There’s some handwringing going on at the Socialist (dis)Unity blog over a disappointing turnout in London for yet another Stop the War Coalition demonstration.
Judging from Richard Seymour’s video, it was a rather desultory affair (despite his efforts to add excitement with fast-motion and the “Street Fighting Man” soundtrack). I can’t imagine anyone waking up on the morning of the demo and thinking to him/herself, “Oh, boy! Speeches by Lindsey German and Azzam Tamimi. And mass drumming.”
I offered my take on the turnout question as follows:
You know, maybe one of the problems with these StWC marches is that they are practically designed to make anyone who thinks Israel has a right to exist, or anyone who doesn’t support the fascistic Hamas and Hezbollah, feel unwelcome.
This elicited no responses either positive or negative. Fair enough. It’s not my antiwar movement. (In fact it’s not an antiwar movement at all, but we’ve made that point here many times.)
Surely, though, there are people who oppose the war in Iraq, who want foreign troops withdrawn, but who also happen not to despise Israel. I can imagine some of these people turning out for a demonstration, hearing the calls for Israel’s demise, listening to the glorification of Israel’s mortal enemies, and never returning for another such event– which I also imagine is just fine with many people in the movment.
At least in the US, as recently as two years ago– despite the best efforts of the anti-Zionists of ANSWER– there were some supporters of Israel in the antiwar movement who were willing to take on the Israel-haters.
David T adds:
This picture, taken by the Stopper, ‘Paddy Garcia‘ also helps to explain why sensible people shy away from these sorts of events:
Here’s a picture of the version of the Iraqi flag that she is carrying:
On 13 January 1991, the flag was changed again. The meaning of the three stars was changed from their original geographic meaning to representations of the three tenets of the Ba’ath party motto, Wahda, Hurriyah, Ishtirakiyah (Unity, Freedom, Socialism). Saddam Hussein decreed to place the Takbir (the words Allaahu Akbar (God is Great)) between the stars. It is said (though unconfirmed) that the words on the flag were in Saddam’s own handwriting, and many interpreted the change as an attempt to garner support from the Islamic world in the period immediately preceding the first Gulf War.
Frankly, why would any progressive want to march behind a woman waving a Baathist flag?
Also, she is wearing too much make up.