Welcome... / FRFI 172 April / May 2003

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FRFI 172 April / May 2003

Smile for the cameras – you’re being bombed live on TV! Not for nothing does the United States spend $380 billion every year on weapons of mass destruction – more than the next 25 biggest military spenders combined. As one US general put it: ‘You don’t think we’re going to spend all that money on the military and keep it parked in the garage, do you?’ The US wants the world to know its capacity for mass destruction – and what better way than to have it televised 24 hours of the day? Likewise we see the ‘special relationship’ between the US and Britain played out in the sandstorms, explosions and rubble of Iraq (see pages 1 and 3). Tony Blair has taken the Labour Party into an alliance with a US administration of chicken-hawks which chooses to use force to reimpose its economic domination of the world, despite the weakness of the US economy and fighting off competition from the EU and Japan. Via the military onslaught on Iraq, Britain is attempting to raise its global status relative to France and Germany. The new era of inter-imperialist rivalries has arrived, as the advanced capitalist countries jostle to recolonise the world (see pages 6 and 7).

When darling of the Labour ‘left’ George Galloway declares, from yet another Stop the War platform, that this Labour government’s foreign policy is ‘far from Labour’, he is lying! British soldiers have been sent to Basra precisely because of their expertise in urban guerrilla warfare, picked up in the North of Ireland. Like the military onslaught in Iraq, those troops were sent to Ireland on an imperialist operation by the very same Labour Party 34 years ago. Labour is an imperialist Party. It is a racist Party. Aligning yourself with Labour, whether it is as an MP, a party activist, or a card-carrying member, is aligning yourself with the system of racism and imperialism it represents. Resign now and let’s build an independent anti-capitalist alternative.

Sections of the Labour ‘left’ and leading representatives of the Stop the War Coalition – including Lindsey German, convenor of the Coalition and a leader of the Socialist Workers’ Party – signed a letter to Tony Blair last December opposing military action against Iraq without explicit authority of the United Nations and the House of Commons! These people are more concerned with maintaining an alliance with ‘soft’ imperialists, like Charles Kennedy, who spoke at the national demonstration, than they are with building an effective opposition to the war – or fighting imperialism. Get these hypocrites off our platforms! Hand leadership of the movement over to the activists using direct action against military bases and roads, to the anti-imperialists opposing Zionism and interventions across Africa, Asia and Latin America, to the angry Asian youth turning out to demonstrate, to the school students walking out of schools and to workers prepared to lose pay to protest. Then we will have a real democratic and grassroots movement, with growing consciousness, capable of stopping this horrific onslaught on Iraq and bringing down the Labour government and the party it represents (see page 4).

The bombing of Iraq is the latest war in a series of imperialist wars. While the US list of possible targets for ‘pre-emptive’ military attack grows and North Korea braces itself (see page 4), imperialism is already at war against the poor in nations across the world, in alliance with their national bourgeoisies, the clients of imperialism. The implementation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is another battle of US imperialism, to recolonise Latin America, securing the continent for capitalist exploitation and for access to its oil. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! spoke to anti-imperialist revolutionary James Petras, who explained the global strategic importance of Latin America to the US in offsetting the weakness of the dollar and the US economy. Petras also described the enormous and widespread opposition to the FTAA from the people who will suffer from its implementation. He describes the struggles in Bolivia and Colombia as the most advanced in the continent, and Venezuela and Argentina being on a secondary, but potentially revolutionary, level (see pages 8 and 9).

In Palestine the Intifada continues to resist another imperialist war, Zionist expansionism and the brutality of the Israeli state, which now kills nearly 30 Palestinians every week (see page 5).

One battle the imperialists cannot win is the one to eradicate socialist Cuba, an example to the poor and oppressed of the world that an alternative exists to the ravages of capitalism and that imperialism can be defeated. The US administration is intensifying its war against Cuba (see page 12).

Capitalism’s battle against the poor is also carried out within the imperialist heartlands. In Britain, Labour Home Secretary, the social fascist David Blunkett, is attempting to halve the number of asylum seekers, deprive them of social security, and to forcibly deport thousands of Afghan refugees. The cause of the rise in asylum seekers is clear. The greatest number of them arrive from Iraq, a country under US and British attack (see page 16).

Tony Blair has the audacity to talk about liberating Iraq, to talk about morality and democracy, while in Britain the Labour government threatens to ban strike action in order to undermine the firefighters (see page 10), while poverty is on the rise (see page 10), the education system is being privatised (see page 10), and a swelling prison population is exploited as a useful source of cheap labour (see page 13).

To take up the cause of the oppressed around the world is to take on the same ruling class which oppresses us. An anti-imperialist movement will tackle racism, exploitation, repression and criminalisation here in Britain. Our slogan must be: workers and oppressed people of the world unite to fight imperialism!

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