Athens Meeting 19-20 June 2003, Contribution by New CP of
by Andy Brooks
FOR THE DEFEAT OF THE WAR PARTY
THE WAR FOR OIL
The forces of Anglo-American imperialism have overrun Iraq
and George W Bush and Tony Blair are claiming victory. A
victory based on the bodies of the thousands of Iraqi
civilians killed or wounded largely at the hands of the US
air force. A triumph based on lies and provocations.
In the beginning Bush and Blair told the world that this
war was over the weapons of mass destruction Iraq allegedly
still possessed. It wasn't the view of the UN weapons
inspectors. It was opposed by the majority of the members
of the United Nations. It was opposed by the other Great
Powers including People's China, France, Germany and
Russia. And it has been exposed as a crude lie by recent
Though the war was allegedly fought to rid Iraq of weapons
of mass destruction, none were used by Iraq nor have any
been found by the occupying forces. Though it was claimed
that the war would bring "democracy", popular leaders are
being sidelined in favour of worthless and corrupt
placemen, groomed for their role during their long years of
exile in Britain and the United States.
The warmongers claimed the invasion was for the benefit of
the Iraqi Kurdish minority. But the imperialists, who only
seek to use them as auxiliaries in their campaign to
take-over the whole of Iraq, have categorically ruled out
their hopes for full autonomy or independence.
We are now told that the war is about bringing "democracy"
to the Iraqi people. But this is the last thing on the
imperialists minds at the moment. There's no plan for
elections; no intention to seek a mandate from the United
Nations. The imperialists haven't even found any credible
stooges to set up a puppet government and they have made it
clear that they are opposed to the mass movements within
the country and that they are not prepared to hold free
elections in the foreseeable future.
What is planned is a prolonged period of direct imperialist
rule under an American governor. Very detailed plans to
carve up the Iraqi oil fields and its nationalised oil
industry were prepared long before the war. The immense
task of reconstruction needed to get Iraqi oil pumping
again for the benefit of imperialism has already been
earmarked for chosen American corporations.
Any long-term side benefits for the Iraqi people in the
form of education, transport and health will all be paid
for by the Iraqi people themselves out of what is left of
the oil profits once the big oil corporations have taken
their juicy cut.
By establishing direct control of the Iraqi oil-fields,
Anglo-American imperialism hopes to control the price and
production of the global oil industry. This was what the
war was about and this is why France, Germany and Russia
are so concerned.
The issue is clear. This was an illegal and unjust war.
British troops should never have been sent to Iraq in the
first place. They must be brought home immediately. The
Iraqi people's legitimate rights to independence and the
control of their resources must be upheld. The Iraqi people
have taken up the gun in a new fight for independence.
Their resistance must be supported.
The Road to Nowhere
Palestine day, the 15 May, marks the beginning of the
tragedy of the Palestinian Arabs. On that day in 1948 the
British colonial mandate ended and the State of Israel was
proclaimed. On that day the first Arab-Israeli war began.
It has never ended.
The first war led to the expulsion of a million Palestinian
Arabs from their homes by the Zionist regime. Those
refugees and their descendants have never given up their
right to return to their land. And this is the heart of the
crisis in the Middle East that has led to five full-scale
wars and continuing simmering conflicts.
Anglo-American imperialism is currently promoting the
so-called Road Map to Peace in the Middle East. It is
little more than a watered-down version of the deal tabled
at the American sponsored Camp David talks in 2000 which
was rejected by the Palestinians. It is doomed to fail.
This is partly because General Sharon's reactionary
coalition in Tel Aviv is not prepared to make even the
modest concessions the proposals demand. But more
importantly it is because the "road map" fails to address
the heart of the matter the Palestinian refugees' right to
return and Israel's continued illegal occupation of the
West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Syria's Golan Heights.
The American plan calls on the Palestinians to end their
armed struggle and calls on all the other Arabs to cease
supporting the Palestinian resistance and normalise their
relations with the Zionist entity. In return the
Palestinians are offered a "state" with no defined borders
but clearly little more than the "autonomous" zones they
administered under the previous Oslo agreements and a vague
hope that Israel might in the fullness of time evacuate
other parts of the West Bank to make this "state"
economically and politically viable. The issue of the
refugees is ignored.
But the Sharon government has made it clear that the
Palestinian refugees must renounce all their rights if
talks are to progress.
The response of Sharon and his cohorts is not surprising.
His Likud-led coalition represents the most reactionary
elements in Israeli society the Zionist fanatics and
religious bigots who hate and fear the Arabs. But their
petty ambitions and dreams are not the driving force of
Israel is economically and politically entirely dependent
on American imperialism and successive Israeli governments
have existed to serve the needs of American imperialism in
the region. And those needs are to weaken and divide the
Arabs to ensure that the big oil corporations can continue
their exploitation and plunder of Arab oil until it
eventually runs out.
The tail doesn't wag the dog and Israel and the American
"Zionist lobby" does not dictate American foreign policy.
They serve it. They provide Anglo-American imperialism with
a convenient alibi to play the role of "honest broker" in
the Middle East. They enable the feudal Arab oil princes
whose thrones are propped up by imperialist bayonets to
claim that the Arabs' enemy is not imperialism as such but
Israel and this supposedly all-powerful "Zionist lobby"
which pulls the strings in the United States.
In a slightly more sophisticated way, Israel's ruling
circles play the same game claiming to serve a mythical
Zionist ideal as a bulwark against persecution. In reality
they simply provide imperialism with cannon-fodder for the
strategic aims of Anglo-American imperialism. Far from
being a Zionist paradise, Israel today is one of the worst
places for Jews to live, racked by continuing conflict with
Palestinians and economic hardship due to its isolation and
total dependency on the United States.
Past UN resolutions have provided the basis for a just and
lasting peace in the Middle East. First of all Israel must
totally withdraw from the occupied territories seized in
1967. The Palestinians must be allowed to establish a state
of their own on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The
Palestinian refugees whose homes are now in Israel must be
allowed to return or if they so wish be paid appropriate
compensation in exchange. All states in the region,
including Israel, should have internationally agreed and
recognised frontiers guaranteed by all the Great Powers.
Anglo-American imperialism believes it can call all the
shots in the Middle East today. The imperialists believe
that all resistance can be crushed by brute force and they
hope to find willing Arab tools to do their bidding, hoist
up the white flag and sign a surrender peace.
But wherever there is oppression there is always
resistance. In the Middle East imperialist violence always
leads to an equally violent resistance. Imperialism's
refusal to recognise this has led to the spiral of violence
and terror which began in 1948 as a regional war, to a
conflict which now spans the whole world.
Anglo-American imperialism stands totally isolated in the
world even amongst the international institutions it once
relied on to do its bidding and give them some
international authority for their actions.
The United Nations has been marginalised. US imperialism
only pays lip-service to UN institutions when it suits its
purposes. When the Americans can use it to rubber-stamp
their plans the world organization is supported. When it is
no longer of any further use to them, like now, it is
ignored and discarded.
In the past British and American imperialism upheld the
principle of the veto on the UN Security Council a right
the United States has exercised 73 times mainly to protect
Israel. But it was ignored when it appeared that France,
Russia or People's China were prepared to use it to block
the Iraq invasion
The Bush administration is indifferent to the United
Nations and indeed the more cautious views of its junior
partners. The Bush administration represents the most
reactionary and aggressive sections of the American ruling
class: people ready to take the world to the brink in
pursuit of world domination.
They call it "the new world order". It was coined when
Bush's father was in the White House soon after the Soviet
Union fell following the counter-revolution. It more than
echoes Adolf Hitler's "new order for the world". Like the
Nazis, American imperialism demonises anyone who dares to
stand up to them as savage and insane fanatics. Like the
Nazis this is used to justify the torture of Afghan
tribesmen at the Bagram air base or the American
concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay. Like the Nazis, Bush
makes one demand after another on those American
imperialism seeks to destroy. When the first demand is met
another soon follows until eventually, like the Fuhrer,
Bush's "patience" is exhausted and war is threatened. Like
the Nazis Bush has elevated the theory of "pre-emptive war"
to justify American aggression and the surprise attack
against anyone considered weaker than themselves. Like the
Nazis, the American imperialists think they can rule the
world but the Thousand Year Reich lasted little more than
twelve. It ended in world war, the deaths of millions upon
millions and destruction on a global scale.
The central issue is the right of the Iraqi people to
independence, to choose their own government and social
system and control their own resources. They certainly will
not be able to do this under imperialist occupation. The
Iraqis could easily establish a new independent government
within weeks if freely allowed to do so. That, however, is
not on George W Bush's agenda.
Bush and the most aggressive circles within the American
ruling class want to carve-up the Middle East as part of
their plan to rule the world. Iraq is just the first step.
All its oil is going to be handed over to the big oil
corporations. All its territory will be used as a strategic
base to threaten the other countries in the region which
stand in imperialism's way.
They call it "globalization" or the "new world order". They
call their colonial wars "the fight against terrorism".
What it means is simply world domination. The next target
could be Syria, Iran or the Democratic People's Republic
of Korea. All, like Iraq, were branded by Bush as part of
the "axis of evil".
In the past the imperialists justified their colonial wars
by using the racist and imperialist theories of the "white
man's burden", "the master race" or "manifest destiny". The
horrors of the two world wars of the last century killed
most of that reactionary nonsense. So now they fly the
false flag of "democracy" and "liberation" to justify their
We've seen their "liberation" in practice in Iraq;
worthless puppets and crooks imported into the country to
act as stooges; civilians bullied and gunned down by
trigger-happy US Marines while their cities burn. Basic
civil rights denied while the country is flooded with drugs
and criminal gangs roam under the eyes of the occupation
The European Union and the Crisis
Blair's appeal to the rest of the European Union to back
British imperialism's "UN road" received a lukewarm
response in France and Germany.
While the French and German imperialists want to preserve
and increase their own influence in the Middle East they
did not expect much from the Americans in the first place
let alone now after refusing to endorse the Anglo-American
aggression in the Security Council.
Nor are they simply going to accept an American carve-up of
Iraq and the Middle East and the global oil market lying
down. Their next move, following the Franco-German-Russian
summit, remains a secret though the continuing demand for
the return of the UN weapons inspectors to independently
see if Iraq was hiding any banned weapons shows that Berlin
and Paris are not going to let the matter drop.
Russia, France and Germany have held a summit in St
Petersburg to plan their next moves over the crisis.
Grandly dubbed the "anti-war alliance" by some Russian
commentators and referred to in France as a new "Triple
Entente", the three major powers of Europe re-affirmed
their original opposition to the Anglo-American invasion
and stressed the need for the United Nations to now oversee
the establishment of an elected government in Iraq.
Any move that blocks the establishment of an Anglo-American
puppet regime in Iraq is welcome. But not if it substitutes
one protectorate with another, albeit controlled by a
consortium of Great Powers under the flag of the United
Nations. even though the entire country is under the thumb
of the Anglo-American expeditionary force.
The Struggle For Peace In Britain
Over the past few months an anti-war movement of
unprecedented scale has swept the world, not least in the
United States and Britain. Mass demonstrations including
one two million strong in London reflected the mass
opposition to the imperialism war inside the labour
movement and amongst the people as a whole.
But those in favour of imperialist aggression are the real
rulers of our country. They are most aggressive and greedy
sections of the capitalist and land-owning class. The sort
of people who robbed and looted Africa and Asia in the
nineteenth century to build an Empire in which "the sun
never set", killing and enslaving millions on their way;
the kind who lived the life of Roman Emperors in their
grand houses while British workers slaved in their
factories for pennies and died broken and destitute in the
slums of our great cities; the people who sent millions to
their deaths in the First World War to preserve and
increase their fortunes.
They are the ruling class; the big capitalists, the
bankers, the industrialists and big landowners who really
run this country. They are still with us.
They pull the strings. Now they show what a farce our
so-called parliamentary democracy really is. Now they
reveal the contempt they have for the people beneath them.
The Labour government was elected by millions. Millions are
opposed to the war. Their voice is ignored and dismissed
and the only demand that Blair & Co listen too is that of
the ruling class.
The crisis in the Labour Party has spread to the
Government. Two Cabinet ministers along with some junior
ministerial officers have resigned. There is anger at the
spectacle of a British prime minister reduced to the role
of an apologist for George W Bush. There is disgust at the
sight of the British army in the Gulf reduced to the role
of hired hands of American imperialism like the sepoys of
the old East India Company. Even sections of the
bourgeoisie and the ruling class are opposed to the war and
this is reflected in the position of the Liberal Democrats
and the small but growing band of Tory MPs. But Blair & Co
have determined to serve one section of the ruling class,
the most reactionary and imperialist exploiters who believe
that British imperialism's world-wide interests can only be
protected by the might of the American armed forces.
The European Union is divided and so is our own ruling
class and the war has brought their divisions to a head.
The most reactionary, aggressive and venal sections, those
the Blair leadership are serving, are in the war camp.
They are opposed by those in favour of greater European
integration; the elements of the ruling class which will
profit from partnership inside the EU rather than with US
imperialism. And they have turned to the peace movement for
popular support in their struggle.
This is why the North American-owned press in Britain is
targeting the peace movement and attacking the leaders of
the Stop the War Coalition. The campaigning Labour MP,
George Galloway, has been singled out for special attention
to punish him for his long-standing support for the Arabs
over the years and he has now been suspended from Labour
The war party, who believe that British imperialism's
global interests can only be preserved by American might,
are dominant at the moment. Blair still struggles to
maintain the old British ruling class policy of straddling
the Atlantic to play off Europe against America but he
burnt his bridges in more than one sense in this war.
The Government is now hinting that the referendum on the
single European currency will be deferred for a few more
years. This is not out of any concern for working people
who would suffer from EMU. It simply reflects the demands
of the war party, which includes virtually all the
The Blair leadership has aligned itself with the most
reactionary and venal sections of the British ruling class
those who profit from British imperialism's neo- colonial
exploitation, those who know it can only be propped up by
the guns of the American war-machine. This war party, which
includes most but not all of the Tory leaders, has the
backing of the North American owned press in Britain. But
it does not represent the views of that section of the
ruling class that wants closer integration with the
European Union. Nor does it represent the views of the mass
of the Labour Party nor the mass of the working class.
The struggle within the Labour Party is clearly going to
intensify in the few months - a positive development as the
only way the war party as a whole can be defeated is by
defeating Blair & Co inside the party they claim to lead.
But the agenda must not be simply reduced to divisions
within the ruling class itself over Europe and the United
States. Nor must the movement be used simply as a weapon by
one section of the ruling class over another. We must
campaign for an independent working class policy at home
We must demand the restoration of all trade union rights;
for cheap housing for all; good free education and health
services; state welfare benefits and pensions that would
enable workers to live in dignity.
The fight for a change in Labour's leadership must be a
fight for people's policies - first and foremost for peace
and the withdrawal of all British troops from Iraq, an end
to the occupation, a just and lasting peace for all the
peoples of the Middle East and an end to imperialist war.