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Year 2001 No. 162, September 27, 2001 ARCHIVE HOME SEARCH SUBSCRIBE

Demanding Support for the War Plans in the Name of the "Left"

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Demanding Support for the War Plans in the Name of the "Left"

Stop the War!

Public meeting -For peace and justice - Stop the War!

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Demanding Support for the War Plans in the Name of the "Left"

Commentary of WDIE Foreign Affairs Correspondent

On Monday, September 24, Peter Hain, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, published an article in The Guardian entitled "Why we cannot stand aside in the fight against terrorism". The article was clearly aimed at persuading what Peter Hain referred to as "the left" in Britain that it is everyone’s duty to unite behind the preparations for war being made by the governments of Britain and the United States.

Peter Hain begins this article by reminding his readers that he was one of those who marched to oppose the crimes of US imperialism in Vietnam in the 1960s. But, he reasons, those who oppose the policies of the US today must put this opposition aside, because the attacks on New York and Washington "were attacks on us all". According to Hain’s argument, virtually everyone in the world has now joined in "the international coalition to confront terrorism", including the members of the UN Security Council and General Assembly.

But what recent events have shown is that US imperialism remains as bloodthirsty and predatory as it was in the past, and just as in the past it is being aided and abetted to carry out new crimes by the British government. Britain and the US are attempting to use the shocking attacks on New York and Washington as the pretext to impose by military means their "New World Order" and by so doing they will create the conditions for even greater tragedies and loss of life in the future. What is more, contrary to Peter Hain’s assertion, there has been no mandate from the United Nations for their war plans or for the "international coalition" that is being assembled under the dictate of the US.

Peter Hain even claims that what is under attack from what he refers to as "the terrorists" are those universal values of "human rights, democracy and the rule of law" which inspired the "British left" to fight against fascism in Europe in the 1930s and to support the national liberation struggles in southern Africa in 1970s and 1980s. He therefore concludes that while there is an "honourable minority tradition of pacifism, most on the left have recognised that at some historic moments the only way to defend freedom and justice is to fight".

But how will the defence of "freedom and justice" be advanced by supporting the so-called "war against terrorism" under the dictate of US imperialism? It is the US, Britain and the other big powers with their policy of state terrorism that have created so many of the world’s problems and brought about the conditions that led to the attacks on New York and Washington. It is the imposition of the neo-liberal agenda of imperialist globalisation under the guise of "universal" or "civilised" values that has led to such suffering, poverty and oppression for the peoples of the world and such widespread opposition to the big powers.

The measures now being proposed by the US and British governments do nothing to address any of these problems and merely provide a further justification for big power interference and the policy of state terrorism throughout the world. While terrorism of whatever kind must be condemned, it is an insult to all those who fought against fascism and oppression in the past to in any way equate their struggles with the reactionary, warmongering and anti-people plans of Anglo-American imperialism. While it is permissible to ask of Peter Hain – whose human rights, democracy and rule of law are being defended in supporting the crusade of the US; are what is being defended universal values? – it is also plain for people to see that in this crusade human rights are coming under attack, the people are not being involved in the decision-making, and it is precisely the rule of law that Britain and the US are casting aside in this "war against terrorism".

Peter Hain argues that once terrorism is defeated we should then "continue with our mission to conquer world poverty, and build international peace and a world based on justice, equality and human rights". But the Labour government that he represents has no such mission. What is being demanded by this government is that the working class and people and their fighting organisations must line up behind Anglo-American imperialism and that everything should be subordinate to its aims.

On the contrary, what is now crucial is that working class and people must not diverted from the struggle to renovate society and solve its problems. What this entails is in fact becoming much starker in the light of the path to war and the darkening domestic situation. The working class must become conscious of its historic mission and organise itself to take centre in order to prevent the realisation of the war plans of Blair and Bush.

Article Index

Stop the War!

WDIE has received the following anti-war leaflet which is produced by the Communist Party of Britain.

The world now stands on the brink of war. The military actions launched by the USA, with Britain’s support threaten peace and stability, not just at present and in one part of the world, but for the indefinite future and across the globe as a whole.

The Communist Party condemns the attacks on the World Trade Centre, and extends its sympathy to the victims and their families. But the military response has little to do with defeating terrorism, and a great deal to do with keeping the world safe for US and British big business, particularly in the Middle East.

It is a war which will deepen the problems which have given rise to terrorism in the first place. It will multiply the already enormous number of people around the world who see the USA and Britain as their enemy to be opposed by any means possible.

The military action, whether against Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere will lead to the deaths of still more innocent civilians. And it will put Britain in the front line for the inevitable retaliation.

The planned aggression has no basis in international law. Like the Gulf War of 1991 and the Balkans War of 1999, it is an exercise in naked power politics.

There is another way forward. The USA can pursue legal action to bring to justice those of the perpetrators of the attacks on New York and who are not already dead. Such action should be under the authority of the United Nations General Assembly.

And the root causes of the attack need to be addressed. This means supporting the rights of the Palestinian people, and ending support for Israeli aggression. It means ending the inhuman and futile military and economic sanctions against Iraq, which hurt ordinary Iraqis and not the regime of Saddam Hussein.

New Labour is offering the warlike Bush administration its full and uncritical backing. The labour movement needs to take a different view.

Trade unions and other progressive organisations need to join the fight for peace. And we need to resist attempts to use the war hysteria being generated for reactionary purposes.

This includes rejecting moves to curtail civil liberties, through the introduction of ID cards or limitations on demonstrations, for example. And we must stand against any attempt to demonise the Muslim community in Britain. The government must act against racist attacks.

Nor should the movement abandon its democracy and campaigning. For the capitalists, it is business as usual – the arms fair in London’s Docklands went ahead, massive redundancies have been announced and the Chambers of Commerce have even proposed freezing the minimum wage!

We should oppose any attempt to use the crisis as an excuse for job losses, and the government should act to help industries with real problems. Nor should we drop the fight against New Labour’s plans to privatise schools and hospitals.

Article Index

Public meeting

For peace and justice



Bruce Kent (CND and peace campaigner)
Graham Bush (Committee for Peace in the Balkans)
Charlotte Monro (Whipps Cross Hospital Unison, personal capacity)
Claire Joy (World Development Movement)
Andrew McConnel (Gulf war veteran)

Tuesday October 2nd

7.30 p.m.

Leytonstone Library (near Leytonstone tube)
Church Lane E11

  • Art work from children against war will be on display – bring your artwork, banners, posters and leaflets for local campaigns. Stalls available.
  • Help us launch a Waltham Forest and Redbridge "Coalition for Peace", call Ben on 07047 482 506.

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