If the imperialists succeed in destroying independent Syria, they will be one step closer to bringing down independent Iran, just as the destruction of independent Libya paved the way for the war against Syria.
The statement issued today (see below) by the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) is especially significant for British workers. It demonstrates the anti-imperialist understanding of the majority of the world’s workers, and it is in stark contrast to the reaction of Britain’s official trade-union and anti-war movements.
The World Federation of Trade Unions categorically denounces the intensified imperialist aggressiveness against Syria and calls for the immediate termination of any attack and military intervention being pursued against the country and the Syrian people.
In conditions of strong inter-imperialist competition, and in conditions of deep and prolonged international capitalist crisis where the rivalries over wealth-producing resources and geo-strategic crossroads are increasing, the conflict in the Middle East and the Mediterranean is reaching new extremes.
The manufactured etiology for the “use of chemical weapons” that is being attributed to the Syrian army is an obvious provocative slander aiming to provide an opportunity for the military intervention expected and prepared for years by the USA and the other forces.
The global mass media, owned by multinational groups, are fully coordinated with the imperialist agenda and are enriching the campaign of misinformation, building the people’s inertia or endorsement for yet another slaughter.
The forces within the country, which are morally and practically supported by the USA, Britain, France as well as Turkey, Israel and the Emirs and Kings of Qatar, Saudi Arabia etc, have nothing to do with the interests of the Syrian people, neither with the ‘peace’ nor with the ‘democracy’ that they are supposedly espousing.
The ‘democracy’ applied in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya, in Mali: we do not need it, we do not want it! No more blood for the interests of the multinationals.
We call upon all the trade-union organisations, members and friends of the WFTU, as well as all the peace-loving people and mass organisations internationally to protest their condemnation against the imperialist policy and the solidarity with the people of Syria.
The Syrian people without foreign intervention are the only ones who can and must decide upon their present and future.
Athens, Greece 29 August 2013
Let us be clear. Syria is under attack because it stands in the way of imperialist domination of the Middle East. The country has a long history of opposing zionism and supporting the Palestinian struggle for liberation, and of standing up against imperialist interventions of all kinds in the Middle East and the wider world. President Assad is not a ‘dictator’ but the leader of a popular national-unity coalition government that seeks to protect its people from imperialist superexploitation.
Instead of producing cheap trainers and living in slums, the Syrian people have free health care, free university education and an economy that retains its independence from the domination of imperialist multinationals.
The imperialist war against Syria is aimed at smashing all that to pieces and putting a puppet regime in place that will facilitate the looting of Syria and create a new base for attacks against Syria’s anti-imperialist allies in Iran and Lebanon (Hizbollah). This is also a step towards all-out war against Russia or China or both — a war that would be bound to consume the entire world in flames.
Meanwhile, the terrorist forces rampaging through Syria that the West has been arming want to plunge the country into a sectarian bloodbath and turn it into a fascistic theocracy of the most vicious kind.
In the face of all this, the British TUC has said absolutely nothing about the impending blitzkreig, while Britain’s ‘anti-war’ organisation Stop the War (StW) has merely suggested that the few people who still pay any attention to its emails might like to lobby their MPs and attend a demonstration or two.
Despite repeated endorsements for a mass non-cooperation campaign at consecutive StW conferences, Stop the War has not called on workers to withdraw their labour from the war machine. Indeed, it has not even suggested that the war is a crime, calling it instead a ‘mistake‘.
Instead of explaining that aggressive war against a sovereign nation is the highest crime against humanity under international law, StW calls the planned assault on Syria an ‘intervention’, and uses the same word to describe the genocides and massacres committed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
Instead of exposing the war machine’s disgusting lies, StW’s ‘call to arms’ starts with a statement about the awfulness of chemical weapons — referencing and thereby emphasising imperialism’s hysterical anti-Assad hype without refuting it, and therefore helping to spread confusion and demoralisation.
Instead of organising workers to use their power to stop British imperialist participation in crimes against humanity, StW asks them to send emails to MPs. The ruling class must be quaking in its boots!
The war against Syria is a war against all oppressed and exploited people. It is a war to strengthen imperialism, and therefore a war to keep the workers of the world in subjugation. Just as we need to organise against cuts at home when the ruling class attacks us here, we need to join with our brothers and sisters on the frontline in Syria to ensure a defeat for imperialism by creating a worldwide axis of resistance.
It’s long past time for the bankrupt careerists who lead our movement to be given their marching orders and to be replaced by leaders who are prepared to stand up to imperialism and expose imperialist war propaganda, as well as to get on with organising a mass campaign of active non-cooperation with imperialist wars.
If every trade union in Britain made it their policy to refuse to cooperate with the war against Syria, then workers could refuse to make or move munitions or supplies, could refuse to write or broadcast propaganda, and could refuse to fight in the forces. It is quite simple: the imperialists can’t fight without us!
A letter from Bristol comrades, 9 May 2011
The sickest joke to come out of Stop the War’s reactionary stance on Libya has been the accusation that members of StW who stand in solidarity with the Gaddafi-led Libyan revolution are a divisive influence within the anti-war movement and should pipe down at public meetings, reserving their distasteful minority opinions for under-the-counter retail (or preferably shut up all together).
Yet what has truly divided and weakened the anti-war movement, indexed by the dwindling of national anti-war demonstrations from millions to hundreds, has been the perennial reluctance of the leadership to consistently call for victory to the Afghan and Iraqi resistance, a stance that has finally degenerated into John Rees’s open support for the imperialist-backed Benghazi rebellion.
Rees and co have since scrambled back to a stance that they hope will rescue their ‘progressive’ reputations (basically ’stop bombing Libya, you’ll only make it harder to get rid of Gaddafi’), a clumsy and hypocritical manoeuvre which will fool few and inspire none.
It is this misleadership, and StW’s resulting failure to give an anti-imperialist lead as capitalist crisis breeds fresh wars, which undermines and weakens the movement.
We are constantly told that our anti-imperialist stance risks alienating some supporters of StW’s (somewhat narrow) broad front. It is not impossible that some overly sensitive petty-bourgeois liberals might find the atmosphere uncongenial in an anti-war movement which had learned to outgrow its social-democratic prejudices, however many times it was spelt out to such individuals that their presence within the broad movement remained welcome.
But right now, we need to understand why the ‘broad’ front in reality remains so very narrow; how it is that the mass of working people do not actively embrace the cause of peace and withdraw their cooperation with imperialism’s wars. What is it about StW’s approach that so severely limits its scope?
The fact is that, so long as those leading the anti-war movement refuse to give solidarity to the forces that are resisting imperialist aggression on the ground, they will be keeping British workers divided from their real allies in the fight against monopoly capitalism and its wars, hindering them in the indivisible struggle for socialism and peace.
As Karl Marx wrote, no nation that enslaves another can itself be free. The failure to give consistent and wholehearted support to those defending Libya’s sovereignty with arms in hand can only weaken and divide the anti-war movement.
It is not the CPGB-ML and fellow internationalists who pose a threat to the unity and progress of the anti-war movement, but the rotten Trotskyite and revisionist politics that infect the upper echelons of StW and wash back into its branches, rendering the movement vulnerable to being shoved off course by every new wave of imperialist propaganda.
Whilst we have never taken a sectarian approach in our work with StW, cultivating good personal relations with fellow coalitionists from all backgrounds, we cannot shirk the responsibility of identifying the destructive and divisive influence of those political agendas behind which some remain trapped.
Particularly damaging is the Trotskyite combination of deep historical pessimism (’the Soviet Union was a disaster; the working class has nowhere taken and held power and gone on to build socialism’) with the most light-minded optimism over the probability of finding some ‘progressive’ needle in the stinking reactionary Benghazi haystack, some (as yet undocumented) perfect Trotskyite strand within the (very well-documented) hotch-potch of monarchists, veteran opponents of the revolution, paid assassins and mercenaries.
Whilst one might think that their own historical pessimism should instil in them a degree of caution, the reverse is the case. In fact, the phony optimism is about as healthy as the hectic flush on the face of a fever patient, and serves one purpose alone: to make it easier to abdicate political responsibility.
Why endure the unpopularity of standing by the Gaddafi revolution when you can have your cake and eat it, standing shoulder to shoulder with the BBC cheering on the rebels, whilst simultaneously posturing as ‘anti-imperialists’?
With the same glad heart, the same gentry lined up with Thatcher to cheer on Solidarnosc (or ‘progressive elements’ supposedly lurking within that anti-communist lynch mob) against the Polish workers’ state, helping prepare the ground for the subsequent liquidation of socialism.
‘Neither Washington nor Moscow’ was their mantra then, ‘Neither Gaddafi nor Nato’ is their mantra now. Will we wake next week or next month to ‘Neither Damascus nor Nato’, ‘Neither Teheran nor Nato’ or ‘Neither Pyongyang nor Nato’? What about ‘Neither Beijing nor Nato’?
The anti-war movement faces stormy times ahead, where the warmongering scenarios will be getting ever messier and more complex and the choices to be made ever more knotty. (By comparison, Libya should have been a no brainer.) The movement’s ability to weather these storms will increasingly depend upon its ability to grow up politically and develop a consistent anti-imperialist perspective.
We in the CPGB-ML stand ready to assist in this endeavour.
Via Fightback News
On 21 September, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with 100 leaders and representatives of anti-war, labour, alternative media and Iranian and Palestinian solidarity organisations in New York.
Among the participants were Sarah Martin, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Margaret Sarfehjooy, board member of the Minneapolis-based Women Against Military Madness, former attorney general Ramsey Clark, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Sara Flounders from the International Action Center, Brian Becker of the ANSWER coalition, Ramona Africa of the Free Mumia Coalition and Amiri Baraka, poet and activist.
The meeting was called by the president of Iran with the hope that a frank and honest exchange of views will help activists further the cause of peace between the people of Iran and the US.
Specific demands raised include to oppose war, occupation and hostility worldwide; oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries; support the right to nuclear energy for all, but nuclear weapons for none; and to support dialogue, justice and equality among all countries in the UN.
After listening intently to the statements of 22 of the participants, President Ahmadinejad said, “We have a treasure chest full of views. I agree with everything you have said and therefore you have spoken from my heart also. Now I will speak in my own way.”
He said that the source of war, capitalism, must be identified and pointed out. “Violent capitalism is based on superiority, hegemony and violation of rights.”
He went on to say that one reason capitalists start wars is to fill up their pockets. They must empty their arsenals so they can build more weapons. As he said at a UN meeting earlier in the day, “Capitalism has come to an end. It has reached a deadlock. Its historical moment has ended and efforts to restore it won’t go very far.”
Ahmadinejad spoke of the US wars in Iraq and deaths of over 1 million people for oil. He pointed out that in an Afghan village over 100 innocent people were killed just to get a few terrorists. He expressed anger that even with the floods in Pakistan, the US continues to bomb Pakistani villages.
He said it is hard to sleep at night after hearing the heart-wrenching stories of the Palestinians living under siege in Gaza with no medicines, no clean water and not enough food. He expressed solidarity with the activists’ goals of struggling for peace and justice at home and abroad and he pledged that Iran will stand strong to the end.
“Speaking with Mrs Ahmadinejad and hearing the president reinforced the importance of struggling against the US campaign to isolate and demonise Iran,” said Sarah Martin.
Margaret Sarfehjooy reported, “I think the meeting was important because we had the opportunity to meet with so many dedicated grassroots activists from all over the country and share our hopes for peace and justice with the Iranian people through their president and his wife.”
The following resolution, submitted by the CPGB-ML, was overwhelmingly adopted by the national conference of the Stop the War Coalition, held on 25 April 2009.
No cooperation with war crimes
This conference condemns Britain’s continued involvement in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and calls for the immediate recall of all British troops from both these countries.
While the City of London’s financial elite sought to benefit by joining arms with the US to seize Iraq’s oil wealth and manipulate her domestic and foreign policy to their advantage, this conference affirms that the entire bloody debacle has always been contrary to the interests of the vast majority of British workers, who have consistently demonstrated their opposition to this modern-day Anglo-American colonial crusade.
Since 2004, more than 1.5 million wholly innocent Iraqi men, women and children have been slaughtered as a result of the illegal invasion and occupation of their country. This can only be termed genocide. In addition, more than 4 million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes as internal and external refugees, and the resultant dislocation of Iraq’s cultural, political and economic life is near total.
In Afghanistan, tens of thousands of people have been murdered, and the country’s infrastructure smashed to pieces as a result of the Anglo-American oil monopolies’ quest to control the routes of projected pipelines.
This conference notes with shame the fact that ‘our own’ British imperialist Labour government has been a key player in planning and perpetrating these heinous war crimes against the Iraqi and Afghan peoples.
Conference notes that many British workers were browbeaten, by a compliant political and media establishment, into accepting these wars on entirely false premises (Afghan responsibility for the 11 September attacks, Blair’s ‘45 minute’ claim about Iraqi WMD, etc) that sought to paint Afghanistan and Iraq, rather than Anglo-American imperialism, as the aggressors. Thus the necessary ground was laid to send British and US soldiers (workers in uniform) to do the bankers’, oil magnates’ and armament manufacturers’ dirty work.
This conference believes that war fought to enforce subjection and servitude upon another nation is morally abhorrent; to fight and die in such a cause is demoralising, corrupting and meaningless.
This conference realises that, although individually powerless, collectively, British workers do have the power to stop the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, since the government and corporations cannot fight them without us.
This conference therefore resolves that the coalition will do all in its power to promote a movement of industrial, political and military non-cooperation with all of imperialism’s aggressive war preparations and activities among British working people.
Union mobilisation remains key to the success of such a policy, and this conference instructs the incoming Stop the War steering committee to campaign vigorously among trade unions to encourage them to adopt a practical policy encouraging their members to do everything not to support illegal wars or occupations, directly or indirectly; and to render every support to members victimised for taking this principled stand.
This conference welcomes the magnificent examples set by such signal actions as:
- 2002/3: FBU strike action immediately preceding the invasion of Iraq, which threatened the entire enterprise.
- Jan 2003: Fifteen Aslef train drivers refused to move arms from Glasgow factories to Glen Douglas base on Scotland’s west coast (which remains Nato’s largest European arsenal, and from where they were bound for the Gulf).
- 9 Aug 2006: Protesters occupied the Derry offices of Raytheon when Israel invaded Lebanon, to “prevent the commissioning of war crimes by the Israeli armed forces using weapons supplied by Raytheon”.
- May Day 2008: tens of thousands of US west coast dockers defied court injunctions to strike in protest against US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite the decision of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) leadership to withhold official sponsorship for the strike.
- Dec 2008: Smash EDO demonstrators occupied and disabled production at Brighton-based missile-delivery system manufacturer EDO (recently acquired by Armament Giant ITT) during Israel’s massacre of Gazans.
- Feb 2009: Norwegian Train drivers staged a national stoppage to protest the Israeli massacre in Gaza.
- Resolutions asking Bectu media workers to resist the transmission of imperialist war propaganda will be considered at the union’s forthcoming congress.