war machine (Donald Rumsfeld was speaking at the conference) and the German red-green government. The alliance exposed the interests of german finance and companies behind the alleged peace policy of Schröder and Fischer.

Due to further provocations and "interventions" by the police, the demonstration could not hold its final rally where it was supposed to be held, since public squares were closed to the public. One of the demonstrators, Tobias Pflueger, was arrested because he called for soldiers to desert in the case of war. The SAV joined the demonstration in a "Youth against the war" contingent, together with CWI members from Belgium and Austria. It was one of the loudest and most radical contingents of the demonstration.

SAV members sold over 300 copies of their paper and organised a public meeting following the demonstrations with 30 people in attendance, the majority of whom were new and interested in the ideas of Sozialistische Alternative, the German affiliate of the CWI.

This article was taken from the website of the Sozialistische Alternative (SAV), the CWI’s German affiliate

Translated by Laura Rafetseder, CWI, 11 February 2003

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February 2003