The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 6th May 2005

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By our Arab Affairs Correspondent

partisans are stepping up the fight against Anglo-American imperialism with a crescendo of attacks throughout the country that resistance sources say topped 200 a day this week. A new puppet government was sworn in this week despite having failed to attract any prominent members of the Sunni Muslim community to its ranks. And ambushes, street battles and bombings have sent the puppet regime reeling and pushed the US-led army of occupation back onto the defensive.

            In Baghdad resistance fighters gunned down guards at the US prison holding former president Saddam Hussein and intensified their bombardment of the international airport forcing the only commercial carriers that use the airport, Iraqi Airways and Royal Jordanian, to cancel all flights in and out of the Iraqi capital. American high command confirmed that two of their warplanes went down on Monday in south-central Iraq, officially put down to a “collision” in bad weather and a suicide bomber destroyed a police recruitment centre, killing and wounding hundreds in Arbil, the “capital” of what the imperialists once called the Kurdish “safe-haven” in northern Iraq.

            Rumours are flying about a meeting between US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and imprisoned former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein when Rumsfeld visited Baghdad earlier in the year. An Egyptian magazine claims that Rumsfeld offered Saddam his freedom, together with “generous financial assistance and security” for a life in exile if the Baathist leader agreed to publicly condemn “terrorism”  on Iraqi television and order his supporters to “stop these acts”. According to the alleged transcript of their conversation Saddam dismissed Rumsfeld’s offer with the contempt that it deserved.

            It also appears that Japan is going to throw in the towel and join the others like the Dutch and the Ukrainians who are scuttling out of Iraq this year. A Tokyo news agency, quoting unidentified sources, claims that Japan will withdraw its 550 troops currently on “non-combat” operations in southern Iraq by the end of the year. The despatch of the troops; Japan’s largest overseas military deployment since the Second World War; provoked mass demonstrations at the time and their continued presence in Iraq at America’s request has been a source of bitter rancour in the Japanese parliament ever since.

            The war that sent Tony Blair’s personal popularity plummeting to minus zero levels is also taking its toll on army recruitment. Some 90 per cent of the fighting units of the British army are under strength, the Sunday Telegraph revealed last weekend in a report that stated that senior officers fear that some regiments will be unable to take part in operations in Iraq without significant reinforcements from other parts of the army. Thirty-eight of the Army’s 40 infantry battalions are under strength including all three battalions of the Parachute Regiment, all six infantry regiments that make up the Scottish Division and the entire Guards Division. The Army predicts that only 1,400 recruits will join the infantry this year, a fall of 35 per cent. Desertions have doubled and there are now 500 soldiers absent without leave.

            The candid report which appeared in the Tory Sunday newspaper quoted a senior officer saying: “We are fighting an unpopular war. A lot of young soldiers have died and parents of 15, 16 and 17 year-olds are telling their children not to join the Army because of this. The assumption is that the parents of would-be recruits don’t trust the Government and they are telling their children not to join up”.

            Eight-eight British servicemen have been killed and some 800 more wounded in the Iraq campaign. According to the Pentagon a total of 1,772 members of the US-led occupation army have been killed and over 12,200 wounded since the war began in March 2003. Most of the US “coalition” losses are American.


The Next Step

Workers get little out of bourgeois elections. Whoever wins the ruling class will still be there living off the backs of working people in Britain and throughout the world.

But we do get the chance to keep the most reactionary of the mainstream parties out of office and to elect the only party that is historically and organisationally linked to the trade union movement – the Labour Party. We also get the chance to raise popular demands that go far beyond the bourgeois agenda or the class-collaborationist policies of Blair and his side-kicks.

The Labour Party has been dominated by its right-wing throughout its history and when in office that right-wing has always sought to serve the dominant wing of the ruling class. Blair has aligned himself with the most venal, reactionary and aggressive section of the bourgeoisie – those that see their interests best served in alliance with US imperialism.

The anti-war movement vowed to make the Iraq war the key issue in this election and they have undeniably succeeded. The Tories, who supported the war, confined themselves to the question of Blair’s credibility. But the Liberal Democrats spent last week parading their anti-war credentials while ignoring that fact that it’s only this war they oppose – and that only on the grounds that they support the position of that part of the ruling class that wants to close ranks with Franco-German imperialism.

George Galloway’s robust campaign has certainly raised the issue in the East End of London but the same cannot be said for the other 25 Respect candidates across the country.

Blair’s masters of spin tell us that the only alternative to Labour is the Tories and in one sense that’s true as British bourgeois democracy revolves around a two-party system. They’re also starting to tell us that the only alternative to Blair is Gordon Brown implying that his succession is a foregone conclusion.

But there is a very real alternative to Blair and Brown and what they call “New Labour” and that’s the Labour Party itself.

Protest votes and maverick MPs cannot change the leadership of the Labour Party. Only the organised working class through its affiliated unions that provide the massive amounts of cash that keep Labour going can do that job. And that will only happen if there’s mass rank-and-file pressure on the leadership for change.

Capitalism can never solve the problems of working people nor is it intended to. It’s a system designed to ensure that the big bourgeoisie and those that serve them live the lives of Roman emperors through exploitation. All the wealth of the world is produced by workers in factories and peasants in the fields. All they get in return, apart from in the remaining socialist countries in Asia and the Caribbean is a tiny fraction of the wealth they produce.

All that “democracy” means to the bourgeoisie is manipulating the largest number of votes by the smallest number of people. Marking a cross in a ballot box every four of five years is a meaningless ritual unless it’s matched by a rising level of militancy and struggle. The anti-war campaign reached out to millions through mass actions on the streets in London and up and down the country. The demands for higher wages, better pensions, decent and affordable housing and a free health service that Britain can so easily afford will only be met through struggle against the employers and the bourgeois state that exists to serve the interests of the exploiters.

What we want is real democracy – people’s democracy; democracy for the masses that will pave the way for socialism and the end of poverty, classes and exploitation. The struggle began in the 19th century.

The election is over but the battle goes on!

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