Build workers action against the war!

To mark two years since the US led invasion of Iraq, and the continuing bloody occupation of Iraq, an international day of action on March 19 was called by numerous anti-war groups to demand ‘Troops Out Now!’. In the US the Million Worker March rank and file union activist movement strongly endorsed this call. In solidarity with the MWMM call to get organised labour out on March 19, WAWOT (Workers Against the War of Terror) entered into a united front with GPJA (broad anti-war coalition) to hold a rally at the US Consulate in Auckland and a march to the ANZ Bank in downtown Auckland.

This was the best anti-war march yet. Why? Apart from one spontaneous march of young people who broke away from the main GPJA march on 20 March 2003, and several Muslim organised marches in 2003 and 2004, most rallies in Auckland were aimed at stopping NZ troops going unless sanctioned by the UN (The Labour Party’s position). This time, however, there were two important developments.

First the rally was built by collaboration between GPJA activists who were oriented towards the unions, and by WAWOT which is committed to taking the struggle against imperialist war into the labour movement as the only force capable of defeating imperialism. The overall message of the rally and march was that we cannot rely on any capitalist government to stop war. Rather we have to mobilise the working class to defeat the capitalist class.

Second, the 300 mainly young protestors, after burning the flag outside the US Consulate, went on to occupy the Queen St branch of the ANZ Bank for 30 minutes with a teach-in on the profiteering of the bank in Iraq. While this was partly a propaganda exercise to expose the link between the banks profits and the occupation of Iraq, an important proposal raised at the bank was that the ANZ workers take industrial action to get the owners of the bank to stop profiteering from Iraqi blood money. This was an important step in showing how workers can organise to stop imperialist war.  

From Class Struggle 60 March-April 2005

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