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Contribution of the New Communist Parfty of Britain

Dear Comrades,

We join communists throughout the world in condemning the British government as well as the governments of the United States, France, Canada and other countries for the military attacks on Libya. We condemn the British Members of Parliament who voted overwhelmingly in support of what amount to crimes against peace must also be condemned. These attacks, which have included bombardment from the air and sea using the military might of some of the most powerful armed forces in the world, are being carried out under a UN mandate and with the alleged aim of protecting civilians.

However, it is clear to the whole world that they are a cynical attempt to bring about regime change, as part of an attempt to re-divide the natural resources of this country and gain strategic advantage in the region. The attacks have already led to many civilian deaths as well as the destruction of the resources and infrastructure of the Libyan people.

There can be no justification for such barbaric attacks, carried out on a daily basis with overwhelming force against a sovereign country. The fact that Anglo-American war chiefs have openly admitted that they are seeking regime change and the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi makes a mockery of any claim that armed aggression is being carried for humanitarian reasons. The UN Charter was originally conceived in order to prevent crimes against peace and provides no basis for foreign intervention carried out in order to support armed rebellions. The Anglo-American imperialists and the other big powers who shout the loudest about the rule of law and their “universal values” have once again shown that they adhere to no other principle but “might is right”. They put the defence of their own neo-liberal interests first, while international law and the UN itself can be manipulated or ignored as best suits their purposes.

The hypocrisy and deceit of the British government and its allies, broadcast through the monopoly-controlled media has now reached unprecedented levels. On the one hand, the government claims that it is the greatest champion of those protesting against reactionary regimes in North Africa and the Middle East and, on the other, claims that it has reacted in Libya because these same reactionary regimes organised in the League of Arab States have called on it to do so. Armed intervention in Libya is also in stark contrast to the complete disregard that the Anglo-Americans and their allies have shown for the civilian population of Palestine, who have been driven from their homeland or massacred on an almost daily basis for the over sixty years.

The military attack on Libya show that Britain and the other big powers will let no international norm stand in the way of intervening militarily in pursuit of their interests. It shows that the big powers are still intent on dominating world affairs and dictating matters in their interests, as well as contending to divide up the world’s resources between them. It is not for nothing that the British Prime Minister, David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague speak about the great opportunity presented by the recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. In these circumstances, they seek to consolidate and strengthen their position throughout the region, impose political and economic arrangements that are to their liking and divert the aspirations and struggles of the people from threatening their interests. Justice-loving people can be under no illusion that Britain and the other big powers are supporters of the people’s empowerment and sovereignty.

But workers in Britain and throughout the imperialist heartlands are certainly not going to stand for endless very expensive wars as the cuts to jobs and public sector infrastructure are causing pain and havoc in their daily lives.

This is one of the reasons why the US government prefers other Nato countries to take the lead in the onslaught against Libya and is insisting there will be no ground invasion. In that case the West will not be able to defeat the Gaddafi government but their intervention will allow the civil war to continue for a very long time. They are probably hoping that eventually they will be able to divide Libya into smaller, more manageable pieces for the benefit of the big oil corporations and the strategic interests of US-led imperialism.

We must continue to protest at this intervention and keep reminding the world how much it is costing, in terms of jobs, hospitals and public services.

The half million or so workers who marched through London on Saturday 26th March showed the British bourgeoisie that there is mass opposition to their brutal package of cuts and that it can be mobilised by the labour movement to deliver that message to the Cameron Coalition Government and the ruling class. Whether that opposition turns into concrete resistance to the Tory-led coalition is, of course, another matter.

Meanwhile the bourgeois media has eagerly focused on the antics of a handful of anarchists to raise the spectre or mob rule and dismiss the protest altogether.

The rich have, naturally, feared the power of the mob since the days of the French revolution. And they would have been none too happy at the approval of some of the marchers to the masked youths trashing Fortnum & Mason’s or crashing the Ritz Hotel. But the general feeling was indifference to this form of direct action. And not without reason.

Wearing masks and hoods may be inspired by the spirit of Michael Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin but it is hardly in the same league as the anarchist terror of the 19th century, which claimed the lives of a Russian Czar, the kings of Greece and Italy, an American and a French president, a Spanish prime minister and many others with their daggers, guns and bombs.

Smashing the windows of a bank or paint-bombing police vans may give the perpetrators some sort of feeling of power and importance but it accomplishes nothing apart from unleashing a wave of hypocritical condemnation from a bourgeois media that cheers on imperialist violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and routinely ignores the daily racist abuse and violence on our streets.

What it does do is play into the hands the authorities to justify kettling and police violence. No wonder the venal, paid media of the ruling class focused on the antics of the “black bloc” to paint the massive protest as a Trojan Horse for anarchy and dismiss it altogether.

Certainly supporters of direct action go far beyond the ranks of anarchism. Non-violent direct action in Britain, inspired by the old suffragette movement and Gandhi, has been the mainstay of peace protests for decades. There is always going to be a role for this type of protest but there is no substitute for mass industrial action.

Now there was plenty of talk about a fight-back in the crowd and from the Labour and union leaders on the rostrum at the March demonstration. It range from co-ordinated strike action on the major cutbacks in public pension schemes to a general strike; meanwhile mobilising votes for Labour at the next general election is plainly all that Miliband & Co have in mind.

Waiting for the next general election is a recipe for accepting everything Cameron and Clegg are going to impose on the working class over the next four years. But the alternative — mass industrial action — will only happen if the union leaderships are prepared to defy the anti-union laws and go ahead with solidarity strikes regardless of the financial penalties they may incur. That will only happen if there is sufficient mass support for the struggle at rank-and-file level.

Our Party, along with the rest of the left in the British labour movement, will work to push this top of the agenda in the coming weeks to build the resistance to the cuts on the foundations of the mass protest in March.

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