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Volume 41 Number 18, May 31, 2011 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

An Essential Alliance for the Defence of Neo-Liberalism, Global Intervention and War

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An Essential Alliance for the Defence of Neo-Liberalism, Global Intervention and War

An Addiction to War and Contempt for Democracy

One Year of the Coalition and its Programme for Government

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An Essential Alliance for the Defence of Neo-Liberalism, Global Intervention and War

The US president, Barack Obama, made an official state visit to Britain last week ahead of the G8 summit in Normandy, France, which was expected to focus on measures through which the big powers can continue their domination of North Africa, and especially Egypt and Tunisia, following the revolutionary events that occurred in North Africa earlier this year.

Obama’s visit was the occasion for a strengthening of the Anglo-American alliance with agreements concluded between the two governments on six areas in which they would collaborate even more closely, including further global intervention, especially in Africa. It was also marked by a series of statements, including his speech to Parliament, which were carefully scripted to express the unity of thought and action that characterises what is now referred to as an “essential” as well as “special” relationship between the two countries. During the President’s visit, Obama and David Cameron made every effort to stress that what unites the two governments are their shared values and a commitment to the global defence and imposition of these values, if necessary by military might.

Libya Tripoli Bombing Libyan Navy Frigate Al Ghardabia on fire after being hit by British Tornado
1. A building destroyed by NATO bombing of Tripoli in photo taken May 17, 2011
2. Libyan Navy Frigate Al Ghardabia on fire after being hit by British Tornado bombers (Darko Bandic/AP)

Obama’s speech to Parliament presented the essence of these Eurocentric but so-called “universal values”, which are nothing more than those of neo-liberalism – “free enterprise”, so-called “market-based principles” and multi-party representative democracy. It is this that Obama characterises as “freedom and democracy” and of which Anglo-American imperialism prides itself of being the greatest defender. According to Obama, it is these values and their defence that have characterised the modern history of the world and it is the political and economic system that exists in Britain and the US for which the whole world yearns and strives. Despite all the evidence concerning the moribund and crisis-ridden nature of global capitalism, which impoverishes the vast majority of people in the world and threatens to destroy the planet itself, Obama envisages a new era of stability and prosperity for all, which must be secured and defended by further global intervention. According to Obama, Britain, the US and their allies made the modern world and must continue to provide “leadership” for it. As Obama stated without any sense of irony, “our alliance will remain indispensable to the goal of a century that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more just.”

It is these “universal values” that are being defended and this leadership that is being exercised by the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, by expanding the remit of NATO, by threatening Iran and the DPR of Korea and by the invasion and bombardment of Libya. According to Obama, the leadership of the Anglo-American alliance had also been demonstrated by its “commitment to our citizens” in such areas as health, pensions and other social programmes. Only in Parliament can such fantastic claims be made at a time of such devastating cuts not only in Britain and the US but throughout most of the world. In short, his speech suggested that that which has produced two world wars, global poverty, insecurity and instability was a cause for celebration and should be defended and expanded. It is a view that flies in the face of reality and has no basis in fact or in history.

Vultures gather in North Africa Bombing Libya

It is on this false premise that the Anglo-American alliance continues to argue that it is the greatest friend and supporter of the uprisings in North Africa and elsewhere, which were waged precisely in opposition to the economic and political consequences of neo-liberalism and the neo-colonial relationship that was imposed by Britain, the US, France and the other big powers. Obama reiterated the view that the big powers must continue to intervene, especially in Egypt and Tunisia, by financial and other means in order to exercise their leadership and maintain these countries within their grip under the guise of providing them with support.

What is evident from the speech of Obama, and also from the statements of the British government, is that the Anglo-American alliance is trying to assert its continuing domination in a rapidly changing world, in which new powers are coming to the fore and the world’s peoples are struggling to take centre stage and demanding societies that are based on meeting the needs of the majority. The attempt of Obama and the Anglo-American alliance to pose as the leaders of the world and to continue to impose their Eurocentric values on the world is a programme for maintaining the status quo, further global intervention and war must be totally rejected and condemned. These circumstances demand that the people step forward to discuss, organise and establish the alternative.

Article Index



An Addiction to War and Contempt for Democracy

As part of the narrative defining US President Barack Obama, his European tour began with a visit to emphasise the Irish side of his roots, shortly after the Queen of England had also visited the Republic to express “reconciliation”.

In Britain, the US President was in turn treated like royalty. This is doubly ironic given that the royal prerogative rests, as the head of the executive which wields it, with David Cameron whose roots are themselves with royalty, being a descendant of William IV, the monarch who preceded Queen Victoria. Clegg has also Russian aristocratic blood in his veins.

This is a narrative which increasingly gives the lie to the “social mobility”, which is supposedly a feature not only of the “Big Society” but of representative democracy itself.

The point, however, is that it is Barack Obama who has the power of the old war-lord kings, and this was an emphatic reason for him to be treated with obsequious respect by the British state. The settling of issues through force, aggression and assassination are the open programme of US imperialism, and the British government is eager to be seen as the right-hand man of this kind of international politics.

It turns out that this kind of “eternal war” is the change that both Barack Obama and David Cameron believe in. War without end and aggression and assassination without shame – this is what is being overtly carried out to achieve the ends of Anglo-US imperialism. It is an addiction to war and the use of force, and is a habit acquired for the most “humanitarian” of reasons. The big lies are spoken with soft voices and get bigger with every repetition, and the more the people are supposed to believe them.

Barack Obama is happy to say that Britain is essential, because Britain is the front-runner in formulating the “justifications” and calling for stepped up intervention. This has been the role since the days of Tony Blair, and Cameron has been happy to step into his shoes in this respect. Can this be why Blair and Brown sat next to Cameron in the front row to listen to the US President address Parliament, while the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, Ed Miliband, was relegated to not even the second, but the third row?

David Cameron for his part is ecstatic to be able to say that Britain is an essential partner in the relationship. It is an essential component of the programme of “Making Britain Great Again”. Cameron has scores to settle with the leader of the Libyan revolution on behalf of British imperialism. To have a US President who, if not born in Kenya has a Kenyan father, endorsing and providing fire-power for the dismemberment of a North African state provides some thin veneer of legitimacy to this enterprise.

Together, with their European allies, Britain and the US wish to mould the “Arab spring” to their purpose, where they have not already instigated unrest, violence and anarchy for their own aims. Together they give the impression of re-writing the rules and norms of international and domestic politics, a contempt for democracy and the democratic process under the veil of the “responsibility to protect”.

There can be no conciliation with this kind of imperialist politics. It is the duty of the British working class and people to settle scores with a government and a parliament that practises it. A Workers’ Opposition taking the lead in fighting against it and fighting for an Anti-War Government is in the course of taking root. This fight has the overwhelming sympathy of all progressive forces. In this year of the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War instigated by international reaction, the sentiment of all those against war and fascism is once more to declare: No Pasarán!

Article Index



One Year of the Coalition and its Programme for Government

This month marks the first year in power of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government, formed after the inconclusive result of the May 7, 2010, General Election.

The Coalition’s “Five-Year Policy Programme”, its Programme for Government, was published on May 20 that year. Though the Coalition cannot be said even in terms of the existing arrangements to have won the mandate of the people, it has embarked on an unprecedentedly savage, wide-ranging and far-reaching programme of cuts which, in effect, mean the final dismantling of the social welfare state as we know it.

Looking back at the Programme in the light of the past year, it is striking the extent to which it gave no clear indication of what the Coalition planned to do in power, for the new wave of the anti-social offensive they have since unleashed. It was written so as to give no suggestion of the sheer extent of the cuts that the government has introduced since.

George Osbourned Isn't Working For example, there was no mention of the rise in VAT to 20%. Indeed, David Cameron had said in 2009 in Exeter that VAT is “very regressive. It hits the poor hardest.” Nick Clegg, for his part, had later stated that “we will not have to raise VAT to deliver our promises”.

There was no mention of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s massive shakeup of the NHS, which is designed to destroy the Health Service, putting health care as a massive source of profit for private enterprise and the monopolies.

There was also no mention of Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles’ Localism Bill introduced under the guise of “local democracy”, which has since been fully exposed as a mechanism for drastically cutting central government funding for local councils leading to massive cuts in libraries, youth centres and other essential cultural and social services.

Thus the Programme bore little relation to what the Coalition government has actually done in power and gave no hint of that government’s quite unprecedented attack on the welfare state. It was an attempt to pull wool over people’s eyes, using democratic and progressive-sounding phrases such as “distribute power and opportunity to people”; “build the free, fair and responsible society”; “social mobility is unlocked”; “turning old thinking on its head and developing new approaches to government” and so on.

The experience of the past year has fully exposed the government’s total contempt for the electorate and its determination to attack the people’s basic services. One year into the implementation of the government’s agenda and the working people have begun to respond with growing manifestations of the alternative. The working class, with its own independent programme, can be that effective opposition to the Coalition and its Programme for Government, which will provide people with a voice in the decision-making affecting their lives.

Article Index


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