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?

The Manchester bombing: a product of imperialism

The horrific bombing of an Ariana Grande show at the Manchester Arena, which has claimed the lives of 22 people, including several children, has its origins in the imperialist war against the independent states of the Middle East and North Africa. If we really wish to see such terrible acts stopped, we must stop our ruling class from sponsoring them abroad.

The bomber, Salman Abedi, was the 22-year-old son of anti-Gaddafi Libyan exiles, and reglarly made trips to Libya after the country was destroyed by western imperialism and its terrorist proxies. Libya, which previously had the highest life expectancy on the African continent, guaranteed healthcare and education, among many other fantastic programmes for its citizens as well as other African nations, had long been a target for destruction by European and US imperialism.

Continue reading “The Manchester bombing: a product of imperialism”

Birmingham Communist Party host Marcel Cartier

Marcel Cartier Meeting on Korea and Ukraine

The Communist Party in Birmingham hosted US musician and journalist Marcel Cartier today at a well attended meeting. Birmingham CPGB-ML and Red Youth were extremely happy to receive Marcel who only returned from a trip to Cuba this weekend.

Addressing comrades and friends Marcel spoke about the very contrasting experiences he has had this year, witnessing the horror of imperialism at work in the Ukraine – with the emergence of the fascist Kiev coup-government and conversely the inspirational visits he’s made to the DPR Korea and socialist Cuba where he has been able to see the achievements of those peoples who have so bravely stood up to imperialist aggression since the 1950s. In the presentation and again in the discussion which followed, comrades affirmed that they will not fall in with the anti-Russian/anti-China propaganda which aims to tie the movement here to the war chariot of imperialism; we reject the characteriasation of Russia and China by some on the left as dangerous imperialist powers and we point our fingers squarely at the war mongers and finance capitalists of the US and Britain in particular.

Comrade Marcel has a website which can be viewed here and he’s also a guest the the CPGB-ML International celebration of anti-imperialist resistance which takes place next Saturday:

International celebration of anti-imperialist resistance and solidarity
26 July 2014 (1.00pm onwards)
Saklatvala Hall, Dominion Road, Southall, UB2 5AA

A social event to celebrate two important anniversaries in the revolutionary calendar:
– the victory of the Fatherland Liberation War in Korea
– the storming of the Moncada Barracks in Cuba.
This year we will also be marking the 10th anniversary of our party’s founding!
An excellent event for bringing friends and family and friends to enjoy a mix of inspiring speeches and informal socialising with like-minded comrades.
Alongside representatives from fraternal embassies, come and hear journalist Marcel Cartier report back from his recent trips to Ukraine and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
All welcome, including kids. 

Contact: rango@cpgb-ml.org 
Map: click here

Gaza National Demonstration – THIS Saturday in London

 

gaza_demo_190714_3Gaza National Demonstration
Stop the Killing • Stop the Bombing
19 July 2014 • Assemble 12 Noon
Downing Street 

More details 

Details of coaches from across the country available online here

Imperialism in the Middle East

In order to make sense of what goes on in the Middle East, we need to understand that today’s world is dominated by a handful of superrich countries, which have become wealthy by looting resources and exploiting people all over the world.

Britain, the first country to develop capitalism was also the first to grab a modern empire.
In the 19th century, Arabia was dismissed as being a barren wasteland, but in the early 20th century, vast oil deposits were discovered under the desert just around the time that oil was becoming the fuel of choice for many modern machines (including warships!) and industries.
Suddenly, the rush to secure plentiful and cheap supplies of ‘black gold’ became a key strategic imperative for all imperialists, leading to a cut-throat competition for control of the region.

Zionism and Palestine

Seeing their chance, the early zionists asked Britain’s rulers to let them set up a jewish state in Palestine in exchange for helping to keep the region under British domination.
With Arab nationalism on the rise, the imperialists accepted the offer, looking forward to the creation of a “loyal jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism.
And, although British masters were later pushed aside by American ones, a ˜loyal jewish Ulster” is exactly what Israel has remained to this day.
The zionist stooges who destroy Palestinian homes, drop bombs on Palestinian schools, plough up Palestinian crops and poison Palestinian water are bribed by US and British governments and corporations to do imperialism’s dirty work.
In return for helping corporations like BP and Texaco to carry on looting the oil and dominating the people of the whole Middle East, the zionists are given military support and hardware, financial aid, diplomatic immunity, and a campaign of lies and disinformation in the imperialist-controlled media.

Israel was established in an orgy of ethnic cleansing, and has been illegally occupying further Palestinian lands and displacing and wiping out Palestinian families ever since.
War crimes are a daily event in this, the most militarised state in the world. In fact, rather than viewing Israel as a state with a huge military, it is more helpful to realise that Israel is in fact a massive army base that also happens to have some schools, Israeli children are brought up to be Nazi-like stormtroopers, their heads filled with supremacist hatred of all Arab peoples.

The imperialists made one serious miscalculation, though. It was assumed that in the face of Israel’s might, Palestinians would accept underclass status or leave, but the days when colonialists could evict a people from their land and get away with it were over.
In a century of socialist revolution and national liberation, the racist dismissal of local peoples as ‘uncivilised barbarians or merely irrelevant was no longer possible.
Instead of politely disappearing, the Palestinians stood their ground refusing to submit no matter how barbarous their oppressors became. Instead of passively joining the long list of imperialist victims, the Palestinians became a beacon of resistance and an inspiration to oppressed people globally.

Gradually, the wellspring of sympathy that Israel shamelessly exploited following the Nazis mass extermination of jews in WW2 has run dry. As every agreement and concession on the part of Palestinians is greeted with fresh Israeli crimes, it has become clear to all that it is the zionists, and not the Palestinians, who stand in the way of peace.

So brazen has its war machine become that, today, Israel is the number one creator of anti-jewish feeling in the world.

Solidarity and resistance

So what has all this got to do with workers in Britain?

We need to recognise that the same ruling class that is waging war on our living standards (trying to force us to pay the price of the economic crisis of capitalism) gains much of its power from looting the world. Since oil is such a vital resource, the British state is still one of Israel’s main backers.

If Israel was defeated, British and US imperialism’s ability to grab the region’s oil would be fatally undermined and with that wealth would go some of the ruling class’s ability to keep us in our place.

So it’s in our interest to support the Palestinians against imperialism and zionism. But if we want to give effective solidarity to their struggle, we need to learn from past experience.
A consumer boycott is certainly causing embarrassment to Israel, but no such boycott has ever brought down a state that had such powerful military, financial and diplomatic backers as Israel does.

British workers can actually do a lot more, if we are prepared to use our collective power over the country’s economy. The ruling class might give orders, but it is we who are expected to carry them out. If we all refuse, there is not that much they can do.
Neither the capitalists themselves, nor their careerist spivs in Whitehall are about to send their own kids to work in arms factories, to drive trains, to crew cargo ships, to enlist as cannon fodder, or even to print and broadcast their pro-Israel propaganda.

A striking example of such solidarity in action is the case of the Jolly George, a ship that was supposed to be taking arms and soldiers to Russia in 1918, when the new socialist republic was facing attack by 14 capitalist powers. Dockers in east London refused to load the ship, undermining the war effort and setting an infectious example to workers elsewhere.
In 1920, pushed by the Hands off Russia campaign, the TUC threatened a general strike if Britain persisted in its criminal warmongering. Lloyd George’s government had to pull out and the war of intervention collapsed.

The ruling class emerged weaker and the working class stronger from this confrontation.
Today, we are part of the same battle against British imperialism on whose front line the Palestinians have been fighting so heroically for 65 years.

Today, they are joined by the Syrian and Iranian anti-imperialist governments and the Lebanese resistance movement Hizbollah “ all forces that have refused to reach any accommodation with Israel; have refused to accept the imperialists right to dictate how they should live; and have refused to allow imperialist corporations to loot their resources at will.
Recognising their common struggle, Syria and Iran have consistently supported each other, and given money, arms, refugee asylum and diplomatic support to both the Palestinian struggle and the Lebanese resistance movement. A defeat for any of these forces would give a massive boost to imperialism and its zionist stooges and would be a major set-back for the cause of freedom in the Middle East and especially to the cause of the Palestinian people.

British workers need to join this axis of resistance and give full support to all parts of it, taking their place in the unifying and indivisible struggle against imperialism.

 

A few more photographs from Ecuador

A few more photo’s from Quito

Russian poster on sale
Russian poster on sale
Dan getting a Brazillian
Dan getting a Brazillian
American delegates get interviewed by Red Youth
American delegates get interviewed by Red Youth
YCL comrade and Lalkar subscriber from the USA
YCL comrade and Lalkar subscriber from the USA
At the rally in Quito
At the rally in Quito
Red Youth comrades look back fondly to sleeping on the floor at Sak Hall!
Red Youth comrades look back fondly to sleeping on the floor at Sak Hall!