by Eric Trevett
AT TIMES of profound capitalist crises there is an increasing struggle for markets and spheres of influence and in the last century this resulted in two world wars. The rivalry between the imperialist powers was especially strong.
War is a terrible thing but it is also very profitable to the arms manufacturers and it will have been noted that in the 1930s crisis impending war brought the mass unemployment in the major countries to a temporary halt.
Whether we are coming out of recession or not, the crisis remains a serious one for the working class. Again the lesson of history teaches us that coming out of a recession does not mean a return to relative prosperity. The Wall Street collapse in 1929 was followed by a decade of depression, and in spite of the New Deal that the Roosevelt administration organised there was a further slump in 1938.
It was only when the United States economy went on a war footing that the high unemployment was resolved through conscription to the armed forces.
This is why the US so-called war against terrorism is so dangerous. We are in the midst of a war in Afghanistan and we have a puppet government in Iraq under the tutelage of the US armed occupation.
Now it is Iran’s turn to be under pressure from the imperialist powers. The US, looking for regime change here, has not ruled out the use of military force. And the Yemen is also under threat with the US and Britain closing their consulates there.
In Europe as a whole the antagonisms between France, Germany, Italy, Britain and Spain and so on have increased as the struggle for markets intensifies. It may well be that membership of the European Union will enable these countries to avoid another catastrophic world war. But the prospects for doing this are threatened by the aims of sections of the British and American ruling classes and there may well be a full scale war in the Middle East.
A major aim of such as war would be to bring the oil under the US and British imperialists’ control — under the control of their private monopolies.
If such a policy is envisaged, the imperialist powers, particularly Britain and the US, would prefer the war to be non-nuclear. This is why they are so keen on condemning Iran for its nuclear power programme. The tactic of scaring people into believing Iran has weapons of mass destruction is again being pursued and the danger is that strategy of lying and deception could possible lead to open war with Iran and other countries becoming acceptable to the people here.
The anti-Muslim campaigns in the press and media may also be designed to disguise the real threat that imperialism is contemplating very dangerous steps in response to its political and economic crisis.
People in Britain are generally honest and are rather gullible, thinking their leaders never lie. It is quite clear they were lied to over Iraq and its so-called weapons of mass destruction, which “could strike at random within 45 minutes”.
The imperialists have never had any regard for the sanctity of their promises and lying come naturally to them, as the native American people found out in the 19th century in the US, and more recently the Iraqi people found out — and the peoples of the world found out.
The peace movement has to face the fact that this is the scenario that is being constructed at the present time. The peace movement has responded positively and consistently against the so-called war on terrorism, which has allowed Iraq to be largely destroyed, with hundreds of thousands killed and wounded — but a “good deal” signed over the oil issue.
This deal is not at all good for the people of Iraq, nor indeed for the people of Britain and the US but only for sections of the ruling class in these countries.
In Britain the working class living standards are going to be attacked and it is necessary to step up the campaign against the replacement of Trident. We should make efforts to contact the armed forces at every level. When we call for the main point, the withdrawal of all British troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, the peace movement proves itself to be the best friend of the armed forces. We need to point this out to them.
And we need to point out clearly that the service and sacrifice of those troops in Afghanistan and Iraq makes them into the agents of imperialism.