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Sunday, April 13, 2003

Consistent democracy begins at home

No matter what our differences on other issues, I am sure all revolutionary socialists will have been united in utter disgust at last week’s shameful scenes in Baghdad. The stage-managed toppling of the statue of Saddam was revolting on a number of levels.

Not only was it clear that the cheering Iraqis must have been paid in CIA dollars to turn out and roar on the collapse of a symbol of their own sovereignty, but any cultured person cannot feel anything but revulsion at the destruction of a work of art. The statue of Saddam may have been a poor version of Stalinist socialist-realism but it was art and as such should have been defended by consistent democrats.

The US Marines’ act of wilful destruction of the statue was identical to the Taliban’s bombing of images of Buddha – yet with the stinking hypocrisy we have come to expect from the imperialists and their cheerleaders this time the destruction was praised, while in Afghanistan, of course, it was the prelude to a bombardment of cruise missiles and heinous war crimes.

The media made much of the throwing of flowers at the imperialist stormtroopers who entered Baghdad. Yet look closely and you will see that far from showering the Marines with bouquets of roses, the wily Iraqis were throwing mere daisies picked from the ground. That is a clear signal that while the Iraqi people may welcome the removal of Saddam they are calling for the immediate withdrawal of UK/US imperialist troops from their land – that is a demand we should be taking out into the wider workers movement.

The clearly orchestrated ‘looting’ was obviously designed to give the impression of ‘anarchy’ and ‘disorder’ in order to justify a longer imperialist presence as full scale colonisation of Iraq gets under way, as well as to allow the US its cherished aim of reintegrating the treacherous Ba’ath Party Stalinist police into the new colonial administration. There is now talk of curfews and summary arrests. We can expect similar curtailment of civil liberties in Britain to follow quickly as Iraq replaces Northern Ireland as the ruling class’s testing ground for their new fascism.

So who, objectively, is to blame for the fall of Baghdad? Clearly the bulk of responsibility falls on to the shoulders of the Stop the War Coalition. After the brilliant, massive, inspiring, five million strong march in February, the Coalition had a golden opportunity to actually do what it claimed to exist for and STOP THE WAR! Yet instead of taking the logical next step of calling for a nationwide general strike, (as genuine marxists such as myself were demanding), the unholy alliance of the SWP and CPB bureaucrats running the coalition instead held back the struggle by limiting protest to more futile demonstrations and the implicitly reformist and decidedly Stalinist-sounding People’s Parliament.

In doing so they betrayed the Iraqi people and played into the hands of the war-mongers. Yes, they kept their new found friends at the Guardian, Independent and Daily Mirror happy by playing along in this game of lets-pretend pacifist protest, but they did so at a price. In effect STWC was incorporated by the capitalist state and became the acceptable ‘left’ face of the war. Instead of calling for the creation of an International Brigade, which could have united with the Republican Guard in a heroic defence of Baghdad, the STWC clung to its pacifist, neutral non-interventionist position in order to keep fatcats like Charles Kennedy and Robin Cook happy. The left should learn the lesson of this betrayal. In the short term STWC should now be demanding the nationalisation of the top 200 monopolies in Iraq and the creation of a workers militia to defend the remaining statues. But don’t hold your breath comrades…..

Yes, George Galloway is a traitor!

The Sun has called George Galloway "a traitor" and you may be surprised that for once I have to agree with that organ of reaction. Of course he is not a traitor in the jingoist-nationalist sense of the word but in the Marxist tradition he is clearly a traitor to the working class. With his manicures, his Mercedes, his holidays and his sharp suits he has clearly put himself on the side of the ruling class and their fashionista ideologues. Anyone who is happy to be called Gorgeous George, take his coin from the capitalist media and sit on the stinking benches of the government of a war criminal is clearly no man of the left. I raised this point with some of my journalist and alternative comedy chums down at the Groucho club the other night over cocktails and I am pleased to report their was widespread support for my position.

Dave cut through the lies 10:00 AM