The targeted assassination of Iran’s ‘indispensable’ Major General, Qasem Soleimani has been the most reckless imperialist act of war since the bombing of Syrian air bases.
Imperialism’s failure to subdue Syria’s legitimate government led by President Bashar al-Assad has greatly hindered the ruling class’s drive to war against Russia and China.
Such a drive to war entails bringing down defiant governments on the periphery of the two superpowers one by one. However the imperialists’ loss of the Syrian theatre quickly became a fatal setback to their grand strategy, leading them to acts of desperation.
The assassination of General Soleimani is a significant example of such an act of desperation. So desperate that the imperialist ruling class is willing to engage in acts of blatant and illegal aggression against Iran. It is by no means illogical or hyperbolic to suggest that the US is now in a state of de facto war with the country.
The loss of Soleimani is a tragic setback for the anti-imperialist united front, for it was Soleimani’s guidance that helped Syria and Iraq fight off the jihadist mercenaries of Isis and al-Nusra; it was Soleimani’s guidance that helped keep militant anti-imperialism alive and vibrant in Lebanon; it was Soleimani’s guidance that helped the Iraqi resistance do what they could to defend their country from the Nato occupiers.
Soleimani was a true veteran of the anti-imperialist fightback and an Iranian patriot of the highest order. The scale of the mourning across the region shows how much he was loved and valued by the people there. The best and only true way to honour his legacy is to bring the fight to our common oppressor here on the streets of Britain.
It is our humanitarian duty to hinder and harass our imperialist ruling class’s efforts in waging war upon any and all governments that defy imperialist rule. Former FBI agent Ali Soufan remembered Soleimani as being “responsible for the creation of an arc of influence – which Iran terms its ‘Axis of Resistance’ – extending from the Gulf of Oman through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea”.
US president Donald Trump did not just kill an Iranian general, he martyred a widely-loved man in the middle east; a symbol of anti-imperialist resistance. On hearing the news, Iranian demonstrators held up his portrait with the words “Suleimani may have, with his death, already have achieved the greatest revenge of all.” Let his fine example inspire us to strengthen and temper ourselves to wage a real war against terrorism and imperialism.
Iran vows retaliation for the murder, and it is our vital duty in response to support Iran in its defensive war against imperialism, no matter how loud our bourgeois imperialist media beats the drums of war.
Though we oppose war, we stand by Iran’s right to defend itself by any means necessary. It is our duty to organise in our communities with those who are serious about taking grassroots anti-war action, especially now that the Labour party will return to the clutches of Blairism.
Join us at this public meeting on Friday to discuss the building of a serious anti-war movement in Britain.
The introduction focuses on the recent troubles in Ukraine, its history, the collapse of the Soviet Union that has led to the Ukrainian people’s current troubles, the imperial intrigues of the EU, NATO and USA, and the political physiognomy of the current ‘Ukrainian Government’ they have installed.
But the scope of the talk is far wider, covering the fundamental economics of monopoly capitalism that lead to its political and military drive for conquest and plunder, that shape our contemporary world – including the invasions and occupations of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Yugoslavia, etc.
These are the very same forces that led to the great conflagrations of WW1 and WW2 in which the great established imperial powers battled it out with the rising capitalist powers who sought a place at the imperialist banqueting table – demanding their ‘fair share’ of the slaves, colonies, plunder and booty. But since the ‘Berlin congress’ of 1884, the territories of the world had been completely divided, and the would be ‘upstart’ German colonialist could only gain territories at the expense of the old fat British and French colonialists.
Our imperialist masters are getting ready to commemorate the 100th anniversary of their (WW1) bloodbath, with great pomp and ceremony, while doing their best to obfuscate the facts of their barbarous wars, in which fully 100 million workers paid with their lives for the imperialist capitalists’ fabulous profits. This is the ideal of our capitalist rulers’ ‘division of labour.’
Let us, the international working class, ALSO remember – that it was a massive capitalist crisis of overproduction – as we are experiencing today – that led to the ‘great’ wars. And that a mighty internationalist proletarian movement arose from these wars, that showed, under the guidance of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, that it was possible to mutiny, in the trenches, in civil society, and in government. That it was possible to go beyond mutiny to revolution – to overthrow the rotten, senile, corrupt, and moribund system that enslaves the entire planet to the greed of a tiny clique of exploiting parasites.
The october revolution and the third international that grew from it it showed definitively that it is possible to defeat and overthrow the monarchs, princes, dukes, kings and Tsars; to defeat and overthrow the capitalist billionaires and their governments. To put in place a workers’ democracy in which “he who does not work – neither shall he eat.” To end exploitation of man by man and nation by nation. To end racism, sexism, and division of the working people along national and religious lines. To forge a great unity and build an economy that serves the people.
An important discussion of opportunism in the British working class movement ends the discussion. For in order to forge unity among working people in Britain, we must overcome the divisive forces that serve imperialism in the working class movement. We must break the ties that bind so much of our ‘progressive’ and ‘socialist’ / ‘anti-war’ movement to the Labour Party. Until we break the link with Labour, all talk of anti-war, imperialist and socialist progress is doomed to failure.
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Stop the War: choosing ‘left’ imperialism over anti-imperialism!
Stop the War’s ‘international anti-war conference’ on 30 November has a big gap in its line-up of speakers, thanks to the persistence of the pro-war lobby and the spinelessness of its own leadership.
These leaders have recently been trying to take credit for the heroic work of the Syrian people’s resistance and of diplomats from a number of countries, principally Russia, who between them managed to stall the all-out war plans of US and British imperialism. StW has been quick to claim a victory for itself, however, insisting that ‘anti-war activity’ by its members stopped the invasion.
If only that were true! In reality, meaningful mobilisation by StW against the barbaric assault on anti-imperialist Syria, and in support of the Syrian people’s desperate struggle to maintain their freedom from superexploitation, has been notable only by its complete absence.
What ‘anti-war’ activity there has been (the odd meeting and petition) was rendered worse than useless by the StW leaders’ hysterical repetition of all the imperialists’ lies about how evil and tyrannical Syria’s leaders are – a repetition that plays right into the hands of imperialism by seeming to justify its hoped-for invasion on ‘humanitarian’ grounds
In reality, far from being an evil ‘dictator’, Bashar al-Assad is a popular leader, head of a freely elected, national-unity coalition government that firmly opposes imperialist meddling in Syria. In Britain, however, where imperialist moguls reign supreme, such simple facts are never aired in the corporate mass media.
Not so much with the peace and love
In line with imperialism’s ‘no tolerance’ policy towards the truth, the initially publicised list of speakers for this weekend’s conference was nearly all firmly anti-Assad. One unexpected and notable exception was Mother Agnes, a carmelite nun who lives in Syria, and who has been working to establish temporary ceasefires between government and terrorist forces in order to help civilians escape from battle zones.
Living in Syria, she understands that the vast majority of Syrians support their government against the proxy terrorist forces that have been armed, funded and directed by western imperialism. Living in Syria, she can see through the claims of the terrorists and their backers that the Syrian government launched poison-gas attacks on its own people, and so has asked some very pertinent questions about the spurious claims of the warmongers.
Why, asked Mother Agnes, were there no terrorists among the dead? Why were there so many children in an area that had been mostly cleared of civilians? Why were the same dead children appearing in pictures of gas victims that were supposed to be from different sites? And why were parents of children that had been kidnapped by terrorists many miles away able to identify their children in the gory pictures that were served up to the world’s media as proof of President Assad’s ‘brutality’?
This first-hand knowledge of the situation in Syria has led Mother Agnes to ask another, entirely logical, question: Why would the Syrian government need to use poison-gas attacks when it is clearly winning the war using conventional weapons, and when its soldiers are welcomed as heroes and liberators by Syrians who have been forced to live under terrorist control?
Such an outrageous adherence to facts and logic has made Mother Agnes a target for all kinds of scurrilous attacks, with her many detractors in the imperialist world claiming that she is everything from anti-muslim and an apologist for war crimes to just plain stupid. Human Rights Watch, a thoroughly pro-imperialist organisation, has been particularly vocal in trying to besmirch Mother Agnes’s motives and reputation.
Labour careerists run for cover
Another equally pro-imperialist outfit that has been indulging in a frenzy of abuse against Mother Agnes is political weblog pulsemedia.org. The man who runs Pulse is Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, a fervent supporter of FSA and al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria who has openly called for imperialist bombing of the country.
In a piece for Al Jazeera US, he opposed the idea of ‘non-intervention’ and concluded that an “externally imposed solution is less egregious than dooming Syria to prolonged war”. So rabidly pro-war is Ahmad that he has even accused StW’s supine leaders of a “dogmatic opposition to western intervention and disregard for suffering Syrians”!
Pulse targeted the two ‘biggest’ names (in that they both make a living as high-profile ‘left-of-centre’ commentators in the corporate media machine) on the conference platform, subjecting Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones to a tweeting assault that they did not even attempt to resist. Ahmad told these career-minded worthies that they would be sharing a platform with a ‘supporter’ of the ‘tyrant Assad’: a woman who ‘lies’ for the cruel regime that is murdering thousands of Syrians daily – a war criminal, no less!
Scahill and Jones didn’t take much pushing. All their ‘anti-war’ convictions were quickly overcome when faced with the prospect of national media headlines linking them to the stated enemies of imperialism, and they went running for the exit with all haste. These two fearless activists were not going to share a platform with an apologist for war crimes, the conference organisers were told. In double-quick time, Mother Agnes was off the list and Scahill and Jones were back on.
We are not sure how Mother Agnes came to be invited by StW in the first place, but she would have been the only speaker to have brought the authentic voice of the Syrian majority to this supposedly ‘anti-war’ event.
Having big ‘names’ and acceptable politics is much more important to Corbyn, German, Murray, Rees and the rest of the clique that runs StW, however. None of them want to risk getting labelled as ‘pro-Assad’, either! Clearly, that would be a total career killer in an imperialist country like Britain, whose rulers are still desperate for the overthrow of Syria’s fiercely independent government – by whatever means necessary.
Let us suppose for a minute that Mother Agnes really is just a mouthpiece for President Assad, and that Assad himself is every bit the demon that imperialism paints him as – would that really be enough to stop Jones and Scahill from speaking alongside her?
Owen Jones, like StW chair Jeremy Corbyn, is a member of the Labour party. Both men call on British workers to support, join and vote for a party that is drenched in the blood of millions of innocents – victims of imperialist wars their party has launched while in office or has supported when playing the role of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition.
Not to mention the blood of untold millions who have died as a direct result of the looting of their countries by British corporations – or even the thousands who have died in our own country as a result of NHS privatisation and other welfare cuts. Whether in or out of office, Labour has consistently supported all these murderous activities of our ruling class.
The idea that someone from this filthy stable is really fussy about sharing platforms with war criminals is laughable. After all, Jones has shared platforms with Labour politicians who were key architects of the invasions and genocides in Iraq and Afghanistan – some of the worst crimes of the modern era.
New leadership needed
Far too many ‘leaders’ in the trade-union, labour and peace movements in Britain are of the same ilk. Are they merely gutless seekers of ‘pelf and place’ who dare not stick their necks out for fear of losing existing or anticipated careers? Or have they intentionally worked their way into positions of leadership just so they can hold back the development of a real struggle against imperialism in Britain?
In the end, it doesn’t really matter. In politics, motivations are irrelevant; it is the outcome of their actions on which our political leaders and activists must be judged. What we need to understand is that, whether accidentally or on purpose, StW’s leaders always manage to come down on the side of imperialism, helping to demonise the victims of imperialist aggression and to neutralise the opposition to imperialist war at home.
Mother Agnes has single-handedly demonstrated that Stop the War is not about stopping the war; it is about keeping the anti-war movement within limits that are acceptable to the imperialist warmongers. It is about the warmongers keeping the masses of anti-war activists under tight control.
Until we have exposed and replaced these bankrupt careerists who control our movement, we will be unable to mobilise British workers to fight effectively against imperialist war, no matter how genuine we are in our desire to do so, nor how much the British people might agree that the wars are wrong
On Monday 5 December, Stop the War Coalition held a rally at Conway Hall headlined Don’t Attack Iran. Everyone in the hall (apart from the usual smattering of MI5 agents) was in agreement: none of us wanted to see Iran attacked.
From the platform, a very frail looking Tony Benn spoke first, confiding to us that when he was minister for energy (years ago when even I was young), some unidentified bloke in his ministerial office had helped Israel to “British” nuclear secrets. If that wasn’t bad enough, Benn also found out and all the “waste” plutonium from “our” civil nuclear industry had been secretly shipped off to America to make nuclear bombs.
Benn said he hadn’t found out about either of these outrages until after he left office. Which says it all about the effectiveness of Stop the War Coalition’s brand of ‘anti-imperialism’.
Not one of the speakers, including George Galloway, who (despite a terrible chest infection) headlined at his tub-thumping and fiery best, had any suggestions about what to do apart from march about with our banners and protest.
We were told to go back to our workplaces and trade unions and “expose” the media lies about Iran; but the speakers’ only stated aim was to bring more people out on the streets of London to wave banners and protest at some undeclared date in the future.
Most depressing of all was the quick mention of Syria in passing. No question of any ‘Don’t Attack Syria’ campaign. We were just told to watch our email inboxes as Stop the War Coalition planned to call us all out – you guessed it … to wave banners and protest at Downing Street at 5.00pm on the day Syria was attacked (or maybe the day after, the speaker wasn’t too sure).
Syria did better than Pakistan, as while all the speakers agreed that Pakistan was under threat, there was not even a suggestion of going to Downing Street with banners to protest over any attack on that benighted country.
So what is to be done? Well, when Stop the War Coalition does call us out, we will (as always) troop along with our banners and protest, but that by itself will do nothing. Two million of us waved banners and protested to stop the war in Iraq, and the imperialists laughed.
We have to do much more and something else. We have to go to the Stop the War national conference and demand something more than mere banner waving and protesting and wondering why these naughty imperialists won’t listen to reason.
The imperialists are listening to reason, they are listening to their own warmongering superprofits-seeking, anti-people reason. And they will never listen to our reason; they will only ‘listen’ to our actions.
This is where CPGB-ML conflicts with the present leadership of Stop the War Coalition. We understand that the one and only way to stop these continual bloody wars is the Jolly George way. The working class has to stop cooperating with imperialism.
We have to fight, not merely wring our hands, beat our breasts and plead with the imperialists to sit on the naughty step. This is big; it’s the future of the world.