Caroline and the Stop the War Coalition

In response to media requests Caroline has released this statement. 

Caroline is no longer a patron of the Stop the War Coalition - she resigned a number of weeks ago. She continues to oppose British bombing in Syria. 

In a recent article for the Huffington Post, Caroline detailed why she voted against the UK launching air strikes in Syria. 

She said:

"I listened carefully to the Prime Minister make his case for why the UK should join the bombing campaign against Isis. The debate in the House of Commons was thorough, and the horror and revulsion at recent atrocities in Syria, Paris, Beirut and elsewhere is shared by MPs from across the political divide. 

"Yet I have still to see any evidence to suggest that UK bombing Isis targets in Syria is likely to increase our security here in Britain or help bring about a lasting peace in the region in question - to the contrary, the evidence appears to suggest it would make matters worse."

A spokesperson for Caroline Lucas MP said:

“Caroline stepped back from the Stop the War Coalition a few weeks ago. Her busy parliamentary and constituency schedule means that she doesn’t have time to fully engage with the role of a Patron and, in light of some recent StWC positions that she didn’t support, she felt standing down was the responsible thing to do. Like the Stop the War Coalition, Caroline is opposed to British bombing in Syria because it will neither keep Britain safe nor help bring about a lasting peace in Syria.”

The Spokesperson went on to say:

“Caroline was specifically troubled by some Stop the War Coalition statements after the Paris atrocities. Though the pieces were subsequently taken down she felt unable to associate herself with them.  

“She was also concerned that some Syrian voices were not given an opportunity to speak at a recent meeting organised by the StWC in Parliament.

“StWC has played an important role in building the anti-war movement in Britain, and Caroline will continue to work in support of peace.”

ENDS

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Lizzie
8th December 2015 22:27
It seems STWc has a few bad apples floating at the top of the barrel ? One has to ask what these Syrians that were silenced had to say ? That necessitated them being silenced ... I think Ms Chen may not only have been correct a couple of yrs ago but she may also be owed an apology ?
sheila douglas
9th December 2015 0:44
I am a big fan of Caroline Lucas and of almost everything the Greens stand for - I voted for them in the last election, I have marched with them against austerity, against climate change at different times and different places, followed them on Facebook and elsewhere and also really admired Caroline for speaking up recently on "Any Questions" in defence of the "different kind of politics" that Jeremy Corbyn, in harmony with the Greens, has strived to promote. I was sad and disappointed to read the statement regarding Caroline’s resignation from STWC - because while it, of course is her decision, and I can understand both the demands on her time and the sensitivity of her position, it is undoubtedly true that there has been has been misinformation, wilful misunderstanding and misrepresentation in much of the mass media of the exceptionally peaceful, passionate and overwhelmingly disciplined demonstrations in the run up to parliamentary vote to Bomb Syria. Like many of the very diverse crowd that had listened carefully to the arguments on both sides and felt strongly enough to come out and make their voice heard, I am not a member of Stop the War or of any other political or campaigning organization but someone who believes that bombing Syria, for all the glib naysaying, will inevitably lead to the killing of innocents (so-called “collateral damage”), run the risk of significantly escalating the situation, of making it worse for ordinary civilians on the ground in Syria and completely destroying what is left of their country, as was the case with Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libia. I believe it will put the lives of innocent civilians on our streets at greater risk and I am also mistrustful of the stated motivations for air strikes. The overwhelming message I took home from those Don't Bomb Syria demonstrations was the unanimous condemnation of and disgust both for what happened in France and for the despicable, dehumanised hate-mongers who call themselves ISIS. This was the position of every STWC speaker. STWC simply provided the collective umbrella for ordinary people to come together and express their fears, their desperation and their protest at British politicians advocating yet another bomb first approach. Whilst I do appreciate Caroline's position, it inevitably plays into the hands of those who feel threatened by the recent groundswell of grass roots political engagement and interest in politics which seems based on a renewed hope and sense of empowerment that the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader LP has helped engender along with by the return of political values of social justice, participatory democracy and inclusiveness which have also been key to the surge in political success of both the Greens and the SNP. This achievement is hard won and very fragile - it could be a last chance for all of us who want a better, a healthier, a more socially and ecologically just, inclusive, equal and less market-driven world to work together. I fear the point of no return approaches in more respects than climate change.
Tony Greenstein
9th December 2015 21:55
This is the wrong move at the wrong time. Many of us have disagreements with much of the politics of StWC e.g. over Iran. But regardless StWC is the major anti-war organisation in Britain and to dissociate oneself from it at this, of all times, is sheer cowardice. Running at the first whiff of grapeshot. From what I understand there was nothing remarkable in what StWC said about Paris. Obviously if we bomb Isis then we can expect a revenge attack in the West. But it is or should be more than that and the fatal weakness of Caroline's position is that she is located within the disagreements of the ruling class in this society. Caroline believes that '"The debate in the House of Commons was thorough, and the horror and revulsion at recent atrocities in Syria, Paris, Beirut and elsewhere is shared by MPs from across the political divide.' Really? I didn't notice the debate pivoting over questions such as who of our 'allies' has funded, supported, equipped and even trained the forces of Isis. The Saudis and Quataris have funded a host of Jihadi groups, Isis included, yet this went unmentioned or barely mentioned. Turkey has been documented as providing the rear supply base, a place to trade oil with evidence that the Turkish secret service and military have been supplying it with weaponry, apart from attacking and bombing the Kurds. This duplicity went unmentioned. Also unmentioned was the US's record of playing off all sides against each other, in conjunction with Israel which has been supplying and supporting Al Nusra (again documented in Israeli papers). Israel has long wished to see Syria fragment into its confessional components and if Caroline is unaware of this I am quite happy to supply chapter and verse. Caroline goes on to say that 'Yet I have still to see any evidence to suggest that UK bombing Isis targets in Syria is likely to increase our security here in Britain or help bring about a lasting peace in the region in question....' So if Cameron had supplied such evidence, although a negative or a future event is by definition difficult if not impossible to predict then she would have supported the bombing? Perhaps if Caroline and the Green Party were to take on board the concept of anti-imperialism then they would approach this subject from a different perspective. We in the West have no right to bomb, invade etc. other countries.. It's not a question of find evidence for or against an unknowable hypothesis. It is simply that our intervention is never disinterested and always makes matters worse. We are there because it is in our interests to be there not because we are altruistic. It is this state of mind which leads to Die Grunen, the German Green Party, having presided over the first instance of German troops engaging in warfare in Afghanistan, when Joshka Fischer was Foreign Minister. It is this which leads today's Die Grunen and its racist spokesperson Volker Beck to give the State of Israel's genocidal and racist attacks on Palestinians th eir fulll support whilst defaming anti-Zionist Jews like Max Blumenthall and David Sheen as being 'anti-Semitic'. Anti-Semitic because all Jews are supposed to support the 'Jewish' racist state. Caroline's act of resignation and her press releasing it are shameful acts of surrender.
Simon Hawkesworth
9th December 2015 22:05
I don't understand why you have 'stepped back' - left - Stop the War. The articles that were posted, and which you object to, have been removed and repudiated by the organisation. You statement above is limited in the extreme in terms of your presentations of the reasons. It seems somewhat insincere to support an organisation like this, then 'step back - why not have the decency to say leave? - because of articles that DON'T represent its position! If those articles had been posted on the Green Party's website, then removed, would you be 'stepping back' from the Party?
Robert Price, H...
10th December 2015 1:29
It is my sincere hope, that people who are morally correct but inelegant in their phraseology, will always be preferred to those who are selfish, cruel and dishonest, but expedient and loved by the press. I think I would rather be publicly crucified in an effort to improve the world I live in, than receive any award from the tax dodging, paedophile defending, economically illiterate, austerity forcing, deficit believing, warmongering, utterly charming, members of our current parliament; no matter how much there accents matched mine. I am of course fortunate in some ways to not have attended private school, and to not have the right accent or expedient disregard for my fellow human beings so popular with the members of the house and leaders of our political parties. Not because it benefits me in any way they wold understand, but because I think I better understand those who suffer from their cruel psychopathic behaviour. I would not want to abandon any group who are trying even clumsily to make the world better, as so many are failing to do anything.
Harvey Goldstei...
11th December 2015 23:24
Caroline's statement is really rather lame. She disagrees with some statements that were anyway subsequently taken down - that hardly amounts to a reason for resigning. She disagrees with Diane Abbott's chairing decision - many others may do the same, but complain and try and avoid it happening again. Why resign and give ammunition to all your enmies and especially to enmies of Stop the War that Caroline presumably still supports. A bad mistake and I hope she might have the courage sometime soon to admit that.
Martha
15th December 2015 17:48
I simply do not understand the timing of leaving the role of patron of the StWC. I have long had differences with StWC from the way it took over the anti-war movement in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, refusing direct action and marginalizing all other groups at the time, all the way to its recent resounding silence on the war against the Yemeni people (and UK involvement in the same) this year. But the timing of Caroline Lucas' pull-out from the patronage of StWC is unforgiveable. There is evidence that Muslim groups allied to the Gulf are now putting pressure on StWC to change its line on Syria and the Syrian Western-backed opposition in particular. Who were the 'Syrian speakers' refused? The statement by Lucas is insulting to any party member who should know exactly who and what caused her to leave at a time that the organisation and Jeremy Corbin are under severe attack. It sounds as though Lucas was just saving her skin when the heat has come on. That's a rather dreadful thing given the heretofore relatively principled positions of the GP on UK foreign policy.
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