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Anti-War Candidate Forum:
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Anti-War Candidate Forum:
For An Anti-War Government!
Contribution of Roger Nettleship to the Anti-War Candidate Forum
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Anti-War Candidate Forum:
South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition on Tuesday, March 2, hosted an Anti-War Candidate Forum with Roger Nettleship, prospective candidate For an Anti-War Government, in South Shields. The discussion was held within the context that the fight for an anti-war government has started, and that the electorate must make preparations to block the plans to elect another pro-war government.
As well as Roger Nettleship, Shirley Ford, the South Shields Green Party candidate, attended. The Chair introduced the discussion by saying the forum was not a hustings, but it was about the candidates against the war uniting. Roger Nettleships full contribution is posted below. He stressed the importance of the intervention and development of an anti-war bloc in the political life of the country in the fight for an anti-war government. He spoke about the anti-war programme which has been developed in the region, and about the racism of the British state and how that operated.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband, parachuted into South Shields some time ago to fast-track him to government office, is one of the main players of the pro-war party system. This underlines the importance of electing worker politicians, and other alternative candidates in alliance with small parties, as the emergence of the new in opposition to the big party system.
Shirley Ford spoke more in answer to questions and said that it was important that the forces worked together. She said that it could be said that having two candidates might split the progressive vote, but in her view the crucial issue was that of working together to broaden the opposition, since the small parties and other candidates are not at the point of winning the election in this appalling undemocratic situation. She explained some of the Green Party's policies against the war, on jobs, minimum and maximum wages, etc., and their tactics in the national and local elections.
Both contributions were received very warmly and actively commented on by those present.
In the general discussion, it was made clear that the South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition would support both candidates, as well as the Green Party candidate in Jarrow and any other genuine anti-war candidates that emerged, and that the campaigns of Roger Nettleship and Shirley Ford could complement each other in a practical way. A number of suggestions were discussed on how this might happen. The next step would be to work out how this could proceed with each discussing this with their campaign committees.
Contribution of Roger Nettleship to the Anti-War Candidate Forum
This forum is the third in a series of Stop the War Coalition Forums entitled "Block the plans for another pro-war government" started in April 2009. These discussions have so informed the work that today it is very inspiring to be one of those candidates in South Shields who has been supported by their peers in the anti-war movement to take on the cartel of pro-war parties alongside and in unity with other genuine anti-war candidates. Whatever the outcome, I think this is very important for the intervention and development of an anti-war bloc in the political life of the country in the fight for an anti-war government. But it is very significant in South Shields where we have David Miliband who is the Foreign Secretary and one of the main players of the pro-war party system. I think too our unity as genuine anti-war candidates again will benefit the working class and people in their fight for a pro-social government and an economy that serves their needs. It will uphold the rights of all both nationally and locally and put human beings and the interests of human peoples at the centre of all change and development.
The stop-the-war movement in Britain has well publicised and documented the crimes of the big powers, particularly Britain, the US and Israel, in war crimes against the people of the Middle East and Central Asia in the invasions, occupations of their countries and the huge loss of life, the massacres such as at Fallujah, and the destruction of the infrastructure, and historic cities and buildings. It is only the stop-the-war movement that has collated these facts that indict these pro-war governments as war criminals for all to see.
From the mass exclamation of "Not in Our Name!" in 2001 which was the people's response to 9/11 when the US and Britain first attacked and occupied Afghanistan to the exclamation of all that another world is possible with huge movements of the youth and all people against the wars in Iraq, the attack by Israel on Lebanon and the Palestinian people in Gaza, the people have made their voices heard.
Today, the vision that inspires us is that another world is possible and necessary and it is up to us to create it. It is the spirit of the people taking up the problems for political solution in their countries against the pro-war governments that dominate their political systems. In other words, the fight is on for an anti-war government.
In 2001 when I stood against the big party system, David Miliband was brought in from Tony Blairs New Labour think-tank. My election leaflet declared that the need of the time is for workers to come forward and directly intervene in politics and represent their own interests and the interests of society as a whole. In voting for a programme of the workers which was independent of the programme of David Miliband, of New Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrat candidates, the workers will be voting for their own interests. This is what society needs to be able to progress.
As we know, David Miliband was elected here and following this election Bush and Blair gave rise to the world of 9//11 where in response to this terrorist attack the actions of the big powers, particularly the US and Britain, threw the world into deepest reaction by the launching of the "war on terror".
David Miliband was promoted as "Prime Minister material" and he soon was established as one of the main leaders of the pro-war-on-terror New Labour government and also in the anti-social domestic agenda with the introduction of big business competition into our public services of education, health and local government to the detriment of those services. South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition (STSWC) demanded that David Miliband account for his lies to the people of South Shields and to the stop-the-war movement that he would not support the illegal invasion of Iraq. But he then voted and spoke in support of this aggression. STSWCs response was to intervene ourselves, and this gave rise to our own anti-war and pro-social candidate in Nader Naderi during the 2005 general elections in this town. Nader gave a very good account of himself and our movement in opposing David Miliband as the representative of the big party system and their "war on terror" agenda, as well as their attacks on civil liberties and the rights and interests of the people of South Shields and of Britain as a whole. I also stood as a worker politician alongside him in Jarrow and Hebburn as a Safeguard the Future of the NHS candidate as part of the same stand for the alternative.
Certainly, although Nader is unable to take this agenda forward at the moment, he has left us with his contribution from that time, which I am honoured to take up here and will strive to uphold in opposing the war and opposing monopoly dictate and fighting for a better world as he did.
At the same time, nobody in the movement here expects this campaign to be exactly the same as Naders. Our call is for the working class and people to take up their own anti-war, pro-social programme and constitute themselves through their own worker politicians, in alliance with small parties, as the opposition in Parliament to the cartel system of big parties. It is a call for an anti-war government.
Our programme is for the people of our countries and communities of Scotland, Wales and England to make the decisions on all the important things that affect their lives. Where democracy is taken forward so it is the people who select the candidates and not the big parties. Where the people have control over foreign policy to withdraw Britain from the aggressive military alliances with the US, NATO, Israel and others. Where our foreign policy is an extension of our domestic policy to resolve conflicts through peaceful means giving prominence to finding political solutions and according to international law based on resolving conflicts thought peaceful means. And just as with most countries in the world, this would mean that we would have no troops on foreign soil. We would start by disempowering the generals and war industry lobby and bring the troops home from foreign soil everywhere.
For example, as we speak, Brown, Miliband and the government are in danger of further adding to their criminal wars with their provocation over the Malvinas seized by Britain twice in 1833 and in 1982 from Argentina. It is illegal under UN norms for one side to drill for oil in disputed waters. These waters in fact are 60km north of the Malvinas. This also follows Britains military exercises in December last year prior to the drilling. The dispute regarding the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands should have been resolved by Britain long ago. Instead, since 1982 Britain has been preparing for a conflict, and has militarised the Islands. It uses the self-determination of the Islanders in a fraudulent way, all the more fraudulent in that it does not respect this for the people Iraq and Afghanistan. The interests of the Islanders could be taken care of within the context of Argentinean sovereignty through negotiation. Instead, preparation for another war is the solution of the pro-war government, and the Islanders are used as pawns in Britains interests in Antarctica.
Our stand against war is to give a future to our youth. It is against recruitment of our youth for aggressive foreign wars. Instead the youth want to build a bright future for themselves right here in Britain.
An anti-war government would not militarise the economy, not commission Trident, or any other nuclear weapons and genuinely would work for the scrapping of all nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in Britain and throughout the world. Defence would mean just that: defence and not a ministry for war disguised as a Ministry of Defence.
We take a stand against the racism of the British state and its media, its inhuman treatment of migrants under the big lie that immigration and immigrants are the problem.
In this context the mass media does not talk about the fact that the half a million people that emigrated from Britain last year could be a "problem" for other countries, or the millions that have emigrated from Britain over the years that would be very inconvenient to their whole propaganda that Britain is a soft touch for immigrants again a big lie. Nobody talks about Britains war on Iraq meaning that there were 2-4 million refugees who fled mostly to Syria whilst this country has taken very few when Britain is culpable in causing these people to become refugees. There is only contempt for Syria from David Milibands Foreign Office, and over the years there have been threats to attack that country as well, alongside the threats issued against many other countries.
Nobody talks about the racism of the British state, its cartel big party system that presents itself as centre ground but supports this immigration racism. Nobody condemns the political system that allows openly racist parties to be registered. Nobody talks about the fact that British colonialism created racism in the modern world with the modern slavery of the 17th and 18th and 19th centuries, that this inhuman and criminal legacy of racism created by the British state for its own colonial profits, and on which their wealth was created, has to be completely eradicated and has no place in the modern world.
We take a stand against the racism of the British state and its party system that promotes racism and racist parties as tools of all elected dictatorships to deflect the fact that they serve the rich by trying to divide the peoples on racist grounds.
We take a stand in defence of the rights of all the people of all nationalities, cultures and religions to have the same rights of all in the polity and retain the right to their national, cultural, language, religious and other traditions which the state should facilitate and protect.
Far from allowing the pro-war parties to declare human beings illegal and to give them less rights than cats and dogs, we declare that no-one is illegal and that the brutal targeting of Muslims in the "war on terror" must be ended immediately, that this immigration racism, this proxy racism we have called it, must be ended immediately and the rights of all upheld simply because they are human beings.
The British state has over recent months been exposed as being complicit in torture. If it has not been exposed as being fully involved in torture in Iraq and Afghanistan then this is only a matter of time. The Foreign Office diplomat and Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has said that for somebody as himself to expose Britains complicit actions in accepting information and publishing that as fact when they know it to be extracted by torture cannot be considered brave. He says, how would any person accept torture in the modern world without utterly condemning it whoever they are. This is how criminal and reactionary those that have risen to positions of power in the British state are. And the people of South Shields are being asked to vote for a Foreign Secretary who has been in charge of these medieval values.
It is an important part of our pro-social programme that upholds the dignity of labour and recognises that it is the working class and people who are the producers of all wealth and services in society and it is they that should be empowered to decide the direction of the economy and society along with those that are deprived of a proper livelihood.
Our programme is to end monopoly right, the right of big business to dictate over society, and uphold public right over monopoly right. In this town, because of the destruction of the manufacturing base over decades by the Conservatives and New Labour, the local authority and the health services are left as the largest employers in the town.
Our fight is to re-establish with public investment an all-round self-reliant economy in the region and over the country that ends the reliance on inward and outward investment of the big multinationals and ends their dictate over the economy and over the political system.
It is the big parties that directly represent the interests of finance and big business which are wrecking the national and local economy and wrecking our public services. These parties use "nationalisation" as a weapon in the hands of big business that steals the added value of present and future generations of the people to pay the massive losses of banks and other companies so as to continue to fund the massive profits and lucrative life-styles of financiers and bankers. We have to take a stand to restrict this monopoly right and put public right, the claims of the people, first as an initial step to building a social economy.
It is the people of South Tyneside as elsewhere who need to be involved in a discussion on how to bring this about and how to revitalise, for example, the massive reserves of coal as both an important human resource for production of other products and as a resource for energy through carbon capture as well as the revitalisation of the major engineering and shipbuilding skills for projects that can be used to build a modern humanised and developed economy and human environment fit for the people here to live and work in.
There are of course different views on this, but what I am suggesting is that the people of the area should be involved here, as with the working class and people all over the country, in deciding the direction of the economy for the new society, to emerge with its anti-war pro-social government.
With our anti-war and pro-social agenda, we can unite together against the cartel of the big parties and show the people of the area that there is an alternative.
Just to talk about some questions about my candidacy: I have lived in the borough of South Tyneside for 30 years, being active in the working-class movement throughout. In the 1980s, I helped form a union to fight for the rights of the unemployed. I became a hospital porter at Palmer Community Hospital in Jarrow when it opened in 1986, and I am also a union officer in the South Tyneside district. I have been involved with the anti-war movement since the 1980s and I was one of the founders of the South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition and am presently the convenor of the Tyneside Stop the War Coalition. I have taken up with others the campaign to safeguard the future of the NHS under the banner that these are our hospitals, our workplaces and our NHS, over many years. In the 2001 and 2005 elections, I also stood as a health worker politician.
I am also a member of RCPB(ML), a modern communist party, and because the electoral law at present is geared to authorising only parties to select candidates and describe on the ballot paper what they wish to stand for my party is authorising me to stand as a candidate on behalf of my peers with the name we wish to use, "for an anti-war government", which is a call of the national stop-the-war movement. If it helps to understand this better, one could say that the electoral stand of our Party is for the collectives of the working class and people, not political parties, to select candidates. The aim is that there should be no election without selection, whereby the whole of the polity is involved in selecting the best candidates to represent them.
At the present time, over a long process, those active in the stop-the-war movement in South Tyneside took the decision to stand a candidate against Miliband that represented its anti-war stand. At the same time, because of electoral law STSWC cannot officially select a candidate unless we constitute STSWC as a political party, which is not desirable because we are a coalition of all political views. So it was not our wish either to support my candidacy in exclusion to any other genuine anti-war candidate that may stand in the borough.
Finally, I would like to say that this general election is important for all the reasons that have been discussed here tonight. The fight for an anti-war government has started. We call on you all to co-operate together and make preparations to block the plans to elect another pro-war government. We can make a difference if we do all we can to block such a thing in South Tyneside.
Bring the Troops Home!
Fight for an Anti-War Government!
A British commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan insists that the strike
that killed a dozen civilians last weekend, in fact, hit its intended target.
Major General Nick Carter said on Tuesday that the launched rockets did not veer off course, as previously claimed, but had struck the intended mark. "We know now that the missile arrived at the target it was supposed to arrive at. It wasn't a rogue missile. There was no technical fault in it," Reuters quoted Carter as saying.
The commander reiterated that such missiles were now being redeployed after their use was temporarily suspended to probe the civilian fatalities.
The deaths were announced on Sunday. On the same day, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) claimed that two rockets had landed three-hundred metres off target.
The British military has rejected the ISAF report, saying the rockets accurately targeted Taliban militants that often operate from civilian areas. About 15,000 US-led forces have launched an offensive intended to impose Afghan government rule in one of the major Taliban strongholds in Helmand.
The incident has reportedly harmed efforts to win the hearts and minds of the local population.
(source: Press TV, 2010-02-17)
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