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On November 9 up to one million people demonstrated in the Italian city of Florence against the planned war on Iraq.  On 26 October 150,000 marched in Washington DC against the war and half as many again in San Francisco.  In London hundreds of thousands have demonstrated.  In fact all over the world large demonstrations testify to the opposition that exists.

Yet we know that these cannot physically stop US imperialismís war.  To do that those opposed to war must not just organise and mobilise still larger forces, they must have their own weapons of opposition.  Such weapons are a political radicalisation that threatens the foundations of imperialismís war by threatening imperialism itself.

Those opposed to war must realise that war is pathologically ingrained into imperialism.  There is not a peaceful imperialism on offer.  There is not therefore the slightest possibility of forcing Bush or Blair to stop the drive to war unless the foundations of their rule begin to be seriously questioned.

Such a challenge can only come from the anti-war movement becoming more than a demand for peace but a political opposition.  Socialist should be confident that those opposed to war can be won to just such an understanding.

In Ireland we should be under no illusion that the politicians that stand at the head of a pathetically weak Irish State will stand up to the US superpower that owns a large chunk of its economyís productive capacity.  The demand to close Shannon to the US military must seek to exact the highest political price from the Irish establishment in order to seek achievement of its demands.

Despite the demonstrations Bushís Republicans won the mid-term elections, Blair arrogantly threatens firefighters and in Italy workers must defend themselves from attacks by the Berlusconi regime.  The stark opposition of these political realities reveals the movementís true position.

We can see that we still have a long way to go to achieve our objectives.  We should be confident however that more and more people are open to our arguments.  The strongest are those provided by reality itself.  Imperialism is increasingly open about its aims and belligerent in its threats.  Socialist must seek to radicalise the anti-war movement into a socialist opposition by explaining the nature of this reality and the politics of opposition.



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