No War on Iraq
All over the world millions upon millions of people are taking to the streets this weekend to demonstrate their opposition to war in Iraq. They’ve heard General Colin Powell’s feeble attempts to demonise Iraq and they’ve not been taken in. The masses demand peace and so do most of their governments.
Belgium, France and Germany have blocked Nato preparations for war with Iraq. Russia has joined France and Germany in a common stand to avert war. They’ve called for more time to allow the weapons inspectors to do their job. They’ve proposed a substantial reinforcement of the disarmament teams to verify Iraq’s claim to have met all its UN obligations. People’s China and many, many other countries are also calling for peace.
The Bush administration has dismissed the Franco-German peace initiative - described by our Foreign Minister Jack Straw as “a recipe for procrastination and delay” - out of hand. Entirely predictable. Anglo-American imperialism is not interested in the findings of the international inspectors one way or the other.
All they want is a pretext for a new war against Iraq. They want to occupy the country, put a puppet government in Baghdad, seize its vast oil-fields and use its land as a strategic base to dominate the entire oil-rich Middle East.
We have to make it clear to Blair and Straw that the authority of the leadership of the Labour Party comes from the membership and that the authority of the Prime Minister comes from the electorate as a whole. It doesn’t come from the big capitalist interests and the big oil corporations nor does it come from the President of the United States.
Imperialism’s new order
Anglo-American imperialism has routinely ignored the United Nations General Assembly for years. Any Palestinian can tell you that. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War they were keen to elevate the status of the UN Security Council. Meeting usually in secret session the Council was seen as a convenient rubber-stamp and moral fig-leave for what they used to call an “ethical” foreign policy based on “human rights” or the “new world order”.
What is it based on? Well it certainly not based on “human rights” as the right to live in peace is the most basic of them all. It certainly isn’t based on the concept of consensus or the will of the United Nations because the majority of the members of the United Nations, representing the overwhelming majority of people on Earth, support the stand taken by France, Germany, China and Russia.
No, what it’s based on is an undeclared but blatantly obvious “new” principle in international relations. It’s simply this. Security Council resolutions are okay if they meet the demands of Anglo-American imperialism. If not then they can be ignored in favour of a “coalition of the willing” - and all that means is America, Britain aand whatever stooges they can arm-twist into going along with them.
It can be stopped
We can now see exactly what Blair’s “ethical” foreign policy and Bush’s “new world order” means. It means that world should be run by the two richest imperialist countries and strongest nuclear powers in the world. That’s all it boils down to. And there’s nothing new in it either.
Well the coalition of the unwilling is on the march in the corridors of power of Nato, in the chancelleries of Europe, and on the streets of towns and cities in every continent.
Stand up for peace!
Union leaders call for emergency debate
THE LEADERS of five major trade unions last week demanded the recall of the Trades Union Congress for an emergency debate on the prospect of an Anglo-American attack on Iraq, warning that it could lead to widespread industrial action.
They stopped short of calling for strike action at a press conference organised by Stop the War, in the lead up to the massive anti-war rallies due this Saturday in London and Glasgow.
Around a million people are expected to join the two rallies. And around the globe many millions more will be marching against war.
Mick Rix, general secretary of the train drivers’ union Aslef, pointed out that some workers are already refusing to transport goods that could be used in the attack.
Other union leaders at the press conference included Mark Serwotka of the PCS civil service union, Bob Crow of the RMT transport union, Billy Hayes of the Communication Workers’ Union and Paul Mackney of the lecturers’ union Natfhe.
Paul Mackney said: “It is not appropriate for us today to issue a specific call to industrial action”. But, he warned, the day any war started could see “massive protests in every industry against it”.
Bill Hayes said that anti-war sentiment is comparable with that at the time of the Suez crisis in the 50s, which cost Anthony Eden his premiership.
Paul Mackney added: “Unless Blair changes course, Blair will fall on this.”
All five urged their memberships - totalling 750,000 - to turn out on Saturday.
Rank and file Labour Party members are also considering action against Blair’s war policies, threatening to deselect sitting MPs who support the war.
Blair faces a hostile reception when he addresses Labour’s spring conference in Glasgow on Saturday, inside and outside the conference hall.
‘It is not appropriate for us today to issue a specific call to
industrial action’. But, he warned, the day any war started could see ‘massive
protests in every industry against it’
Bill Speirs of the Scottish TUC has already warned that the Glasgow peace march will involve a “Jericho rumpus”, when demonstrators armed with horns and drums will surround the conference venue.
Blair will face another challenge later this month at the national policy forum meeting in Southport.
Constituency branches have tabled dozens of motions against the
war. One branch has passed a motion refusing to raise funds for the party
or campaign in the local elections in May if the war goes ahead.
This is almost certainly against the party rules and could lead to the suspension of the branch but it’s a powerful protest gesture.
The war issue is stirring the membership to take back control of the party from the Blairite clique.
The peace movement, inside and outside the labour movement, in Britain and throughout the world, is growing to such a level that there could soon be a qualitative change in its nature.
It is becoming about more than just Iraq. It is becoming a real challenge to the power of global imperialism. We are living in exciting times.
But it needs to be more than just against capitalism and imperialism or it could be hi-jacked to serve one faction of imperialism against another. It needs to be for socialism.
The international working class is just realising the power it has. Now it must use it for the liberation of the whole working class, for an end to exploitation, for world peace and socialism.
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