The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 14th March 2008
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EMPIRE IN DECLINE
by Daphne Liddle
THE LEADERS of American imperialism, along with their
running dogs like Tony Blair, and Israel’s Sharon, five years ago
thought they and their system were immortal, omnipotent and
History, aided by the heroic Iraqi resistance, has proved them wrong!
The imperialists failed to learn the lessons that all great empires
eventually collapse into dust and with their ill-judged greed,
adventurism and warmongering brought the end of their own empire a lot
It is not gone yet but the fighters from the land of two rivers,
ancient cradle of civilisation, have critically weakened the power of
the US Empire militarily, economically and politically.
And in doing so they have opened up the possibility of a world
freed from US imperialist greed and brutality in the foreseeable rather
than the far distant future.
Five years ago the imperialist coalition thought Iraq would be
just another routine conquest like they had had in Afghanistan, the
Balkans, in Latin America and places around the globe; force of
superior arms would quickly prevail and peace protesters would be
marginalised, demoralised and defeated. They forgot Vietnam.
And at first they thought everything was going to plan. The peace
protesters had been louder and more numerous before, supported by some
major capitalist rivals to the US. These included the European Union
and Russia and pro-Euro popular papers like the Mirror and the
This put an unprecedented two million protesters onto the streets
of London but the imperialists ignored them. They thought they could
get away with lying to the people about a non-existent threat from
weapons of mass destruction. Their arrogance was the beginning of their
The initial military conquest of Iraq was a little more difficult
than they thought it would be but within weeks the imperialist invaders
thought they had it all sewn up.
But they had only scratched the surface. The Iraqis were a long
way from being a conquered people – and still are. Saddam Hussein made
many mistakes in his life – including actually getting rid of the
serious weapons – at the behest of the United Nations – that would have
deterred the invaders. But he did one crucial thing right; just before
the invasion he distributed arms to the general population of Iraq to
enable them to fight back – and they have done so.
The invaders have not been able to secure Iraq’s oil supplies –
the resistance has denied them their chief economic target and the
result has been soaring oil prices in the West.
The costs of the war to the imperialists are astronomical and leave
them facing an impending financial recession with little room for
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have tied down the armed forces of the
invaders for five years now – making US military interventions in other
parts of the world impossible.
The new Bolivarian governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador
have benefited from this. And Hugo Chavez has been able to use
Venezuela’s oil wealth to support other progressive and socialist
countries in defiance of US embargos.
The US has lost friends and supporters among other capitalist
states as its weakness and poor judgement have been made plain. It has
lost the confidence of its own military leaders, many of whom have
spoken out against the poor planning and tactics.
Just last Wednesday Admiral William Fallon, who headed the US
Central Command in the Middle East resigned his post before he was due
for retirement over concerns that President Bush is planning further
reckless action against Iran.
The people of Iraq continue to pay a heavy price for the invasion
and occupation of their country. Bush tries to pretend the conquest is
achieving its ends and the conflict is dying down. But on 10th January,
US bombers unleashed 40,000 pounds of explosives in the biggest aerial
attack since March 2003, killing or injuring dozens of civilians, many
of them women, children and the elderly.
On Saturday 15th March – a good date for toppling tyrants – the Stop
the War Coalition has organised mass demonstration in London and
Glasgow, calling for an end to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, a
halt to war preparations against Iran and justice for the people of
Palestine. This will be part of a worldwide day of action, The World
Against War that will see similar peace protests in most major cities
on the planet.
The day of action was agreed at an international peace conference
in London in December.
Veteran campaigner Tony Benn urged people to support the
demonstration, saying: “The destruction of Iraq continues; its people
killed amidst bombings and atrocities, a million or more dead, many
more than two million driven from their homes, the social and economic
“In Afghanistan the US military is spending $65,000 a minute and
there are four times as many air strikes than in Iraq.
“The occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in untold
suffering for the people of these countries. Yet British troops remain
in both countries.
“The International Peace Conference we organised in London in
December agreed to hold anti-war demonstrations across the world in
March 2008. The UK demonstration takes place in London on 15th March. I
hope you will join me there.”
One man who will not be addressing the rally – but who has defied
restrictions to send a message – is former SAS soldier Benn Griffin,
who has spoken out against British military involvement in US torture
The message he has sent is: “As of 1940hrs 29/02/08 I have been
placed under an injunction preventing me from speaking publicly and
publishing material gained as a result of my service in UKSF (SAS).
“I will be continuing to collect evidence and opinion on British
involvement in extraordinary rendition, torture, secret detentions,
extra judicial detention, use of evidence gained through torture,
breaches of the Geneva Conventions, breaches of International Law and
failure to abide by our obligations as per UN Convention Against
Torture. I am carrying on regardless.”
The demonstration assembles in Trafalgar Square at 12 noon then
marches down Whitehall, across the river and back for a rally in
And in one week’s time peace protesters will be taking to the
streets again for the 50th anniversary of the first Aldermaston march,
organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament – and protesting at
the Government’s decision to go ahead with a new generation of Trident
The march will also be to defend the right to protest. CND
clarified that despite the recent High Court ruling on byelaws
restricting the right to protest at the Atomic Weapons Establishment,
Aldermaston, the demonstration set for Easter Monday will be going
ahead, legally, as planned and looks likely to be the biggest in 20
The Bomb Stops Here protest of 24th March will celebrate 50 years
of campaigning against nuclear weapons, taking place on the anniversary
of the arrival of the first march to Aldermaston in 1958.
Thousands of protesters are expected to surround the base which
produces the warheads for the Trident nuclear weapons system.
The last resort of
SHOULD teenagers be encouraged
to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen and country? Former
attorney general Lord Goldsmith last Tuesday delivered a report to
Gordon Brown outlining proposals for such oath-taking ceremonies –
probably as part of leaving school – in order to “give them a sense of
This is a very sinister and anti-democratic proposal that will send a
message to young people that it is wrong to have republican or
left-wing views. In addition, the Queen is the head of the Church of
England; millions of youngsters who follow other religions will have
great problems swearing allegiance to her.
And it will take very courageous youngsters to stand up to their elders
and mentors and refuse to swear. Many would be coerced into taking the
oath for fearing of getting a bad mark against their name on the
national identity register that is being compiled to back up the
identity card scheme.
On the whole, adolescents feel passionately about basic honesty and
pressuring them into swearing an oath they do not totally agree just to
avoid the attention of the secret police will leave them feeling
humiliated and debased.
Other, less imaginative youngsters who yearn to conform with authority
in order to get on in the world, will take it as an official state
endorsement that free thinkers, atheists and republicans – never mind
communists like us – are the bad guys.
It will create division between the conformists and the rebels – but it
will also spark some fierce debates and maybe recruit a few of the best
to our ranks.
Dr Johnson said that patriotism is the last resort of scoundrels; this
government has taken the county into a bloody war on a lie; it vaunts
wealth and greed; it robs the poor to give tax concessions to the rich.
Now the only way it can trump up support is on the basis of bogus
right-wing nationalism when its only real basis of support is that the
alternative is even worse.
AND THIS brings us to the coming London mayoral election in May. Ken
Livingstone is the official Labour candidate. The leadership of that
party may have been hi-jacked by scoundrels but it is still the only
mass political party in Britain that has any potential whatever to
giving a voice to Britain’s organised working class. And Livingstone’s
record has been one of measures that have been of some benefit to
London’s working class.
The Labour Party machine originally skewed its selection process to
pick Yorkshireman Frank Dobson as its choice of candidate for the job.
Livingstone quit the party to stand as an independent – though still
holding the support of most of London’s Labour Party rank and file. He
stood on a policy of opposing Tube privatisation. Though the Government
imposed part privatisation of the Tube before handing control of it
over to Livingstone, his stance has been more than vindicated in the
dire performance and eventual collapse of Metronet, one of the two
private companies involved in the part privatisation.
Livingstone has vastly improved the bus services. By and large the
congestion charge has worked in lessening the gridlock in central
London, though we would argue it weighs more heavily on low income
drivers. Leading Green activists and campaigners acknowledge he is one
of the very few elected mayors in the world with enough courage to take
on the motor and oil industry lobbies in trying to reduce pollution in
And when it comes to the position of London Mayor, the alternative
really is very much worse than Livingstone. Boris Johnson affects the
public persona of a posh buffoon but he is really very reactionary and
set on removing all barriers to his very rich class friends making as
much profit as they can at the expense of ordinary Londoners.
All the advances made by Livingstone would be undone; the Tube would
probably be fully privatised; travel concessions for children and the
pensioners’ Freedom Pass would be under threat and developers would be
allowed to run riot with no planning checks.
But the poll is likely to be a tight-run thing. People considering
voting for alternative candidates or not voting at all should be aware
that Boris is the only alternative to Ken and that a few votes going
elsewhere could make all the difference and help Boris get in.
Livingstone is not perfect but don’t wish a nightmare future on London.
Save the Mayor, save London.
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