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Re: National Co-ordination of Anti-war Activity

Hi Jason

I am not on any committee and have no connection with Iraq. I have 
been deeply concerned about the genocide in Iraq since the start. I 
am also concerned about 'Imperialist' issues but I now never use 
the term.

> At the last National Co-ordination Meeting of anti-sanctions groups 

That's the key for me - it does not say 'and anti-war'.

More pragmatically, the more people and organisations that are 
involved and the narrower the focus (criminal, humanitarian, 
genocide, sanctions) the better chance we have of making 
progress against sanctions (and such progress would help 
undermine the imperialists).

In terms of civilian casualties sanctions far outweigh the illegal 

I would dearly love to get HRW and Amnesty actively fighting these 
sanctions. Any sniff of anti-war or anti-imperialism and they would 

It is quite possible to get middle of the road, establishment and 
even right wingers to fight against sanctions. They need to be told 
about the effects of sanctions and have the US/UK arguments 
answered which is easy without having to resort to theories about 
the underlying causes (eg imperialism).

Only very recently I came across a die-hard Republican-supporting 
American (not a friend of mine!). He is anti-SH and believes in 
direct military intervention, assassination, bombing etc and thought 
that sanctions were a good thing. On being exposed to the facts 
about sanctions he fairly soon came round to the view that non-
military sanctions should be lifted urgently. Even the control of oil 
sales income he then disagreed with when we pointed out that this 
produced a command economy - a communist model with no room 
for capitalism!

>The only question is do these meetings need to run
> in parallel to the current National Co-rdination Meetings (NCM) 

In parallel - reports from anti-war meetings can be shared with NCM 

> In essence, we cannot frame any events or discuss anything whilst
> maintaining a blanket ban on political discussion within the movement.

I can understand your frustration but I would support keeping the 
ban. I wouldn't even allow time-limited sessions for political 
discussion. The danger is that some people would become 
alienated. Time would be wasted on 'framing' the events. You gave 
two views of 1284. There are others possible. Only recently I had 
the whole scenario explained to me just in the context of Israel.

I suppose a possible compromise would be to have one small 
session which split into two separate groups - those wanting the 
political discussion and those not.

A paraphrased casual discussion  with a former UK air force officer:

me: these bombings are useless. They cost money and achieve 
nothing. Even worse, SH can trigger them when he wants.

him: we're not seen to initiate them and they serve to keep the 
media and the public's eyes off the ball (the genocidal sanctions)

Mark Parkinson

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