5 years without Tony Benn – Stop the War laments

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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?

Maduro “ready to radicalise the revolution”

While the corrupt and reactionary agents of the bourgeoisie in Brazil have suspended democratically elected Dilma Rousseff’s presidential powers (Attempted Coup in Brazil – Proletarian), leaving the traitorous Temer holding the reins, the class struggle in Venezula intensifies.

Venezuela has suffered at the hands of the national and international bourgeoise and compradors who have conspired to sabotage the gains made by Chavez, Maduro, and the PSUV. Hoarding basic goods such as toilet roll and food, economic and infrastructural sabotage, capital flight, and more recently assassinations, combined with the drop in oil revenues, are just some of the tactics employed to undermine the popular democractic efforts to socialize Venezuela.

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Anti-austerity protests lack anti-capitalist leadership

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Police break up the demonstration in Parliament Square

Last weekend saw spontenous demonstrations outside Downing Street and the Grand Connaught Rooms, where Cameron was apologising to the Tory party, attracting several thousand before being broken up by police. These demonstrations came in the wake of revelations that the ruling class (including Cameron) have been – shockingly! – routinely engaged in avoiding paying taxes on their assets. The leak, dubbed the Panama Papers, reveals connections between major banks, heads of state, and government officials the world over with tax avoidance vehicles and shell companies.

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May Day in Manchester and Chesterfield

CPGB-ML and Red Youth comrades participated in some of the May Day celebrations which were held around the country during the May bank holiday. In Chesterfield comrades distributed copies of We Want Freedom and Who Stole our Future and spoke to many working people about the role played by the Labour Party in retarding our fight back against the savage programme of cuts and austerity which are being inflicted upon the workers by the Tory and LibDem millionaires.

In Manchester comrades made the same points to Labour Party supporters and those misguided comrades from the revisionist club. Opening the eyes of those in the labour movement to the stark reality of the role played by social democracy is much harder than explaining the same thing to the masses. Comrades from the RCG were on hand to help hammer home the message and a more revolutionary May Day atmosphere prevailed!

Through Hell for Hitler – NAZIs v NATO

Henry Friedrich Carl Metelmann, was born on 25 December 1922, the son of a socialist railway worker in Hamburg, Germany. As a lively and active boy, he joined the scouts, and later his group was merged with the Hitler youth. With Hitler’s rise he was seduced by the fascist movement, and the experiences and privileges it bestowed

He fought with Von Paulus’ Nazi 6th army at Stalingrad. Through experience he came to reject fascism and capitalist imperialism. He settled in Britain, becoming a communist, a railway worker, groundsman, writer and peace activist. He died on 24 July 2011.

Henry Metelmann was keen to talk about his experiences, especially to the young, and equated the invasion of the Soviet Union by an oil-hungry Nazi Germany with the Anglo-American assault on oil-rich Iraq in 2003. He remained a member of the Communist party of Great Britain until its break-up in 1991.

He delivered a powerful lecture to the Stalin Society in London, in 2004, which sadly was not filmed, but shortly afterwards Harpal Brar, now chairman of the CPGB-ML, conducted this interview with Henry at his home in Godalming.

This interview remains as moving, compelling and relevant as the day it was conducted. For it helps us to understand German (Nazi) Imperialism. Not merely as something exceptional, uniquely evil, incomprehensible and never to be repeated; but as the standard behaviour of imperialism. That is of expansionist monopoly capitalism.

What conclusions does he draw from his long, full active and historically rich life? He tells us that there can be no peace, while capitalism still exists. We must overthrow it, or perish.

LALKAR Article:
http://www.lalkar.org/issues/contents/may2003/metel.html

Read More: http://www.cpgb-ml.org

Henry’s books:

Through Hell for Hitler:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Through-Hell-Hitler-First-hand-Wehrmacht/dp/1862272085

A Hitler Youth:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hitler-Youth-Growing-Germany-1930s/dp/1862272522/ref=…

To understand WW2, the role of the Soviet force, and Stalin, read: Stalin, Man of History, by Ian Grey
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stalin-Man-History-Abacus-Books/dp/0349115486

Guardian obituary:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/22/henry-metelmann

Wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Metelmann

Stalingrad:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad

22nd Panzer Division:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/22nd_Panzer_Division

Battle of Kerch:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Kerch_Peninsula