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?

Cuba is Socialist – and so we will be!

Cuban ambassador to the UK, Comrade Teresita Vicente, speaks powerfully at the CPGB-ML meeting to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution held in Saklatvala Hall, Southall, West London on 5th November 2016.

Her full speech is now available to view in this video. Please watch and listen carefully to her words, and share her powerful message widely. You could not find a better antidote to the US election campaign!

The meeting, and comrade Teresita’s speech was reported in the Cuban media: http://misiones.minrex.gob.cu/es/articulo/celebrado-aniversario-99-de-la-gran-revolucion-socialista-de-octubre Continue reading “Cuba is Socialist – and so we will be!”

Anti-war and anti-imperialism: where Stop the War fails

Anti-war demonstrations against British airstrikes in Syria took place across the country on Saturday (12/12/2015), with a march in London, attended by thousands, taking place from BBC Broadcasting House to a rally outside Downing St. The anger was palpable, and rightly so. After a brief stall when Cameron’s previous attempts to openly bomb Syria were frustrated by intense opposition to constant war, a lynchpin of British imperialism, the recent terrorist atrocities in Paris were cynically used to get the green light for airstrikes in the region.

Syria demo, Assad portrait

 

“It is very clear tonight that while the House has not passed a motion it is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action.”

David Cameron, July 2015

With recent reports of coalition airstrikes hitting a Syrian Arab Army position in Deir ez-Zor, the real motives are as clear as ever. Despite Western heads of state openly admitting they have no hope of defeating terrorists in the region unless they work with Assad, they refuse to do so. Western airstrikes are still not being coordinated with the Syrian government and they seem to have little effect. The Russian strikes however, which are seriously pushing back ISIL/Daesh, are coordinated fully with the Syrian Arab Army.

Continue reading “Anti-war and anti-imperialism: where Stop the War fails”

Korea: no game! Tensions escalate as USA and South Korea threaten war with the North

USA-ROK joint exercises
The USA and South Korea stage regular military exercises on the DPRK’s border

In the wake of joint military exercises (Foal Eagle and Ulchi Freedom-Guardian) staged by the United States of America and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) on the border of the DPR Korea (North Korea), clearly designed to threaten and sabotage any peace talks, the South has resumed broadcasting propaganda across the demilitarised zone.

Park Geun-hye
South Korean President Park Geun-hye (daughter of Park Chung-hee, who seized power in a military coup)

Understandably this bizarre approach to “building trust” between the Koreas by President Park Geun-hye has not been taken lightly in the North.

South Korean demands that the DPRK disarm, anti-DPRK propaganda, and ‘defensive’ military drills with the USA (whose nearest border is some 7400km away) mirrors common tactics of provocation and psychological military operations that prelude the invasion of sovereign nations – and show who is really the aggressor in the current ‘stand-off’.

Continue reading “Korea: no game! Tensions escalate as USA and South Korea threaten war with the North”

Shenstone Factory Protest Shows People’s Power!

Support for the activists occupying the Israeli arms factory, UAV Engines in Shenstone, grew throughout the day yesterday. People continued to arrive from across the country, joining protesters who had stayed through the night, to express their outrage and grief at the continued support of  humanitarian crimes against the Palestinian people. Their message was clear: stop exporting arms to aid in genocide, stop supporting an apartheid state, stand up against oppression and injustice in their most barbaric forms.

Protest of Elbit factory continues
Proteters supporting the activiests, shutting down a drone parts factory

Protesters outside the police cordon (a crime scene, making it an arrestable offence to enter for anyone, except of course locals and anyone driving a nice car) kept up the spirits of the occupiers from London Palestine Action on the roof. Chants, drumming, and slogans were heard by the people on the roof, although the police would not let the protest move within sight of the factory.

The police invoked draconian laws recently passed that make being a ‘nuisance’ an arrestable offence, delaying any decision to move the cordon closer to the factory, and maintaining a strong presence throughout the day. Strangely, when the cameras arrived, the police decided to move all of their force out of sight, perhaps to give the impression that a peaceful protest wasn’t being met with over 30 officers armed with pepper spray, batons, and stun guns.

The protesters grew frustrated by the police’s attempts to delay and diffuse the movement, and decided to hold a silent march through the village which was met with support from the local pub and church. Many in the village were previously unaware that military hardware was being manufactured in the factory.

The police deliberately delayed the decision of whether to let the protesters move ahead, which had been demanded early on, in order to proceed onto the roof and arrest the occupiers at approximately 7-8pm. The police did this under the cover of allowing them to use phones to conduct interviews with the BBC and PressTV. Despite being removed from the roof they got the message out to people across the world, and have educated and inspired many not only about what is really happening in the world, but shown them that they are empowered to take action and stand for what is right.

Taking action, from informing the public and staging demonstrations to occupying means of production and denying trade and transport for imperialist wars is not only justified, but our imperative. Our ruling classes wage war in their own interest, oppress workers of all countries, and profit from our suffering. We must take control of our own labour, deny the capitalists the means of oppression, and smash the tools of imperialism.

“Either place yourself at the mercy of capital, eke out a wretched existence as of old and sink lower and lower, or adopt a new weapon-this is the alternative imperialism puts before the vast masses of the proletariat. Imperialism brings the working class to revolution.” – J.V. Stalin, Foundations of Leninism

The CPGB-ML and Red Youth are hosting a public meeting to discuss the bourgeois media lies about what is happening in Gaza and what can be done about it this Friday 8th August at 274 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, B12 0BS at 6:30pm.

You should also join us at the Palestine Solidarity Committe demonstration in London on Saturday 9th August, taking place at 12 noon in front of BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London, W1A 1AA. Take action! Make a difference!

Read more:

Taking Action For Palestine (Red Youth UK,

Stand with Gaza… Join the axis of resistance! (CPGB-ML, August 2014)

PSC: Palestine Safety-valve Committee? (Proletarian, February 2013)