|Volume 41 Number 5, February 26, 2011||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index :
Weekly On Line Newspaper of the
Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
170, Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 2LA.
Phone: 020 7627 0599:
Workers'Weekly Internet Edition Freely available online
Workers' Weekly E-mail Edition Subscribe by e-mail daily: Free / Donate
WW Internet RSS Feed
The Line of March Monthly Publication of RCPB(ML)Subscribe
Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
Egypt, Cairo, Victory Day, February 18, 2011
In the wake of the people’s uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East region, the Anglo-Zionist axis, headed by US imperialism, is pushing hard for NATO intervention in Libya. They have focused their attention on this particular “dictator”, with whom they have tried to come to an accommodation in recent years in order to complete their hegemonic role in the region for their imperialist interests.
The people’s uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and elsewhere have been dealing heavy blows to these interests, and the Anglo-Zionists have been manoeuvring, interfering and trying to call the shots in order to block, divert or nullify these uprisings. They have portrayed the movements as being “pro-democracy” as against “dictatorship” in order to cover over their own role, and to make out that the people’s striving is for “multi-party” or “representative” democracy and its values as defined by the Helsinki accords and the Paris Charter. The likes of Cameron and Obama have not even acknowledged that Libya has had its own system of direct democracy. The issue is and remains that the people must decide, it is they who must be empowered to shape their own social systems. This is the democracy which is the deep aspiration of these people’s uprisings, and it is this kind of empowerment of which imperialism is the entrenched enemy. In actual fact, while the likes of Cameron and Hague, for example, have been declaring in their statements that the people must decide, they have blatantly been seen to be in contempt of these sentiments in their tours of the countries where the people have been rising against the old guard whom the imperialists have been backing.
Workers of the Suez Canal Company in the city of Ismailia joining the nation-wide actions to oppose the Mubarak regime and putting forward their demands for better working conditions and wages, and striking state employees at the National Bank of Egypt in Cairo
The instigation of civil war and the danger of NATO intervention in Libya must be seen and opposed in this context. The Anglo-US imperialists want their own kind of regime changes, carried out by armed might and intervention, and are trying to block the regime changes which the people are trying to secure with the minimum of force and with the might of their numbers and solidarity. They have deliberately tried to spread lies and rumours, such as when William Hague declared that Muammar Gaddafi was headed for Venezuela. To refute this, Gaddafi appeared on television in front of the bombed residence kept as a reminder of the war planes sent from US bases in Britain by Ronald Reagan in 1986 to assassinate him, and which killed his adopted daughter.
The British government it is which must be held accountable for its crimes against the peoples of North Africa and the Middle East, which go back particularly to the time of the First World War conducted by the big powers to re-divide the world, and subsequently, and which have been at the root of all the problems that the peoples of these regions have been facing. It is the responsibility now of the anti-war and the workers’ movements in Britain to say no to all the British government’s attempts as part of the aggressive US-led NATO military alliance and on their own behalf to occupy Libya and to retain their imperialist interests in the region. We call on the working class and people to do all in their power to oppose and block these attempts.
Block the warmongers!
Let the people decide!
Hands off the Middle East and North Africa!
Stop the War Coalition statement on Middle East revolutions, February 25, 2011
There must be no US or British intervention in Libya or anywhere else in the Middle East under any pretext whatsoever. Such interference over the last century is the root of the region’s troubles, and its continuation will solve none of the difficulties there.
The future of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen and all the other states facing popular uprisings must be determined by the people of those countries alone.
The uprisings sweeping the Middle East deserve the support of all progressive people. They are directed against autocracies which have denied their people basic rights and the possibility of a decent life.
These autocracies have also, for the most part, depended on the self-interested support of the big powers, the USA and Britain first of all. Western governments have prioritised cheap oil, arms sales and support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians above the rights of the Arab peoples.
The response of the British government to the events of the last month exemplifies this hypocrisy. David Cameron has prioritised arms sales to the region. And the clamour to intervene in Libya has more to do with control of that country’s oil resources than with support for Libya’s people.
The Conservative-Liberal Coalition has followed Tony Blair’s lead in seeing the Middle East entirely through the prism of the interests of BP and British Aerospace. Any British intervention in the region would be directed to furthering those interests, not the freedom or democracy which can only present a challenge to western domination of the region.
Stop the War Coalition is clear that there must be no US or British intervention in Libya or anywhere else in the Middle East under any pretext whatsoever. Such interference over the last century is the root of the region’s troubles, and its continuation will solve none of the difficulties there.
The future of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen and all the other states facing popular uprisings must be determined by the people of those countries alone. Solidarity with those fighting for their democratic and national freedom is our obligation.
We can best discharge it by demanding that the government at long last takes its hands off the Middle East and its people, leaving them to settle accounts with their own rulers.
The British government continues to act in the interests of the monopolies and against the interests of the people of North Africa and the Middle East. Prime Minister David Cameron notably visited Egypt last week with a retinue of arms dealers.
On Tuesday, Cameron delivered a major speech on Britain’s relationship with the Middle East to the National Assembly in Kuwait. The Prime Minister attempted to set out the case for a new British foreign policy and political and economic reforms in the wake of the uprisings that are sweeping through the region. However, media commentators have already pointed out that accompanying Cameron on this trip, which has also included talks with the military regime in Egypt and the government of Qatar, are senior representatives of the eight largest British arms manufacturers, including BAE Systems, QinetiQ and Rolls Royce. It is also reported that this week the Ministry of Defence is leading a delegation of over one hundred British arms manufacturers, the largest ever, to the International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, which is aimed at governments in the Middle East and North Africa. Rather than the government making any radical departure from previous policy, the evidence suggests on the contrary that it is business as usual but in the changing conditions that now exist in the region.
Despite the Prime Minister’s hypocritical words about the British government’s not wishing to dictate what kind of political system should exist in any country, it is clear that the current circumstances are viewed as “a precious moment of opportunity”, to fashion anew the Middle East and North Africa, based on the “universal values” of Anglo-American imperialism. In this context, the government is trying to position itself as the best friend of the people of the region, the greatest defender of “democracy”, the supporter of political and economic reforms. It was in this sense that Cameron attempted to distance himself from previous governments, which he argued had supported “highly controlling regimes” in the interests of stability and self-interest. Now, he argued, “our interests lie in upholding our values,” and so “freedom and the rule of law are what best guarantee human progress and economic success”. The British government now finds that political and economic reforms are the best guarantee of the preservation of the economic and geo-political interests of the big monopolies and the means to maintain the disempowerment of the people of this region.
David Cameron’s vision for North Africa and the Middle East also includes continuing to thrust the so-called two-state solution on the long-suffering Palestinian people and denying them their right to self-determination. It also means continuing to attempt to establish an alliance against Iran. Most of all he championed the allegedly universal values of neo-liberal globalisation. These he claimed were also the values of all those who are actually struggling for empowerment and more people-centred economies in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere. In fact, it is as a result of neo-liberal globalisation and its political requirements that uprisings are occurring throughout the region.
But the Prime Minister’s hypocrisy knew no bounds. His pious words that “violence is not the answer to people’s legitimate aspirations. Using force cannot resolve grievances, only multiply and deepen them,” were clearly only meant to apply in certain circumstances. It was clearly not meant to apply to the invasion and continuing occupation of Afghanistan, nor to the sales of weapons of mass destruction by the accompanying arms manufacturers, nor to the states violence against British students demanding education as a right.
The main concern of the government is to continue to act in the interests of the big monopolies and to demand that the regimes of North Africa and the Middle East act in those interests too. The new emphasis is on maintaining the status quo by reform, and Cameron promised financial and other assistance both from Britain and from the EU in an attempt to nullify the demands for genuine political and economic changes which are mounting throughout the region. The Prime Minister saw no contradiction between his political mission with its demands for reform rather than repression and his economic mission as the agent of the major arms manufacturers. His dual role and visit, so closely following that made by the Foreign Secretary, clearly highlights the nature of the British government’s aims and continual interference in the region.
Student demonstrations in December, 2010
Of central importance to the modern conception of a state is that it be organised to meet the needs of the people. In contradiction, the government, with its sweeping programme of cuts and changes to the existing social arrangements, is intensifying the anti-social offensive and in particular is turning its back on any notion that society has a responsibility to the next generation.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the range of the cuts and changes adds up to an assault on the condition of young people. The tripling of university fees, the Education Bill and other moves in the area of education; the threatened closures of youth centres, leisure centres and libraries; the cutting and reorganisation of benefits – all of these aspects of the government’s agenda are disproportionately affecting the youth. Youth unemployment is at a record high (20.5 per cent of 16 to 24-year olds), while untold numbers of young people are carers for parents and other older family members. The youth are bearing much of the brunt of the crisis and the cuts.
Society has a responsibility to the next generation and should be organised to raise and nurture the next generation. This is fundamental to society securing its own future, fundamental to guaranteeing the rights that the youth have by virtue of the fact that they are the future of society. The youth should be developed and empowered to be in a position to take control of their future, the future of society, and yet they are being denied this right and further marginalised. When they come out in defence of their rights, they are attacked on horseback while being branded as violent.
Young people are being attacked through cuts, further marginalised, and at the same time, increasingly criminalised. The government is replacing Anti-Social Behaviour Orders with new Criminal Behaviour Orders and Crime Prevention Injunction. As part of the Education Bill, head teachers will be allowed to stop and search students for and delete data from mobile phones without consent. Youth are being attacked, marginalised and criminalised: this is the three-pronged offensive that the youth are faced with.
Furthermore, claims are being published that social indicators such as health, financial security and even life expectancy are pointing at a future in which the youth of today are faced with the prospect of being the first generation in over a century with a worse outlook on these fronts than their parents had. In other words, whether or not these claims are borne out, society is offering no future at all for the youth.
By abandoning a vision for a bright future, society is offering no future for itself. So the issue at heart is the issue of the future of society. What way is society going? This is very much the question that is on the mind of the next generation, because the next generation isthe future. For society to flourish, the youth need to develop and flourish.
In her speech at the recent anti-cuts demonstration in Manchester, general secretary of the University and College Union, Sally Hunt, said: “This is a government at war with our young people and therefore at war with our future. It is betraying an entire generation.” This is a fair reflection of the situation confronting the youth.
The youth and student movement must continue to develop the role of discussion and elaboration based on its own experience and in the context of setting its own agenda. It is this discussion in the course of action that will enable the youth to keep the initiative and to uphold the principle that society has a responsibility to the next generation.
RCPB(ML) Home Page
Workers' Weekly Online Archive