Year 2000 No. 42, March 7, 2000

Genocidal Sanctions against Iraq:

Necessity to Further Develop Movement against Imperialist Globalisation

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index : Discuss

Genocidal Sanctions against Iraq:
Necessity to Further Develop Movement against Imperialist Globalisation

RCPB(ML) Speech at New Worker Meeting "Eyewitness Baghdad"

TV Review:
Paying the Price: The Killing of the Children of Iraq

Reader's Forum:
No.2: Can Violence Be Justified?

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Genocidal Sanctions against Iraq:

Necessity to Further Develop Movement against Imperialist Globalisation

The horrific and genocidal effect of the sanctions against and bombing of Iraq are becoming more exposed and widely publicised. The facts speak for themselves: the death rate of children under five directly attributable to the sanctions is more than 4,000 a month (Unicef figures). Ten years ago, 92% of the population had safe water. Today untreated water is lethal. No drugs are available on a consistent basis. Shipments valued at almost a billion and a half dollars are frozen. Britain and the US are bombing Iraq almost every day in the longest Anglo-American bombing campaign since the second world war. A whole people is being systematically demonised and destroyed. In the words of Denis Halliday, the former UN Coordinator of Humanitarian Relief to Iraq who resigned in 1998 after 34 years with the UN wen he was Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations: "I had been instructed to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults… What is clear is that the Security Council is now out of control, for its actions here undermine its own Charter, and the Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention. History will slaughter those responsible."

This picture is one of the most graphic examples of Anglo-American imperialism using pretexts which become more unbelievable as time goes by in order to force into submission what it terms a "pariah" state, or alternatively wipe it off the face of the earth. It exposes also the lie that globalisation is the path to bring prosperity and development to the world’s peoples. This globalisation means either complete submission to the Anglo-American "free market" values on the one hand, or the most Hitlerite vengeance against entire peoples on the other. It emphasises both the need to further develop the movement against imperialist globalisation while at the same time that there is a necessity for the programme that the national economy and its direction should be put under the direction of the working class and people be taken up. The programme of the working class in this respect is one which is anti-imperialist in its form while directed to a new socialist society. All democratic forces must develop their opposition to the imperialist dictate and in defence of the right of a country and people to choose their own path of social development.

Article Index


RCPB(ML) Speech at New Worker Meeting "Eyewitness Baghdad"

On Thursday, March 2, the NEW WORKER held a public meeting "Eyewitness Baghdad" in London. The speakers were Jean Hatton, Chiltern Peace & Justice Group, who has recently returned from Iraq; Roger Fletcher, from the Central Committee of the New Communist Party; Andy Brooks, General Secretary of the NCP; and Chris Coleman representing WORKERS’ WEEKLY. Below we print the remarks of Chris Coleman.

Dear Comrades and Friends,

I should first like to thank NCP for giving us the opportunity to speak and to congratulate them on organising a meeting on this very important topic which is deliberately kept out of the headlines. I should also like to say how much we appreciated the speech of Jean Hatton, so moving and revealing such appalling facts. We applaud her work and that of the organisations, local and international, with which she visited Iraq and is now publicising the visit. We, of course, join with you in condemning the continued bombing of Iraq, carried out on a daily basis, by the American and British forces, as well as the continuation of sanctions, beyond all justice and reason, which are among other dreadful consequences causing the deaths of some 7,000 Iraqi children every month. These are truly crimes not only against the Iraqi people but against humanity.

The first point I would like to make is that these actions on the part of the Blair government, as junior partner of the Clinton administration, are not some mistakes in policy. They are not aberrations. They are part of a whole strategy aimed at the Iraqi people and the peoples of the whole world, including in particular here in Britain.

It might not seem immediately relevant, but the last weeks have seen much news about so-called "mega-mergers", particularly in the telecommunications, chemical and banking sectors. Huge monopolies are swallowing up other huge monopolies, all in the quest to become number one in the globalised market. At the same time Tony Blair is telling the workers that the class war is over, that they must support and go into partnership with their own particular monopoly, as part of making Britain itself number one, while continuing to turn more and more sections of the public services over to the very same monopolies for the making of maximum profit.

This drive towards monopolisation and globalisation is leading to fiercer and fiercer competition between these vast monopolies. And this is reflected in fiercer and fiercer contention between the big powers for world domination. In many ways the situation is similar to that at the beginning of the last century leading up to the First World War, when the whole world was divided between the big powers and the struggle intensified for redivision. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 and the end of the bipolar division of the world, another fierce struggle to redivide the world has arisen, and once more world war is threatened. Already we have seen war in Yugoslavia and before in the Gulf. In their drive to dominate the world and to impose on all the peoples their free market economy, their political pluralism and their concept of "human rights" based on private property the big powers, particularly America and Britain, label as "rogue" states any country which dares to refuse to bow to their dictate and openly call for their destruction. In recent days the US Defence Secretary, William S Cohen, has openly named North Korea, Iran and Iraq as among such states.

What should the working class and all progressive people do in this situation? They cannot accept such an agenda, which can only lead to further disasters, to war, and to many more crimes against humanity as are being perpetrated against the people of Iraq. They must take up their own independent programme that will reverse the drive towards monopolisation and globalisation, that will stop gearing everything towards paying the rich, a programme based on the rights of people as human beings and on the rights of nations.

With such a programme in mind we thank you again for inviting us to speak and join with you in calling for an end to these crimes against the Iraqi people, against humanity itself.

Thank you.

Article Index


TV Review:

Paying the Price: The Killing of the Children of Iraq

This Special Report by the Australian journalist John Pilger, shown on ITV last night, is a graphic and shocking eyewitness account of the effect of the continuing UN sanctions against Iraq on the people - and especially the children - of that country, as well as the effect of the almost daily bombing by US and British warplanes. Scenes of appalling suffering and devastation, testimony by Iraqi doctors and ordinary people in the cities and villages and interviews with disillusioned present and former UN officials reveal the scale and full horror of the crime against humanity being perpetrated primarily by the Clinton administration and the Blair government.

The title refers to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s almost unbelievable statement that the deaths of half a million children in Iraq since the Gulf War are a "price worth paying". Pilger’s film explains that under the economic sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council almost ten year’s ago, Iraq is denied equipment and expertise to clean up its battlefields contaminated with what is known to be depleted uranium from Allied weapons. At the same time, the Sanctions Committee in New York, dominated by Americans and British, has blocked or delayed a range of vital equipment, foodstuffs, fuel, chemotherapy drugs, and even pain-killers. The dreadful results of radioactive poisoning, untreated water, untreated sewage and lack of medicines are graphically illustrated in the film, as well as statistics showing that some 4,000 children under five die every month. The brutal level of Anglo-American government cynicism is shown by a British Minister’s statement that a shipment of vaccines for diphtheria and yellow fever was banned as they could be used for "weapons of mass destruction". In fact, as a former UN weapons’ inspector points out, Iraq’s nuclear and biochemical threat is now zero.

The film points out that a mere ten year’s ago Iraq was one of the most developed countries in the Middle East with exceptional levels of education and health. Now these levels are among the worst in the world. Its infant mortality has gone from one of the lowest in the world to the highest.

John Pilger is shown accompanied in Iraq by Dennis Halliday, the former UN Assistant-Secretary General who resigned as head of the so-called Oil for Food programme. Halliday had stated that the UN policy he refused to implement "satisfies the definition of genocide". He states in the film that the sanctions policy is in contravention of the UN Charter, the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention covering even wartime situations. The film explains that his replacement, Hans von Sponeck, also resigned in protest last month as did other UN officials, something unprecedented in UN history.

The film points out that virtually 50% of the victims of the bombing of the so-called "no-fly-zones", imposed by the USA and Britain with no basis in international law and no UN backing, have been civilians.

Pilger asserts at the end of his film that "containing" Iraq with sanctions and bombing destroys Iraq’s capacity to threaten US control of the Middle East’s oil while allowing Saddam Hussein to maintain internal order. He brings out the cynicism of the US in that the CIA installed Saddam in power, armed his regime to wage war on Iran, and has aided his attacks on the population of southern Iraq. Sanctions, he argues, also justify the huge US military presence in the Gulf, as NATO expands eastwards to create a vast new oil protectorate stretching from Turkey to the Caucasus. He says that the perpetrators of this policy should not be allowed to get away with this in our name. Tellingly, he explains that the British Foreign Office demanded editorial control of the film if Foreign Secretary Robin Cook were to appear in it.

John Pilger’s film is an indictment of US and British policy and graphically illustrates that the working class and people cannot accept the agenda of the Blair government regarding Iraq or the wider strategy into which this crime against humanity fits, which will only bring even more Iraq’s.

Article Index


Reader’s Forum

:

No.2: Can Violence Be Justified?

The reader writes: "I have to say that I feel very attracted to the idea of Marxism-Leninism, but there is one thing that holds me back from committing to this ideology. Essentially, the emancipation of the working class can only be achieved through force, and this ultimately would result in violence. Presently, I am very much opposed to violence, as I have always felt that capitalists are essentially a product of their environments, not really an all-evil class who from the beginning of time have attempted to subdue all people to their whims. Essentially they exploit people as they believe that is the only way to achieve anything under this present system." The reader asks if we could offer some clarification on this matter. "Do you believe that violence can be justified?"

In giving our position, we would point out that capitalism itself develops through violence, a feature which has become even more pronounced at its last stage. The blocking of every plan which can open society's path to further development reveals a brutal character for the ruling elite. What they are blocking is the resolution of the contradiction between the social character of production and the private means of its appropriation. The refusal to countenance any move to resolve this contradiction it itself accentuating it and tearing the society apart. The condition for the complete emancipation of the working class, which is modern communism, comes into being after a thoroughgoing resolution of this contradiction.

It is a basic law of nature that all things come into being and pass away, that the contradictions inherent in things and phenomena provide the basis for change, development and motion, and that quantitative changes give rise to an entirely new quality. In terms of society, it can be said that this old society is pregnant with the new one; the capitalist society is pregnant with the socialist society. In the words of Marx, force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one, it is the instrument with the aid of which social movement forces it way through and shatters the dead fossilised political forms.

It can be seen the issue is that the ruling elite resorts to force and violence to prevent the forward march of society. It is not that the communists prefer the method of armed struggle to resolve every contradiction. The ruling elite does whatever is necessary to preserve the status quo. At the same time it carries out privatisation, liberalisation and cutbacks in the name of reform, as though the ruling circles were the ones that stood for progress. However, the more "reforms" they carry out, and the more the absolutism of parliament becomes unpopular, the more they resort to dealing with differences in public opinion as "law and order" problems. In fact, the anti-social reforms accentuate the basic contradiction at the base of society between the social process of production and its private appropriation. The tendency under capitalism for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer is operating with a vengeance, making it impossible for the bourgeoisie to back up the claims that its reforms are sorting out the economic, social and other problems. The only course open for the bourgeoisie is to brutally suppress any opposition to its rule. The use of force and the ongoing concentration of capital and production leads to the fiercest competition; this in turn leads to further anarchy of production, destroying the productive forces on a massive scale and creating chaos and violence in the economy.

The reader goes on to say that: "After reading a great deal abut the Spanish Civil War, I learnt that the communists shot many anarchists during the conflict. Perhaps unity is what we need within the left-wing movement?" The issue with the "left" is an altogether different and unconnected question. Within what is commonly termed the "left" are many different political trends, some of which conciliate with liberalism and social democracy, and some of which are not even legitimate political trends, but constitute those who are intent on wrecking any pro-social programme. The question is rather what stand the workers and the various sections of the people should take to deal with the deep all-round crisis of British capitalism, a system which cannot provide for the people, but in which poverty is increasing and the attacks on education, health and social programmes are being stepped up. What is required is a fighting programme around which all the forces against the anti-social offensive can unite. A coherent programme is needed which embodies the independent demands of the working class, and this programme will provide a rallying point for the vast majority of the people. Such a rallying point is the demand to Stop Paying the Rich - Increase Investments in Social Programmes.

At the same time, all serious groups and individuals should work to strengthen and consolidate the communist and workers' movement in Britain. Marxist-Leninists must develop their unity on the basis that in this present historical period it is no longer acceptable to merely seek agreements on the basis of general line or to form coalitions on the basis of the "left". This basis is one which must include in concrete form challenging the very political forces which are organising the anti-social offensive, as well as those forces that spread harmful illusions that social democracy can be relied upon to fight for progress and change.

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