Tuesday, February 17, 2004

More war on the war on Iraq

I've put the following in the comments box over at Harry's Place :

Lo All,

I don't know about a leftist or liberal response, but I'll try for a (brief, very brief) socialist response.

1) The war cannot be forgotten, because it has domestic ramifications. The pro-military left is left shackled to the war-budgets of Britain and Yankland - you cannot support military adventures without supporting the bloated military budgets of those two states.
2) You cannot seperate the fact that one side was opposing a concrete war, while the other supported a fantasy war, all this talk of 'democratic Iraq' etc. while the real proesecution of the war was in the hands of capitalist plunderers who only removed Hussein to promote their profits - any one remember the last ditch pleas for a palace coup? the dream result, Hussein gone, a new/old strongman in power....
3) You cannot seperate the means from the end, the means in this case was the military occupation of an entire region, the Finlandisation of the countries there by the presence of the Yanklander fleet and it's air power.
4) You can't seperate means and ends, and the means included stich-ups to prop up disgusting despotism's such as piggy features Fahd and his cronies in Saudi.
5) There was an alternative - the US could have driven trucks loaded with caviar, Buluger wines, fine viandes and luxury consumer goods up to the border, and watched the power of Hussein that they (at least) helped prop up with their medieval seige vanish. That or distribute the $350 billion dollars spent on the war indivdually to each Iraqi (buy 'em off at $14,000 a head).

There were and are alternatives. The most obvious of which is that we need to act to ensure that the pirates are no longer in command,and build that world socialism that will put an end to war per se forever...

In the light of my last post, I should have added, the effect on the class war at home, as the Firefighters were hounded over their strike during war-time...

The Real Social Democrat...

Please compare this quote:

In view of all these considerations, what shall be the practical attitude of the Social Democracy in the present war? Shall it declare: since this is an imperialistic war, since we do not enjoy Socialist self-determination, its existence or non existence is of no consequence to us, and we will surrender it to the enemy? Passive fatalism can never be the role of a revolutionary party, like the Social Democracy. It must neither place itself at the disposal of the existing class state, under the command of the ruling classes, nor can it stand silently by to wait until the storm is past. It must adopt a policy of active class politics, a policy that will whip the ruling classes forward in every great social crisis, and that will drive the crisis itself far beyond its original extent. That is the role that the Social Democracy must play as the leader of the fighting proletariat. Instead of covering this imperialistic war with a lying mantle of national self-defence, the Social Democracy should have demanded the fight of national self-determination seriously, should have used it as a lever against the imperialistic war. Yes, Socialists should defend their country in great historical crises. And here lies the great fault of the German Social-Democratic Reichstag group. When it announced on the 4th of August, "In this hour of danger, we will not desert our fatherland," it denied its own words in the same breath. For truly it has deserted its fatherland in its hour of greatest danger. The highest duty of the Social Democracy toward its fatherland demanded that it expose the real background of this imperialistic war, that it tend the net of imperialistic and diplomatic lies that covers the eyes of the people. It was its duty to speak loudly and clearly, to proclaim to the people of Germany that in this war victory and defeat would be equally fateful, to oppose the gagging of the fatherland by a state of seige, to demand that the people alone decide on war and peace, to demand a permanent session of Parliament, for the period of the war, to assume a watchful control over the government by parliament, and over parliament by the people, to demand the immediate removal of all political inequalities, since only a free people can adequately govern its country, and finally, to oppose to the imperialist war, based as it was upon the most reactionary forces in Europe, with the program of Marx, of Engels and Lassalle.

From Karl Liebknecht with the outpourings of both pro and anti-war lefts to see that something bad has changed, something is missing from 'Social Democracy' (broad sense) today.

Friday, February 13, 2004

The Morrow of the Revolution

I'm not going to re-write News from Nowhere. No. I am, though, going to relay a scary dream.

I woke in a cold sweat last night, I hadn't dreamt I saw Joe Hill, but instead, that the Socialist Workers Party were in power. There'd been some sort of thing, a thingy thing, leading to a revolt, mass demos, riots, that sort of thing, and in the confusion they had seized power. Chairman Rees appeared on Telvision to inform us all of the new Government - Lindsey German as Internal Affairs commisioner, Chris Harman was made new Director General of the BBC, Foreign Affairs went to Super-Villain Sound-a-like Lexy Callincos.


Of course, it won't happen any time soon, there is a mass organised resistance ready willing and able to rise up against such an event - the Tory party.

Scoff ye not, look at it this way - there are some 10,679 council wards in the UK, usually with about 5,500 electors and Three seats each. The Tories can and do contest most of those wards. That is, they have enough members active enough to be at least a paper candidate. Further, they have enough people to actually campaign in each of those wards. If we even average that out at 5 per ward, thats 50,000 Tory activists across the country. Add on top of that the networks of Golf Clubs and and Conservative and Unionist Clubs around the country,and you have a strong political movement there.

Think of the impact 1,000 SWP members make now - remembering the inevitable ratio between active and inactive partisans of any movement.

The Tories show us what a mass political party looks like, and shows us the extent to which any advance will require us to be able to match that level of commitment and membership.

Truth be told, I think a Swappy coup d'etat is unlikely, but the truth is, they are going to have to re-apraise their decision to go all opportunist in search of Respect.