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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 February 2008

War and occupation in Iraq

Five years of death and destruction

International Socialist Resistance demonstrate against war

International Socialist Resistance demonstrate against war

NEXT MONTH will see the fifth anniversary of the US-led war against Iraq that started years of bloody, destructive imperialist occupation. A hellish half decade has seen unending death and destruction for the people of Iraq.

Niall Mulholland, East London Socialist Party

Up to a million have died, so far, as a result of the invasion. Thousands are held illegally in prisons. The country's infrastructure is destroyed. The health service and education sectors are in tatters. Unemployment is rampant. Over two million Iraqis were forced to flee the country.

The country is divided along sectarian, ethnic and national lines. The rich resources of Iraq have been plundered: oil wealth is being handed over to the domination of Western multinationals and the economy is being privatised. The Iraqi 'government' is a US-dominated puppet.

Despite overwhelming opposition to the occupation in Britain and the US, Gordon Brown continues Blair's wars and all the main US presidential candidates call for more years of bloody occupation.

In opposition to these horrors, a 'global protest' will take place on 15 March, including a mass demonstration in London, organised by the Stop the War Coalition, CND and the British Muslim Initiative (BMI). The event will also highlight the occupation of Afghanistan, the threat to bomb Iran and the ongoing agony of the people of Gaza.

Demonstration against Trident Feb 24 2007, photo Pedro

Demonstration against Trident Feb 24 2007, photo Pedro

Following the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the mighty US military appeared invincible. But now a number of imperialist powers are bogged down in both countries, in conflicts that can go on for decades. So bad is life for impoverished Afghanis under Western occupation that the armed Taliban is growing in support again.

The enormous burden on Western powers, fighting extremely unpopular wars, is reflected in sharp clashes between Nato member states.

The US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, sent an "unusually stern" request to Germany to send combat troops to volatile southern Afghanistan. Angela Merkel replied that the German troops' mandate was "not up for discussion". On top of this, Canada threatens to bring home its 2,500 troops from Afghanistan, unless other Nato allies send reinforcements.

Low troop morale

Thousands of soldiers have died in the conflicts and troop morale is rock bottom. This was brought home graphically at a Stop the War Coalition (STWC) public meeting in Newham, on 7 February. Ben Griffen, a former SAS soldier who served in Iraq, described how British soldiers in barracks in Afghanistan and Iraq openly discussed why they did not believe in the wars any more.

Lindsay German (Convenor of STWC) and Harry Cohen, the anti-war Labour MP, also addressed the East London meeting. From the floor, local Socialist Party members called for open discussion and debate on the way forward to develop the anti-war movement.

Lois Austin pointed out that over the last five years, magnificent anti-war protests, in Britain and internationally, rocked the pro-war governments. The mass anti-war movement was also an excellent opportunity to launch a viable political alternative to New Labour, the Liberals and the Tories, with mass support across all working-class communities.

Unfortunately, such an initiative was not taken. But anti-war youth and millions of working class people still want an alternative to New Labour. Lois appealed for Harry Cohen, and other Labour MPs who say they do not agree with Brown's foreign or domestic policies, to draw the necessary conclusions and leave New Labour.

Along with others on the left, including the Socialist Party, and union activists and radical youth, they can play a role helping to create a new mass party for working people - a powerful ally for the anti-war movement.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 12 February 2008:

Stop NHS privatisation now!


Local Government workers

Birmingham council workers' biggest strike for decades

'Single status' in the West Midlands

Bosses prepare to force through more cuts

Newham workers angry at councillors


Socialist Students

Uni Fees must be fought!

Feature: The great university swindle


War and terrorism

War and occupation in Iraq


Socialist Party news and analysis

Defend abortion rights

Millionaire welcomes economic recession!

Northern Rock

Liverpool's tale of two cities

Cardiff marches to save schools

100 people pack London world economy meeting


Transport

Cuts and backlogs cause delays

Tangled web at Metronet


International socialist news and analysis

Polish miners gain strike victory due to iron determination

Chad conflict - part of a wider power struggle


Interview

Prison officers: Fighting for trade union rights

Building the Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Comment

Comment: Opportunist blunder further splits Church of England


Workplace news and analysis

Land Registry staff vote for action

London Underground: Strike ballot in safety row

Campaign Against Climate Change trade union conference

Organise and fight back!

Shelter staff ballot for action


 

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Related links:

War:

triangleA new world order - global reconstruction after World War Two

triangleThe Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it "fanned the flames of revolt"

triangleThe Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2

triangleNo return to the 1930s: World War Two and 'a land fit for heroes'

triangleHow the catastrophe of WW1 sparked revolution

Iraq:

triangleIraq - a brutal legacy of imperialist intervention

triangleSuleimani's assassination - Middle East thrown into turmoil

triangleMass protests rock the globe

Occupation:

triangleNottingham uni occupation ends

triangleStudent occupation in support of striking workers

triangleHarland and Wolff occupation

Anti-war:

triangleHistory: Alice Wheeldon - an anti-war socialist persecuted by the state

US:

triangleTrump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

Afghanistan:

triangleAssange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

Labour:

triangleCrisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

Troops:

triangleNorthern Ireland, August '69: 'Battle of the Bogside' and British troops on the streets

Socialist Party:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Why are coronavirus deaths higher in working-class areas?

Britain:

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Crisis, capitalism and class division - a discussion on perspectives for Britain

Nato:

triangleSyria: Is an end to the war in sight?

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