Skip to content or view screen version

Controversy at Stop The War Coalition AGM

jn | 14.10.2007 17:56

Stop the War Coalition claims the central theme of forthcoming conference is opposition to any attack on Iran. But officers try to silence voices who are critical of the Iranian regime. Hands Off the People of Iran and Communist Students have their affiliations to STWC rescinded.

Preparations for the Stop the War Coalition’s annual general meeting on Saturday, October 27 have run into controversy with the exclusion of two newly-affiliated organisations - Hands Off the People of Iran and Communist Students .
On the day of the final deadline for motions and nominations for the Coalition’s leadership (October 12), both organisations were sent emails from the StWC chair, Andrew Murray, tersely informing them that they were barred because “you are entirely hostile to the Coalition, its policies and its work”
Yassamine Mather, a prominent exiled Iranian socialist, a member of Workers Left Unity Iran and founder member of Hands Off The Peoples Of Iran, commented on the supposed ‘hostility’ of her organisation (and CS, an affiliate of Hopi) to the StWC:
“What is being implied here?
“Hopi’s founding statement has two core elements. First, total and unconditional opposition to any imperialist attack on Iran. No doubt, the StWC officers have no problem with that.
“Second, we are clear that this implies no support or softening of our attitude to the Ahmadinejad regime. We make no apology for telling the truth that Iran is a foully oppressive society. We are totally opposed to Bush-style regime change - but we are positively for democracy from below, for the working people of that country to take the running of their society into their own hands!
“Is it this that makes us ‘hostile’ organisations in the eyes of some StWC officials?”
This decision was agreed at the StWC officers meeting on the morning of October 12 and communicated to Hopi and CS later in the day. Both organisations had submitted motions, made nominations to the steering group, had previously been in contact with the StWC office and had their affiliated status verified. Thus, neither realistically had any time to challenge this bureaucratic exclusion before the guillotine fell.
Ben Lewis of Communist Students commented:
“Clearly, this is a political attack on one point of view in the anti-war movement, timed to ensure that we had no time to properly respond. Communist Students has been very active in its support for Hopi - that’s why we have been branded as a ‘hostile organisation’”.
Hopi demands that Andrew Murray and his fellow officers are explicit in what is being stated:
* Is any criticism of the Islamic regime in Iran at present “entirely hostile to the Coalition, its policies and its work”?
* If this is so, what about those leading supporters of the StWC who have already signed up to Hopi - Carolyne Lucas MEP, John McDonnell MP, Ken Loach, Billy Bragg, Mark Steel or John Pilger (more supporters below)? Will they now be purged? If Hopi’s views are incompatiable with StWC affiliation, what about those supporters of Hopi who are in StWC?
* How do the exclusions of Hopi and CS square with the stated aims of the StWC that “Supporters of the Coalition, whether organisations or individuals, will of course be free to develop their own analyses and organise their own actions” and “We call on all peace activists and organisations, trade unionists, campaigners and labour movement organisations to join with us in building a mass movement that can stop the drive to war”? (
The motions from Hopi plus the nominations of Ben Lewis and Yassamine Mather have now been re-submitted by StWC affiliate, the Communist Party of Great Britain. Mark Fischer of the CPGB underlined that “we are determined to see the politics of Hopi on the floor of this conference, despite the best (or rather worst) efforts of the Coalition’s officers”.

You may contact the Stop The War Coalition about this or any other issue at



Display the following 4 comments

  1. I agree with STWC — mc
  2. StWC response to complaints re hopi‏ — Hugh
  3. "sustained the movement"????? — freeluncher
  4. HOPI : BAe links — tom eile