Welcome... / FRFI 165 Feb / Mar 2002

FRFI 165 February / March 2002

Four days after the World Trade Centre was attacked on 11 September 2001, US President George W Bush announced that the War on Terrorism would be ‘a conflict without battlefields or beach-heads’ and warned that, ‘the conflict will not be short’. The imperialists have kept to their word.

By mid-January it was estimated that nearly 4,000 Afghan civilians had been killed, a thousand more than the revised number of deaths at the World Trade Centre on 11 September. The western media sold us a phoney ‘victory’ with the ‘liberation of Kabul’ in November. Most people think the war is over and western troops, the largest contingent of which are British, are busy patchworking a new nation out of the ruins and poverty of Afghanistan. In reality, the bombs continue to pound southern Afghanistan, faction-fighting between warlords is leaving corpses strewn around for western TV glory and civilians are dying from the cold in refugee camps or are reduced to eating grass to survive (see pages 1 and 3). Al-Qaida suspects are shackled and tortured with sensory deprivation, incarcerated and interrogated by the US in Guantanamo military base, land which it has no right to occupy (see page 3).

As Bush promised, the battlefield has already extended outside Afghanistan’s borders. At the time of going to press, gunboats are lined up off the coast of Somalia, officials are arguing for renewed attacks on Iraq and the Philippine government is co-operating with the US and British authorities to wage an internal war. Under the pretext of chasing al-Qaida, the US and Britain can pick at the stitches of any country and pull it apart at the seams. The dangerous result of this game of power politics can be seen clearly in the stand-off between India and Pakistan (see page 3).

The stench of those partners in crime, Bush and Blair – or more historically speaking, US and British imperialism – can be found in the horrendous situation today in Palestine. The Palestinian uprising, the Intifada, which exploded in September 2000 in response to Zionist brutality, has been met with barbaric repression; bombs are dropped on villages, Palestinians are indiscriminately rounded up and others are summarily executed. Now the bourgeois Palestinian Authority has threatened to turn the Intifada into a civil war by attacking the freedom fighters. This issue of FRFI carries interviews with members of two secular national liberation groups (see pages 8/9).

The British imperialist legacy is most clearly seen in Britain’s oldest colony, Ireland. Like Palestine, history has shown that no bourgeois solution imposed on the working class based on compromise with imperialism can resolve the violent conflicts, the poverty and the racism that exists on a daily basis (see page 5).

The violence and repression of the imperialist nations has also been unleashed internally. In Britain the War on Terrorism has provided the opportunity to clamp down on domestic opposition, in the belly of the beast. Both Britain and the US have introduced the most restrictive and repressive legislation (see page 16). The last time any serious mass opposition to the British government emerged was in the early 1980s; black and white working class youth confronted the police on the streets, the Republican movement swelled in solidarity with the Irish hunger strikers and the miners came out on strike. Typically, the Labour Party in opposition and its allies on the left worked hard to rein in this spontaneous working class opposition and channel it into the ‘respectable’ organisations of the Labour aristocracy (see pages10/11/12).

The imperialists have made it clear that they are in control of the world. They cannot tolerate any obstacles or challenges to their system – the capitalist system. This is because the capitalist system is in crisis, riddled by its own contradictions. Capitalism must create poverty and misery for the mass of the world in order to create prosperity and wealth for a few. Capitalism is an unsustainable economic and social system. Throughout the world these contradictions are creating pockets of resistance, for example, in South Africa where the fight against the government’s refusal to deal with the AIDS pandemic shows signs of turning into an anti-capitalist movement of oppressed black workers (see page 7).

In Britain, the train workers’ strikes are a response to over two decades of disastrous privatisations and casualisation (see page 6). In Brixton, south London, people are taking to the streets in protest against the shockingly common incidence of black deaths in police custody, police violence and council racism (see page 5).

Pockets of resistance can explode into revolutionary insurrection, as Argentina shows. As a direct result of neo-liberal policies and globalisation, Argentina’s impoverished middle class have taken to the streets in unity with the working class and the unemployed, to demand structural changes to the unjust and chaotic economic system (see page 4). The repercussions throughout Latin America will be huge in the years to come.

The ultimate example of resistance to imperialism and the brutal New World Order is Cuba. This issue of FRFI has information about the Cuban speaking tour which starts in March and takes two Cuban communist youth representatives around Britain to discuss the reality of life under Cuban socialism, their perspective on the War on Terrorism and the revolution’s contribution to building an international, anti-imperialist movement (see pages 14 and 15).

Every one of us has an important historical role to play in building a serious anti-racist, anti-imperialist movement, here and now! Through FRFI we aim to arm the people with knowledge as the basis for collective action.

Don’t just get angry, get active!

FRFI is produced by a collective effort and we rely on you – please send your contributions to
FRFI, BCM Box 5909, London, WC1N 3XX.


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