The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 19th May 2006
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CALL TO BRING THE TROOPS HOME
by our Arab Affairs Correspondent
THE GUNS blaze throughout Iraq as the partisans continue their
bold and relentless onslaught against the US-led imperialist army and
its local puppets across the land of the two rivers. Fierce fighting
continues in the southern British zone of occupation, firing a renewed
call on the Blair government to pull the troops out of the conflict.
General Sir Rob Fry, the most senior British general in Iraq, says a
phased withdrawal was likely to begin “in the pretty near future”. But
the downing of a Royal Navy helicopter over Basra earlier in the month
and an increase in deadly partisan road-side bombings has fired demands
for a complete withdrawal.
Labour MP Paul Flynn said television pictures of British troops being
protected from a mob by Iraqi police had provided evidence of the need
for a phased exit.
“Our troops are now in a situation where their main function is to
defend themselves,” he said. “The case for remaining there is
New Iraqi resistance groups with distinctly Shia names have begun to
make their appearance in attacks and video announcements, joining their
Iraqi Sunni comrades in the battle against the Anglo-American
occupation. And not just in the Shia strongholds of the south.
The Imam al-Kazim Brigade claimed to have killed seven US troops last
week when they detonated a bomb by a US patrol in the Sab‘ al-Bur area
north-west of Baghdad and the Imam Ali Brigade broadcast a video
showing the destruction of an Italian armoured car in Nasiriyah that
killed all the Italian troops aboard the vehicle. Other brigades
rocketed a US military base on the outskirts of Baghdad and planted
road-side bombs on the road between Baghdad and Kirkuk.
There’s been no let up against the Americans either. Partisans shot
down a US Black Hawk helicopter gunship over Yusufiyah on Monday
killing its two-man crew during an ambush of an American military
column some 25 km south-west of Baghdad. This happened in what the
Marines now call the “Triangle of Death” following the downing of a US
Apache helicopter in April in a region largely controlled by the
Resistance fighters are battling in the heart of the provincial capital
of Ramadi and the US HQ in the border town of Al Qaim was repeatedly
shelled last week. In Baghdad the resistance is launching daily
ambushes and bomb attacks on the Americans and their puppets and the
quisling Iraqi “foreign minister” narrowly escaped with his life when
his motorcade was attacked on the main road to Kirkuk in northern Iraq.
Three of his bodyguards were slain during the battle but the puppet
regime later claimed that the minister was not with his entourage at
the time, alleging that puppet officials normally use air transport
these days for security reasons. The motorcade of puppet leader Jalal
Talabani was ambushed by the resistance along the same road on
7th May leaving four of his guards dead.
Whenever the going gets tough the Americans wheel out Saddam Hussein
for another session of his show-trial in Baghdad. And this week the
ousted Iraqi president heard the charges against him for the first time
in these farcical proceedings. His refusal to recognise the authority
of the American-appointed court was taken as a plea of not guilty by
Anglo-American imperialism invaded Iraq in 2003 to seize and plunder
its immense oil wealth. At that time oil-prices hover around $25 to $30
a barrel. Last month they topped $75. Resistance sabotage has crippled
the Iraqi oil industry that was going to be donated to the big oil
corporations who hoped to flood the market with cheap Iraqi oil. The
turmoil in Iraq and fears of an new imperialist attack on Iran have
sent prices soaring, which in turn have strengthened the hand of other
oil producers including Russia, Venezuela and, of course, Iran itself.
Saddam’s Baathist government used part of its oil wealth to raise the
standard of living of all Iraqis. Today most Iraqis live in abject
poverty. According to a new UN report malnutrition among Iraqi children
has reached alarming proportions. Almost one child in ten aged between
six months and five years suffers from acute malnourishment according
to a survey supported by UNICEF and the UN World Food Programme.
David Singh, an official from UNICEF’s Iraq Support Centre in
neighbouring Jordan, said the number of acutely malnourished children
had more than doubled, to nine per cent in 2005 from four per cent in
2002, the last year of Saddam’s rule. And some four million Iraqis,
roughly 15 per cent of the population, were in dire need of
humanitarian aid including food, up from 11 per cent in 2003.
“Until there is a period of relative stability in Iraq we are going to
continue to face these kinds of problems,” he declared.
War, poverty and death. That’s what the Americans have given Iraq. The
real problem is imperialism and stability will only come to Iraq when
the last imperialist soldier leaves Iraq once and for all.
Human rights or workers’ rights?
IN THE PAST WEEK we have seen
a concerted attack on the Human Rights Act by both Tony Blair and David
Cameron – the leaders of the two main political parties. Both are
threatening to weaken or repeal the Act, portraying it as something
alien imposed on us by “Europe” – leaving many people to believe it is
a product of the unpopular European Union. But the Human Rights Act and
the European Court of Human Rights are nothing to do with the EU.
The European Court of Human Rights was set up in the wake of the
Second World War in an effort to prevent obscenities like Nazism ever
being allowed to take over a country ever again. Britain supported the
court from the start but only incorporated its values into British law
in the late 1990s.
It was a weak concept from the start, founded by bourgeois
liberals who did not understand the powerful class antagonisms that
gave birth to Nazism. It is about to be swept aside by a bourgeois
ruling class that now finds the concept of human rights inconvenient.
The imperialist powers always wave the human rights flag whenever
a workers’ state tries to defend itself, using strong measures against
the subversive agents of imperialism or when they want an excuse to
invade some weak third world country.
The latest attacks on Britain’s Human Rights Act comes in the
wake of a court decision to allow Afghan refugees from the Taliban
regime who hijacked a plane to get to Britain, to stay here now they
have finished their sentences, because their lives would be in danger
if deported back to Afghanistan. The Taliban regime may be gone but
puppet Karzai regime is no better – but the bourgeois defenders of
human rights have now forgotten all about the people of Afghanistan.
Both Blair and Cameron claim that the judges who granted the men
leave to stay are out of touch with popular opinion. The attacks on the
concept of human rights are also feeding off the mess in the Home
Office where hundreds of foreign prisoners have been released into the
community rather than being deported.
At essence this muddle is caused by two Home Office departments –
the prison service and the immigration service – failing to communicate
with one another. Those who have been released have served their time
for whatever crime they have committed. Those who happen to be foreign
are neither more nor less likely to re-offend than native ex-cons.
If someone commits a serious offence in a country other than
their own, they must reasonably expect to be deported once they have
finished their sentence. But for some, this would in effect be a
sentence of death and since British courts do not impose a death
sentence, the matter is not always simple.
But the implications of the rantings of both Blair and Cameron
and the popular press are that any foreigner who commits a crime on
British soil should be locked up forever – regardless of the
seriousness of the crime.
Blair and Cameron – agents of the ruling class – are using the
strong but confused feelings of racism and xenophobia being whipped up
on this issue to get rid of human rights protection that the ruling
class now finds inconvenient. Bear in mind that protection was meant to
prevent a return to the values of Nazism.
Today’s ruling class needs to curtail our rights and freedoms in
order to increase the exploitation and oppression of the working class
– just as the Nazis did. The first targets will be those who pose a
political and economic threat to their greed and power lust – in other
words socialists and the trade unions.
Our class needs more, not fewer, workers’ rights and workers’
traditional values of solidarity – the strong protecting the weak, the
right to organise, to defend and advance living standards. Ultimately
we need to overthrow the greedy parasitic ruling class because they
will never give these rights to us just because we ask. As Pete Seeger
once said: “Take it easy, but take it!”
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