Britain’s ‘Stop the War’ Coalition, led still by the Labour party’s Andrew Murray (formerly CPB) and Counterfire’s Lindsay German (formerly SWP), organised a recent Britsh tour – lurching out of retirement, and in a throwback to its former ‘glory’ days, entitled ‘Why we need an anti-war government’. Perhaps you heard about it or attended one of its meetings?
The video above shows a short contribution made from the floor by the Joti Brar (CPGB-ML member) at the Bristol meeting.
Our members have attended several of the meetings as the tour has progressed round the country. It is noticeable that those on the platform do not mention that StW failed to stop the Iraq War; that in consequence the movement floundered and under their ‘leadership’ (erm … let’s have another march?) nosedived and vanished, by degrees, off the face of the earth.
They don’t mention that StW had acted as a mouthpiece in favour of imperialist wars against Libya and Syria.
These meetings have been, however, a little different to the usual StW fare, and surprised us somewhat because every person on the platform went into the past crimes of Labour governments and made reference to Labour being an imperialist party!
These are new words and a new analysis from Stop the War, although they did not acknowledge that fact. One might almost imagine they’ve been reading our articles …
Chris Nineham (former leading light of the SWP) even said that the present climate of Russophobia was “ridiculous” and that Russia poses “no threat”. A far cry from the usual StW Russophobia.
The headline speaker was the London rapper Lowkey, who came to prominence after his song Long live Palestine, gained wide currency. That song was a powerful protest, released after the Israeli zionists launched their heinous ‘Cast Lead’ massacre of the civilian population of Gaza in 2008/9.
Much of the substance of Lowkey’s speech was given over to examples of the terrible record of past Labour governments. However, Labour governments remain distinct from Tory ones, he claimed, as “popular pressure” has successfully stopped them doing certain things (eg, sending troops to Vietnam). He concluded by asserting that Jeremy Corbyn’s protest movement background meant that he would be even more responsive to such pressure than most.
The worst aspect of Lowkey’s speech was the suggestion that Labour – depite its imperialist history – has a radical anti-war tradition. Proof of this? Keir Hardie!
The same Keir Hardie, delegate to the second international, who was denounced by the revolutionary socialists of his day as a social pacifist – a shame-faced variety of social imperialist. A leader who led anti-war pacifist demonstrations and wrung his hands in angst on the eve of the war, but did nothing to lead the workers in opposing war or in using the revolutionary situation created by the war to overthrow the blood-soaked system of capitalist imperialism – which was then in the midst of a general conflagration and murdering some 40 million workers worldwide to protect its looting of the globe; its slaves, booty and colonies.
The lesson of WW1 was not ‘vote Labour to stop imperialism’, but that the Labour party is much more interested in the wellbeing of its capitalist masters that in the wellbeing of the mass of British workers – let alone the welfare of workers of other countries! Labour acted as a recruiting sergeant for the enemy class, and fought for social peace to allow the capitalists to make huge profits from the unparalleled mechanised slaughter of the trenches.
Labour has been systematically betraying the interests of the workers at home in Britain and abroad; fighting wars, protecting the British empire, protecting the profits of the big banks and capitalist magnates, the oligarchy and billionaires, from that day to this.
If Lowkey or the StW gurus want an example of how to build an anti-war movement (and the most passing and perfunctory reference was made to the Jolly George by Lindsay German in StW’s London meeting, for example), then they need look no further than the Clydeside workers led by the likes of William Gallagher and John McLean.
These workers and other revolutionary communists started the Hands Off Russia campaign after WW1 that really did prevent the British imperialists from prosecuting their war against the young Soviet republic.
Imperialism cannot help driving to war to defend its markets, profits and wage slavery; all the more so in times of crisis. We must smash the oppressive, the monstrously oppressive, capitalist state, with its overwhelming automated machine of mechanised punishment, warfare and death. Workers must oust this clique of parasites to finally end war.
While it is refreshing to hear StW recognising the crimes of Labour, it is the definition of insanity to keep doing the same thing and expect (hope for!) different results.
The first condition for preparing the ground for mass non-cooperation is to rigorously oppose the media lies about the countries Britain is targeting for war.
The knowledge of what is really happening in Syria, like knowledge about the true character of the Gaddafi government in Libya, would have stirred outrage in the working class and provided us with the opportunity to mobilise workers to counter the war effort.
Our message to working people should be:
No cooperation with imperialist war; victory to the resistance!