5 years without Tony Benn – Stop the War laments

benn

Stop the war campaign is now largely defunct, but at the time of the second Iraq War in 2003 it had a genuinely mass following.

Lindsey German still loves to wax lyrical about the glorious “2 million person march”, which was the defining moment of her career and the high point of StW. Despite this march being largely organised and mobilised by sections of the national (capitalist) press, and in fact the movement totally failing in its aims to stop the IRAQ or ANY OTHER war, she revels in the movement, even 15 years on.

Principally because she still doesn’t understand what led to the fleeting ‘success’ of that moment, and secondarily because it was all down-hill from there! That doesn’t bother Lindsay. There’s still just enough political credibility to be rinsed and money to be garnered from the echoes of that movement, so it is rare to hear her start any speech without alluding to her rebelliousness for “trampling the grass of Hyde park” underfoot.

Moreover, despite the leeches of the SWP dominating its position and finances (later Counterfire seized the organisation from them when they split away from their trotskyist brethren), in the 5 years or so after the Iraq war started, StW formerly maintained participation from many political groups and shades of opinion.

But with StW leadership monopolised by the worst elements of trotskyite and revisionist ‘socialists’ (John Reese, Lindsey German, Andrew Murray), they practiced their divisive sectarianism and censorship relentlessly, gradually driving out all perceived ‘opposition’ from their ranks, and confining the movement to the channels of limp parliamentary cretinism.

Repeated calls from the conference floor to encourage and lead campaigns for non-cooperation to imperialist war crimes were ignored, and when eventually these resolutions were forced through their congress they were shelved and sidelined.

Dominated by ‘left labourites’ such as Benn and Corbyn, the latter kept the anti-war movement tied to the Labour party, despite the fact that Labour was in fact waging the very war they claimed to oppose (Tony Blair was THEIR leader, let us not forget.)

This was then and in altered form remains now, the modus operandi of the British ‘left’ Labour-allied trotskyite and revisionist movement. They were viciously sectarian in hounding out opposition to this social democratic servitude, and to any voice raise against the Labour party.

Campaigning fo the Labour party (not their remit!), has remained the core mission of StW and the meaning of their cries of ‘non-sectarian’, which always acts as a prop for parliamentary cretinism, and social chauvinism – and is their occasionally stated reason for refusing to draw the anti-war movement into creative channels of actually threatening imperialist war. Nothing must be done to damage the chances of Corbyn’s election possibilities, we are told ( – perhaps they should give this advice to JC himself!)

As a result ’Stop’ the war ultimately wound up following its Labour masters (‘Red Ed Miliband’) into SUPPORTING imperialist wars of destabilisation, notably against Libya in 2011 and Syria in 2012.

To return to Counterfire’s (StW) hypocritical lionisation of themselves in the form of Tony Benn, let us be unafraid to give him his historical due. Two facts alone will suffice to recall his true role and character:

  1. Tony Benn was a tireless fighter for more and grater sanctions against the starving people of Iraq in 2003 (Along with such ‘democrats’ as Madeleine Albright). He had a singular ability to frame these attacks as being ‘against war’ (“Sanctions have not run their course”), while being impeccably pro-imperialist!
  1. Tony Benn, as British Secretary of State for energy, conspired with the racist apartheid state of South Africa to rob occupied Namibia (then SW Africa) of its uranium for British nuclear power and weapons. Check the details of the Rossingham contract, and see for yourself.

Now that is a Good social-pacifist / social-imperialist, as Lenin would have termed him! No wonder the campaign for nuclear disarmament (CND) considered him, like his successor JC a safe pair of hands to ‘lead’ and limit the scope of their ‘peace movement.’

‘Stop the war’ tell us, of their good friend and former comrade (Benn): “He never left Labour, but was critical of much of its politics and always encouraged people to be involved in activity as their starting point in politics.”

Moreover, say StW, “he was completely committed to united work. He disliked sectarians [anti-imperialists] and couldn’t understand why some on the left spent their time attacking one another [ie criticising the Labour Party and its betrayal of the working class].”

Indeed. Tony Benn was determined to act as a prop of the parliamentary system (‘democracy’ – if only for the wealthy) and the Labour party (social-democracy), which in turn acts as the chief conductor of British ruling-class influence into the British working class movement.

He gave up his peerage – but never his love and service for the British ruling class. With friends like these, what need have the working-class for enemies?

Basics of Political Economy – A talk by Harpal Brar, Birmingham 1996

Red Youth reproduce on Proletarian Radio this short but informative talk given by comrade Harpal Brar at a meeting of British workers and communists in 1996 on the topic of political economy. We do so to aid the study of political economy which is ongoing around the country in red youth and CPGB-ML study groups at the moment.

The crises of 1997 and 2001 brought untold misery to millions of people who suffer in the ‘real’ capitalist economy – the economy of factory closures, foreclosed mortgages and pension fund losses. There is no doubt that the present crisis is the most acute and destructive in the history of capitalism.

One need but consider the fate of young working-class couples who have just scrambled onto the bottom rung of the housing ladder, only to have their feet kicked out from under them by negative equity. Or consider those workers who have seen their final salary pensions melt before their eyes, after the two previous outbreaks of market turmoil convinced the bourgeoisie that this was yet another aspect of ‘welfare capitalism’ that needed ditching in the battle to protect their profits.

If capitalism cannot resurrect demand through building the debt mountain higher, it must instead try to tackle the other end of the overproduction crisis: it must trash the very productive forces it has brought into being in the first place, thus revealing itself as the real enemy of all social progress.

However, making people homeless, stealing their jobs, robbing their pensions and imposing below-inflation wage deals, whilst perhaps saving the bourgeois hide for a while, can in the long run only stoke up yet worse crises of overproduction, as effective demand is further undermined by the further impoverishment of the masses.

Whether the lords of high finance can postpone for a few more years the decisive crash of the world financial system is beyond scientific prediction. What is clear however is that every ‘smart’ move capitalism makes to save itself from its own insoluble contradictions only succeeds in further tightening the noose of history around its throat.

Even in the midst of the miseries such crises inflict, let the proletariat rejoice in this knowledge and organise to overthrow this decadent, parasitic system once and for all!

Successful pickets of RBS and NatWest

#BankXitComrades from Red Youth helped to organise CPGB-ML pickets in London and Birmingham yesterday in protest of attempts by NatWest bank to shut the account of broadcaster Russia Today. Such a move is not only a serious infringement on the limited press freedoms which exist in bourgeois society, it is also part and parcel of the propaganda war being waged against Russia in preparation of further armed conflict.

The wars that have been waged around the world by British and US imperialism are not justifable wars – they are wars for domination, for profit, and for oil. The growing popularity of RT poses a threat to the continued campaign to paint Russia as a threat to peace. The BBC and the corporate media are constantly attempting to prepare British people for a military confrontation with Russia, which would be catastrophic for British workers. We must not allow such blatant bias and propaganda to go unchallenged, and we must fight the interference of NatWest in the affairs of Russia Today which operates legally and fairly in the UK.

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Stalin and the USSR – myth and reality

“We have faced almost a century of all-out ideological war from the bourgeois camp and their petty-bourgeois agents. they are determined to neuter the revolutionary potential of the working-class, to erase the achievements of the people struggling and working for the benefit of the majority, and to obfuscate the path to socialism.”
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Stalin’s significance today – Red Youth Corinne

Corinne from Red Youth and the CPGB-ML talks at the Februray 2016 annual general meeting of the Stalin Society in London. She asks – who was Stalin?

What role did he play in the formation of the world’s fist socialist country – the USSR – and the building and defence of socialism?

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