The Guardian October 10, 2001


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.

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