Roundup of antiwar protests

Great Britain

(In the London Guardian on 29 April, Harvard academic Daniel Goldhagen wrote a disgraceful article extending his argument that all Germans have a moral responsibility for Hitler's atrocities to Serbia. He calls for an all-out war against Yugoslavia, war-crimes trials, the lot. I sent a letter in reply. I doubt if they'll print it, as they haven't printed any of mine since this war started. Paul Flewers)

To the Editor

Dear Sir

There is nothing 'controversial' about Daniel Goldhagen's 'German Lessons' (29 April), he is merely bringing out the unpleasant if logical consequences of the pro-war liberal attitude to the Yugoslav disaster, that the Serbs must be taught a lesson even if it takes the systematic destruction of Serbia's industrial and therefore social infrastructure, and the deaths of many of its citizens. Loath as I am to make comparisons between this war and that of 1939-45, that is what happened to Germany and Japan. Less explicit but nonetheless present in pro-war liberalism is Goldhagen's concept of the 'national guilt' of the Serbs. Much as Goldhagen wants to parade his liberal-democratic credentials, saying that the Serbs are 'legally and morally incompetent' is no different in essence to Hitler's wholesale dismissal of such entire peoples as Gypsies, Jews and Slavs. Isn't it interesting that liberalism tips so easily into militarism and racism?

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Here's a brief and somewhat subjective report of a demonstration against the Nato war on Yugoslavia in London on 8 May.

News reports said around 2000 people attended, but it was considerably more than that. Much mobilisation by the Socialist Workers Party. Most other left groups in attendance, if in small numbers. No sign of the Alliance for Workers Liberty, who think that self-determination for Kosovo is a more important demand than stopping the bombing. A certain amount of the usual religious/pacifist types. There were a few Serb nationalist types around, some of whom waved royalist tricolours.

I saw no hostility from bystanders, except from a few dozen Albanians shouting at us at one point, waving Union Jacks and Nato flags. I marched with an anarchist contingent, with a banner in English, Serbo-Croat and Albanian saying 'No war but the class war', and 'Stuff nationalism'. We stopped opposite the Albanians with our banner, and they did not like it! Neither did the small number of Serb nationalists on the march.

I don't know what the end of march speeches were like, as I had to leave for another engagement.

Did anyone else on this list attend?

Paul Flewers

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I was at the demo as well. I'd estimate the attendance at around 5,000. As Paul says, there was a very large SWP turnout, p