The Biggest Protest in History

On February 15, 2003 over 15 million people marched against the war in Iraq, in over 800 cities around the world

“The global protest against the Iraq War on 15 February 2003 was a pivotal moment in recent history, the consequences of which have gone unreported. Amir Amirani’s We Are Many chronicles the struggle to shift power from the old establishment to the new superpower that is global public opinion, through the prism of one historic day. I urge you to support this film in whatever way you can.” – Oliver Stone

We are Many, is a film project, worth checking out here

2 comments on “The Biggest Protest in History

  1. Joseph Kisolo on said:

    Watching this video fills me with mixed emotion.

    Feb 15th will always stay in my memory as the most astonishing expression of the potential of mass dissent. On that the day, and the surrounding months, it felt like the anti-capitalist slogan ‘Another World Is Possible’ was being writ large across society.

    A fresh faced student revolutionary, I was part of organising couches from Sheffield University – we booked (along with others in the city) *every* single one we could. Selling first normal tickets, then different coloured ‘IF SOMEONE DROPS OUT’ tickets, and then even ‘TINY CHANCE’ tickets and people really did buy them!!

    So on one hand I agree with the argument expressed in the video that the marches weren’t pointless – we did change something – we did alter the way people talked about the war, and subsequent conflicts – we did radicalise a new generation.

    On the other though we can’t dodge the elephant – we didn’t stop the war.

    And more than that, as socialists we pissed away the chance to pull together the most radicalised elements of the movement – we fucked up the very real possibility of turning the vague feeling shared by millions that something else was needed into a concrete network of (at least) tens of thousands of activists who could generalise this feeling and who could have begun to form real expressions of what this alternative world would look like.

    Rather than let the memory of this the biggest mobilisation so far in human history merely equal nostalgia – we should see it as a challenge from the past – look what you did – look what *is* possible – sort it out – build a mass movement against austerity – build a radical socialist network of (at least) tens of thousands.

  2. Dem O'Cracy on said:

    It’s very important to reflect on it all, without ‘beating ourselves up’ about what we didn’t do etc.

    The size of the protest and anger was massive and way beyond anything that ‘the Left’ had ever anticipated.

    I think that those heady few weeks really revealed to many just where the levers of power were – and to see people wobble/become confused under pressure [like Clare Short] was also an education/revealing, on all kinds of levels.

    I actually think that there should have been calls for significant civil disobedience immediately before the vote. By this I mean the actions such as at Fairford, but perhaps the blocking of major transport hubs, getting the radical parts of the TU movement in transport [eg RMT] to facilitate that etc. It would have surely stepped things up and there is no doubt that the swell of public opposition to what was going on would have provided support for those inevitably arrested/new to such actions.

    There has never been an explanation, as far as I am aware, of why another demonstration wasn’t called after 15th February – although there were of course massive local ones – such as the radical ones in Manchester.

    But there is no doubt that the scrutiny of that filthy war – from the torture chambers in Abu Ghraib, to the death of David Kelly was made much easier because of that amazing movement. I shall never forget that period and we need to keep the collective memory of the best of it, and pass it down through our organisations/families etc.