Film review: “We Are Many”

“We Are Many” is the title of a documentary film by Amir Amirani.

Its title is taken from the famous poem by P.B. Shelley.

It is a brilliant account of the build up to the worldwide protest day of February 15 2003 against the Iraq war and considers the impact of that day on events of the next decade. The Huffington Post review of the film summed it up eloquently by saying, “Anyone doubting the value of protest should watch this film, for proof that ripples of political pebbles can spread wide. “We Are Many” is a timely reminder that we are still those pebbles, if we choose to be”.

The film does not hide the fact that despite the biggest protest at one time ever seen in the capitalist developed countries and some developing countries (72 countries, 789 cities), the bombing of Iraq led politically by Bush and Blair went ahead soon after.
However the film also highlights the “ripples of political pebbles” described by the Huffington Post. The day after the bombing, thousands of people took to the streets of Cairo in protest at the bombing of Iraq, identifying it as an attack on the whole Arab world. This was the start of the people’s movement which nearly a decade later led to the overthrow of the Egyptian Mabarek Government.

Then the Director, Amir Amirani takes the audience to 2015 and the situation in Syria. Despite the reactionary forces in both the USA and the UK calling for a repeat of the bombing of Iraq to remove Assad and his government in Syria, the people’s movement against imperialist war has prevented this from occurring. It implies that while the very nature of the imperialist system means war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine), that the only force that can make politicians hesitant to make war is the power of the people’s grass roots movement. In coming to this conclusion, the film does not do so with rose coloured glasses, making the point that the people’s movement against imperialist wars needs grass roots, sustainable organisation as well.

What is the relevance of the film for the people in Australia today?

The film contains interviews with people from all walks of life who either participated in the 15 February 2003 global day of action against the Iraq war, showing that it is the people in their thousands and millions who commit to acting collectively that change the world. In Australia today the involvement of Australia in aggressive wars in support of imperialist powers is taking place at many different levels. US bases in Australia like Pine Gap are contributing to the US drone strikes in countries like Syria. Companies like Raytheon and BAE manufacture new weapons and create new technologies for the imperialist war machines. Governments at federal and state level support multinational corporations to build submarines and other military vessels whose prime function is not to contribute to the people’s defence of Australia but for use in imperialist wars.

The irony is that it has been a people’s movement led by the manufacturing workers in Australia that is winning the battle to have these vessels built in Australia if they are going to be built at all. However the question needs to be asked – are the submarines and air warfare frigates what Australia needs for the country’s naval defence? Who is making that decision and on whose behalf? If the answer is that they contribute very little to Australia’s coastal defence needs, why are they being built?

Similarly in South Australia, the major parliamentary parties are pushing the state down the nuclear path under cover of findings of an ‘independent’ Royal Commission. All in the name of creating jobs and/or contributing to the renewal energy future to combat global warming. However export of uranium to any country with nuclear weapons will inevitably lead to an increase in the total amount of enriched uranium available to make nuclear weapons, the ultimate weapon of mass destruction and weapon of war.

Potential exists in Australia and the rest of the world for a mass movement linking opposition to imperialist wars and support for economic development based on sustainability powered by renewable energy, excluding nuclear.

An Australian people’s movement can lead the way by joining the dots between renewable energy, nuclear free, sustainable jobs and no reliance on a war machine to sustain the economic base of a society.

The experience of 15 February 2003 shows that this is possible.

Ned K

Below are links to the latest articles posted on the  website

Film review: “We are many”                           

Why Abbott told Japan to build our subs         

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