by Niall Mulholland, East London Socialist Party
The protest in central London on 6 March was a few thousand strong. Attacks by the media and others, including Labour’s leadership, against the Stop the War Coalition, probably had an effect on the turnout.
People are also confused about the situation in Ukraine. They have sympathy for the people in Ukraine and oppose Putin’s invasion, but they may not see how protesting can make a difference at the moment.
The Labour leadership will not accept any criticism of Nato. So John McDonnell and Diane Abbott decided not to speak at a Stop the War meeting on 2 March, and eleven Labour ‘left’ MPs took their names off a petition against the war.
But only one of the speakers at the protest correctly called this a “capitulation”. The MPs involved have not even attempted to explain their decision to not sign the petition.
The Socialist Party found a good response to our leaflets. The front page of the Socialist called for an end to the war, a withdrawal of all Russian troops, and no trust in Nato. We will not be silenced like so many Labour Party members. Passers-by that didn’t even know about the protest liked what we said.
There have been lots of protests called by Ukranians living in London, including Russian-speaking Ukranians, against the war. Unity of working people can be forged in these trying circumstances in Ukraine and Russia. Stop the War’s rally coincided with one of these protests.