Welcome... / FRFI 167 Jun / Jul 2002

FRFI 167 June / July 2002

Fences, borders and blockades – essentials in the tool kit of neo-liberal globalisation – erected or removed in the interests of profit. Thirteen years after the Berlin Wall came down to cries of ‘freedom’, more and greater fences are being erected to cries of ‘keep them out!’; the wealth is not to share.

Across the Channel in France, £4 million will be spent on strengthening the fence which separates desperate asylum seekers at the Sangatte refugee camp from the trains which enter Britain. The poor are excluded from the wealth plundered from their own countries.

Britain is following the hard-line lead of the Australian government, with talk of mobilising Royal Navy warships to intercept boats of asylum seekers in the Mediterranean and RAF transport planes to be used for bulk deportations (see page 16). Another proposal is to copy the Australian government’s bribes to Afghans, offering $10,000 (£3,300) to return home.

Back in Britain the budget allocated an extra £180m to cutting crime and building new prisons. as Labour’s ‘tough on crime’ (negligent on the causes of crime) sends prison populations soaring above 70,000 in England and Wales alone (see page 13). Poor and black people are incarcerated and marginalised.

Immigration and ‘law and order’ are on the lips of politicians sensible to the anxieties of middle class Europe. Social democracy is corroding into social fascism as French, Dutch and German voters respond to the hard-line promises of the right wing (see opposite), while in the north of England the British National Party won three seats in local elections. In Britain, the government’s message is clear; ‘you don’t need the fascists, you have the Labour Party.’

Media support is essential to ensure public consent for Labour’s racist immigration policies. No surprise then that a new government proposal will make British TV among the most deregulated in the world. Media magnate Rupert Murdoch, who already owns over 30% of the racist, reactionary newspaper market is set to take over Channel Five.

No degree of hostile legislation will stem the tide of migration into the rich west, because capitalism is destroying the very fabric of life for billions of people on the planet. In May a UN report warned that unless the world changes its current capitalist ‘markets first’ approach, within 30 years 70% of the Earth’s surface will be severely damaged, 50% of the world’s population will suffer water shortages (95% of the Middle East’s population and 65% in Asia and the Pacific) and Earth will lose 25% of its mammals and 12% of its birds. Most people reading these facts expect to be alive in 30 years – then understand the urgency in combating capitalist destruction! Half the world’s rivers are already polluted and depleted, one fifth of the world’s population is responsible for 90% of consumption while 1.3 billion people live in ‘extreme’ poverty.

Poverty breeds resistance, so the neo-liberal agenda is accompanied by greater repression. There are to be no competing centres of power or wealth – no alternative models of development or ideology. Hence the ‘war on terrorism’ (see page 5), the CIA-sponsored coup against a democratically elected leader in Venezuela (see pages 10 and 11), the assault against the FARC in Colombia (see page 12) and the terror against the Palestinian people (see pages 8 and 9).
The human cost of asserting imperialist control over the world is high. Instability in Asia threatens to escalate into nuclear war between India and Pakistan, yet no-one asks who profited from their purchase of weapons of mass destruction.

Resistance grows throughout the world. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! looks to Cuba for hope and inspiration that an alternative is possible (see pages 6 and 7). In the new millennium, the Palestinian flag has come to symbolise the anti-imperialist resistance and revolutionary struggle, just as the image of Che Guevara did in the 1960-70s. Since the end of February 2002, the Zionist army and execution squads, have killed at least 500 Palestinians. In Jenin, homes were bulldozed with people inside and over 6,500 people are still missing. Yet the Intifada (uprising) continues. There can be no peace without justice. The people will rise again to take back what belongs to them.

Campaigning in solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada and with the Cuban Revolution means campaigning for your own rights to justice, equality and dignity here in Britain. The struggle against imperialism is a struggle against the same system and the same ruling class which sells our education to corporate interests, punishes working class parents and condemns their children to poverty (see page 3). It is the struggle against corruption in our local councils and the denial of basic services in our communities (see page 3). It means resisting the privatisation of our railways and national infrastructure which threatens our lives, and it means resisting the squeeze on the poor working class who are forced to fund the services demanded by more privileged workers and the middle class, Labour’s class allies (see page 4).

Join us in the fightback, we have a world to win back!

Don’t just get angry, get active.

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