Tuesday 8 December 2015

Brent councillors join criticism of Stop the War Coalition and Lucas steps back from involvement

Brent Labour councillors Neil Nerva, Bernard Collier and Sam Stopp have signed an Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn launched today by a new organisation called Labour Internationalists.

The letter LINK urges Corbyn to pull out of the  Stop the War Coalition dinner he is due to attend on Friday and states;
We believe that StWC stands apart from the Labour movement’s values of Internationalism, anti-fascism and solidarity. The vast majority of Labour MPs who heard Hilary Benn’s powerful speech in parliament last week (regardless of how they voted), supported his broad argument that fascism must be defeated, and that the UK must be prepared to join coalitions to do this.
and concludes:
We urge you to distance yourself from this organisation. We believe that Labour Party unity, and electoral credibility in the face of a Conservative government that is pursuing a right wing domestic agenda, would be advanced if  you pulled out of this event.
Meanwhile it was announced today that Caroline Lucas, Green MP, had stepped back from her involvement with Stop the War Coalition a few weeks ago.

The spokesperson said:
Caroline stepped back from the Stop the War Coalition a few weeks ago. Her busy parliamentary and constituency schedule means that she doesn’t have time to fully engage with the role of a Patron and, in light of some recent StWC positions that she didn’t support, she felt standing down was the responsible thing to do. Like the Stop the War Coalition, Caroline is opposed to British bombing in Syria because it will neither keep Britain safe nor help bring about a lasting peace in Syria.

Caroline was specifically troubled by some Stop the War Coalition statements after the Paris atrocities. Though the pieces were subsequently taken down she felt unable to associate herself with them. 

She was also concerned that some Syrian voices were not given an opportunity to speak at a recent meeting organised by the StWC in Parliament.
StWC has played an important role in building the anti-war movement in Britain, and Caroline will continue to work in support of peace.
That view is not necessarily the view of the Green Party as a whole. Policy is made at its twice yearly conference rather than by its MP or leader.

Many Green Party members support the StWC through attending its demonstrations and meetings, although this is not uncritical support.

Shahrar Ali, Green Party Deputy Leader,spoke at the Stop thr War 'Don't Bomb Syria' demonstration at the end of November. LINK

Whatever criticisms we can make, Stop the War Coalition remains the single strongest anti-war organisation in the country and I don't doubt governments, both Labour and Tory, would have engaged in more military adventures if it had not been for StWC's ability to mobilise large numbers in opposition.

Stop the War, as its name states, is a Coalition, and contains people of many different parties, religions and philosophies and is a vital part of a movement that challenges increasing aggression and militarism. It has come under attack from media and right-wingers as a means of undermining its fundamental challenge to the flimsy basis of  Cameron's.

At such a time they deserve our support.

Lucas differs from Labour Internationalists in her anti-bombing position. She said in a recent Huffington Post article:
I listened carefully to the Prime Minister make his case for why the UK should join the bombing campaign against Isis. The debate in the House of Commons was thorough, and the horror and revulsion at recent atrocities in Syria, Paris, Beirut and elsewhere is shared by MPs from across the political divide. 
Yet I have still to see any evidence to suggest that UK bombing Isis targets in Syria is likely to increase our security here in Britain or help bring about a lasting peace in the region in question - to the contrary, the evidence appears to suggest it would make matters worse.
Nerva, Collier and Stopp appear to be supporting military intervention, if not the bombing operation itself.


Anonymous said...

These are councillors who still defend Tony Blair and the Iraq War. I'm not the only person looking forward to deselection time...

Anonymous said...

This is the first I've heard of 'Labour Internationalists' but it sounds suspiciously as if they're taking Benn's comments on the left's tradition of internationalism to sanctify their new movement. Benn referred to the international brigades and their brave fight against Franco in Hitler and Mussolini's proxy war in Spain. Those men volunteered to fight. Benn merely made a speech in Parliament in support of a remote bombing campaign which holds no risk for Benn or Cameron, little risk for the pilots involved and a very questionable chance of achieving anything beyond the feeling that 'something is being done'. If 'internationalism' means doing what Benn advocates, getting our troops into yet another middle east country, then you would have to say that Bush and Blair were the ultimate internationalists. I don't think the international brigades would have recognised them as such, however.
They say 'The vast majority of Labour MPs who heard Hilary Benn’s powerful speech in parliament last week (regardless of how they voted), supported his broad argument that fascism must be defeated'. Well who doesn't? Do these people imagine that if you posed the question 'Should fascism be defeated' to those who opposed the bombing, they would answer 'No, it should be nurtured and encouraged'? The question is whether Cameron's intended action would achieve anything. Anyone not prepared to swallow idiot stories about 70,000 'moderates' gagging to be led into action by the universally-adored US and UK must be highly doubtful of what is likely to result from this action.
Benn's speech stood out for its colour and it's rhetorical qualities but we don't need passion at the moment, we need cool heads and considered actions.(And the last thing the Labour Party needs is a new faction exploiting the good press which Benn has temporarily achieved).

Mike Hine

Anonymous said...

The Labour Right have spoken. Not 'Right' sorry, 'moderates' like Donald Trump and the Syria 'moderates'.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to agree with every article on the Stop the War Coalition website to recognise the importance of opposing the bombing of Syria, which will inevitably lead to civilian casualties as the bombing of Syria by 11 other countries already has done. If the Stop the War Coaltion did not exist it would be necessary to set it up from scrath, presumably involving a very similar array of forces as those currently gathered under its banner. One suspects that part of the criticism from some quarters at ths time is just about opening another front on which to attack the new Labour Party leadership. We in Brent Stop the War will carry out opposing Britain's participation in foreign conflicts because it is right to do so.
Mike Phipps, Chair, Brent Stop the War.

Anonymous said...

Michael Rosen sums it up

As a long standing Labour Party member
who was proud to have supported the invasion of Iraq
I would like to alert you to the dangers of
Stop the War.
They are a dangerous, murderous group.
I deeply resent the fact that some people
in Stop the War say that I am part of some
dangerous, murderous group when all I ever
did was vote for the invasion of Iraq.
I can see no connection between the invasion of Iraq
and being dangerous or murderous.
The Stop the War people on the other hand
have a direct link with being dangerous and murderous.
You can tell it from the name:
Stop the War.
There, that says it all, doesn't it?
That's why we must stand together
and fight for a safer, stronger Britain.

Anonymous said...


Cllrs Miller, Nerva and Stopp, in a letter today to the Guardian, announce their membership of the newly-launched 'Open Labour'. Have they already split from 'Labour Internationalists'? Wasn't it international enough? Or is this just another 'group within a group' (rather like Momentum, say)? Anyway, the letter outlines what they stand for, which, on a quick reading appears to sugar and spice and all things nice. They don't set out their position on fascism but, at a guess, I'd say they're probably not in favour.

Mike Hine
PS Are they ever this vocal about Butt and his actions?