British MP speaks to labor

SAN FRANCISCO – The featured speaker at a labor breakfast at San Francisco’s longshore union hall was British Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn, Feb. 17. A former public workers union leader, Corbyn is now a steering committee member of the Stop the War Coalition and a leader among Labor Party MPs opposing a war on Iraq. He spoke at the two million-strong demonstration in London as well as at Sunday’s San Francisco action.

Corbyn told participants that 80 percent of Britons oppose a war without United Nations approval, and most oppose war on Iraq under any circumstances. “I’ve never seen a public movement take off like this,” he said of the Stop the War Coalition of traditional peace organizations, unions, left and progressive organizations and individuals.

“We’re being dragged by the nose into a war with a country that is already destroyed by the 1991 war,” Corbyn said, pointing out that the real motives are assertion of western – especially U.S. and British – power in the region as well as control of oil resources.

Corbyn also warned of the terrible loss of civil liberties, and the growth of racism and Islamophobia, which he has observed in the very diverse parliamentary district he represents. Historically it has been a very tolerant area, he said, but the rise in racist attacks and slurs is alarming.

The author can be reached at cpusainternat@mindspring.com