New Communist Party of Britain
The forces of Anglo-American imperialism have overrun Iraq and George W Bush and Tony Blair are claiming victory. A victory based on the bodies of the thousands of Iraqi civilians killed or wounded largely at the hands of the US air force. A triumph based on lies and provocations.
In the beginning Bush and Blair told the world that this war was over the weapons of mass destruction Iraq allegedly still possessed. It wasn’t the view of the UN weapons inspectors. It was opposed by the majority of the members of the United Nations. It was opposed by the other Great Powers including People’s China, France, Germany and Russia. And it has been exposed as a crude lie by recent events.
Though the war was allegedly fought to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, none were used by Iraq nor have any been found by the occupying forces. Though it was claimed that the war would bring "democracy", popular leaders are being sidelined in favour of worthless and corrupt placemen, groomed for their role during their long years of exile in Britain and the United States.
The warmongers claimed the invasion was for the benefit of the Iraqi Kurdish minority. But the imperialists, who only seek to use them as auxiliaries in their campaign to take-over the whole of Iraq, have categorically ruled out their hopes for full autonomy or independence.
We are now told that the war is about bringing "democracy" to the Iraqi people. But this is the last thing on the imperialists minds at the moment. There’s no plan for elections; no intention to seek a mandate from the United Nations. The imperialists haven’t even found any credible stooges to set up a puppet government and they have made it clear that they are opposed to the mass movements within the country and that they are not prepared to hold free elections in the foreseeable future.
What is planned is a prolonged period of direct imperialist rule under an American governor. Very detailed plans to carve up the Iraqi oil fields and its nationalised oil industry were prepared long before the war. The immense task of reconstruction needed to get Iraqi oil pumping again for the benefit of imperialism has already been earmarked for chosen American corporations.
Any long-term side benefits for the Iraqi people in the form of education, transport and health will all be paid for by the Iraqi people themselves - out of what is left of the oil profits once the big oil corporations have taken their juicy cut.
By establishing direct control of the Iraqi oil-fields, Anglo-American imperialism hopes to control the price and production of the global oil industry. This was what the war was about and this is why France, Germany and Russia are so concerned.
The issue is clear. This was an illegal and unjust war. British troops should never have been sent to Iraq in the first place. They must be brought home immediately. The Iraqi people’s legitimate rights to independence and the control of their resources must be upheld. The Iraqi people have taken up the gun in a new fight for independence. Their resistance must be supported.
The road to nowhere
Palestine day, the 15 May, marks the beginning of the tragedy of the Palestinian Arabs. On that day in 1948 the British colonial mandate ended and the State of Israel was proclaimed. On that day the first Arab-Israeli war began. It has never ended.
The first war led to the expulsion of a million Palestinian Arabs from their homes by the Zionist regime. Those refugees and their descendants have never given up their right to return to their land. And this is the heart of the crisis in the Middle East that has led to five full-scale wars and continuing simmering conflicts.
Anglo-American imperialism is currently promoting the so-called Road Map to Peace in the Middle East. It is little more than a watered-down version of the deal tabled at the American sponsored Camp David talks in 2000 which was rejected by the Palestinians. It is doomed to fail. This is partly because General Sharon’s reactionary coalition in Tel Aviv is not prepared to make even the modest concessions the proposals demand. But more importantly it is because the "road map" fails to address the heart of the matter - the Palestinian refugees’ right to return and Israel’s continued illegal occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Syria’s Golan Heights.
The American plan calls on the Palestinians to end their armed struggle and calls on all the other Arabs to cease supporting the Palestinian resistance and normalise their relations with the Zionist entity. In return the Palestinians are offered a "state" with no defined borders but clearly little more than the "autonomous" zones they administered under the previous Oslo agreements and a vague hope that Israel might in the fullness of time evacuate other parts of the West Bank to make this "state" economically and politically viable. The issue of the refugees is ignored.
But the Sharon government has made it clear that the Palestinian refugees must renounce all their rights if talks are to progress.
The response of Sharon and his cohorts is not surprising. His Likud-led coalition represents the most reactionary elements in Israeli society - the Zionist fanatics and religious bigots who hate and fear the Arabs. But their petty ambitions and dreams are not the driving force of Anglo-American imperialism.
Israel is economically and politically entirely dependent on American imperialism and successive Israeli governments have existed to serve the needs of American imperialism in the region. And those needs are to weaken and divide the Arabs to ensure that the big oil corporations can continue their exploitation and plunder of Arab oil until it eventually runs out.
The tail doesn’t wag the dog and Israel and the American "Zionist lobby" does not dictate American foreign policy. They serve it. They provide Anglo-American imperialism with a convenient alibi to play the role of "honest broker" in the Middle East. They enable the feudal Arab oil princes whose thrones are propped up by imperialist bayonets to claim that the Arabs’ enemy is not imperialism as such but Israel and this supposedly all-powerful "Zionist lobby" which pulls the strings in the United States.
In a slightly more sophisticated way, Israel’s ruling circles play the same game claiming to serve a mythical Zionist ideal as a bulwark against persecution. In reality they simply provide imperialism with cannon-fodder for the strategic aims of Anglo-American imperialism. Far from being a Zionist paradise, Israel today is one of the worst places for Jews to live, racked by continuing conflict with Palestinians and economic hardship due to its isolation and total dependency on the United States.
Past UN resolutions have provided the basis for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. First of all Israel must totally withdraw from the occupied territories seized in 1967. The Palestinians must be allowed to establish a state of their own on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinian refugees whose homes are now in Israel must be allowed to return or if they so wish be paid appropriate compensation in exchange. All states in the region, including Israel, should have internationally agreed and recognised frontiers guaranteed by all the Great Powers.
Anglo-American imperialism believes it can call all the shots in the Middle East today. The imperialists believe that all resistance can be crushed by brute force and they hope to find willing Arab tools to do their bidding, hoist up the white flag and sign a surrender peace.
But wherever there is oppression there is always resistance. In the Middle East imperialist violence always leads to an equally violent resistance. Imperialism’s refusal to recognise this has led to the spiral of violence and terror which began in 1948 as a regional war, to a conflict which now spans the whole world.
Anglo-American imperialism stands totally isolated in the world even amongst the international institutions it once relied on to do its bidding and give them some international authority for their actions.
The United Nations has been marginalised. US imperialism only pays lip-service to UN institutions when it suits its purposes. When the Americans can use it to rubber-stamp their plans the world organisation is supported. When it is no longer of any further use to them, like now, it is ignored and discarded.
In the past British and American imperialism upheld the principle of the veto on the UN Security Council - a right the United States has exercised 73 times mainly to protect Israel. But it was ignored when it appeared that France, Russia or People’s China were prepared to use it to block the Iraq invasion
The Bush administration is indifferent to the United Nations and indeed the more cautious views of its junior partners. The Bush administration represents the most reactionary and aggressive sections of the American ruling class: people ready to take the world to the brink in pursuit of world domination.
They call it "the new world order". It was coined when Bush’s father was in the White House soon after the Soviet Union fell following the counter-revolution. It more than echoes Adolf Hitler’s "new order for the world". Like the Nazis, American imperialism demonises anyone who dares to stand up to them as savage and insane fanatics. Like the Nazis this is used to justify the torture of Afghan tribesmen at the Bagram air base or the American concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay. Like the Nazis, Bush makes one demand after another on those American imperialism seeks to destroy. When the first demand is met another soon follows until eventually, like the Fuhrer, Bush’s "patience" is exhausted and war is threatened. Like the Nazis Bush has elevated the theory of "pre-emptive war" to justify American aggression and the surprise attack against anyone considered weaker than themselves. Like the Nazis, the American imperialists think they can rule the world but the Thousand Year Reich lasted little more than twelve. It ended in world war, the deaths of millions upon millions and destruction on a global scale..
The central issue is the right of the Iraqi people to independence, to choose their own government and social system and control their own resources. They certainly will not be able to do this under imperialist occupation. The Iraqis could easily establish a new independent government within weeks if freely allowed to do so. That, however, is not on George W Bush’s agenda.
Bush and the most aggressive circles within the American ruling class want to carve-up the Middle East as part of their plan to rule the world. Iraq is just the first step. All its oil is going to be handed over to the big oil corporations. All its territory will be used as a strategic base to threaten the other countries in the region which stand in imperialism’s way.
They call it "globalisation" or the "new world order". They call their colonial wars "the fight against terrorism". What it means is simply world domination. The next target could be Syria, Iran or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. All, like Iraq, were branded by Bush as part of the "axis of evil".
In the past the imperialists justified their colonial wars by using the racist and imperialist theories of the "white man’s burden", "the master race" or "manifest destiny". The horrors of the two world wars of the last century killed most of that reactionary nonsense. So now they fly the false flag of "democracy" and "liberation" to justify their crimes.
We’ve seen their "liberation" in practice in Iraq; worthless puppets and crooks imported into the country to act as stooges; civilians bullied and gunned down by trigger-happy US Marines while their cities burn. Basic civil rights denied while the country is flooded with drugs and criminal gangs roam under the eyes of the occupation forces.
The European Union and the Crisis
Blair’s appeal to the rest of the European Union to back British imperialism’s "UN road" received a lukewarm response in France and Germany.
While the French and German imperialists want to preserve and increase their own influence in the Middle East they did not expect much from the Americans in the first place let alone now after refusing to endorse the Anglo-American aggression in the Security Council.
Nor are they simply going to accept an American carve-up of Iraq and the Middle East and the global oil market lying down. Their next move, following the Franco-German-Russian summit, remains a secret though the continuing demand for the return of the UN weapons inspectors to independently see if Iraq was hiding any banned weapons shows that Berlin and Paris are not going to let the matter drop.
Russia, France and Germany have held a summit in St Petersburg to plan their next moves over the crisis. Grandly dubbed the "anti-war alliance" by some Russian commentators and referred to in France as a new "Triple Entente", the three major powers of Europe re-affirmed their original opposition to the Anglo-American invasion and stressed the need for the United Nations to now oversee the establishment of an elected government in Iraq.
Any move that blocks the establishment of an Anglo-American puppet regime in Iraq is welcome. But not if it substitutes one protectorate with another, albeit controlled by a consortium of Great Powers under the flag of the United Nations. even though the entire country is under the thumb of the Anglo-American expeditionary force.
The struggle for peace in Britain
Over the past few months an anti-war movement of unprecedented scale has swept the world, not least in the United States and Britain. Mass demonstrations including one two million strong in London reflected the mass opposition to the imperialism war inside the labour movement and amongst the people as a whole.
But those in favour of imperialist aggression are the real rulers of our country. They are most aggressive and greedy sections of the capitalist and land-owning class. The sort of people who robbed and looted Africa and Asia in the nineteenth century to build an Empire in which "the sun never set", killing and enslaving millions on their way; the kind who lived the life of Roman Emperors in their grand houses while British workers slaved in their factories for pennies and died broken and destitute in the slums of our great cities; the people who sent millions to their deaths in the First World War to preserve and increase their fortunes.
They are the ruling class; the big capitalists, the bankers, the industrialists and big landowners who really run this country. They are still with us.
They pull the strings. Now they show what a farce our so-called parliamentary democracy really is. Now they reveal the contempt they have for the people beneath them. The Labour government was elected by millions. Millions are opposed to the war. Their voice is ignored and dismissed and the only demand that Blair & Co listen too is that of the ruling class.
The crisis in the Labour Party has spread to the Government. Two Cabinet ministers along with some junior ministerial officers have resigned. There is anger at the spectacle of a British prime minister reduced to the role of an apologist for George W Bush. There is disgust at the sight of the British army in the Gulf reduced to the role of hired hands of American imperialism like the sepoys of the old East India Company. Even sections of the bourgeoisie and the ruling class are opposed to the war and this is reflected in the position of the Liberal Democrats and the small but growing band of Tory MPs. But Blair & Co have determined to serve one section of the ruling class, the most reactionary and imperialist exploiters who believe that British imperialism’s world-wide interests can only be protected by the might of the American armed forces.
The European Union is divided and so is our own ruling class and the war has brought their divisions to a head. The most reactionary, aggressive and venal sections, those the Blair leadership are serving, are in the war camp.
They are opposed by those in favour of greater European integration; the elements of the ruling class which will profit from partnership inside the EU rather than with US imperialism. And they have turned to the peace movement for popular support in their struggle.
This is why the North American-owned press in Britain is targeting the peace movement and attacking the leaders of the Stop the War Coalition. The campaigning Labour MP, George Galloway, has been singled out for special attention to punish him for his long-standing support for the Arabs over the years and he has now been suspended from Labour Party membership.
The war party, who believe that British imperialism’s global interests can only be preserved by American might, are dominant at the moment. Blair still struggles to maintain the old British ruling class policy of straddling the Atlantic to play off Europe against America but he burnt his bridges in more than one sense in this war.
The Government is now hinting that the referendum on the single European currency will be deferred for a few more years. This is not out of any concern for working people who would suffer from EMU. It simply reflects the demands of the war party, which includes virtually all the Euro-sceptic Tories.
The Blair leadership has aligned itself with the most reactionary and venal sections of the British ruling class - those who profit from British imperialism’s neo- colonial exploitation, those who know it can only be propped up by the guns of the American war-machine. This war party, which includes most but not all of the Tory leaders, has the backing of the North American owned press in Britain. But it does not represent the views of that section of the ruling class that wants closer integration with the European Union. Nor does it represent the views of the mass of the Labour Party nor the mass of the working class.
The struggle within the Labour Party is clearly going to intensify in the few months - a positive development as the only way the war party as a whole can be defeated is by defeating Blair & Co inside the party they claim to lead. But the agenda must not be simply reduced to divisions within the ruling class itself over Europe and the United States. Nor must the movement be used simply as a weapon by one section of the ruling class over another. We must campaign for an independent working class policy at home and overseas.
We must demand the restoration of all trade union rights; for cheap housing for all; good free education and health services; state welfare benefits and pensions that would enable workers to live in dignity.
The fight for a change in Labour’s leadership must be a fight for people’s policies - first and foremost for peace and the withdrawal of all British troops from Iraq, an end to the occupation, a just and lasting peace for all the peoples of the Middle East and an end to imperialist war.