The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 26th February 2010

Dutch pull out

THE TORY press is having field day over claims of bullying of staff at No 10 and it’s perhaps a sign of the times that this is the best Cameron’s team can come up with in the run-up to the general election.

The bourgeois media drivel on about Gordon Brown’s alleged treatment of his Downing Street staff. Back in the real world the collapse of the Netherlands government over the Afghan war seems to have passed unnoticed by the media pundits, who only last week were telling us about the victorious advance of British and Nato forces in Helmand province.

In fact the US-led imperialist offensive has achieved little apart from the capture of a couple of Taliban commanders. The Taliban fighters have withdrawn to their mountain hide-outs to fight another day, drawing even more support from villagers as the death toll of innocent civilians killed in Nato air raids and rocket attacks mounts up.

Last week the Dutch Labour Party bowed to overwhelming public opposition to the Afghan war and pulled out of the coalition government, bringing it down and forcing it to resign. The Christian Democrats, who are backing the Americans, may try to cobble together another parliamentary alliance but if that fails they will have to go to the polls. Either way it seems likely that the 2,000-strong Dutch contingent in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by the end of the year.

Rising casualties in recent months fired opposition to the Afghan war in the Netherlands. The bemused Dutch public still have no idea what the real purpose of the Nato presence in Afghanistan is about and their rulers won’t tell them. Neither will ours.

Despite all the talk of “freedom”, curbing the drugs trade and hunting down Osama bin Laden, the real motive of Anglo-American imperialism is to maintain a puppet regime in Afghanistan as part of their overall plan to dominate the region and contain Iranian and Russian influence in the Middle East.

It has nothing to do with “democracy” unless you count the parody of rigged elections held by the puppet Karzai regime — that even some of his one-time followers couldn’t stomach — while curbing the opium industry, is motivated entirely by the desire to starve the war-lords of the cash crop that pays for their militias.

As for the Afghan standard of living, there’s little to choose between life under feudal Taliban mullahs and the corrupt warlords in the pay of the Americans apart from the fact that the Taliban does have some support from the population and the Americans and their stooges have none at all.

In fact the only government which made any effort to help the people was the Soviet-backed revolutionary Afghan leadership in the 1970s and 80s that tried to end feudal oppression and build a new life for the workers and peasants of the country.

The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan built roads, schools and hospitals. Usury was abolished and the crippling debts of the peasants were abolished. Afghan women were emancipated for the first and only time in Afghan history and land reforms introduced to break the power of the feudal chiefs, who cruelly exploited the peasants.

Anglo-American imperialism, backed by Pakistan and the Arab oil princes, funded and trained reactionary Afghan war-lords who plunged the country into civil war. They encouraged right-wing nationalists and Islamic fanatics like Osama bin Laden to launch a crusade against communism, which eventually succeeded in bringing down the people’s government after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many of them, like bin Laden, have now turned their guns against the Americans who are occupying their country.

The Afghan people are fighting for the right to choose their own form of government without outside interference and all British troops must be immediately and unconditionally withdrawn from Afghanistan. The Dutch Labour Party took the principled stand last week. The British labour movement must do the same.