Common Cause: Report on Hamilton Oct 27 anti-Afghanistan Occupation Demonstration

The Common Cause Hamilton members took part in the demonstration against the occupation of Afghanistan. Around 150 people gathered to listen to speeches and then march through downtown Hamilton. It was the first outing for the Hamilton Common Cause Locals new banner, there were also flags there from the Local 548 Postal workers, Elementary Teachers union and Local 1005 AFL-CIO-CLC Steelworkers.

Organizations whose speakers addressed the rally included
New Democratic Party (NDP) whose speaker said they were for the immediate withdrawal of Canadian troops.

Don Frazer speaking for the Hamilton and District Labor Council who expressed full support for the demonstration.
The Raging Grannies who treated the crowd to a number of anti-war songs.

The speaker for McMasters University Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights said Afghani people need us to leave, our obligation in doing so is to give them back the resources that were destroyed in the war but rebuilding is a task for the people of Afghanistan and not an occupying military.

The speaker for McMasters Muslims for Peace and Justice said that it was a war against Islam and in particular against countries that are rising Islamically.

The president of 1005 Steelworkers said the US was preparing to attack Iran and reminded the audience that US Steel which had recently taken over Stelco in Hamilton was the first billon dollar global corporation having reached that status in 1901. He raised the slogan a number of other speakers had mentioned, a demand for an anti-war government.

Pretty much the only idea put forward by any of the speakers on how we could actually concretely oppose the occupation was this demand for an 'anti-war government.' But this just feeds into the passivity of the anti-war movement globally, a passivity reflected in the low number who demonstrated on the day despite the quite high level of support from passing motorists tooting their horns etc. In February 2003 on the eve of the invasion of Iraq millions of people took part in demonstrations across the globe. The failure of that mass movement to act when the western governments went ahead with the war despite mass opposition has resulted in demonstrations today that are tiny and largely composed of activists.

The challenge for anarchists, and all anti-war activists, is to answer the question of how a meaningful anti-war movement can be built. One that can answer the fact that the western governments really don't care whether the people or for or against their war providing they can be sure of a small number willing to fight in their army and the passivity of the rest.