Bradford Stop the War Coalition People's Assembly Declarations, March 2007

Three declarations were passed by People's Assembly on 20 March 2007

Declaration 1: Iraq

There is now a near-consensus across the country that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has proved a catastrophe. The last four years have seen the devastation of Iraq with hundreds of thousands of civilian fatalities, the unnecessary death of 130 British military personnel and an extending crisis throughout the Middle East.

This People's Assembly of 2007 reaffirms the view taken by the first Peoples Assembly in 2003 that any such war would be unnecessary, unlawful and in defiance of the democratic will of the British people. We reject the Prime Minister's assertion that he bears no responsibility for the awful situation in occupied Iraq.

Today we urge the full and unambiguous restoration of the sovereign right of the Iraqi people to determine their own future, noting that the current intensification of the military occupation ordered by President Bush further violates this right and promises further massive loss of life while offering no solution to the political and economic crisis in Iraq.

We therefore demand an end to this failed policy and the full withdrawal of all British troops no later than October 2007, and urge all Members of Parliament to put all possible pressure on the government to achieve this aim.

This People's Assembly further believes that those politicians responsible for this disastrous war be held to account for their actions, and to this end supports the demand for a full public enquiry to examine all the issues relating to the decision by the British government to follow George Bush into the war, in particular the evidence that public and parliament were systematically misled as to the government's intentions and commitments from 2002 onwards.

Declaration 2: Iran

The architects of the war on Iraq appear to have learnt nothing from their mistakes and are repeating their threats against Iran.

There is an eerie similarity between the 'evidence' that built up in the months before the Iraq war and that being put forward now. We now know that the 'evidence' about Iraq was untrue, and was exaggerated or distorted in order to make a case for war. There were no weapons of mass destruction and Iraq did not represent a threat to its neighbours, let alone the US and Britain.

There is no evidence which could justify an attack on Iran. We are told that Iran is a threat to the region and to the wider world. This is based on its development of nuclear power, the existence of which is used to argue that Iran is planning to use in order to possess nuclear weapons.

Some have claimed that Iran is likely to start a nuclear arms race in the region. However, Iran does not have nuclear weapons, and according to the International Atomic Energy Authority and other experts, there is no possibility of Iran gaining such weapons for probably a decade. There are a number of powers in the region that do have nuclear weapons, however, including India, Pakistan and Israel. The best answer to concerns about nuclear rearmament is concerted efforts at region-wide nuclear disarmament.

Opposition to an attack on Iran does not imply support for its regime. On the contrary, we are in sympathy with all democrats, trade unionists, women and others fighting for an extension of their rights within Iran. However, the internal affairs of Iran is the responsibility of its own people alone, and the nature of the present system, which is certainly no less democratic than many pro-Western regimes in the Middle East cannot in any sense be a justification for war.

There is ample time for attempting diplomatic solutions to any problems, which can avoid war. Conflict would spell catastrophe in the region. Already the 'war on terror' stretches from Afghanistan to Iraq. It has brought in Lebanon and Somalia. An air strike on Iran would have an impact on Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Iraq and south Asia and would threaten even further conflagration.

We have seen that the previous interventions have not made the world safer, nor have they lessened the threat of terrorism - in fact the world has become more dangerous.

This People's Assembly is opposed to any escalation here. It demands that parliament refuses to allow our government to support George Bush or anyone else, such as the Israeli government, in an attack on Iran.

We are determined to oppose this war not just verbally but through action. We commit our coalition to organising strikes, demonstrations and mass civil disobedience in the event of the threat of imminent attack. We urge all our affiliates to support such a campaign.

Declaration 3: British foreign policy and democracy after Blair

The impending departure of Tony Blair from the office of Prime Minister will be greeted with satisfaction by the millions of people who have fought against his war policy over the last six years. This provides an opportunity for a radical change in the foreign policy he has followed.

Such a change must include, above all, the ending of the unqualified support offered by the government to the policies of the Bush administration in the USA. This People's Assembly believes that British foreign policy should be conducted independently of this or any other government in Washington.

It further means an end to British government support for the misnamed 'war on terror' which has had as one of its malign consequences a great increase in terrorism in general, and the terrorist threat to Britain in particular.

Specifically, this Assembly demands:

  1. The withdrawal of all British troops from Afghanistan, where our presence is opposed by the majority of the population and the armed forces are engaged in an unwinnable war sustaining a bankrupt and corrupt government at the behest of President Bush.
  2. A withdrawal of any offer made, without parliamentary sanction, to base any part of the US 'star wars' system in this country, believing that any location of this system here will increase risks to the British people while serving the needs of the US military alone.
  3. An end to British support for the military dictatorship in Pakistan and the ruling oligarchy in Saudi Arabia, noting that elements in these two regimes are the two main sources of actual financial and practical support for al-Qaeda, and that the Saudi government, in particular, exercises a corrupt influence over democracy in our country.
  4. No extension of the war on terror to other countries, e.g. the recent attacks in Somalia.
  5. A shift to support for a genuine peace settlement in the Middle East, reflecting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state, and no repetition of the shameful support given by the government to the Israeli aggression in Lebanon in 2006.

This Assembly welcomes the support of the Stop the War Coalition for the Enough! Coalition, which has been set up by charities, campaigns, trade unions and faith organisations to mark 40 years of Israeli occupation. This Assembly agrees to support and build for the Enough! demonstration on 9 June 2007, which is calling for an end to Israeli occupation and justice for the Palestinian people, and to support the Enough! lobby of Parliament in November 2007.

This Peoples Assembly also holds that the war and occupation of Iraq have revealed deep flaws in our democracy, and that Parliament has consistently failed either to express the people's will or hold the government to account for its actions. It notes that those elements most active in support of Tony Blair's foreign policy  the Murdoch press, the Saudi and other dictatorships, British Aerospace and other arms companies - are also among the main sources of undemocratic pressure on government and parliament.

In the light of this connection between imperialism and the denial of democracy, the Peoples Assembly believes that it is the task of the anti-war movement to uphold the principles of democracy, civil liberties and anti-racism and to continue to find ways to express the views of the people despite the now-evident failure of Parliament to do so.


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Bradford Stop the War Coalition (affiliated to the National Stop the War Coalition) is a loose grouping of individuals and organisations united in their horror of a war that still continues and is still killing innocent people every day.

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