Worldwide actions against war
Peace activists took to the streets in all Australian capital cities immediately the news came through of the US-British missile and bombing attacks on Kabul and other targets in Afghanistan. There were demonstrations in New York, Washington and San Francisco and many British cities. Once again the United Nations has been ignored indicating that the US and British leaders are deliberately by-passing the world body and its Charter to ensure that their policies are implemented without any consideration or decision by the UN Security Council. The long-term intentions of the US and British leaders have been made clear in the statement of President Bush in announcing the military actions against one of the poorest countries in the world, a country that has already suffered more than 20 years of conflict. Bush said: "Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader. Every nation has a choice to make ... there is no neutral ground". The message is clear — either do as the US leadership dictates or allegations of terrorism or harbouring terrorists will be levelled and military action taken allegedly to eliminate terrorists. This agenda is also made clear in the assertions of US and British leaders that the campaign will take months, even years. In attempting to implement this objective many countries are going to become targets. "Infinite justice" is going to become "Infinite war". In condemning the war drive, the Chair of the Communist Party of the USA, Sam Webb says: "Bush's speech rests on the long-discredited and exceedingly dangerous notion that violence can resolve conflicts between peoples and nations". The campaign has been enthusiastically joined by Howard and Bomber Beazley who is aspiring to prove himself as an even greater supporter of the American warhawks than Howard and a more competent conductor of war activities as a consequence of his having been a previous Minister of Defence in the Hawke and Keating Governments. The rush by western governments to support the American war is proving yet another indication that the leaders of social democratic or labour governments are just as warlike and just as imperialist as the most conservative circles of the US. Britain, France, Germany and Australia all have social democratic governments. Not one of them has a word to say about peace or even about upholding the United Nations Charter which pledges all nations to peaceful solutions and to refrain from the use of force or any threat to use force. The claim by Bush and British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, that the US and Britain are peaceful nations flies in the face of many acts of war by both countries. The ongoing bombing of Iraq in which only British and US airforces take part is only the most recent proof of the falsity of this claim. Phillip Adams writing in the Weekend Australian (Oct 6-7) makes a damning indictment of the US claim. He writes that "the US fails to see that it has always been among the most violent nations on earth". He lists fact after historical fact to prove this assertion, not only the wars against Mexico, Cuba, Panama, Grenada, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile to mention only a few, but the violence within American society itself. He draws the conclusion that, "the US isn't violent because of the movies. The movies are violent because of the US." The claim that only military targets are being hit also flies in the face of all reason. Thousands of civilians inhabit every city and must inevitably become casualties. In all recent wars civilian casualties have far outnumbered military casualties. "It takes no rocket scientist to predict that if military power is employed, the loss of innocent Afghan and other lives would be followed by counter reprisals, but on a far bigger scale and on all sides", said Sam Webb. The military and political agenda of the US and NATO leaders is a far- reaching one. The elimination of the Taliban represents only a small part of their aims. Their first step is to reimpose a colonial form of dictatorship over the whole of the Arab and Muslim world and to secure the oil resources of the region under their total control. The second major step is to impose their domination over Russia and over the whole of Asia. Their aim is nothing less than that attempted by the German Nazis — world domination. Says Sam Webb: "The third objective of Bush's war against terrorism is to reassert US imperialism's single superpower status in every region of the world and to gain advantage over its imperialist rivals." Furthermore, the so-called war against terrorism is also being used to attack the democratic rights that these leaders pretend to be fighting for. In many western countries far-reaching anti-democratic legislation is being prepared which will severely restrict democratic rights, give greatly enhanced powers to police, so-called security organisations, special troops and so forth. The definition being given to "terrorism" indicates that any street demonstration, strike struggle or other act could be branded as terrorist if the authorities claim that it is a "threat to security" or aims "to seriously prejudice the political, economic or social structures of a country". Those involved could be held for 48 hours without charge. A refusal to answer questions could result in a five-year jail sentence. The US and British war against Afghanistan (and against other countries in the future) is taking place on the background of severe economic crisis in all the major capitalist countries. There is massive and worldwide discontent with the poverty, unemployment, hunger, and lack of health care and educational opportunities suffered by many millions of people. This has become unbearable for the people of many countries. This is the cause of the demonstrations that have been taking place in many of the cities of the world against the policies of conservative and social democratic governments, the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation. This is also the cause of terrorist actions. To remove terrorism these causes have to be removed. Using the excuse of the war against terrorism, western governments aim to smash these demonstrations and to prevent, by their own terror, such outpourings of discontent and opposition in the future. But they cannot succeed. Already on a worldwide scale the peace movements have sprung into action and the demands of the working people for a better life continue to be voiced. Says Sam Webb of the United States: "In just a few short days, peace activities were organised on 140 college and university campuses ... and just this week, the AFL-CIO announced plans to organise union members and their allies around an economic recovery program that benefits working men and women. "We must not conclude that we are at the doorstep of a long dark period of political reaction and far right-wing domination of our nation's political life. Such a conclusion confuses momentary difficulties with the long-term prospects of the labour and people's movement", concludes Sam Webb. The same is true for Australia. The rapidity with which the Australian peace activities have organised demonstrations for peace and against racism and the size of the actions even at this early stage when the weight of mass media propaganda has had some effect, is the promise that the massive attacks on the rights of the people and war itself will be beaten back. Let everyone work to see to it that the demonstrations which are to take place in all Australian cities this coming weekend and all future actions get the massive support that is needed now.