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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 September 2008

Conflict in Georgia - independent position needed

The letter below was sent by the Socialist Party to the Stop the War Coalition, following a statement on the Georgia conflict issued by some officers of the coalition.
Dear officers of the Stop the War Coalition,

We would like to raise a number of points with you about the statement on the crisis in Georgia that went out in the name of the Stop the War Coalition.

It is regrettable that a statement on such an important issue, which has serious consequences for world relations, was not discussed or viewed by the Steering Committee before it was sent out, but, it seems, was written by just a few members of the committee.

Surely this issue warranted the calling of an emergency Steering Committee meeting, so that we could discuss our response to the crisis. At the very least, the statement should have been circulated to Steering Committee members, via email, for comment and agreement.

We are concerned that the statement gives a very one-sided analysis. While it is true that "ultimately the cause of this war lies is the ambition of the USA to exercise global hegemony" and to develop in Georgia an important pro-western ally in that part of the world, the situation is much more complicated than that.

Without doubt, the hypocrisy of British and US imperialism knows no bounds, but the Stop the War statement does not mention Russia's ambitions in the region.

Russia is now an important capitalist power, and has regional imperialist interests that it pursues ruthlessly. Previously, the Russian regime waged brutal wars in Chechnya. The Russian regime acted against Georgia primarily to defend its own interests and not those of the working people of Ossetia, or Abkhazia, for that matter.

Not to mention Russian interests in the recent conflict, can give the impression that the Stop the War Coalition believes Russia has progressive motives for military intervention in Ossetia and Georgia, and that the Coalition is giving Russia its support.

We should take an independent position that defends the interests of ordinary people in the region, making it clear that we are opposed to the imperialist ambitions of the US and its stooge Sashkaavili regime in Georgia, and to Russian imperialism. Moreover we should support the legitimate national aspirations and right to self-determination of all the oppressed nationalities in the region.

The statement should have been discussed before it was circulated; otherwise it remains the opinion of a few people and not a statement representative of the views of the Steering Committee.

We hope that, in future, responses to a world crisis, such as the Russia/Georgia war, are thoroughly discussed beforehand.

We look forward to hearing your comments on these matters.

Yours in solidarity,
Lois Austin
For the Executive Committee of the Socialist Party

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In The Socialist 17 September 2008:


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Brown's feeble fuel package


Labour Party conference protest

Protest at war and occupation

Welcome to the real Manchester

Fighting city needs a fighting party

Panicky MPs turn on Labour


Privatisation and closure

No to post office closures

Protesters tackle Metro privatisation


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Middle East: End imperialist aggression!


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London bus strike: "Showing them our power"

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Ford workers meet to defend jobs

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Socialist Party review

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