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Volume 41 Number 34, December 10, 2011 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Condemn the Agenda for War against Iran and Syria

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Condemn the Agenda for War against Iran and Syria

European Crisis: The Sidelining of Representative Democracy

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Condemn the Agenda for War against Iran and Syria

Syrian women rally in Damascus on November 24 against the Arab League
Syrian women rally in Damascus on November 24 against the Arab League

In the last weeks, the British government has intensified its sabre-rattling against Iran and Syria. It is using any pretext to bully and interfere and has taken measures to increase the pressure it is applying to the governments of both countries.

In the case of Syria, the government’s approach is a repetition of that employed against the government of the Libyan Jamahiriya. Foreign Secretary William Hague has on several occasions met with representatives of the so-called “Syrian opposition” to encourage them to step up their armed rebellion against the Syrian government. As in Libya, the British government is attempting to establish an alternative government in Syria and openly interfering in that country’s internal affairs. It is fishing in troubled waters in a country that like many others requires democratic renewal, and has already called on the government of Bashar al-Assad to resign. In concert with its EU partners it has imposed economic sanctions and is continually seeking UN support for further intervention. As in Libya, it is making much of the demands made on the Syrian government by the Arab League, in which its allies such as Saudi Arabia and other reactionary governments play a leading role in carrying out the bidding of Syria’s enemies.

Although the government makes much of its alleged humanitarian concern about the future of Syria, its support for what it still refers to as the “Arab spring”, and its “responsibility to protect” the population of Syria, such justifications for further intervention and preparations for a further predatory war are completely bogus and compound its already heinous war crimes. It also cannot be forgotten that not only is Syria a major oil producer but also a strategically important country which has historically been a staunch opponent of Zionist Israel, which exerts a strong influence in Lebanon and that is a close ally of Iran.

In regard to Iran, the government has been bullying and threatening that country for many years, indeed since the time of the Iranian Revolution of 1979, although even the mainstream media have been forced to admit that Britain has been interfering in Iran to the detriment of its population for some two hundred years. In recent years, the government and its allies have been demanding that Iran allows closer external monitoring of its nuclear programme which, it is claimed, is being developed for military purposes. Under the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which Iran is a signatory, countries that do not have nuclear weapons are prevented from developing them. Although the treaty also demands that those with stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, such as Britain, the US and their allies, should remove them, there is no international pressure from the International Atomic Energy Authority that they should do so. Nor does the IAEA make efforts to prevent other breeches of the Treaty by the big powers but it is regularly used by the big powers to bully Iran just as it was to bully Iraq, prior to the invasion of that country. Those countries that are not signatories of the NPT, such as Zionist Israel, are free to develop their nuclear arsenals. Israel’s military nuclear capability has been developed with the support of the Anglo-Americans and for some years has been used not only to threaten Iran but the whole region.

The recent closure of the British embassy in Iran, the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Britain and renewed sanctions and other measures aimed against the government of Iran by Britain and its allies, especially the US, Canada and the EU, are part of the on-going campaign of bullying and sabre-rattling in which the government is playing a leading role. It is clear that all the conditions are being created for military intervention in the region, including the demonisation of the governments of Iran and Syria.

There can be no justification for such sabre-rattling and preparations for further crimes against peace by the government and its actions must be condemned. What must be demanded is that the British government cease all warmongering and interference in the internal affairs of other countries. The working class and people must organise to hold the government to account on this matter. In the context of the growing economic crisis all the conditions are being created for even more instability and for predatory wars. In these circumstances, all peace-loving people must uphold the right of the peoples of Iran and Syria, as of all peoples, to their sovereignty, that is, to determine their own affairs without outside interference. The working class and people must redouble their efforts to establish an anti-war government.

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European Crisis: The Sidelining of Representative Democracy

BelgiumOver the past few weeks, the political wrangling over the kind of European Union that will emerge out of the crisis has reached a new level. Imposition is the watchword as deep-going constitutional changes are to be brought about in favour of monopoly right without any recourse to democratic process.

Central to the plans and proposals being put forward is to prop up the system of European finance capital, in particular the banks, come what may. This is giving rise to various contradictions, for example that between Germany and France who have opposing interests within the imperialist system of states: there is no agreement on a way out even by their capital-centric terms that is not in some way mutually contradictory.

In this context, the issue has arisen of the lack of leadership and the problem of the EU not functioning as an integrated whole. The financial oligarchy is demanding that the EU becomes more closely integrated and have stronger decision-making powers over their economies of member states. This translates into the creation of new institutions and a general strengthening of the super-state bodies of the EU.

But further than this, democracy itself is being overtly marginalised. Representative democracy has been suspended in Greece and Italy with the imposition of unelected coalition governments led by appointed technocrats, who are forcing through the austerity measures demanded by the financial monopolies.

The so-called Frankfurt Group – the head of the IMF, the leaders of Germany and France, the president of the European Central Bank, the presidents of the European Commission and Council, and one or two others depending on quite how the group is defined – hold the core decision-making power and are setting the agenda according to the interests represented by the “markets” rather than national electorates. There is no pretence of intergovernmental democracy. Summits and other meetings are openly arenas of cajoling, brinkmanship other dirty politicking.

The new, still chaotic and continually shifting, arrangements taking shape represent all that is old, yet while the old ways of thinking and acting are in utter crisis.

The old thinking, that countries should raise national finances through debt, is finding itself getting into an ever-deeper quagmire and stands opposed to the need of the times, which is that countries carry out projects to build their nations anew in a way defined by the needs of human beings rather than by the demands of finance capital. How can a country have a nation-building project if it has to find the money to finance that project by going into debt? In other words, a nation-building project is not possible according to the prevailing, outdated way of thinking and doing things.

There is no way out of the crisis when the terms of the discussion are defined in this way. There is supposed to be no alternative to the working class and majority of the population of the country taking the hit, rather than the usurers.

The political and fiscal union being forced through, in which democracy is openly sidelined, sovereignty is openly trampled, with the aim of placing the entire assets of the continent under the direct control of the rich, while the workers and people shoulder the burden of the crisis, represents a highly dangerous development. The dismantling of the EU is now more urgent than ever.

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