Welcome... / FRFI 174 Aug / Sep 2003

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The storm of ‘shock and awe’ may have ended, but instead of calm the world has been gripped by uncertainty. The lightning strike delivered by British and US forces on Iraq has been replaced by low intensity war. Satellite and computer information systems remain relatively ineffective when Iraqi intelligence is passed from house to house and urban guerrilla warfare picks off members of the invading armies day after day.

Already the US government is spending $3.9 billion a month in Iraq, about twice the sum anticipated. And it’s not as if the US government has money to burn. Iraqi resistance has meant that investment on war has not yet yielded the benefits which the US and Britain expected. The oil companies, Exxon, Shell and BP may be itching to get control of Iraqi oil, but they are too afraid to enter such an uncertain and hostile environment (see page 8). The US government’s budget deficit (spending over their income) is soaring to $455 billion and the increasingly fragile state of the US economy is another serious source of uncertainty. After a $200 billion tax cut to the rich, the Bush administration has launched a war on the poor at home to provide the funds for its war on the poor abroad. Already, one in five people in the US under 65 has no health insurance, and now what little provision is available to assist the poor is under attack (see page 7). New immigration legislation will officially award immigrants with the status of little more than slave labourers (see page 6).

Bush is not the only warmonger facing uncertainty. Prime Minister Blair may have grinned his way through accusations that his government ‘sexed up’ the dossier on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but the death of chief scientist Dr David Kelly at the MoD wiped the smirk off his face. The whole bitter row between Blair’s unelected cronies, like Alastair Campbell, and the BBC has revealed cracks within the British ruling class. At the same time it has so consumed the mass media that no one remembers the elusive weapons of mass destruction which have failed to show up in Iraq (see page 9).

In this world of uncertainty there is one reality of which we can be sure. Wherever there is oppression and exploitation, there will be those who fight for freedom and justice. Wherever there is imperialism, there will be resistance, from Palestine to Colombia, from Nepal to Cuba.

In Palestine, despite the imposition by the US of the so-called roadmap to peace, and the cease-fire called by the liberation movement, the only certainty is that without justice for the Palestinian people, the Intifada (uprising) will continue (see pages 1 and 3). As Ahmad Saadat, general secretary of the PFLP, has explained, any peace deal that does not include the right of return for Palestinian people forcibly removed from their land by Zionists, will never create peace in the Middle East (see page 3).

In Nepal, where the people are among the poorest in the world, the 234-year feudal monarchy is under serious attack by the communist-led People’s Liberation Army, which now controls 80% of the country. President Bush recently gave $20 million in military aid to the Nepalese regime under the guise of fighting terrorism, but it is the example of the PLA organising the people to set up schools and hospitals in the rural areas of Nepal that the US really fears (see page 6).

In Colombia resistance to poverty, exploitation and oppression is certain to continue despite Plan Colombia which sees massive US military aid to the fascist government of President Uribe. In return for imperialist funds, Uribe has put Colombia up for sale to capitalist corporations (see page 16).

Bush’s hit-list of countries in the ‘axis of evil’ is part of his attempt to create a world of fear and uncertainty, to force the world’s people into submission to the rule of capitalist might. Nowhere is resistance to imperialism and militarism stronger than in Cuba. Black US political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal has described the US as launching verbal bombs at Cuba, in order to warm up the world to the idea of military attack, following the procedure used in the war on Iraq. Mumia defends the recent measures taken in Cuba to combat the counter-revolutionaries organised and directed by the US government and the right-wing Miami Mafia to undermine Cuban socialism (see page 5).

Resistance to imperialism challenges us to take sides. It is not acceptable to take up the pose of proudly ‘independent’ (and theoretically abstract) socialism at a time of crisis for capitalism and suffering for the world’s poor majority. The critical critics will end up supporting the oppressors just as George Orwell did (see page 12) in the past and Professor Mike Gonzalez of the SWP does now (see page 14).

What form of resistance to imperialism should socialists take in Britain? In this issue of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! we take up the discussion about the role of socialists in parliamentary politics with an Australian comrade in relation to the Scottish Socialist Party’s recent gains in the local elections (see page 10)

As Che Guevara said during the Vietnam war: ‘There are no borders in this struggle to the death. We cannot be indifferent to what happens anywhere in the world, because a victory by any country over imperialism is our victory, just as any country’s defeat is a defeat for all of us.’

Join the Revolutionary Communist Group to fight imperialism from within the belly of the beast. Fight for a better world.

Don’t just get angry, get active!

FRFI 174 August / September 2003