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Volume 41 Number 3, February 12, 2011 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Cameron’s Speech at Munich Security Conference:

Promoting State Ideology in
the Name of National Security

Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index :

Promoting State Ideology in the Name of National Security

Heroic Uprising of the Egyptian People Demanding a New Regime

Egypt -In Solidarity In Defiance Demonstrate

Desperate Bid of the US to Avoid Regime Change in Egypt

Beware William Hague’s Tour of North Africa and the Middle East

Thousands protest in Manchester and London:
Students Are Determined to Keep the Initiative

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Cameron’s Speech at Munich Security Conference:

Promoting State Ideology in
the Name of National Security

Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a speech at the Munich Security Conference on February 5, 2011. In it he used the issue of defence of national security in order to launch an attack on “radicalisation” and “Islamic extremism”. His theme was that the origins of terrorist attacks lie in the existence of an ideology, Islamist extremism. He gave no examples of such “terrorist attacks”, apart from saying that their threat comes from “young men who follow a completely perverse, warped interpretation of Islam, and who are prepared to blow themselves up and kill their fellow citizens”. Thus no individual cases stand to be refuted.

But David Cameron’s argument itself takes to extremes the attack on communities, ideologies and values which have been part of the arsenal of the government in attacking rights, criminalising dissent and marginalising communities from political life in the “war on terror” of the past decade. Cameron does this in the name of defence of national security, and thus paves the way for further such attacks by increasing the repressive apparatus of the state. It further defines the threat in terms of ideologies and values which are “extreme”, and is a conscious promotion of defining the “nation” and “national identity” in terms of adherence to a state ideology.

Cameron’s argument is that there is a spectrum of Islam. At one end of this spectrum are those that back terrorism to promote their ultimate goal. Moving along the spectrum, you find people who are hostile towards “Western democracy and liberal values”. Cameron does not define the other extreme of the Islamic spectrum, because this argument is spurious. He wants to say that Muslims should back “Western democracy and liberal values”, but according to the spectrum theory this also should be “extremism”.

For Cameron concentrates his fire not on his own “ideological extremism” so defined, but on “Islamist extremism” that threatens the British “identity” based on Western liberal values, and has the gall to equate these values to the goal of the struggles of the people on the streets of Cairo. Cameron’s argument is that Britain has “allowed the weakening of our collective identity”, thus associating national identity with ideology, and “extremist ideology” with enemies of the state. What Cameron alleges has caused this weakening is “state multiculturalism”, i.e. different cultures live different lives, and these “different cultures” and “different lives” are identified with being “apart from the mainstream”. State multiculturalism, he says, has led to “segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values”. By sleight of hand he introduces our values, the mainstream, and these values are what is fine and must be upheld while the extremes are dangerous to national security.

Cameron then goes on to spuriously equate “objectionable views”, for example “racist views”, with an extreme, and declares that we should not forget the other extreme, which is objectionable views or practices from someone who “isn’t white”!! Where did this issue of being “white” come from! All decent people had thought that such out-and-out racist language of something being determined by the colour of skin had been eliminated from serious human discourse many decades ago. In Cameron’s speech then, segregated communities are equated with other objectionable practices, e.g. “forced marriage”, as though this is an “extreme” practice of some “segregated community”. The state is then said to be “tolerant” of this, and should not be, because it leads to “the sense that not enough is shared”. So this toleration of extreme ideology, which has in this argument become identified with objectionable practices and out-and-out racism, has led to a “search for something to belong to and something to believe in” which leads to extremist ideology, and thence to terrorism – this is the argument.

So the argument is that toleration of “separatism” encourages “Muslims to define themselves solely in terms of their religion”. Cameron claims that evidence shows that those convicted of terrorist offences are influenced first by “non-violent extremists” (with “radical beliefs”) so that it is necessary to “confront” extremist ideology, and hand in hand with this have a “clear sense of shared national identity that is open to everyone”.

So far the argument has been ostensibly how multiculturalism leads to terrorism. Having “established” that, Cameron now says that, whether “violent in their means or not”, “we must make it impossible for the extremists to succeed”. To do this, it is necessary to “ban preachers of hate” coming from abroad. This is the demonisation of Islam, and the floating of the concept of hate crime, which is being used to also demonise criticism of Israeli Zionism, as well as, in Tony Blair’s terms, revolutionary communism. But even this is not enough for David Cameron. Not only should hate crime be banned, but the government must not work with and public money should not be given to those that “do little to combat extremism”. This is likened to not working with “right-wing fascist party”. And even this is not enough. The government must stop “these groups” (who do not do enough – for example, who do not encourage integration or who promote separation) from reaching people in universities or prisons.

Having combated the “extremists” who are not white (the contrast is always to extremists such as “white supremacists”), Cameron declares that we must “build stronger societies and stronger identities at home”. He calls for less “passive tolerance” and more “active liberalism”. He has gone from the days of the “white man’s burden”, when tolerance was the mark of superiority of the colonialist over the heathen natives, to the call for suppression of those identities and cultures which do not accept the state values of neo-liberalism.

The final link in David Cameron’s argument, which had started from “confronting” “completely indiscriminate” “terrorism”, leading then to “defeating the ideas” of the extremists, is to “confront the issues of identity” by “standing for a much broader and generous vision of citizenship”. According to Cameron, this is an ideology which crosses all continents: “we are all in this together” and at stake is “our way of life”.

It is our security David Cameron is talking about. The working class and people cannot allow these attacks in their name. They presage further repression of any culture, community or collective or individual that are not “mainstream” according to Cameron’s definition because they allegedly threaten our “way of life” and national security. Under the guise of defending “universal human rights”, they further pave the way for more attacks on the rights of the people, and the targeting of immigrants and national minority communities as the cause of the problems in society. The government has set out to appear libertarian over the dropping of the name “control orders”, but the reality remains the same if not worse. One writer described Cameron as “speaking the words of white extremists but in posh”. Although in words, Cameron actually placed these “white extremists” as on the extreme right, in actual fact all his attacks were reserved for the other “extreme” in order to promote the one-nation ideology of the state. His focus on Islam is not simply to create a diversion from the neo-liberalism of the government, but to identify its shared values with the nation, to criminalise those that do not conform and to render them enemies, a danger to national and international security. It is to go down the fascist road of eliminating those who are “separate” and will not accept the ideological definition of identity.

It Must Not Pass!

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Heroic Uprising of the Egyptian People
Demanding a New Regime

Tahir Square
Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, February 11, 2011: Egyptians rally to celebrate the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and reiterate that the full extent of their demands for regime change be met. (Al Manar)

In response to Friday’s announcement that Mubarak had stepped down and handed over the reins of power to the military, the Egyptian people expressed their determination to push forward for the realisation of their aims. Organisers had called for 20 million people to come out on “Farewell Friday” in a final attempt to force Mubarak to step down, and people poured into Cairo to Tahrir Square and around the Presidential Palce in response, as well as in other cities around Egypt.

Workers’ Weekly hails this revolutionary movement of the Egyptian people from all sections of society and their unity and courage in pressing forward for a new regime in Egypt. Today in Britain and elsewhere rallies and demonstrations are taking place in support of the fearless Egyptian people. A victory for the Egyptian people is bound to transform the situation across the region, affirming the right to sovereignty for all, including the long suffering Palestinian people. A victory for the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people is a victory for the peoples of the world in their striving to hold governments responsible for providing the human rights of all with a guarantee.

We are posting below the article “Desperate Bid of the US to Avoid Regime Change in Egypt” from The Marxist-Leninist, Daily On Line Newspaper of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), of February 11.

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Egypt - In Solidarity In Defiance Demonstrate

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Desperate Bid of the US to Avoid
Regime Change in Egypt

The Anglo-Zionist imperialists, with the US at the helm are desperately trying to divert the people's movement in Egypt from accomplishing its just aim of regime change and to block the further spread of this revolutionary fervour across the region. This situation constitutes arguably the greatest threat to the strategic interests of US imperialism in decades, and it is a situation where the imperialists have little room to manoeuvre. As the Anglo-Zionist media today jubilantly declare that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation settles the question, the real play of the US to block the people's movement in Egypt has just begun. The military bid, announced today, to take over the helm of the sinking Egyptian ship is a thinly disguised US-backed coup aimed at establishing facts on the ground that will block the people's striving for empowerment.


February 11, 2011: Egyptians in Tahrir Square celebrate the resignation of President Mubarak. (RIA Novosti)


No Rest for the Wicked

latuffTheir desperate bid entails a constant effort to buy time so as to put the facts on the ground necessary for a transition that suits their interests. Consider the scenario. The US imperialists, with the exception of a small coterie of recalcitrant elements, have always recognised that Mubarak must go but the question was always how. If, along with the rest of his regime, he was forced to step down according to the demands of the people, then the situation is grave for the imperialists. This is an equation where genuine regime change takes place, invariably leading to a renewed people's Egypt opposed to imperialism. Instead, the US, Israel and other foreign powers have opted to orchestrate a situation where Mubarak goes while another US-client government is established -- the much sought after and acclaimed "orderly transition" of the reactionaries including Canada -- so that the people would continue to be marginalised while the foreign rule takes another form. Hence the announcement that the newly appointed Vice-President Omar Suleiman, former head of Mubarak's murderous intelligence agency, is assuming various presidential powers while the military has taken over control of the country.

To date the Egyptian people have refused to be diverted by either the carrot or the stick. In regard to the former, the token negotiations Mubarak claimed to conduct with some opposition forces failed to demobilise the people. There is no reason to believe that they will be demobilised by Mubarak's resignation while the military makes promises about lifting the State of Emergency once this situation ends. In regard to the use of the stick, all efforts to use the police forces, military or hired thugs (dubbed pro-Mubarak supporters) to quell the protests through violence, torture, murder, arrest or sheer chaos have also failed. If anything, the numbers and militancy of the protestors have swelled. Workers have joined the protestors after the unions held another General Strike starting on February 8 and large numbers of expatriates continue to arrive to join the protestors. So, the flip side of the equation is that the Egyptian people have been doing everything possible to block the imperialist and reactionary strategies aimed at wiping out their movement. How will this clash of interests manifest itself in the coming days?


The People's "Last Warning" Communiqué

Events in Egypt are unfolding quickly. Today is the day protestors, in the face of Mubarak's appearances on TV arrogantly running governmental meetings as if all were well, declared a deadline for the entire regime to step down. Entitled "Last Warning," the communiqué of the protestors stated that if this demand were not to be met by the deadline, they would mobilise towards the presidential palace in Cairo to arrest Mubarak for crimes against the people. In doing so, they would directly confront the military guarding the palace and the surrounding rich district where it is located. At the eleventh hour, with tens of thousands surrounding the presidential palace and millions assembled at Tahrir Square and in cities all over Egypt, Mubarak resigned, handing over the reins of power to the military, as if the Egyptian people want to exchange one form of military rule for another.

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February 10, 2011: Egyptians gathered in Tahrir square to listen to President Mubarak's speech doff their shoes as a sign of profound disrespect to emphatically reject the regime's attempts to hold onto power. (Xinhua)

Today may yet prove to be the most decisive day since the protests erupted on January 25. The protestors' courageous proposal to arrest Mubarak was highly significant. In taking this stand, they cut through all the forked tongue talk of the reactionary regime and imperialists, forcing them to decide: will the army be mobilised against the people? What will the likes of Obama and others do with their proclamations of democracy and non-violence if a bloodbath is unleashed by the military against the people? Managing finally to have Mubarak resign and the military take over may de-escalate the situation temporarily, but everyone knows it is far from over. After 30 years of emergency rule, the Egyptian people are no more likely to accept a military takeover in the guise of democracy than they have the current regime.


Little Room to Manoeuvre

The contradictions are sharp. Even though Mubarak was the head of a US client state, his refusal to follow US dictate to make a clean exit when he saw it as a threat to his power made life especially difficult for the imperialists. Simultaneously, Mubarak knew that without US-backing he had no chance of maintaining power. The army cannot survive without the long-standing funding of the US. Yet it is this same military that would be mobilised to break the protests, even as the US recognises that full-scale military attack against the protestors will likely only further enrage the people against the same US known to back that military.

How will the imperialists put in place the orderly transition in the region -- that neoliberal multiparty system whose aim is to block the people from exercising political power in their own interests? The dictatorships the US imperialists have propped up in the region from Egypt to Saudi Arabia are opposed to this token change which will see them lose their corrupt stranglehold in its present form. The people are refusing to accept any such US-backed solutions whatsoever. A military takeover of the country will settle nothing so far as the people are concerned, even as it increases the potential for all-out military violence against the people.

{short description of image}This is the significance of Saudi Arabia giving refuge to the deposed President of Tunisia Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali, former friend of the US who was abandoned by the Americans when it became clear that he could no longer maintain their interests in the face of the popular uprising. This is the significance of the earlier threat to the US from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah that his kingdom will prop up the tottering regime of the Egyptian president if the US withdraws its support, particularly its funding of that regime. Similarly, this is the significance of their claim that they would replace US funding to the military if necessary. The contradictions are sharp between an Obama administration trying to pacify through token, superficial "democratic" change the masses of people who refuse to be diverted or fooled, and the dictatorships/militaries of the US client states which are quickly becoming an obstacle to US imperialist interests by refusing to give up their corrupt power to safeguard US interests.


Egypt Is Not Honduras

The imperialist bid to pacify popular uprisings by imposing token democracy, with controlled elections and civil institutions run by the US, is a strategy the US imperialists and countries of the European Union and Canada have been attempting to enact in the Middle East for a number of years. This started with the Charter of Paris signed in 1991 which declared that every country had to have a free market economy, multiparty system and abide by so-called human rights. The US in particular has been funding regime changes in the name of democracy to deal with the ever-rising discontent of the peoples over the havoc wreaked by the so-called free market economy and US imperialism and American client states on their societies. The British have provided the so-called Civitas Project to corrupt the Palestinian Authority and sabotage the liberation movement of the Palestinian people. Canada is a partner in this project and is mandated to provide the so-called electoral and judicial arms for these so-called democracy building initiatives. In Egypt, the reactionaries are hoping to use the strategy used to smash the people's 2009 uprising in Honduras, orchestrating a coup against the popular government of Manuel Zelaya and then using ambiguity to gain time so as to declare it legal and institute the coup regime. Yet Egypt, with a population of 81,527,172, compared to 7,318,789 in Honduras, and with 1,001,449 square km compared to Honduras' 112,090 square km is a completely different kettle of fish. Pulling off in Egypt what they did in Honduras will be much more difficult.


Long Live the Democratic, Sovereign Movement of the Egyptian People!
No to the Use of Military Force against the People!
One Humanity, One Struggle!

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Commentary

Beware William Hague’s Tour of
North Africa and the Middle East

The protests and demonstrations throughout North Africa and the Middle East that are in opposition to the dictatorial regimes in the region have continued throughout this week, and in some places grown larger and more vociferous, but at the same time the interference of Anglo-US imperialism has also increased as is evident from the recent tour of the area by William Hague, British Foreign Secretary.

Mathew CasselThis week Hague has visited Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, UAE and Bahrain as part of a tour that the Foreign Office describes as being undertaken “to support the UK's vital interests in the region and help develop more stable and democratic societies”, Protests have continued in Tunisia, Jordan and Yemen despite promised reforms and Hague’s visit was clearly made as part of the ongoing efforts of Anglo-US imperialism to establish an “orderly transition” to regimes that are closer in character and appearance to those based on the form of representative democracy that exists in Britain and the US. For some years, the US in particular has been calling for political reforms in the region that would lead to the emergence of such regimes and with this aim in mind has attempted to manipulate the aspirations of the people of North Africa and the Middle East for genuine empowerment and democratic renewal. It was in this context that Hague made comments about the situation in the region being “an opportunity which should be seized rather than feared”.

Although the Foreign Secretary did not visit Egypt, where strikes and protests involving hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have continued to demand an end to the Mubarak regime, the British government, in concert with the US, continued to put pressure on the Egyptian regime to rapidly establish a “broad based” government and end the State of Emergency, which has existed for some forty years. In response, the Egyptian Foreign Minister has publicly criticised the US for trying to impose its will on one of its staunchest allies

In Tunisia, although Hague made efforts to distance himself from the regime of the ousted president Ben Ali, which until a few weeks ago was presented as a major ally of Britain, his meetings were mainly with the interim government headed by Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, a long time ally of Ben Ali, who protesters are still demanding should step down. Hague claimed that the British government was a supporter of the “democratic aspirations” of the people of Tunisia and of those throughout the region. He also announced a £5 million Arab Partnership Fund to “support reform” throughout the region. It is worth noting that this is just part of almost £90 million that the Foreign Office is spending to create political systems and economies around the world which will allow greater economic penetration by the big monopolies. Nearly £60 million is spent just to promote the values of neo-liberal globalisation and the influence of the big monopolies overseas.

During his tour the Foreign Secretary also voiced concerns about the so-called Middle East peace process, by which is meant the continued denial of the rights of the Palestinian people and urged the US and Israel to take steps not to keep pace with the rapidly changing situation in the region. He also stressed the need of the government of the region to take measure to make sure that regimes exist which continue to be favourable to British and US interests. In this regard he urged the Saleh regime in Yemen, which is still facing mass protests after more than thirty years in power, to rapidly introduce reforms pointing out that “economic and political reform are crucial to the long-term security and stability of Yemen” and therefore in the interest of Anglo-US imperialism which has been the main prop of the Saleh regime. Just as the US government in Egypt is threatening that aid is condition on reforms that meet with US approval the British government issued similar threats in Yemen.

There can be no doubt that the people of the Middle East are heroically struggling to rid themselves of the dictatorial regimes which for so many years have been supported by and acted in the interests of Anglo-US imperialism and the other big powers. However there can be no illusions about the motives of the governments of the US and Britain. They continue to interfere in the region not in the interest of the people, but with the aim of maintaining the status quo and establishing regimes that continue to serve their interests.

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Thousands protest in Manchester and London:

Students Are Determined to Keep the Initiative

Students are demonstrating that their movement is alive and that they are keeping the initiative. The ruling circles were hoping, with the passing of the vote to raise tuition fees to a maximum of £9,000 per year in England, to snatch the initiative back out of the hands of the students. But on January 29, thousands of students and workers demonstrated in Manchester and London for the right to education and against the cuts.

The following day, students held the first National Assembly for Education at the London School of Economics. Open to students, staff and all supporters of the movement, they discussed the future of education and how to fight for it.

The media has been very active in propagating disinformation over splits in the student movement. This has not only been through a constant focus on violence to create a contradiction between "violent" and "non-violent" protesters, but also by depicting divisions between the NUS and the various groups that are organising action. On the contrary, regardless of what tactical debates are ongoing and opinions exist within the movement, students stand as one in their aim to defend the right to education.

Furthermore, disinformation is being created over police tactics. It is being suggested that they have shifted their approach and are being less heavy-handed. However, the fact is that in Manchester, when several hundred students marched to the city centre, they were met by lines of police who kettled them, charged into them on horseback and made various arrests.

The recent actions were notable for the unity shown between the workers and students. The demonstrations were called and supported by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, the Education Activists' Network, the NUS, UCU, PCS amongst other unions and the TUC.

As the organisers of the Education Assembly said, "The protests, walkouts and occupations of last term were just the first chapter in a much longer struggle for the right to education and against Con Dem austerity." Students are determined to keep the initiative in their hands.

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