Iraq: 15 February – The world marches against war and imperialism

Millions of people, up to 30 million according to some media reports, poured onto streets of cities and towns and villages around the world on 15 February in protest against Bush’s war plans (see list of anti-war demonstrations, millions demonstrate against the war). No more proof is needed to show that this is the most unpopular war ever.

15 February. No to war in Iraq. cwi reports from around the world. Introduction.

The world marches against war and imperialism

The global tidal wave of humanity began in New Zealand and Australia and over the next few days spread like wild fire from one end of the world to the other. A magnificent expression of solidarity was witnessed across Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Published on this special 15 February CWI homepage are unique eyewitness reports of the demonstrations from all around the world. Not only does the CWI offer unparalleled socialist analysis and commentary, our members are also active participants in the struggle against Bush’s murderous war plans and the whole system of capitalism.

The largest demonstration was in Rome, where an incredible three million people marched against Bush and the right wing Italian prime minister and fervent war supporter, Berlusconi. Likewise, up to two million protested in London against another warmonger, Prime Minister Tony Blair, marking the largest political demonstration in British history. Barcelona and Madrid also saw millions in protest against a right wing government. And in the US, the heart of the foremost imperialist power, a magnificent half a million marched in New York and hundreds of thousands followed suit across the country.

As these titanic protests illustrate, the majority of people on the planet do not believe the propaganda and lies of Bush and his closest allies.

As well as these million strong demonstrations, many other cities and towns saw the largest protest gatherings for decades, if not the largest ever. Up to 150,000 marched through Dublin, 80,000 in Glasgow and 70,000 in Amsterdam. CNN estimates that protests took place in over 600 places internationally, in 72 countries.

This unprecedented action by humanity shows that working people everywhere are resolutely opposed to the war aims of US imperialism and the attempt to increase US hegemony at the expense of the poor, the oppressed and working people.

Given the scale of the protests it is not surprising that they were generally of a very broad and varied character and included a wide number of political ideas. These included pacifist ideas and illusions over the role of the UN.

Nevertheless, the sheer size of the demonstrations clearly shows what is possible for the anti-war movement. In some cases there was very important trade union representation at the protests.

As the reports from CWI members show, many protesters are very receptive to the idea of developing anti-war action, including organising workplace, college and university walk-outs and strikes. If a clear lead is given people will respond in their many millions. The campaign by Youth Against the War (initiated by CWI members) in many countries for students’ strikes found an echo amongst the youngest sections of the demonstrations.

A call for a general strike by unions on Day X (the day a war begins) would find an enormous response. Some union leaders and well known Left figures put forward such action on the protests, including in London and Rome, and found a warm reception.

The CWI argues that for the anti-war movement to step up a gear from the already brilliant and unprecedented world demonstrations on 15 February, it needs to put forward clear opposition to US imperialism. This includes opposing a US led war against Iraq under any circumstances, whether it has the ’blessing’ or not from the UN (a body dominated by the interests of the imperialist powers).

The CWI found a warm response to its socialist ideas and programme on 15 February and believes this will grow as the many millions who protested, and the many more millions who stand behind them, become increasingly radicalised by the crisis of capitalism, which causes wars and terror, and unemployment and want.

If you find you agree with the ideas on this website and want to be part of the struggle against war and capitalism, and for a socialist alternative, join us today.

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February 2003