:: Monday, February 24, 2003 ::

Below is my dot.communism column from Frontline 9.

War on the Web

George Bush and Tony Blair have had a rather obvious problem whilst trying to gather support for their invasion of Iraq, and that is that not many people agree with them. So a propaganda war has been the order of the day, all aimed at turning world opinion their way. Both pro and anti-war bloggers have been busy posting their dissections of the latest UN inspectors report, White House or Downing Street briefing or mass anti-war demo. As opinions have polarised so the rhetoric has become more heated.

People have also turned to the web for the information that the traditional media, the millionaire owned TV and newspapers, just isn't supplying. The internet gives access to alternative viewpoints. It gives you a chance to read the facts they don't want you to know and the protests you would normally not be told about.

Some web commentators have got very excited about the role of the internet in mobilising the huge anti-war demonstrations that we have seen all over the world. Of course, as many of the organisers are quick to point out, the success of these sites has not created the anti-war movement. Rather the opposite is the case. The depth of anger about war on Iraq has seen thousands turn to the net for information. They are looking into the politics of the conflict, reading different points of view and news sites. They are arguing and propagandising around their own point of view. Most importantly they are using the internet to organise and to mobilise. They use the web to find out about the next demo or action, to get leaflets, petitions and posters to download and reproduce.

Anti-War Sites

There are a few sites who have specialised in making posters for their visitors to reproduce:


I have seen these posters on demos in Glasgow and London as well as on indymedia and mainstream news reports about demos in the USA.

It is easy to create a pdf file of a leaflet or poster and then post that to a website for others to download and use as they need.

The main UK websites are those of the Stop the War Coalition and here in Scotland the Scottish Coalition for Justice Not War, hosted by CND at. Also check out the Edinburgh Coalition for Justice not War.

The US has one of the highest levels of internet usage worldwide and resistance to Bush's war plans is crucial there. It is no surprise therefore that some of the most comprehensive anti-war sites originate in the States. United for Peace contains a wealth of resources for activists and also those who still require to be convinced. Articles detail the plans of the White House to seize Iraqi oil and highlight the isolation of Bush internationally as well as providing all the other key arguments against the war.

There are links to all the other anti-war sites and information about the varied peace protests throughout the country. One great feature of this site is the downloadable, 'activists toolkits' which give a straightforward guide to such things as 'how to organise a demo in one week' and how to use the media. You can even download songsheets for your demo!

The other big US site is that of ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) who have been furiously red baited by every other conservative blogger on the hemisphere for their links to the US left. Their site offers clear resources for trade unions and student activists as well as reports and pictures.

Another site just set up is http://www.uslaboragainst-war.org/ coordinating antiwar trade unionists in the US.

The web has also enabled activists in different countries to coordinate actions such as the February 15th international day of action against the war, that was called for at the European Social Forum.

But of course most anti-war organisers know that they will not stop Bush and Blair from their swivel chair. The web is just one useful tool for mobilisation, but there is still no substitute for getting out on the street to argue face to face armed only with a handful of leaflets and a pasting table laden with petitions.

:: Alister | 4:04 pm | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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