Successful pickets of RBS and NatWest

#BankXitComrades from Red Youth helped to organise CPGB-ML pickets in London and Birmingham yesterday in protest of attempts by NatWest bank to shut the account of broadcaster Russia Today. Such a move is not only a serious infringement on the limited press freedoms which exist in bourgeois society, it is also part and parcel of the propaganda war being waged against Russia in preparation of further armed conflict.

The wars that have been waged around the world by British and US imperialism are not justifable wars – they are wars for domination, for profit, and for oil. The growing popularity of RT poses a threat to the continued campaign to paint Russia as a threat to peace. The BBC and the corporate media are constantly attempting to prepare British people for a military confrontation with Russia, which would be catastrophic for British workers. We must not allow such blatant bias and propaganda to go unchallenged, and we must fight the interference of NatWest in the affairs of Russia Today which operates legally and fairly in the UK.

Vice’s Gavin Haynes, who gets awfully excited by the sight of communist flags, rushed to our London picket yesterday to interview Red Youth & CPGB-ML members, later publishing a piece of what he thinks passes as serious journalism.

Gavin Haynes (centre) ©VICE Media LLC

Gavin isn’t the only deluded would-be journalist in town. Whilst British imperialism ramps up the propaganda war against Russia and clearly makes moves to counter the growing popularity of the main television channel which presents an alternative view of the world, the Stop the War movement in this country sent its top peace envoy Chris Nineham to Birmingham. A meeting in the town hall addressed by Chris (an itinerant Trot currently jobbing at the Counterfire rag) was witness to lots of the usual hypocritical “Stop the War Coalition doesn’t take sides”, “we want everyone to stop bombing” tripe. Has Nineham forgot so soon the shameful days when a Syrian nun Mother Agnes was barred from the platform for being a “mouthpiece of the regime”? Nauseating public school trots don’t take sides comrades.

Stuart Richardson of Socialist Resistance always exercises his right to speak. Stuart’s resistance to socialism is well known, and he hasn’t let a little thing like the collapse of the USSR get in the way of his inveterate hatred of Russians. Stuart took the opportunity to lecture the bemused Birmingham gathering on the supposed crimes of Russia in Syria and said nothing about the western-backed gang of jihadists who were sent into the country to do all the killing. At least Stuart stopped short on this occasion of telling us about his much fabled ‘workers councils’ which ISIS and al-Nusra like to set up in each town they ‘liberate’, a line laid down by the International Committee of the Fourth International (and published by Socialist Resistance in 2014), “the uprising in Syria is a revolutionary process for political change, democracy, social justice and against religious sectarianism.

Fortunately a CPGB-ML comrade and former soldier in the British army who served in Afghanistan delivered the following, well received, message to the meeting:

“I am a veteran of Afghanistan, I was in the British army for nearly four years, and the intention of the Stop the War Coalition is commendable, the intention to stop an invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do in 2003, for the people of Iraq, for the people of the Middle East and for the members of our armed forces too. People and soldiers needlessly killed – my accusation today is that the Chilcot report is a part of an autopsy of a failed effort to stop the war. All the marches, the million people mobilized, the talks, the leaflets… completely failed to stop that invasion, and ever since those methods have failed to stop the bombing of Syria, the bombing of Libya, and so on.

“I have been on these anti-war and anti-austerity marches where we hire speakers, poets, and have the most wonderful festival atmosphere. But as we have seen, these efforts have never stopped any war (or austerity) and as the second speaker tonight mentioned, there seems to be an amnesia of the history of the last 15 years. The anti-war movement seems to also suffer from this amnesia. The amnesia of the tactics tried before, tactics that have unequivocally failed to stop any war. Might I add that our armed forces are bombing across the Middle East right now, while Corbyn sits in parliament as leader of the opposition, and you all think it the most glorious achievement. Corbyn left the vote on intervention, just a few months ago, as an open one to the parliamentary Labour Party, a party that Tony Blair once led. Tony Blair was not the only member of the Labour Party of 2003 who sat on those green benches whilst millions were blown to hell.

“What will the Stop the War Coalition do differently to take us forwards and not back? Will Stop the War demand workers to refuse to support the machinery that conducts war? Mobilizing dockworkers, blockading key transport routes, asking munitions workers to go on strike, or surrounding Whitehall and occupying those spaces?

“Would the Stop the War Coalition consider these actions? Or must we all go on another march and another leaflet exchange event?”

It seems as though some are incapable of learning the lessons of history, stuck as they are in the politics they learnt at University in the 1970’s. Fortunately this is a diminishing crowd and the future is most certainly with the youth.

Hands off Russia, Hands off Russia Today!