Welcome... / FRFI 171 Feb / Mar 2003

FRFI 171 February / March 2003

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gurgling from the froth-
corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile incurable sores on innocent tongues –
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.*

Wilfred Owen, 1917

* It is sweet and glorious to die for your country.

As this issue of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! goes to press, the US and British are preparing to blitz Iraq. The Pentagon has announced its intention to bombard Iraq with 800 cruise missiles in two days to shatter the country ‘physically, emotionally and psychologically’. That will be more than twice the number of missiles launched during the whole 1991 Gulf War. The inventor of this strategy, known as ‘Shock and Awe’, Harlan Ullman, boasted that: ‘You have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but minutes’.

The US and British governments made it clear from the outset that they were not prepared to negotiate nor compromise their warmongering, not for the United Nations, public opinion nor in the interests of world stability. The warmongers hardly need the weapons inspectors to discover what Saddam’s regime has stockpiled. The ‘sensitive pages’ which the US edited out of Iraq’s weapons declaration contained precise information about the military and biological armaments bought from 150 corporations in the imperialist countries themselves (see front page and page 4).

Only an international mass movement with a revolutionary character that threatens internal stability in the imperialist countries stands a chance of halting the warmongering of madman Bush and bulldog Blair (see page 5). This is because the war is driven by its own imperative: the internal logic of the capitalist system, frantically searching to maintain and expand its sources of profit. The US economy has been teetering on the brink of economic crisis for nearly two years. If the US does plummet into deep recession the consequences for the global economy will be devastating, and the rivalry and tensions between the major capitalist powers will escalate. The US is making an early and decisive bid now, to ensure its own economic interests dominate, not just in the Middle East, but throughout the world (see pages 8/9). Control of the Gulf’s oil is an important part of the US imperialist campaign, and explains a large part of Britain’s involvement. Two of the world’s top three oil companies are British; Shell and BP. The Labour imperialists, led by warmonger Blair are prepared to use the military alliance with the US to enable Britain to punch above its weight in the world relative to France and Germany.

John Pilger wrote recently, ‘To call Blair a mere “poodle” is to allow him distance from the killing of innocent Iraqi men, women and children for which he will share responsibility’. Opposition to the war on Iraq is growing in Britain. But however many turn out for the national demonstration on 15 February, the opposition in this country will be unable to stop Britain’s part in the war unless it challenges the Labour Party, not just Blair. The Labour Party is the party in government in Britain.

One year ago the Labour Party was waging war on Afghanistan. Today it is war on Iraq. It is also terrorising asylum seekers and stirring up racism (see page 16), punishing the working class (see this page and page 3) and pampering big business. Anyone still a member of the Labour Party who values social justice must rip up their membership card. Simple. No more excuses! Then we stand a chance of building a genuine, democratic and grassroots movement in Britain which places the demands of the working class at the fore, not the whinging of reformists and the social democrats. Despite the increasingly reactionary, authoritarian and racist character of Labour, British trade unions are happy to bankroll the Party. They have just proposed a £40 million deal to cover a third of the Labour Party’s running costs till 2005 (see page 3).

Working class interests have come to the fore in the struggle in Venezuela, where Chavez is being driven to extend the Bolivarian revolution against the interests of US capital and its Latin American lackeys (see page 11). Class is also important in Palestine where the Intifada continues to rage in resistance to the brutal Zionist regime under re-elected fascist Ariel Sharon (see page 6 ). In this issue of FRFI we continue the analysis of the class alliances necessary for national liberation in Palestine (see page 7).

Use this issue of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! as a weapon of resistance. Knowledge is power when it is used as the basis of collective action. Pass FRFI on to others, discuss the articles, sell it on the streets and in your workplace. The time to act is now...As Fidel Castro said: ‘Tomorrow will be too late for what should have been done a long time ago’!

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