Worthing Against War

Worthing Against War is an autonomous, non-party political, non-hierarchical group set up in January 2003 to bring together local people opposed to the threatened war against Iraq. The following month, on February 8, we held our first action - a protest of more than 320 people in Worthing town centre. This was just the start, as you will see below. With the war now a brutal occupation, we continue to campaign against the military-industrial global system, the repression it carries out at home and abroad and the lies it spreads to cover up the criminality of its actions. If you want to join our campaign, get in touch or simply turn up at one of our meetings.


Freedom to Protest

The meeting

7.30pm, Wednesday December 7 2005, Labour Hall, Lyndhurst Road, Worthing (near Worthing Hospital). With special guest speaker Walter Wolfgang, (the heckler thrown out of the Labour Pary conference), plus speakers from the Omar Deghayes Campaign (Sussex man on hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay), Smash EDO! (arms firm in Brighton) and the Titnore Woods campaign.

The demo

12 noon, Saturday December 10 2005. Meet 12 noon, Churchill Square, Brighton (near Clock Tower in city centre). Stop the Arms Trade! Defend the Right to Protest!


More events


Smash EDO meeting in Worthing

On Wednesday September 21, at 7.30pm in the Labour Hall in Lyndhurst Road, Worthing, Worthing Against War will be hosting a meeting with Brighton group Smash EDO, who will be giving a talk and showing short films.

Smash EDO are a grassroots campaign group who have been trying to shut down Brighton arms manufacturers EDO MBM for over 18 months. People involved in the anti-EDO campaign include, but are not limited to: local residents, the Brighton Quakers, peace activists, anti-capitalists, Palestine Solidarity groups, human rights groups, trade unionists, academics and students.

EDO MBM manufacture weapons for the US/UK's war on Iraq and to the IDF for their oppression of the Palestinians. Smash EDO recently held a week long peace camp in the Wild Park behind EDO MBM in Brighton. The Peace Camp came just months after EDO MBM sought a civil injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act aimed to limit protest outside the factory. The injunction referred to be served under the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act (originally designed to protect women from stalkers) and is the first of its kind directed at activists outside of the animal rights movement.

Crucially it is a civil injunction but carries criminal penalties. It affects anyone deemed to be a protestor. Initially EDO/MBM requested a large 'exclusion zone' comprising the whole of Home Farm Industrial Estate. They and Sussex police also wanted to limit demonstrations to two and a half hours, with less than ten people who had to be silent. Judge Gross refused to impose these conditions at the initial hearing of an interim injunction, which was put in place in the period before the full trial to be heard at the High court in London from November 21st. In his summing up he said, "The right to freedom of expression is jealously guarded in English law" and consequently refused to impose the requested limits on size, timing or noise made at demonstrations.He also said that he doubted that protesters were 'stalking' employees of EDO MBM.

EDO MBM Technologies Ltd are the sole UK subsidiary of huge U.S arms conglomerate EDO Corp, which was recently named No. 10 in the Forbes list of 100 fastest growing companies. They supply bomb release mechanisms to the US and UK armed forces amongst others. They supply crucial components for Raytheon's Paveway IV guided bomb system, widely used in the 'Shock and Awe' campaign in Iraq.

EDO also recently withdrew a threatened libel action against the Indymedia website over being named as 'warmongers'. Lawson-Cruttenden & Co, a solicitors firm working for EDO have been instrumental in developing the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 from a measure designed to safeguard individuals to a corporate charter to make inconvenient protest illegal. They have pioneered to use of injunctions to create large 'exclusion zones'. They have secured numerous injunctions against anti-vivisection and anti-GM protestors. For more info on the campaign go to Smash Edo or South Coast Indymedia


The Iraqi Resistance is Winning!

Not only has the enitre US/US case for war now been thoroughly exposed as a pack of lies, but the invading forces are clearly losing! Despite sporadic and misleading reporting in the mainstream media, the Iraqi Resistance (the "insurgents" or "terrorists" as your news broadcaster or newspaper will no doubt insist on calling them) is actually getting stronger and more successful by the day. A good site at which to catch up on this news is the Russia-based Iraq War - have a look at it now before it mysteriously disappears!


Troops Out of Iraq!

On Monday June 28 2004 the US/UK occupiers of Iraq announced they had handed over "sovereignty" to an Iraqi government. This happened two days earlier than announced, in an apparent attempt to prevent disruption by the powerful Iraqi resistance movement.

The US/UK are pretending that normality has now been restored and the Iraqis are now running their own country. This is another of the big lies that have gone hand in hand with the Iraq war from the very start. It's a big a lie as the claim that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction" or that Iraq was somehow involved in the Twin Towers attack.

The new Iraqi government is in reality nothing but a front for continued US occupation. Consider the facts:

* The interim government "is barred from making long-term policy decisions and will not have control over more than 160,000 foreign troops who will remain in Iraq" (Sky News, June 28).

* The US will also retain what it is calling a "diplomatic presence" with 1,000 staff working at its embassy in the Green Zone in Baghdad - in effect the real occupation government.

* The new government was not elected. Its puppet members were hand-picked by the invading enemy.

* The US will control the bulk of Iraq’s capital budget and the management of its oil resources.

* The US/UK military occupation of Iraq will continue and the US will remain in control of the Iraqi army.

* The Iraqi interim government is prohibited from altering any laws that the US has passed during its occupation.

* Oil revenue will be controlled by a commission which is made up of 90% non-Iraqis. The only Iraqi on the commission is a stooge hand-picked by Paul Bremer.

* Shortly before the "hand-over" the Coalition Authority suddenly spent in excess of $2 billion of this revenue.

* The new Prime Minister of Iraq has been on the payroll of the CIA and is a former Ba'athist.

* The US is creating a new secret police force for Iraq which, the Pentagon and the CIA have told the White House, will "allow America to maintain control over the direction of the country". (Sunday Telegraph Jan 4)

* The new American "commander-in-chief" is John Negroponte, who as US Ambassador to Honduras oversaw death-squads in Central America in the 1980s.


We were right all along

Democracy and peace have not been brought to Iraq by the US/UK invasion. Iraqis have not welcomed them as "liberators". There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Plans for the invasion and occupation were planned well before events that supposedly triggered it. The UK and US governments consistenly lied to justify the war. The UK was so desperate to go ahead with war that it bugged Kofi Annan and other key international figures who might have brokered peace and saved thousands of lives. All of these points have now been more or less universally recognised as fact.

What a surprise!

We were right all along, those millions of us marching through the streets of London, those hundreds of us marching through the streets of Brighton and Worthing in the face of a barrage of government and media propaganda. When the war began they said we should stop our opposition because "our boys" were out there and we should therefore support any crimes committed by our government in our name. When they captured Baghdad they laughed at us and said we were proved wrong, as if we had ever said that the war should not be fought because the US and UK could not win! When Saddam was taken prisoner, they again laughed and said this was what the war had set out to achieve. But it is so clear now that it wasn't, as the US multinational corporations move in like vultures on the flesh of another opened-up market, another opportunity for growth and exploitation, while the politicians stand revealed in full naked horror as the sick monsters of power, murder and lies that they have always been and that we always knew they were.

We were right all along and can raise our heads high even as theirs sink lower into guilt and shame.


The truth about terror

It could not have been any clearer that George Bush was not welcome in London. After a couple of days of gutsy freelance protests, a massive 200,000 people took to the streets to voice their anger at the presence of this liar and warmonger on our soil. We said before the invasion of Iraq that it could not possibly "defeat terrorism", but only increase it. And the news of the attack on the British consulate and bank in Turkey only confirmed this. Needless to say, that was not the way the media machine of the new world order wanted to present it, and instead the Istanbul attacks were presented as some kind of retrospective vindication of the blatantly imperialist "war on terror" that had provoked it. An ITN reporter screamed at anti-Bush protesters whether they felt it was right to be marching on this day "against the leaders of the free world". The leaders of what? More like a criminal conspiracy on a larger and more dangerous scale than the planet has seen before. And the more their spiral of killing, plundering and oppression continues, the more people will come to the conclusion that every day is the right day to revolt against not only the global tyrants themselves, but the whole corrupt system of propaganda and control that sustains their illegitimate power.

Case for war was a pack of lies!

The illegal, one-sided ‘war’ against Iraq in March and April went ahead in the face of unprecedented global opposition. Everywhere from Worthing to Wyoming, from Athens to Adelaide, ordinary people raised their voices against an invasion which the USA and its few allies - like Tony Blair - had patently failed to convince the world was necessary.

They chose to ignore this opposition, defy the United Nations and go ahead anyway. And when the images of the Hollywood-style staged statue-demolition in Baghdad were beamed around the world, the message was supposed to be that the USA had been right all along, its critics proved hopelessly misguided. But that celebrated photocall proved the high point of the American campaign. Now things don’t look so rosy. Now the invasion doesn’t look so wholesome. Now it’s becoming increasingly clear that it was the anti-war protesters who were right all along, not the warmongers.

Let’s take a look at the so-called reasons for a war that cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives:

* Bringing democracy to Iraq. This is a joke. Iraq is officially under US/UK occupation. There will be no elections for at least two years. Iraqi people - even opponents of Saddam - are increasingly angry at the US military regime. But any who dare to protest risk being shot dead by American troops.

* Wiping out terrorism. Contrary to the impression given to the American public (and soldiers), Iraq had nothing to do with the Twin Towers attack or terrorism in general, so the war was never going to hit the likes of Al Qaida. However, as widely predicted, the war has increased anger against the USA and UK and sparked a new wave of terrorist attacks - Riyadh and Casablanca were just the start. Thanks to Bush and Blair a whole new generation of terrorists have been recruited. Thanks to Bush and Blair, we are all targets.

* Weapons of Mass Destruction. If Saddam had really had those famous WMDs, how come he didn’t use them, even as his defences were folding around him? And how come the US and the UK can’t find any, even now? Jack Straw has claimed “it’s not crucially important” that any weapons are ever found. What a give-away! The truth is that Iraq was never a threat to its immediate neighbours, let alone the UK or USA. Our Government fed us blatant lies that it cannot now back up.

* Bringing Saddam to justice. Where is he? Why don’t we hear anything about him anymore? He was installed as ruler of Iraq by the CIA in the first place. Did they whisk him away to a retirement villa in Florida?

* Liberating the Iraqi people. Is being killed being liberated? How about losing your limbs or your friends and relatives? Or getting blown up by a US or British cluster bomb (landmine) months after the ‘war’ is over? Or dying of cancer caused by the depleted uranium used in allied weapons? Or contracting typhoid or cholera in the post-war chaos? There has been no liberation, just extermination and occupation.

Now the war has finished it is clearer than ever what lay behind it. It was nothing but an act of conquest, an expansion of the American global empire, a strategic manoeuvre, an ‘opening up’ of a new market for big business, a nice little earner for the arms firms and the ‘rebuilders’ of Iraq, all closely linked to the US establishment.

Join Worthing Against War in opposing the occupation of Iraq as firmly as we opposed the invasion. Join us in fighting the real axis of evil - Bush, Blair and their shadowy backers, ruthless bullies whose bare-faced lies and brutal use of raw power are proving by far the biggest threat to the happiness and security of the people of the world in this brave new millennium.


The long-term struggle.

Just because the "war" - as in the military invasion of Iraq - is over and fast disappearing from the media, this does not mean the issue has gone away. Far from it. We are now dealing with a US occupation of Iraq, with increasing Iraqi domestic opposition. The parallels with the equally illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian terrorities like the West Bank are clear to see. So on one hand our message must now be "End the Occupation!" or "End the Occupations!". On the other hand we must continue to focus on the way that the war was just the latest, most blatant and brutal, example of western capitalist imperialism. As Naomi Klein recently wrote in The Guardian, the agenda behind the "New Iraq" is the same one that has been foisted on Britain under Thatcherism and its ideological successor New Labourism - privatisation, or a Big Business free-for-all. This global corporate rule, facililtated by government, is of course the phenomenon that prompted the wave of anti-capitalist protests across the world over the last few years. It is no coincidence that many of the same people and groups have been involved in opposing corporate globalisation and US militarism. It is all the same struggle. And this fact is now apparent to more people than ever, thanks to the transparent lies and bullying deployed by the US and UK in the build-up to the take-over of Iraq. As someone recently pointed out, there are two superpowers in the world today - the American state and global public opinion.

Worthing Against War meetings will still be held on a regular basis but usually fortnightly rather than weekly. The Friday night vigil will continue each week, but from 5 to 6pm only. On May 24 there will be another protest in Worthing town centre, focusing on the evils of cluster bombs. Further ahead, In September there is a call to Shut Down DSEi!, Europe's biggest death fair, held in London's docklands.


USEFUL LINKS

uk indymedia

cnd

stop the war coalition

direct action against war

middle east online

palestine chronicle

islam online

official aljazeera site

arrow

reclaim the bases

campaign against arms trade

peace news

disobedience

sussex action for peace

international citizens' weapons inspectorate

gloucestershire weapons inspectors

war resistors international

voices in the wilderness

greenpeace

common dreams

posters to print out

urban 75 anti-war pages

anti-war infoshop

Got some good links? Let us know about them!


Build the Resistance! Report, Sunday April 13

The symbolic statue has been pulled down. The cheering crowd of a hundred or so, hand picked especially for the cameras, while thousands of others are starving and looting hospitals for water to stay alive. It's now estimated that on top of the thousands already killed and maimed by the US/UK state terrorists, at least a further 250,000 will die within the next three months. That horrifying figure doesn't take into account the longer term effects of depleted uranium and whatever chemical cocktails have been, and are still yet to be used. Bomber Blair has already stated his intention to support the American Empire in their attack on North Korea. As the Iraqi people are left to flounder in misery, starvation, and the imposition of an American military puppet regime, you can be sure the preparations for the next stage of their empire building are under way. We must not sit back waiting for the next development, but must organise now for direct action. Keep up the pressure, increase the resistance, no to war!

Protests must go on! Report, Sunday April 6

Worthing people are continuing to voice their opposition to the conflict in Iraq. Five events were staged within three days at the end of last week and we are taking to the town's streets again on Thursday night, April 10. Gather with whistles, drums and pots and pans outside the Guildbourne Centre at 6.30pm - two weeks after the start of the invasion. This coincides with a national day of student protest against the war, so please spread the word and let's get a good, noisy and visual, turn-out!

Some people we meet seem surprised that we are still protesting about this war when it obviously isn't going to be stopped short of a total American occupation. But the attack on Iraq hasn't become right because it has become real and are protests must continue throughout and after this war.

On Thursday last week (April 3) a stall was set up in Worthing town centre focusing on the treatment of Palestinians by what many people regard as the real rogue state in the Middle East - Israel. Then in the evening a contingent of local protesters met up at West Worthing and toured the town's streets for an hour and a half, blowing whistles and chanting anti-war slogans, flanked by rows of police. The third event was on Friday evening, when the weekly peace vigil at the war memorial in Chapel Road was held.

On Saturday there was a theatrical protest in Montague Place, with people wrapped in 'blood-soaked' bandages to symbolise the dead and injured on all sides in Iraq and some gagged to represent censorship in war coverage. The previous week some of us had been threatened with arrest by police for displaying 'offensive' images of civilian casualties in Iraq. So what is more offensive? Showing pictures of children blown up by bombs or actually blowing up children with bombs, as our Government is doing?

Also on Saturday, a highly successful Rock Against War evening was held in the Vintner's Parrot, Warwick Street, with more than 120 people of all ages packing in to hear three bands - Beyond, Thank You Terrance and Flatpig. Thanks to all the bands for turning up and making it a powerful night!


Keeping up the Pressure. Report, Sunday March 30.

More successful events have been held this week. Following Tuesday night's meeting, a short-notice protest was staged on Thursday night. Despite a huge police presence, a group of around 30 staged a noisy protest walk around West Worthing and Tarring, culminating in a short blockade of the Esso petrol station in Littlehampton - parent company Exxon being one of the big US oil interests often blamed for the US's anti-environmental as well as warmongering activities.

Saturday's meeting at the Friends Meeting House was packed - both with people and speakers. Plenty of useful information was passed around and ideas exchanged. The only problem in the end was that there was not time for longer group discussion - but anyone who feels they missed out is more than welcome to come to a Tuesday night meeting!


Resisting the War. Report, Sunday March 23.

FOUR days after the illegal invasion of Iraq began, there is at last time to put together an update on the anti-war protests. Activists in Worthing, as elsewhere in Sussex, England and the world, have been expressing our opposition to this murderous extension of the American empire in no uncertain terms. Here's a brief summary of what has been happening locally.

Wednesday night. With war obviously imminent, unknown activists cover Worthing with posters advertising the 'when war breaks out' protest in town.

Thursday morning and afternoon. It's official. Emails and phone messages go out and WAW activists hit the streets with leaflets declaring 'protest tonight'.

Thursday evening. Worthing people gather in numbers at the Guildbourne Centre, making an enormous noise, with whistles, drums, pots and pans and so on, plus plenty of banners and flags. Then they set off up Chapel Road, some 200-strong, and stage a sit-down protest on the roundabout next to Teville Gate. Traffic is brought to a complete halt and after police (clearly stretched by the simultaneous protests in Brighton, Chichester, Haywards Heath etc) close Broadwater Road to traffic further north, the protest moves off, reclaiming a series of streets and roundabouts as it heads on a circular tour of the town centre past Safeway's, Steyne Gardens and the roundabout in front of the pier. The whole of Worthing has been brought to a standstill. The marchers then make a detour along Montague Street to McDonald's, where they stage a peaceful occupation of the hated symbol of American cultural imperialism, prompting police to send reinforcements to protect the establishment. The march returns to the Guildbourne Centre and disperses. A job well done.

Friday morning. A dedicated dozen activists stage a surprise early morning protest at Worthing railway station, preventing the 7.23 London commuter service from leaving for some ten minutes, waving flags, blowing whistles and chanting slogans. On being evicted by heavy-handed security staff, they proceed to West Worthing station where the operation is repeated on the next London-bound service. Life just cannot be expected to carry on as normal when the government of this country is involved in illegal military aggression in our name and at our expense.

Friday evening. The weekly vigil is held at the war memorial in Chapel Road. Other Worthing activists travel to Brighton to join a mass protest which involves the blockade of an Esso petrol station. No blood for oil! Riot police line up en masse to protect the garage and the London Road branch of McDonald's and later ambush and attack protesters in Western Road.

Saturday. Two Worthing contingents are in action - one group travelling up to London for the half-million strong march to Hyde Park. The spirit of resistance is very much alive. Another group heads for 'RAF' (USAF) Fairford in Gloucestershire, where more than 5,000 people march on the bomber base, which is protected by thousands of riot police with horses and vehicles, some drafted in from as far away as Manchester.

More protests will obviously also be arranged for the very near future. We must not stop now! With incidents like the RAF jet being shot down by the Americans, more and more people could well be joining our movement in the days to come!

Media

There's not been an entire news blackout on anti-war protests, but since the attack began it has been noticeably reduced. The aim of the authorities, aided and abetted by sections of the media, is clearly to take the sting out of the anger felt by millions and pretend that all but a tiny minority are now 'backing our boys'. This is just not the case. The war is no less wrong because it has started. And our protests will continue despite the propaganda blanket being thrown over them. If you watch TV news and notice they are biased, don't forget to phone up and complain.

And if you want a glimpse of all the protests going on around the world that they're not telling you about (like the 1,045 people ARRRESTED at an anti-war demo in San Francisco...) and the massive police suppression they're also not telling you about, you really need to check out uk indymedia or indymedia (global site).


Report, Friday February 28

Here follows a brief summary of Tuesday's meeting: Monday 3rd March 4:30pm - Lobby of Council at Town Hall. We plan to launch a campaign to pressure the local Council to publicly oppose war. This will include writting to local councillors individually People's Assembly for Peace - 12th March London. This was mentioned in the circular I forwarded to you. We will be electing delegates at Tuesday's meeting, and more details will follow.

Are you a Trade Union member? If not and you are in work you should join! In either case, if there is a Union branch at your workplace get them to oppose the war and to follow declarations by unions leaders, including Mick Rix, to organise a campaign in the workplaces for industrial action against the war. At the very least publicise the anti-war campaign among your colleagues! We plan to coordinate such activity around Worthing, including targetting major workplaces where we are not represented - this could be a key part of the campaign, allowing us to reach a large number of people and having a great affect - imagine a general strike against the war...!

We also need to reach out into all areas of the community. This includes religious and charitable organisations who would be sympathetic - for example the local Muslim community is well represented in the town's indian restaurants. An anti-war leaflet going out with every curry would be a bonus!

We need to increase our public face, with the usual stall on Staurday in the town centre, plus other stalls around the town if there are enough people willing to organise it. Another suggestion was to ensure there are always anti-war posters up around the town, and to hang banners around roundabouts and from bridges etc.!

22nd March - demonstration at RAF/USAF Fairford. This is where Bush's B2 Stealth bombers will be taking off to bomb Baghdad. Transport will be organised so if you would like to come get in touch! There will also be a "Reclaim the Bases" weekend on 5th/6th April, with demonstrations and non-violent direct action at military bases around the country.

ABOVE ALL PUBLICISE THE FACT THAT WE WILL BE DEMONSTRATING AT 6PM BY THE CLOCK TOWER NEAR THE GUILDBOURNE CENTRE FOLLOWING THE START OF HOSTILITIES!!!!!!!!


Tuesday February 18

Hi there folks! Great feeling to have made history isn't it!? I think all of us who made it to London can be justly proud to have taken part in last Saturday's demonstration. I don't think there has ever been an internationally coordinated demonstration of such size before! And even "President" Bush has had to mention it, if only in order to reiterate his support for Tony Blair. In order to carry the campaign forward in Worthing, and to answer the call for demonstrations and possibly civil disobedience (peaceful of course), we have booked the upstairs room at the Downview Pub for next Tuesday 25th February for us to meet for a brainstorming session. We believe it is necessary to act quickly, and we thought it would be too late to wait until 4th March. Please think hard about any ideas for action in the coming weeks and certainly in response to the start of war. They can range from letter writing campaigns to local MPs and Councillors, Street Theatre, demonstrations, or anything at all which is going to raise our profile around Worthing and enable us to build a bigger base. In particular we would ask anyone who has any links with local community groups, trade union branches, and any other organisations who might be sympathetic to our cause to ask them to come to the meeting. For example, the local Muslim Association contacted us before the demonstration, and they would like to get involved. Basically put your thinking caps on and come along next Tuesday!


Contact us

Send e-mail to porkbolter@eco-action.org or worthing against war

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