activism film

We Are Many – the biggest protest in history

we are many

A new documentary opens in cinemas in the UK tonight, We Are Many. It tells the story of the protests against the Iraq war in 2003, when millions of people across every continent marched to declare that war would not be in their name.

As we all know, the war went ahead regardless, but the protests were still hugely significant. It was the first globally organised demonstration, and for that alone, it has a unique place in social history. No protest had ever rallied that many people, bringing together all sorts of people who had never marched before. It set the stage for similar global movements in future, including the climate marches, Occupy and the Arab Spring – movements that do often get results.

Less positively, I suspect the failure to stop the war and the unraveling of the case for it has played a big role in the lack of trust in politicians, and the lack of confidence in our democracy.

I’m not sure whether the film mentions it, but I suspect it was something of a turning point for globalisation too. Throughout the 90s, globalisation was a dirty word to many, associated with inequitable trade, big corporations and cultural colonialism. The Iraq war protests showed that there was a social side to globalisation too, that there were huge positives to a more connected world too, opportunities for solidarity and a global consciousness.

You can find the nearest screening of We Are Many here.

3 comments

  1. Agree, the Iraqi war brought confusion and consequently disrespect for those politicians who knowingly & traitorlessly committed their military to an unnecessary conflict which has resulted in the present rise of the so called Islamic Sate. Britains Prime Minister at that time was Tony Blair, and despite the policy of support he gave to that war, has much to the digust of most Britons, made personally large financial gains since- by many and justifiably so his actions were considered traitorous. This nations and others in Europe have and are now to facing an invasion of those that follow the teachings of the Islamic Law-Shariah-this is a result of the catostrophic lack of a real strategy by Europe & America on the war on terror-a refusal to accept the proposed implementation of Islamic Law and its effects upon those cultures alien to it, to our detrement.

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