The horrific bombing of an Ariana Grande show at the Manchester Arena, which has claimed the lives of 22 people, including several children, has its origins in the imperialist war against the independent states of the Middle East and North Africa. If we really wish to see such terrible acts stopped, we must stop our ruling class from sponsoring them abroad.
The bomber, Salman Abedi, was the 22-year-old son of anti-Gaddafi Libyan exiles, and reglarly made trips to Libya after the country was destroyed by western imperialism and its terrorist proxies. Libya, which previously had the highest life expectancy on the African continent, guaranteed healthcare and education, among many other fantastic programmes for its citizens as well as other African nations, had long been a target for destruction by European and US imperialism.
The Communist Party in Birmingham hosted US musician and journalist Marcel Cartier today at a well attended meeting. Birmingham CPGB-ML and Red Youth were extremely happy to receive Marcel who only returned from a trip to Cuba this weekend.
Addressing comrades and friends Marcel spoke about the very contrasting experiences he has had this year, witnessing the horror of imperialism at work in the Ukraine – with the emergence of the fascist Kiev coup-government and conversely the inspirational visits he’s made to the DPR Korea and socialist Cuba where he has been able to see the achievements of those peoples who have so bravely stood up to imperialist aggression since the 1950s. In the presentation and again in the discussion which followed, comrades affirmed that they will not fall in with the anti-Russian/anti-China propaganda which aims to tie the movement here to the war chariot of imperialism; we reject the characteriasation of Russia and China by some on the left as dangerous imperialist powers and we point our fingers squarely at the war mongers and finance capitalists of the US and Britain in particular.
Comrade Marcel has a website which can be viewed here and he’s also a guest the the CPGB-ML International celebration of anti-imperialist resistance which takes place next Saturday:
A social event to celebrate two important anniversaries in the revolutionary calendar:
– the victory of the Fatherland Liberation War in Korea
– the storming of the Moncada Barracks in Cuba.
This year we will also be marking the 10th anniversary of our party’s founding!
An excellent event for bringing friends and family and friends to enjoy a mix of inspiring speeches and informal socialising with like-minded comrades.
Alongside representatives from fraternal embassies, come and hear journalist Marcel Cartier report back from his recent trips to Ukraine and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
All welcome, including kids. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Map: click here
Details of coaches from across the country available online here
Imperialism in the Middle East
In order to make sense of what goes on in the Middle East, we need to understand that today’s world is dominated by a handful of superrich countries, which have become wealthy by looting resources and exploiting people all over the world.
Britain, the first country to develop capitalism was also the first to grab a modern empire.
In the 19th century, Arabia was dismissed as being a barren wasteland, but in the early 20th century, vast oil deposits were discovered under the desert just around the time that oil was becoming the fuel of choice for many modern machines (including warships!) and industries.
Suddenly, the rush to secure plentiful and cheap supplies of ‘black gold’ became a key strategic imperative for all imperialists, leading to a cut-throat competition for control of the region.
Zionism and Palestine
Seeing their chance, the early zionists asked Britain’s rulers to let them set up a jewish state in Palestine in exchange for helping to keep the region under British domination.
With Arab nationalism on the rise, the imperialists accepted the offer, looking forward to the creation of a â€œloyal jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism.
And, although British masters were later pushed aside by American ones, a ˜loyal jewish Ulster” is exactly what Israel has remained to this day.
The zionist stooges who destroy Palestinian homes, drop bombs on Palestinian schools, plough up Palestinian crops and poison Palestinian water are bribed by US and British governments and corporations to do imperialism’s dirty work.
In return for helping corporations like BP and Texaco to carry on looting the oil and dominating the people of the whole Middle East, the zionists are given military support and hardware, financial aid, diplomatic immunity, and a campaign of lies and disinformation in the imperialist-controlled media.
Israel was established in an orgy of ethnic cleansing, and has been illegally occupying further Palestinian lands and displacing and wiping out Palestinian families ever since.
War crimes are a daily event in this, the most militarised state in the world. In fact, rather than viewing Israel as a state with a huge military, it is more helpful to realise that Israel is in fact a massive army base that also happens to have some schools, Israeli children are brought up to be Nazi-like stormtroopers, their heads filled with supremacist hatred of all Arab peoples.
The imperialists made one serious miscalculation, though. It was assumed that in the face of Israel’s might, Palestinians would accept underclass status or leave, but the days when colonialists could evict a people from their land and get away with it were over.
In a century of socialist revolution and national liberation, the racist dismissal of local peoples as â€˜uncivilised barbarians or merely irrelevant was no longer possible.
Instead of politely disappearing, the Palestinians stood their ground refusing to submit no matter how barbarous their oppressors became. Instead of passively joining the long list of imperialist victims, the Palestinians became a beacon of resistance and an inspiration to oppressed people globally.
Gradually, the wellspring of sympathy that Israel shamelessly exploited following the Nazis mass extermination of jews in WW2 has run dry. As every agreement and concession on the part of Palestinians is greeted with fresh Israeli crimes, it has become clear to all that it is the zionists, and not the Palestinians, who stand in the way of peace.
So brazen has its war machine become that, today, Israel is the number one creator of anti-jewish feeling in the world.
Solidarity and resistance
So what has all this got to do with workers in Britain?
We need to recognise that the same ruling class that is waging war on our living standards (trying to force us to pay the price of the economic crisis of capitalism) gains much of its power from looting the world. Since oil is such a vital resource, the British state is still one of Israel’s main backers.
If Israel was defeated, British and US imperialism’s ability to grab the region’s oil would be fatally undermined and with that wealth would go some of the ruling class’s ability to keep us in our place.
So it’s in our interest to support the Palestinians against imperialism and zionism. But if we want to give effective solidarity to their struggle, we need to learn from past experience.
A consumer boycott is certainly causing embarrassment to Israel, but no such boycott has ever brought down a state that had such powerful military, financial and diplomatic backers as Israel does.
British workers can actually do a lot more, if we are prepared to use our collective power over the country’s economy. The ruling class might give orders, but it is we who are expected to carry them out. If we all refuse, there is not that much they can do.
Neither the capitalists themselves, nor their careerist spivs in Whitehall are about to send their own kids to work in arms factories, to drive trains, to crew cargo ships, to enlist as cannon fodder, or even to print and broadcast their pro-Israel propaganda.
A striking example of such solidarity in action is the case of the Jolly George, a ship that was supposed to be taking arms and soldiers to Russia in 1918, when the new socialist republic was facing attack by 14 capitalist powers. Dockers in east London refused to load the ship, undermining the war effort and setting an infectious example to workers elsewhere.
In 1920, pushed by the Hands off Russia campaign, the TUC threatened a general strike if Britain persisted in its criminal warmongering. Lloyd George’s government had to pull out and the war of intervention collapsed.
The ruling class emerged weaker and the working class stronger from this confrontation.
Today, we are part of the same battle against British imperialism on whose front line the Palestinians have been fighting so heroically for 65 years.
Today, they are joined by the Syrian and Iranian anti-imperialist governments and the Lebanese resistance movement Hizbollah “ all forces that have refused to reach any accommodation with Israel; have refused to accept the imperialists right to dictate how they should live; and have refused to allow imperialist corporations to loot their resources at will.
Recognising their common struggle, Syria and Iran have consistently supported each other, and given money, arms, refugee asylum and diplomatic support to both the Palestinian struggle and the Lebanese resistance movement. A defeat for any of these forces would give a massive boost to imperialism and its zionist stooges and would be a major set-back for the cause of freedom in the Middle East and especially to the cause of the Palestinian people.
British workers need to join this axis of resistance and give full support to all parts of it, taking their place in the unifying and indivisible struggle against imperialism.
Stopping the war means stopping the imperial war machine: Join the Axis of Resistance!
Another February, another Stop the War ‘coalition’ conference.
British imperialist politicians, industrialists, mineral extraction conglomerates, weapons manufacturers and city financiers are no doubt quaking in their (custom-made John Lobb) shoes, all a-quiver in anticipation to see what militant challenges to their holocaust industry will emanate from this great anti-war gathering.
Except that a year after curtailing debate, unconstitutionally ‘disaffiliating’ anti-imperialists and ensuring Labour party control, unhindered by electoral consultation with the membership, StW ‘leaders’ have taken the step of scrapping the AGM format altogether, and substituting instead a ‘conference’ of an altogether less threatening type: there will be no motions, no debate, no ‘democracy in action’, no ‘grass-roots participation’. This year, “ten years on”, the platform will deliver their sterile lectures uninterrupted by activists’ disquieting notions of actually resisting imperialism. A kind of Marxism 13 for the Counterfire group.
“Ten years of banging on and on – in increasing obscurity, with ever fewer people paying attention, while the British imperialist war machine grinds inexorably on.” Would be more accurate.
What obstacles will ‘leaders’ like John Rees, Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Benn, Lindsay German – not to forget crowd-pulling Trotskyite linguistic guru Noam Chomsky – throw before the City of London’s ‘god-given’ right to exploit, rape pillage and plunder the globe?
There can be no doubt that this conference will be used as a platform for cosy reminiscences on the ‘great success’ of our ‘million-man march’ through London, on that wintery Saturday afternoon of 15 February 2003. Indeed, all our party comrades were there – although our party was not yet born. It is inspiring to be with the masses, no doubt. We could almost sense our strength, the slumbering power of the working masses. But what was the programme? Where the real disciplined unity? How were we to implement our goal? Were we simply a pressure group, begging the imperialist armies and their Labour party quartermasters to show mercy?
For even as we were marching, the Labour government – content that the official anti-war movement was in safe hands – was laying invasion plans, and was quick to talk down the significance of 4 percent of the British population marching through the capital. We failed to strike while the iron was hot! One month later, the troops were on Iraqi soil. For those who have taken the trouble to count, studies show that the real death toll stands at 4 million in Iraq alone, with 6 million displaced internally and externally. What kind of sorry ‘success’ story is that? And what is the conclusion that the average worker drew? That marching was useless, that the movement was over – that it had failed. On balance, their analysis is better than StW’s.
Renting a crowd?
Let’s not deceive ourselves. It was not the SWP or CPB, and certainly not the Labour party, who turned British workers onto the streets, but a section of British and European capitalists (manufacturing capital, as opposed to the oil and armaments giants) who were less desperate, more risk-averse, and opposed the Anglo-American militarist agenda and impending catastrophe in Iraq and the Middle East. It was the Daily Mail, that enlightened bastion of radical ideas, which advertised the march and called in its editorials for Britons to participate. The day before the march, it was the Daily Mirror that led with the article “A war won’t save Britain from terror” and ran its printing press all night to make placards for the demo!
What’s the point?
Since that initial high, with StW fortuitously finding itself at the head of this groundswell of real and popular anger (polls quoted 93 percent opposed to the Iraq war – while 98 percent of ‘balanced’ BBC propaganda was pro-war), where have we led British workers? How has our relationship matured?
It has been one long downward spiral. The StW office has collected money for distribution to a crop of Trotskyite and revisionist careerist staffers, and the ‘leadership’ thus generated issued call after call to “March, protest, act!” But to what purpose, and with what effect? Resolutions passed at national congress calling for active non-cooperation have been quietly shelved, and the most banal, unimaginative and ineffectual ‘action’ has been StW’s mantra. If the tactics were aimed at losing the support of the masses, they have been pitch perfect!
The grand old 2nd Viscount Stansgate marched us up to the top of the hill, handed us over to his successor, the honourable MP for Islington North, who pinned a Labour party purple campaign ribbon to our breast and marched us firmly down again. All aided and abetted by their adulating left-sectarian groupies, who go to the length of publishing articles – apparently without shame – about their ‘special relationship’ and admiration for Labour party ‘elder statesman’ Benn: “He’s got to this age and he’s still at demonstrations with a flask and cheese sandwich.” Amazing! Would that he were not.
The mountain brought fourth a mouse! The very same party that waged genocidal imperialist war, the Labour party of ‘Bomber Bliar’, leads the anti-war movement, and has delivered it safely into the enemy’s hands. What a farce! When the Nazi party ran trade unions in Germany, did this also demonstrate Hitler’s special relationship with the working class?
Yet few seem able to comprehend that the emperor is wearing no clothes: that the Labour party is a true-blue, union-jack-waving, immigration-scaremongering, gun-boat-toting, cruise-missile-dropping party of imperialism – and that support for and membership of such a party is totally incompatible either with serving the working class, or with stopping any imperialist war.
After seven years of crisis, capitalism remains caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of its own making; between the abundant cheap goods it can produce by reducing wages, and its inability to sell this produce to the unemployed and impoverished masses; between the worker as object of his exploitation, and the worker as the consumer of his produce.
This worldwide crisis, more profound than the Wall Street crash of the 1930s, has been decades in the making, and is ruining the lives of unprecedented millions, who find their abilities, talents, and creative labour-power squandered; consigned to the scrap-heap of unemployment. A million British children go hungry each day, over a million youth and probably in excess of 8 million people of working age are unemployed.
The capitalist ‘solution’? Enormous hand-outs to (too-big-to-be) failing capitalists (no prizes for guessing who’s idea that was!), bankrupting the national treasuries, increasing taxes (for workers, while reducing tax on the mega-rich ‘economic motors’!) and reducing ‘unwarranted’ expenditure on health and education: sensible policies, for a happier Britain!
Currently the ConDem fad is more austerity on the one hand, and militarisation on the other; but let us note that decades of (Labour and Tory) Keynesianism have also failed. There is no solution under capitalism, but that will not stop them from attempting to dig their way out by increasing reliance on export of capital, backed by military adventurism to cement super-exploitation of cheap ‘third-world’ labour and looting other peoples’ resources. Britain and the US are becoming, if you can imagine it, ever more parasitic.
That is why the last ten years have seen such a relentless drive toward regional and world war. Our ‘masters’ are drowning the world in blood in order to avert the final demise of their system of production for (their) profit at our expense.
The fact is that the super rich-capitalists are totally out of their depth, and totally out of control. Our domestic woes and British imperialism’s bloody rampages abroad are two sides of the same coin; both are symptoms of the impending downfall of a senile ruling class. But they must be pushed over the precipice. Should our hand tremble? Is that not our job? Is that not the mission of our movement?
‘Unity’ with imperialism: the quaker test
Well, if by ‘movement’ we mean StW, then the answer is actually ‘No’. John Rees (SW/Counterfire Trotskyist) has at previous conferences assured the floor during debate (debate look you!) that he personally embraces these aims (of course!), but that, in order to remain ‘broad’ and quaker-friendly, he opposed StW calling for the victory of anti-imperialist forces.
Much easier (don’t you see?) to implicitly allow the victory of US and British imperialism – in the name of unity – while bemoaning the fate of their victims, calling for a better deal for our boys, fewer atrocities, etc. As for ‘bringing the troops home’, our imperialist masters plan on doing so anyway – once their missions of subjection are complete, compliant regimes are installed, stable occupations enforced and their reign of terror assured. It’s a military necessity to free up troops for the next intervention!
Rees’s infamous ‘quaker test’ is every bit as insidiously and divisively pro-imperialist as Norman Tebbit’s ‘cricket test’ is obviously and offensively so. If Rees wishes to support British imperialism, let him have the courage to say so openly, and remove his pernicious influence from the anti-war movement. No such honesty is forthcoming. Instead, it is more of the same: denunciation of the forces of resistance (they’re not socialists, they have poor ‘human rights’ records, they’re not democratic, are dictatorial …), pacifist platitudes, and simultaneous lionisation of Labour party social-imperialist saboteurs.
And it is just this opportunist leadership of StW that led to its shameful support of Nato’s bombing of Libya. A little retrospective wailing and gnashing of teeth over the 50,000 deaths and wholesale destruction of Libya’s hard-won independence and freedom will not wipe out the stain of collaboration. For at the crucial moment, Stop the War organised demonstrations in support of Nato’s war, and against the Libyan people’s resistance – on the shabby pretext of ‘opposing Gaddafi’. We shall not forgive or forget this shameful fraud and betrayal, which was the beginning of the end for StW. Libya’s enlightened society and modern industrial infrastructure yielded exemplary living standards – the highest in Africa, before the head-banging CIA and MI6-backed jihadists were forcibly installed.
No sooner had Libya fallen under Nato’s jackboot, than the same fundamentalist CIA army were transferred to their new task of causing murderous and brutal chaos in Syria – in order to generate the pretext for another intervention, removing the next obstacle on the road to total US/British hegemony over the oil and labour of the Middle East. One step closer to recolonising Iran (how we thirst for Persian oil!)
And, right on cue, in waded StW, with Rees and company’s heartfelt denunciations of ‘brutal dictator’ Assad and strident support for this ‘popular revolution’! Once more, there is not a hair’s breadth between the imperialists’ pro-war propaganda and that of the allegedly anti-war Trotskyites. Rees didn’t seem to notice that Nato’s aggression is a criminal, barbaric assault on an independent and sovereign nation. His only worry was that open Nato bombing (as opposed to the covert, proxy war via local proxies) would be “a threat to the continued progressive nature of the uprising”.
So no need to oppose the aim of Nato’s terrorists’ atrocities – forcing terrified captives to act as human bombs, massacring unarmed civilians while filming it all for the greater glory of YouTube, etc – because we all want Assad out, right? In fact, Rees and co would much rather forget all about Nato’s current war, and concentrate on denouncing the prospect of a future war with Iran – ignoring the fact that the war against Syria is an essential preliminary to that campaign!
History repeats itself – the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce! Lenin was a thousand times right when he said that “the fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism”.
If we are ever to be crowned by success, we must jettison this bunch of charlatans who parade as ‘friends of the people’ while binding our movement to the war chariot of imperialism.
Stop the wars! Fight imperialism! Join the axis of resistance!
A 14 year old cadre of Red Youth has written and posted the following letter to his school who have instituted an Amnesty International club for the students. Our comrade, in a short and precise letter exposes the sheer hypocrisy of AI and delivers a challenge to his school, peers and the local AI Club to justify their peddling of imperialist propaganda. The letter is reproduced exactly as it was composed save the name of the school and comrade:
“Dear TGS Amnesty International Club,
I am writing this letter in sheer disgust at the ignorance of xxxx Schools Amnesty International club portrays. Presentations were carried out throughout the school promoting the club and issuing out awareness material to other students. Students were intimidated into signing cards and letters expressing their support for the supposed ‘political prisoners’ locked up in certain nations across the world. The information given to the students about the prisoners was extremely limited and bias. However, my argument is for the millions of oppressed people across the world suffering at the behest of the rich and powerful nations on whose behalf A. I. operates and from where it is based. Why focus on a few individuals and then ignore all the crimes committed by these powerful states? I will be expressing points which will hopefully be answered by the group.
I have no doubt that Amnesty International contains a great number of well-meaning supporters, people with genuine compassion. It is from this standpoint that I express my outrage at the continual stream of lies, hypocrisy and war propaganda that emanates from publications and spokespersons of Amnesty International, hood-winking its members, volunteers and the general public alike into supporting acts of genocide, ethnic cleansing and regime change throughout the world.
We all remember the horrendous war on Libya which resulted in thousands of innocent civilians being killed, beautiful infrastructure being smashed (including the Sahara Aquifers) and blown up and a secular and progressive regime being expunged. And let’s not forget how we all witnessed the rape and lynching by mercenaries and foreign terrorists of the much loved Leader of that country, Colonel Gaddafi, on our computers, mobiles and television screens like some kind of sadistic game that would be familiar to see on horror films like Saw and Hostel. And which ‘Human Rights’ organization really pushed for regime change in that country? Of course, Amnesty International.
Now, several months on, cases are emerging of Libyan cities and towns such as Tawergha, Bani Waled and Sirte being persecuted and violently terrorised due to the fact that the majority of people living there were black. In one town, Tawergha, some 40,000 plus black people were force to flee in one day as they were butchered and terrorised by the rebel militias and gangs provided with NATO air cover. On the 25th February this year, a man was reported on the BBC news saying:
“We had 70-80 people from Chad working for our company. They were cut dead with pruning shears and axes, attackers saying: ‘You are providing troops for Gaddafi.’ The Sudanese were also massacred. We saw it for ourselves.”
This is just one of the hundreds of cases being released clearly showing, with great and detailed evidence, that the rebels, supported by Amnesty International, NATO, etc, were human rights abusers on a massive scale. Surely that can’t be right? A Human Rights defender siding with NATO, a Military Alliance which has killed, massacred and terrorised millions in its time, to help bring about regime change for a handful of racist thugs. So exposed was the stance of Amnesty on the Libyan massacre that its spokesperson retracted her earlier statements about Gadaffi using foreign mercenaries to fight for him. However this confession of course was never broadcasted by the mass media which is in the service of this same NATO war machine. But the lies spouted at the time about the Libyan army were enough to provide the cover and false legitimacy for the NATO saturation bombing which brought the war lords and racist terrorist gangs to power and massacred thousands of Libyan troops and civilians. You might argue that this is just one lonely example which can’t prove anything but try telling millions of Libyans that. Moving on.
Now, the organisation has moved onto Syria, another target of the West. What a coincidence. Amnesty International is constantly promoting the rebels there (which have very close links to Al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups) to topple another progressive, developing and secular state. Their excuse, very much like the excuse they used in Libya, is that the President, Basher Al Assad, is a ‘dictator murdering his own people’. Is Assad just meant to let a group of local and foreign terrorists, funded and armed by real dictators in the region, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, to come and attack his people? And if Assad was such an evil tyrant with no desire but wealth and exploitation of his people, why would over 15 million Syrians, over 90% of the electorate, vote for his new reform plans earlier this year? The Bathe party in Syria heads a broad coalition of all the very many ethnic groups and confessions of the nation, defending them all against an array of extremist Sunni terrorist gangs seeking succour from rich and powerful foreign nations.
Many human rights abuses are being carried out slyly right here under our noses in Britain and other Western ‘democratic’ countries.
Many Muslim immigrants and asylum seekers, escaping from the very war zones created by western military interventions, are inhumanely harassed and molested as soon as they pass through the border crossings, on spurious claims of suspicion of terrorism or other crimes even though most are women and young children. They are made to live in very harsh conditions, including internment camps, insufficient for raising a family. They are given ill-paid jobs which require long hours of work for a minimum wage. They often resort to crime to survive, which lands them in jail.
Can it be just that 50% of the USA’s prison population is black, and that Native Americans have never been compensated for the massive genocide perpetrated against them? Can it be just that the US, the richest nation in the World, has a bigger prison population than any other country, both proportionately and absolutely? The American penal system incarcerated over 5 million of its citizens during the 1930’s and over 2.5 million today. Why were there no cards for these victims? Why were there no cards for today’s tens of millions of the descendents of tens of millions of African slaves who form the vast majority of the impoverished in the USA and to this day have no rights to medicare and many of whom end up languishing in the Jails of the USA?
Police brutality and oppression is a regular experience for black people in the US, as well as national minorities throughout Europe. Earlier last week, on December 13th, Chicago police killed 38 year old Phillip Coleman, who was, according to family members and neighbours, having a nervous breakdown and behaving erratically. Police subdued him with a taser when he was arrested and again after he arrived at Roseland Hospital. He died later on that day in Roseland. Phillip Coleman’s sister, Jacqueline, told the Sun-Times,
“Phillip was not treated justly, he was treated like an insect!”
This is just one example of the cruel acts the American state perpetrates on its own citizens, whilst claiming to be a father figure of democracy and freedom.
I recall that one of the cards which was given to us to sign, was for a prisoner in China called Chen Guangcheng, who was locked up for being too ‘outspoken’ in his beliefs. It is now reported that he has fled to the USA with his family. Say no more. However, my point is that even after all the evidence lying on the table, proving how the West, namely the USA and its puppets or lap dogs including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, etc commit the most atrocious crimes against humanity and act like ‘police of the world’, Amnesty International still points its longest finger at the People’s Republic of China for being an abuser of human rights. But as I already explained, it is the USA that has the largest prison population in the world, both absolutely and as a percentage of its population. Where’s the card for Bradley Manning? Wheres the card for Mumia Abu Jamal? Where’s the card for Julian Assange? Where are all the cards for the inmates of Guantanamo Bay? Where all the cards for the thousands of black people being imprisoned in America and being lynched in Libya as we speak by these supposed ‘Freedom Fighters’?
China is one of the two nations to veto a war on Syria at the UN Security council. It can see how regime change there will lead to a catastrophe even greater than the one in Libya. And for this reason and others it is attacked extensively by the West, using any means necessary, including Human Rights organisations like Amnesty International to pick out mole hills there and to make them into mountains.
At the Nuremburg Trials after World War 2, it was made very clear that the highest crime of all was an unprovoked war waged by one country against another. For good reason you might say. There can be no greater denial of human rights than War itself: millions are terrorised, displaced, killed violently or by secondary causes, wrongfully imprisoned, denied the means of sustenance and any security. Yet it is Western countries that have been the main instigators and protagonists of these wars yet all the claimed justifications for them from holding WMD’s to humanitarian intervention, stopping massacres, fighting terrorism, supporting democracy, removing dictators, protecting women, fighting drugs etc etc etc etc have all been exposed to progressive humanity as massive lies: Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Libya, Syria, the Congo are the most well known and deadly. Where are the cards for the millions of the victims of these wars, the millions who have been denied the most basic human rights of all? To Life? To Peace? To Security? To a Home? To Food? To the very basic needs for sustaining life? Surely, if Amnesty International was a real fighter for human rights these matters would be at the top of the agenda and determine the cards we would be signing? Instead, so as to prepare the unsuspecting public for the next criminal war, it selectively chooses only the countries to be targeted, demonising their systems so that the public at worse will turn their heads the other way after the start of the military aggression. It is no surprise therefore that the “human rights” victims highlighted by A. I. are those working under the auspices of Western powers, selling out their countries’ independence to them. However, in the West we have no qualms about locking up and throwing away the key in those cases of betrayal to foreign countries.
As a student who researches extensively on world events trying to see society’s big picture, I cannot help but be infuriated at how openly supporters of Amnesty International operate within the school community, spreading bias propaganda and promoting ill-minded teachings, without being adequately challenged. They ignore the fact that A.I. promotes a cruel system, providing it with the legitimacy required for its criminal wars, global economic inequality and for the exploitation of 99% of world’s people. Surely the largest denial of human rights is that over 2 billion people (1/3 of the world’s population) have to survive on less than $2 a day? As a consequence the World health Organisation has stated that over 5 million children below the age of 5 die every year from malnutrition alone. Where are the cards for these lost souls?
I really do hope you can come back on the points I have raised.
Come and hear speeches and contributions from the Venezuelan, Cuban and Korean embassies – and a report back from the CPGB-ML delegation to Havana where Party-to-Party talks were held with the Cuban Communist Party.
This is a social event to celebrate the anniversary of the victory of the Fatherland Liberation War in Korea and the anniversary of the storming of the Moncada Barracks in Cuba.
Followed by cultural performances along with a tasty barbecue and Indian curry!
A group of comrades from Birmingham including a few Red Youth members attempted to explain to supporters of Amnesty International the reactionary position adopted by that organisation towards Syria on Thursday evening. Failing to comprehend the motivations and involvement of imperialist interference in the region, despite all efforts, the Amnesty group pressed ahead and attempted to peddle a pro-interventionist ‘Support defiance’ warmongering position – even arranging for the BBC to attend and cover their performance. Such blatant (and at the demo) vocal support for the overthrow of Assad makes a mockery and thoroughly exposes the dishonesty of Amnesty’s written position:
“Amnesty International does not take sides in conflicts and has no opinion on borders. Our work in situations of armed conflict concentrates on documenting and campaigning against human rights abuses and violations of IHL, no matter who commits them”
A group of anti-imperialists in Birmingham opposed Amnesty’s dirty work for imperialism with a vocal contingent which, despite the best attempts and connivance of the BBC did not go unheard. Our statement can be read online here.
In response to the irresponsible, hypocritical and reactionary behaviour of the Birmingham Amnesty International group and their plans to push war propaganda on the streets of Birmingham, local comrades from Red Youth, CPGB-ML, AIWAA, IWA(GB) and others prepare a counter-demonstration on 12 April in Birmingham. It is the firm conviction of these comrades and other anti-imperialists that we cannot allow what happened in Libya to be repeated in Syria. It is also their firm conviction that if Stop the War Coalition is incapable of opposing this warmongering then it is up to communists and revolutionaries to get on with the task alone.
The following statement is communicated to the Amnesty dupes:
We have no doubt that Amnesty International contains a number of well-meaning supporters, people with genuine compassion. It is from this belief that we are outraged by the continual stream of lies, hypocrisy and war propaganda that emanates from Amnesty International, hood-winking its members, volunteers and the general public alike into supporting acts of genocide, ethnic cleansing and regime change.
It was precisely the above which was the outcome, indirectly and not so indirectly, of the position adopted by Amnesty International in relation to the war against Libya. Amnesty always seems quick to make claims of rights abuses when it serves the interests of imperialism, echo-ing the lies and misinformation of the corporate western media machine. But it is strangely slow to learn the awful lessons that echoing such lies enables real atrocities to be committed by imperialist forces – and on an incomparably larger scale than the often non-existent ‘abuses’ they claim to be ‘reporting’ in the first place.
Having made a host of inflammatory and ultimately false statements in the French media alleging the use by Colo-nel Gaddafi of ‘mercenaries’ during last year’s predatory war of aggression by Nato, Amnesty International Presi-dent Genevieve Garrigos was forced to admit five months later that there had been no evidence to support any of her claims.
An investigation by Donatella Rivera exposed Garrigos who had peddled inaccurate information and lies. Garri-gos eventually admitted in an interview: “Donatella was right to verify if we actually found mercenaries. And we didn’t.”
As a result of the spurious information, lies and falsifica-tions she and her team put out, Garrigos helped stoke the fires of war. She helped to cause the unnecessary suffering and death of tens of thousands of Libyans, including untold numbers of black Libyans. It is now widely known and reported by the UN Human Rights Council and by Human Rights Watch that the Libyan ‘rebels’ whom Amnesty was so quick to champion were in fact the ones committing ethnic cleansing of black Libyans in Tawergha and beyond.
It is therefore out of a genuine concern for those honest supporters and champions of human rights who may reside inside Amnesty that we protest against the ongoing use of slander, innuendo, half-truths, untruths, rumour and damned falsification presented to the world as fact.
It is therefore out of a genuine concern for the many honest supporters and champions of human rights who undoubtedly reside within Amnesty that we protest against the campaign’s persistent use of slander, innuendo, half-truths, untruths, rumour and damned falsification – all presented to the world as fact.
It is with this knowledge, and with a real love for freedom, democracy and liberty, that we call on Amnesty’s anti-Assad protesters to correct their position on the question of Syria and oppose the dirty war propaganda that emanates from the Birmingham group of Amnesty.
Amnesty calls for ‘defiance’
A leaflet advertising a demonstration in Birmingham on 12 April 2012, and seemingly produced by Amnesty International’s Birmingham group, calls for people to “Stand for Syria, in solidarity – in defiance”. This piece of war propaganda claims that there have been five decades of human-rights abuses in Syria, that there has been a 14-month ‘brutal crackdown’, and that hundreds have been mistreated and tortured. The intention of the leaflet is to create the impression that there exists in Syria a most despotic and cruel regime; a regime that tortures, punishes and imprisons hundreds, nay thousands, of its own citizens, including children.
Whilst Amnesty claims that there have been five decades of repression in Syria, the truth is rather different. The Syrian people enjoy a standard of living envied by many in the Middle East. The country’s long-standing commitment to secularism has ensured a relatively peaceful and prosperous half-century for its people, who come from many different nationalities, cultures and religions. Which other country in the Middle East provided safety and refuge to millions of families who fled Iraq during the last Iraq war? What other country has done so much to assist the Palestinian struggle for national liberation?
Since the outbreak of the imperialist supported violence last year, regular demonstrations have been held across Syria, with tens of thousands of people from all sections of this diverse society showing their support for the president and government, and not for the anti-government militias.
It is with this in mind that we must ask ourselves what role Amnesty is playing in calling demonstrations that imply tacit support for the gang of terrorist mercenaries calling themselves the ‘Free Syrian Amy’. Not least as the FSA are assembled, supplied, supported and sheltered by such standard-bearers of freedom and democracy as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, the United States and Turkey.
Once again, Amnesty International is doing the dirty work of imperialism. It is providing whatever pretext can be found for the overthrow of a legitimate government, a legitimate president, and the murder, torture and butchery of soldiers who comprise the regular standing army of the Syrian republic.
But who the hell are the directors of Amnesty to interfere, in complete violation of international law, with the internal business of a sovereign state?
Whilst Israel pushes ahead with its policy of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Amnesty turns a blind eye and (in Birmingham at least) organises no protest. Whilst Israel is gripped by the heroic struggle of Palestinian hunger strikers and freedom fighters, Amnesty has chosen this moment to talk about Syrian prisoners.
Whilst Saudi troops commit acts of ferocious barbarity in Bahrain, Amnesty Birmingham wants us to “push for an end to the bloodshed in Syria”!
Whilst black Libyans are butchered every day by racist, terroristic ‘rebels’ as a direct result of the horrendous and catastrophic war, allegedly waged for ‘humanitarian assistance’ and delivered by the F16s, stealth bombers and tomahawk missiles of the imperialist armies, Amnesty International wants to provide a pretext for further carnage in Syria!
The truth about Syria is that it is a thorn in the side of imperialism in the Middle East. Its long-standing commitment to independence and national sovereignty has incurred the wrath of the United States, who long ago marked the country out as a part of the ‘axis of evil’.
Learn the lessons of history
In campaigning for a return to the Russian presidency, outgoing prime minister Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would not allow a replay of the events in Libya: “Learning from that bitter experience, we are against any UN Security Council resolutions that could be interpreted as a signal for military interference in domestic processes in Syria.”
In seeking to overthrow the patriotic and progressive government in Damascus, imperialism also seeks to deliver a knockout blow to Hizbollah, thereby strengthening Israel. Above all, in seeking to destroy its most significant regional military ally, the attack on Syria is a vital step-ping stone to yet another war of aggression, this time against Iran, beyond which lies the global conflagration that confrontation with China and Russia would entail.
We must not fall for the war propaganda used to ‘justify’ imperialist aggression, and certainly should take no part in spreading these lies and falsifications.
In a very real sense, Syria today stands in the same place, as did the Spanish Republic in 1936. British work-ers and progressive people need to stand in their place, demanding: Hands off Syria! Victory to Assad!
The following article is taken from the 21 February edition ofPeople’s Daily;
At the end of the last week, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhai Jun travelled to Syria to renew diplomatic dialogue with Syrian leadership, after both Russia and Chinavetoed a UN resolution proposed by the West and its allies in the Arab world, which wasde facto calling for President Bashar al-Assad to resign.
As the Chinese diplomats were travelling to Damascus, Western mainstream press had been turning increasingly vitriolic and hawkish. Official discourses coming from the Western governments did not sound any more conciliatory. The leadership of Syria was repeatedly condemned in the strongest language possible and there has been continuous snapping at the two powers that managed to block the proposed resolution.
One should probably ask: what role is the West really playing in the conflict? Is it trying to find solutions or is it igniting the crises?
And what would the people of Syria have to pay back to Washington, London, Paris and other ‘players’ if the Assad’s government would be deposed? Even though the majority never asked for any help and probably supports the present government, it would be definitely presented with the bill.
“The West”, Congolese presidential candidate recently told me, “doesn’t have friends. It only has interests.”By now it should be obvious that the West is not known for its altruistic considerations. It does close to nothing to rescue the worst suffering countries, simply because most of them are actually suffering as a result of Western economic and geopolitical interests. If charity would be the main goal of the foreign policy of the West, the bloodbath in Congo/DRC would end many years ago-the slaughter that took between 6 and 10million people and is performed by close allies of the US and Europe and their multi-national companies. And the plundering of the mineral rich Papua would also end already several decades ago.
Some 40 to 45 million people world-wide were killed after the WWII in colonial, post-colonial, neo-colonial and imperialist conflicts led or triggered by the West: in Indochina, Indonesia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Oceania. One could excuse those who do not necessarily trust those sudden outbursts of compassion towards the people of Middle East and would rather give peace in Syria a chance.
If, however, the ruler or leadership is antagonistic to the Western dictate and interests, all means are put to use to overthrow him. Modern history is full of examples: Dominican Republic, Chile, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Congo, and Yugoslavia to name just a few places.
Most recently it was Libya’s turn. The UN resolution was twisted by both the European Union and the US and the country was attacked illegally. In Libya, the West immediately detected substantial (but not so ample that it would represent the majority of Libyan people) opposition to Qaddafi. It cultivated it, got directly involved and then steered it to the victory. When the violence escalated (partially through the Western support to rebellion) and the situation ‘went out of control’, invasion was justified on ‘humanitarian grounds’.
Interests of the West in Libya were always clear: the oil and the important role Tripoli played in the anti-imperialist struggle on African continent. Many in Africa saw Qaddafi’s overthrow and death seen as calamity, but very few dared to speak up from fear of Western reprisal.
That is not to say that Qaddafi was not a tyrant. However, Libya under his leadership preached the highest HDI (UNDP calculated Human Development Index) in Africa. But instead of being too preoccupied with the profit s of multinational companies, Qaddafi was busy building social net at home, which included public housing, roads, hospitals and schools. That appears to be the greatest ‘sin’. Building its own independent society and concentrating on pulling people out of poverty appears to be the most unforgiveable crime in the eyes of the Western regime.
Punishment is dreadful: officially speaking, the ‘infidel’ countries are not punished, they are ‘saved’.
And the countries that were recently ‘saved’ by the West –Afghanistan (savagely brutalized since the times of its secular pro-Soviet government), Iraq, Libya, and Honduras –are today all in the most appalling state, in catastrophe much worse than before the ‘humanitarian invasion’. Their people are going through indescribable suffering; many are desperately trying to leave.
This brutal approach is usually justified by the dogma of American and European exceptionalism, by the theory that the West is somehow unique and the only one qualified to determine what is right and what is wrong for itself and for the rest of the world.
Any country that crosses the West and its designs is immediately attacked by the most vicious but powerful propaganda apparatus. No matter how rational are its arguments.
It was announced by Zhai Jun that Beijing is calling for a referendum on the draft of anew Syrian constitution, early parliamentary elections and the establishment of a national unity government. “We call on the government of Syria to seriously heed the people’s legitimate desire for reform and development and call on the various political fractions to express their political aspirations non-violently under the rule of law,” he said. He also made it clear that China wanted this crises solved within the framework of the Arab League.
That’s all very rational and democratic. But the West sees such rational approach as unacceptable. Not because Russian or Chinese approaches are morally wrong –they are clearly not. But because, in sync with the exceptionalist doctrine, the people and the referendum on the future of their own country could not be ‘trusted’. Decisions on the issues like ‘who runs the government’ in strategically located country, could not be left to the people. It is only the West– old and until now the only prevailing colonial power block – that can determine in what direction the world (and each particular country) could move.
While the Western press is manipulatively speaking only about Russia and China in connection to the resolution, it is essential to point out that there were other states that voted against it, including Iran, Zimbabwe, North Korea but more importantly, most ofthe countries in Latin America that stand at the vanguard of the struggle against Western imperialism: Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua. All these countries that suffered terribly from the US interventionism now voted on the grounds of basic principal: the West has no moral mandate to decide the fate of the world.
And this ‘club’ of progressive nations appears to be much more legitimate than the ‘club of two’ – the US and Israel –that blocks almost all of the UN resolutions on Palestinewhile avoiding the fury of disciplined and self-censored mainstream media.
Based on its history, ancient and modern, Russia has no reasons to trust the West. And even if the latest commentaries of the Western mainstream media could actually be trusted and Russia is defensing its ally in Damascus for its own pragmatic reasons, it could still be understandable and justifiable given the fact that there are already missiles being pointed at Russia from all directions imaginable. In addition to it, if the present Syrian government collapses, the West would have suddenly almost total control of the area, definitely not very attractive prospect for both Russia and the world.
Habibe Ozdal, Turkish expert on Russia working with the Center for Eurasian Studies(USAK) commented at Today’s Zaman on February 16th, 2011: “After the Iraq War, Russia has opposed the one sided initiatives of the West. Moreover, Russia today, despite all its weaknesses, is very different than the Russia of the early 2000s. Moscow which now has something to say about the Middle East in general and Syria in particular, prefers to take up a position that is independent of, and at times even in opposition to, the West.”
Editors of the progressive National Channel in Istanbul are actually calling the Western game in the region an open aggression. A veteran documentary filmmaker Serkan Koctold me that he filmed in Syria and has clear evidence that the West was supporting violent and rough elements in the country, calling them ‘legitimate opposition’.
In Russia and among the opposition in the West there is no doubt that unless stopped, the situation may lead to the endgame in the region: total consolidation of Western power. On the 18th February, RT (Russia Today) was broadcasting analyses concluding that destruction of Syria would open the door for further invasion to Iran. Recently, Alexander Cockburn published his powerful article “Hypocrisy and Syria” at prestigious CounterPunch, arguing that the US itself has never been tolerating separatist movements on its territory: No one could doubt that determined separatist activity or armed challenges to the government of the United States are always met with immediate, overwhelming and lethal ferocity. For further historical illustration I recommend an interview with any moderately informed American Indian or black.
For a while it looked as though Obama’s government was being swept into yet another intervention, ranging itself shoulder-to shoulder with the GCC coalition, stoking the firesin Syria. That momentum was certainly checked by the Russian and Chinese veto of the US-backed resolution presented to the UN Security Council.
Opposing the dictate of the West does not have to lead necessarily to the new Cold War (unless the West chooses to see it that way: ‘You do what we say, or else!’). It could actually lead to something really great –to something that the world has been missing for decades: it could lead to diversity and to the world where the countries would again dare to go their own way and express their stands loudly and proudly, without any risk of being bombed and shattered.