Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/313/11658

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 September 2003

Iraq: Can the occupation be stopped?

The biggest demonstrations in world history didn't stop the warmongers occupying Iraq. Inevitably, many people wonder whether this means we are powerless to change things.

But to draw such a conclusion would be a big mistake. The New York Times accurately described the anti-war movement as a 'second super-power': a super-power which left Blair hanging by a thread.

After two million marched on the streets of London Blair was preparing to retreat. As Rumsfeld blurted out, the possibility of British troops playing no role was being discussed behind the scenes.

And Blair also warned his children they may have to leave Downing Street - because his career as PM could be over.

At that time, when the government was shaken to its core by the scale of our movement, further action could have stopped Britain's support for the war.

The Socialist Party campaigned for workers' organisations to follow the magnificent example of the school student strikes, and for the next step to be a 24-hour work stoppage against the war.

Without doubt, if the trade union leaders had called for such a stoppage, it would have had mass support from working people. If it had taken place Britain would have stopped for the day and Blair could have been forced to resign.

It is true that even this could not have necessarily stopped the war. Once Bush had committed the US to attacking Iraq it would have been a devastating blow to the power and prestige of US imperialism to retreat.

It would have taken an almighty movement in the US itself to force them to accept such a blow.

Nonetheless, the anti-Iraq war movement has left a legacy of fear in the minds of Bush, Blair and company. We have to help make those fears a reality.

Iraq is being subject to old-style colonial occupation.

The people of Iraq have already made it abundantly clear that they will not accept this. Neither will many of the ordinary Western soldiers, who are living and dying in horrific conditions in order to defend the oil wells for BP, Shell and the rest of the sharks.

Yet Bush and his cohorts cannot bomb and leave, as they did in reality, in Afghanistan. The strategic and economic interests of US imperialism mean they are under huge pressure to establish a stable client regime.

Yet, this will be enormously difficult for them to achieve. The prospect is raised of a prolonged occupation, with growing opposition within Iraq and in the West.

The parallels with Vietnam, where the anti-war movement in the US played a key role in forcing the US to pull out, are clear. But there are important differences - not least that anti-war mood in the US and in other countries is growing at a far earlier stage than it did in Vietnam.

And, after the experience of Vietnam, workers and ordinary people in the US will be far less tolerant of their sons and daughters being returned in body bags.

Build the anti-war and anti-Blair movement - but what is the alternative?

September 27 should be the first step in building a mass movement against the occupation of Iraq. Come on the demonstration and build for it in your school, college or workplace.

But we also need to go beyond that. We need a political alternative to New Labour that is capable of replacing the warmongers and of leading mass action against imperialist war.

Even if Blair is replaced by Brown, New Labour will remain a party of big business, which spends its time protecting the profits of British Petroleum and their ilk, whilst destroying public services and attacking the living conditions of working-class people.

And the other mainstream political parties are no better. Even the Liberal Democrats, whose leadership claimed to be against the war before started, showed a very different face once it had begun.

Charles Kennedy argued that he had no choice but to support the war once it had started because of his loyalty to the British troops on the ground.

Yet there is now growing discontent amongst British troops about their living conditions and the constant threat to their safety because they are part of an unpopular occupying force.

Many would undoubtedly have preferred Charles Kennedy to show his 'loyalty', as we and the anti-war movement have done, by arguing that they should be bought home instead of supporting a brutal imperialist war.

We need a completely different kind of party: a new mass party that stands up for the interests of working-class people instead of the billionaires. The Socialist Party is fighting for such a party - a party that brings together the anti-war movement, trade unionists, anti-privatisation campaigners and the anti-capitalist movement.

Struggle for socialism

The struggle for a planet without war goes beyond the struggle against Bush's 'war on terror'. Conflict and instability are increasingly the norm in this capitalist profit system that is beset by crisis.

The big imperialist powers have always gone to war to defend the profits of their rich elites, as was summed up by a US Strategic Planner in 1948 when he said of the US:

"We have 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. In this situation, our real job in the coming period is to maintain this position of disparity.

To do so, we have to dispense with all sentimentality... we should cease thinking about human rights, the raising of living standards and democratisation."(US Strategic Planner in 1948)

To permanently end the threat of war and terror we have to fight for the end of capitalism and for the establishment of a democratic socialist world run in the interests of the billions instead of for the profits of the billionaires.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 6 September 2003:

Teach Blair A Lesson Build a new workers' party

Blair's head still spinning

Fight low pay, job cuts and privatisation in Royal Mail

Death and destruction in Iraq

Stop SATs: Unions must take action

How to beat top-up fees

Asylum seekers: Blunkett's harsh policies ignore reality

Daggers drawn in the BNP

Understanding Marxism - a guide to action

Will new IVF proposals end the postcode lottery?

London blackout: Chaos shows up failure to invest

TUC conference: Opportunities for the Left

Civil service union challenges New Labour's pension pans

Are the unions on a collision course with Blair and the bosses?

Royal Mail's spin doctor

Strike action on the increase

Israel/Palestine: Ceasefire collapses as Sharon targets Palestinian leaders

Italy - a 'hot autumn' awaits Berlusconi

Build a movement against the occupation of Iraq

Iraq: Can the occupation be stopped?


 

Home   |   The Socialist 6 September 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Occupation:

triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

triangleScotland: BiFab workers' occupation and march secures jobs and pay guarantee

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

triangleStudent occupation at Chelsea College of Arts

trianglePalestinian prisoners on mass hunger strike protest

War:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangleComprehensive account of bloody conflict

triangleKurdish referendum declared illegal

US:

triangleThem & Us

triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

triangleTrump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

Iraq:

triangle'From Militant to the Socialist Party' - new book now available

triangleHow Blairism sank its claws into the Labour Party

Anti-war:

triangleTories Out demo - Photos

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

13/12/17

Labour

Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

13/12/17

Brexit

Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

13/12/17

Housing

Two in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

13/12/17

NHS

Save our NHS

13/12/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

13/12/17

Fees

Uni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

13/12/17

Retail

Retail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

8/12/17

Government

Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

6/12/17

Labour

Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

6/12/17

NHS

Branson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers

6/12/17

Immigration

Royal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system

6/12/17

Banks

RBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks

6/12/17

Homelessness

Rough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

6/12/17

Poverty

End Tory war on poor

6/12/17

Rail

Nationalise rail now

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2