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Other points for about Natfhe.

NO WAR ON IRAQ - FREEDOM FOR PALESTINE DEMONSTRATION Feb 2003

A slightly abbreviated version of the following speech was given at the above event by NATFHE General Secretary Paul Mackney.

I speak as General Secretary of NATFHE, the University and College Lecturers’ Union on behalf of all those in universities and colleges who oppose this war.

I speak as one of the trade union leaders for peace - in touch with the majority mood of our members on this.

We are here today in our hundreds of thousands to say to Tony Blair:

 we don’t want your war on Iraq

 we don’t want your alliances with Bush, Burlesconi and Anzar

 we don’t want the British people to pay your blood price

 we don’t want more deaths in the middle east

 enough Iraqi children have died as a result of the sanctions

If you go ahead with this unnecessary slaughter, it is NOT in our name!

We also say to this Govt we have had enough of lies, deceit and hypocrisy.

The casualties in modern wars are mostly civilians.

If you are going to tear people apart with bombs with pretty names like daisy cutters you have to prove your case to the world.

Blair and Straw have attempted to pass off student dissertations plagiarised from the internet as secret intelligence reports.

Every day our members tell their students that cheats never prosper. There’s not much evidence of intelligence in the Government’s case.

Yes Iraq is in breach of 14 UN resolutions but Iraq is contained and the case for war against Iraq has not been made

… Especially if you compare it with Israel which

 is in breach of 68 UN resolutions

 has an advanced programme of weapons of mass destruction

 has refused access to a UN inspection team

 is occupying the Palestinian territories

But Israel is being armed by the UK and US.

There will be no peace in the Middle East without justice for the Palestinian people.

We are also here to say to Blair: you claim you want to ‘make the world a better place’. So do we.

But instead of bombing a largely defenceless country spend it on better projects, things we can be proud of:

 spend it on a war against the AIDS epidemic

 spend it on food programmes for the starving people of the world

 spend it on rebuilding an independent democratic Palestine

 stop clinging to an imperialist past … fund the future.

Nearer to home, they say they can’t find money for colleges and universities, that they are going to have to triple university top-up fees for students.

We say: if they can find money for war, they can find money for colleges and universities.

Gordon’s war chest could be used:

 to end tuition fees and restore the grants that ministers enjoyed

 to invest in education, hospitals, rail and the underground and stop mortgaging our public services to Private Finance

 to pay public sector workers decent wages

 to pay the fire-fighters

 to give London workers enough pay to live in dignity

Some of us are here today to say that the TUC should call a special Congress on the War under Rule 8k.

Rule 8k states that “in order that the trade union Movement may do everything which lies in its power to prevent future wars, the General Council shall, in the event of there being a danger of an outbreak of war, call a special Congress to decide on industrial action, such Congress to be called, if possible, before war is declared”

Rule 8k was introduced to avoid a repeat of the slaughter of World War One. Seven unions have called for it to be implemented now. We ask the other unions to join us.

 

It appears to be quite lawful for countries to launch air strikes on other countries but it is unlawful for Trade union leaders to advocate political strikes.

It is being said that on the day war breaks out, everyone should stop work at 11 o’clock and go to their town centre.

Unions can be fined hundreds of thousands of pounds for inducing such unlawful strike action.

But I’ll tell you this … if you walk out over the war, you may be breaking Thatcher’s grim and undemocratic anti-union laws; but you will be upholding the golden principles of human solidarity.

 

Education International encouraged all its teacher union members to raise their voices for peace and to participate in peaceful activities against the threatened war including the European rallies today.

Because no case for war against Iraq has been made.