The last week or so has seen a sudden change in the political atmosphere in Europe (including the UK) on migrants and refugees. A progressive shift seems to have happened, originating in part from below.
The bloody dead end of the Syrian Civil War, with both main forces, that of Assad and of Islamic State, engaging in atrocities and scaring the hell out of much of the civilian population, has augmented the already large numbers fleeing from Libya, bloody local dictatorships such as Eritrea, as well as other conflict zones derived from imperialism’s wars such as Afghanistan and Iraq and the Palestine/Israel conflict. Other major refugee flows around the world include the flight of Rohingya Muslims from racist/religious persecution in Theravada Buddhist Myanmar; though this is perhaps somewhat remote from immediate mass interest in Europe.
The following text is the rewritten statement of political purpose of Socialist Fight, a magazine initiated by a grouping led by comrade Gerry Downing, a long time Trotskyist whose political origins were in the Workers Revolutionary Party. The magazine has now broadened out its political basis and I have agreed to join the editorial board. This re-written statement contains some important departures from some characteristic political weaknesses of the Trotskyist movement.
In particular, attention should be drawn to items 20 and 21 in the statement, which in effect argue for a different type of party model from that of the Trotskyist movement, and indeed different also from that movement’s progenitors in the early Communist International. In explicitly recognising the right of members of a revolutionary party – which we seek to build – to engage in public debate, criticism and disagreement about matters of theoretical analysis, and about strategy and tactics, the statement goes beyond the flawed model of the Third (and by political inheritance, the Fourth) International.
Reprinted below is a circular from the Zionist-dominated ‘Anti-Racist’ campaigning organisation Hope not Hate, to its contacts and supporters. The circular effectively attacks Theresa May’s Home Office for being too soft on ‘Muslim terrorism’, in failing to jail Anjem Choudary, the former leader of the now banned Islamist radical group Al Mujaharoun, who, though the organisation has been made illegal, makes no secret that he still shares and expounds the kind of views that he used to advocate before the ban.
The problem is that Choudary has not been convicted of any crime, even though he has been routinely arrested whenever there is any kind of panic over likely acts of terrorism. He has never been shown to have been actively involved in any illegal acts. Hope not Hate does not seem to care about this; it is a thinly-veiled call for an individual to be jailed simply for his political views.
It should go without saying that the killing, apparently by militant Islamists, of the editors, journalists and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, should be condemned by the working class movement. The people responsible are guilty of some pretty heinous crimes and obviously need to be caught and prosecuted. As humanists, communists are opposed to such wanton killing of unarmed people, with the suffering that it will undoubtedly cause to those close to them. That much and no more should the working class movement stand formally with the mainstream politicians who are loudly condemning these killings.
We must condemn this action, not because it ‘outrages’ the sensibilities of the French government or its imperialist allies regarding ‘free speech’ or the alleged sanctity of human life – they have no respect for these things themselves. But we condemn it not least because it will inevitably result in an increase in anti-Muslim bigotry and hatred, and will lead to the victimisation of Muslims in France and elsewhere. Those who took this action, who appear to have had military know-how and training, no doubt will welcome such a reaction as it tends to further drive angry and alienated young Arab and African people of Muslim background towards them.
The torture report on the CIA is an exercise in damage limitation. Realising how much the supposed ‘excesses’ of the Bush administration and the stratagems for US/Israeli world domination of the neocon Project for the New American Century have damaged the self-proclaimed moral authority of US imperialism, the Democratic Party are using this report, of the CIA’s Inspector-General, to try to distance themselves from some of the crimes of their predecessors.
It is cynical hogwash on the part of the Obama administration. This report was commissioned apparently in 2004, under Bush. Its findings were suppressed earlier but ultimately, in the aftermath of US imperialism’s obvious failures and defeats in Iraq and the wider Middle East, it became untenable for an American bourgeois establishment that is not (as yet) prepared to openly break with the formal pretence of democracy, to suppress these facts indefinitely. Not if it wanted to continue the hubris and chutzpah that makes US Presidents believe they have the authority to lecture the world on ‘human rights’.
This demonstration has been called by the Stop the War Coalition this Saturday. The political basis for this is fundamentally inadequate and somewhat evasive, as it is not simply ‘Iraq’ or ‘Syria’ that is under attack here, but rather the new radical Islamist polity that calls itself the ‘Islamic State’. Hardly surprising given the influence of social-pacifism on the left today. Still, it is a start and all anti-war activists and socialists should be encouraged to participate, not to accept these politics, but to find ways to go beyond them toward the genuine communist politics that we need.
Obama, Cameron and Hollande’s latest war, with the support of the elite oil-exploiting Arab monarchies such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, is yet another act of barbarism against the mainly Arab and Muslim peoples of the Middle East. Indeed, the recent neocon-inspired wars have led to barbarism on top of barbarism, with the demolition of Iraq in 2003 leading straight to the effective collapse of the country.
The political weakness of the Arab Spring – a spontaneous upsurge beginning in 2011 against the degenerate nationalist dictatorships that dominate the region, with its lack of a coherent ideology or revolutionary centre, enabled its enemies to exploit its spontaneity and the illusions of the masses in forms of Islamic and pan-Islamic nationalism. They either cemented in place new dictatorships out of the failure of such movements, as in Egypt, or used their armed power to give a degree of self-serving support to the upsurges, manipulating them with the use of selective military intervention or the supply of arms to settle old scores with the more ‘radical’ dictators: Qadaafi and Assad. Not coincidentally, these were the only two Arab regimes left that, for all their own capitulations to imperialism, had not run up the white flag of open collaboration with Israel.
Such campaigns, which led to the collapse of Libya into chaos, and the funding of the same Al Qaeda-related forces in Syria via Saudi Arabia, in effect attempted to manipulate radicalised, angry young Muslims into doing the West’s bidding in Syria as they did in Libya. This has backfired spectacularly as the Syrian insurgency ultra-radicalised through the agency of the former Al Qaeda in Iraq – now Islamic State. This established sufficient synergy between the insurgencies in the two countries to overwhelm the crucial imperialist-created Sykes-Picot line. This was something the imperialist puppet-masters did not expect to happen. Oops – they fucked it up in a big way!