[pdf http://126.96.36.199/cpgb-ml/wp-content/mediatimetogo_20060923.pdf 700 800]After another seven years of war abroad and repression at home, there is no longer much room for doubt about the motivations for these constantly escalating wars.
The more liberal sections of the British ruling class, having once denied that such a thing as imperialism even existed, are now being forced to prove their democratic credentials to the British public by criticising US imperialism in increasingly clear terms. The motivators for this are:
i) the unfettered, horrifying violence which has been unleashed in recent years by imperialist wars and which has shocked the British population;
ii) a recognition that the wars being waged in Afghanistan and the Middle East are unwinnable, such is the strength and resilience of the national resistance movements; and
iii) a belief by many in the bourgeoisie that closer economic and political engagement with the European Union will be more fruitful than the ‘junior partner’ relationship they have with the US.
What these ‘liberals’ try desperately to hide is the fact that US imperialism is only a part (albeit a large part) of a whole system of imperialism – a network of imperialist countries and multinationals that compete with one another for domination and control of markets, resources and avenues of investment. Britain is very much an active part of this system. Wars waged by the British state are fought in the interests of the profits of the British ruling class.
Nonetheless, even the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois criticisms of US imperialism available in the mainstream media are helping to facilitating the awakening of understanding among British working people about what is really going on in the world (as opposed to what they’ve always been told was going on).
The aggressors’ tales about ‘spreading democracy’ by overthrowing elected governments and ‘defending civilisation’ by destroying the oldest societies on our planet have been thoroughly exposed for the lies they always were. So, too, has the nonsensical assertion that the US and Britain are simply trying to counter the ‘threat to world peace’ posed by the ‘WMD’ of a few ‘rogue states’ when they, the most militarised and aggressive powers in the world, drop a carpet of cluster-bombs over entire cities, or attack civilian populations with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
Behind the benevolent motives they ascribe to themselves, the big business moguls who keep figureheads such as Bush and Blair in power are becoming ever more ferocious in their determination to control the world’s resources.
Anything that gets in the way of this agenda is mere ‘collateral damage’, be it thousands of British workers losing their pensions, the 13 million African children under five who die every year of preventable diseases, the populations of whole cities in the Middle East who have been rendered homeless and jobless while their loved ones are slain by marauding invaders … or the very sustainability of life on earth that is daily more threatened by unchecked pollution and reckless carbon emissions.
Labour’s imperialist traditions
Describing Bush as an idiot and Blair as a liar may temporarily assuage feelings of anger and frustration at the apparent impotence of the world’s masses to bring these scoundrels to justice or change the seemingly inevitable course of events, but such characterisations bring us no closer to understanding what’s really happening, or what we have to do to change it.
The idea that Blair’s ‘New’ Labour is radically different from the Labour Party of yesterday is accepted almost as a universal truth in the left-wing movement. But, studying Labour’s history in government, one sees that Labour has always represented the British ruling class and its empire with as much enthusiasm as the Tories.
In 1924, the first Labour government gunned down and jailed demonstrators in India and bombed Iraqi villages. Ramsay MacDonald used the army, Emergency Powers Act and secret police to break strikes, evict the unemployed from their homes, arrest and spy on activists.
To pay off war debt and rebuild Britain’s economy, Attlee’s government of 1945 intensified exploitation in Ghana, Kenya, Malaya and other colonies. Tens of thousands of people in Africa and Asia were killed in ruthless suppression of revolts against British colonialism. After WWII, Labour set up puppet regimes all over the Middle East, handed over Palestine to the zionists, helped restore French imperialist control over Indo-China and sent 12,000 soldiers to Korea. Eight million people died in the ensuing wars in south east Asia (Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Laos). Not a single African country obtained independence from a Labour government.
In fact, in its drive to defend imperialism at all costs, there has never been any crime that the Labour Party, in or out of government, has not been prepared to commit, either at home or abroad. -Today, Blair’s Labour, far from being an aberration, is continuing in this long tradition of loyal service to imperialism.
Since 1997, the Labour Party has presided over illegal wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, besides giving full backing to Israel’s criminal occupation of Palestine and its recent reinvasion of Lebanon. Meanwhile, the Labour government is working hard to quell all dissent at home through the introduction of draconian laws that allow those who raise their voices against such crimes to be arrested without charge, held indefinitely and convicted without evidence.
Blair is not some kind of duped ‘poodle’ of US foreign policy. The interests that Blair is protecting are not those of US multinationals, but of British companies like BP, Shell and BAe.
Time to go
It is not just Blair who has proved himself unfit to govern; the whole system of imperialism has shown itself to be entirely incapable of meeting the needs of the world’s people, despite the vast wealth that modern mechanised labour has created. Today, a handful of billionaires control this wealth and use it to acquire more, while the overwhelming majority of humanity gets poorer day by day; the very wealth they produce by their labour only serving to make their oppressors more rich and powerful.
It’s not just time for the troops to be pulled out of Iraq (they should never have been there!), or for Tony Blair to step down as Prime Minister; it’s time the British people pulled the plug on the whole rotten system that perpetuates endless war, poverty, racism, inequality and injustice.
We need to unite with all those who are fighting British imperialism; a victory for the Iraqi, Lebanese, Palestinian or Afghan resistance against the British ruling class is also a victory for the British working class. We can make a start by refusing to cooperate in any way with the war effort, be it serving in the forces, making weapons, transporting equipment or putting out propaganda. Individually, we may be powerless, but collectively, British workers have the ultimate veto over these wars – the ruling class cannot fight them without us!