Year 2000 No. 136, August 17, 2000

Iraq Bombing: Is There No End to the Criminality of the British and US Attacks?

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Iraq Bombing: Is There No End to the Criminality of the British and US Attacks?

British Government Champions EU Enlargement

Readers' Forum
No. 4: What Stand to Take on the European Union (ctd.)

News In Brief
Big Leap in Foreign Firms in Britain

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Iraq Bombing: Is There No End to the Criminality of the British and US Attacks?

On Tuesday, British and US planes bombed targets in northern Iraq in their third raid in five days.

Last Saturday, the British and US planes had also begun two nights of raids on the southern town of Samawa, in which two civilians were killed and 22 wounded. The planes also struck at the main food ration distribution centre used to store food allowed under the UN oil-for-food deal.

A report by Iraqi radio on Tuesday said that a delegation from the Iraq National Assembly led by the Speaker inspected the area that came under the brutal British-US bombing, carried out from bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

In addition, the Health Minister of Iraq on Monday accused the British and US representatives at the United Nations Sanctions Committee of putting on hold medical contracts worth over $370 million. The Minister said that the British and US delegates were behind the non-fulfilment of contracts "to induce the Iraqi people as much losses as possible". Since the UN humanitarian programme was launched in late 1996, Britain and the US have blocked over $3 billion worth of contracts needed by Iraq to buy daily necessities, oil equipment and spare parts, according to UN statistics released in April.

On Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry added its voice to all those who are condemning the British and US air strikes. It said that the attacks would do nothing but increase tensions in the region. It stated: "The Russian Foreign Ministry considers the above-mentioned raids as a violation of international law and urges an immediate end to such action." It continued: "The destruction of food supply outlets does most harm to common Iraqis who are experiencing colossal suffering from the sanctions."

Besides the crimes against humanity represented by the bombing of Iraq by the British government and US imperialism, and the genocidal UN sanctions maintained by the Anglo-American reactionary partnership, it is a thorough-going exposure of the system of democracy in Britain and the US, which shows total disregard of democratic world and domestic opinion. Will there be no end to this criminality?

Article Index

British Government Champions EU Enlargement

In recent weeks the British government has continued with its policy of championing the enlargement of the EU. On July 25, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook spoke in Budapest regarding Hungary's accession to the EU, and the following day visited the Czech Republic. Both countries are in the so-called first group of six candidates for EU membership and five of these countries are in central Europe. These countries began negotiating in 1998, and at the present time it is envisaged that they will join the EU by 2003. Each country has to fulfil the "Copenhagen Criteria" agreed by the Copenhagen European Council meeting in 1993. This set out the standards that states must reach to apply for membership in terms of the neo-liberal values of the big capitalist powers. On the basis of the "progress" made in meeting such criteria the EU decides on "pre-accession aid" to the applicants. Up to 58 billion euro has been set aside for such "aid" most of it targeted at central and east European countries.

The British government has been at the forefront of attempts to enlarge the EU and the present process of negotiation actually began during Britain's presidency of the EU. In Budapest, Robin Cook promised that Britain would continue to be a "champion of enlargement" which he presented in terms of the need to "right the wrongs of the past century" and to complete the "Reunion of Europe". According to the Foreign Secretary, the enlargement of the EU will lead to all kinds of blessings - secure peace and remove international tensions, "end the division of our continent by standards of prosperity" and create the world's largest single market, twice the size of the United States. During his visits to Hungary and the Czech Republic, the Foreign Secretary did everything he could to spur on these countries to make even greater efforts to become members of the EU and established "action plans" to facilitate their entry. The British government's "action plans" with Hungary and the Czech Republic include increasing trade and investment and a host of other measures that allow interference in many aspects of the political, economic and social life of these countries under the guise of championing their interests.

The fact is that the enlargement of the EU, the Europe of the monopolies, can only be seen in the context of the geo-political rivalry between all the big powers in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bi-polar division of the world. The enlargement is only to the advantage of the monopolies of Britain and the biggest powers in Europe, which view eastward expansion as a vital part of their plans for global hegemony and as a necessary pre-condition for expansion in Asia and elsewhere. It is clear that the big powers are already squabbling over which countries should dominate the enlarged EU, on the one hand, while they continue their contention with the US over who should dominate Europe as a whole. Such rivalry, rather than heralding an era of peace and prosperity as alleged by Robin Cook, has led to greater polarisation between rich and poor throughout Europe, and increasing rivalry between the big powers, bringing the prospect of war ever closer.

Readers' Forum

No. 4: What Stand to Take on the European Union

(WDIE reply to reader's query, continued from issues Nos. 130 and 133, August 9 and 14)

In the first two parts of the reply to the reader who was raising the issue as to what stand to take on the European Union, we gave our position in a nutshell, as well as very briefly underlining our analysis of the direction the EU is heading.

The reader states that it has always been my belief that a united Europe is the key to radical socialism becoming the main political force throughout the continent.

We would first of all like to stress that we stand firmly for the unity of the peoples of Europe, as we stand for the unity of the peoples of the whole world. The peoples everywhere have the aspiration for a new world free from the exploitation of persons by persons. Our Party, as a contingent of the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement in Britain, regards it as its proletarian internationalist duty to organise for socialist revolution in this country, and to support and build unity with all those forces engaged in the same struggle throughout the world.

At the same time, we hold that the basis of accomplishing the unity of everyone in the realisation of their deepest aspiration is the development and flourishing of each and every people and nation. This is an important conception that the 20th century has given rise to as the imperialist monopolies have sought to eliminate the right of nations to self-determination and negate the right of peoples to develop their cultures, languages, and so forth. The breaking down of national barriers by monopoly capitalism under the signboard of "globalisation", a "People's Europe", "interdependence", or any other such pretext, in fact stands as an obstruction to the development of the Internationale as the human race. This is because through such means the big powers have sought to impose their dictate, their own values, on the broad masses of the people on the world scale, whereas to uphold the right of a people to exercise its sovereignty is to take a stand against imperialist domination and contribute to the emancipation of the working class and all of humanity on a world scale.

It is not possible to achieve a "united Europe", a Europe of the people, socialism throughout the continent, through working for or through the Europe of the monopolies. Each working class must settle scores with its own bourgeoisie in a nation-building project, in unity with the working class of other countries. Only through such a path is such an entity as a Union of Socialist States of Europe a possibility.

The actual situation at this time at the beginning of the 21st century is that the reactionary bourgeoisie tries to suggest that the notion of national self-determination or national sovereignty is a thing of the past or is of limited application. The Europe of the monopolies, as well as Anglo-American imperialism, is now based on the values which are enshrined in the "Charter of Paris for a New Europe", signed towards the close of 1990. It represents 19th century liberal conceptions and values which the international financial oligarchy is trying to impose on the whole world. It takes the form of the demand that every country must have a free market economy, a multiparty system and "human rights" based on private property. It is a declaration that any country which does not follow the Paris Charter will become an international pariah. It is not a declaration which is or could have been made by sovereign peoples and nation states, and can only be imposed on them by the power of the monopolies. It is being presented as something new and modern, but it stands against what is new and modern. It is causing and deepening the profound crisis throughout the EU and wherever these big powers try to impose these same values. It has to be opposed by the peoples affirming their right to determine their own path of economic, political and social development.

(to be concluded)

Article Index

News In Brief

Big Leap in Foreign Firms in Britain

The number of foreign firms operating in Britain has jumped dramatically in the past two years.

A report published on Tuesday by Dun & Bradstreet, the business information company, showed that there were 28,777 foreign-owned companies in Britain this year, a leap of 23.5% from two years ago. It appears as confirmation that the relative strength of the pound against the euro has not been a deterrent to such inward investment.

The report details that there was a surge in European companies coming to Britain, despite its position outside the common currency. For example, the number of Dutch companies rose by nearly 23% over the past year, while the number of French firms has increased by nearly one third. Other members of the eurozone to increase their inflow of capital to Britain include Germany and the Irish Republic.

Together, companies from the Netherlands, France and Germany now own 10% more businesses in Britain than do US companies.

The report also showed that the number of overseas firms owned by British parent companies declined by 13% this year, having increased by 5% in each of the previous two years.

The figures confirm the continued selling-out of the national economy.

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