British introduction to the IBT leaflet "Defend Iraq! Down with Bush and Blair's Terror War!"

Tony Blair's Labour government is the major imperialist supporter of the pending US-led attack on Iraq. Despite considerable popular opposition both internationally and nationally, the British government has confirmed its 'solidarity' with George W. Bush. Unlike their French or German counterparts, the British bourgeoisie appear to believe that their imperialist appetites can best be satisfied by unwavering support of the US. The common reference to Blair as 'Bush's poodle' misses the point. Blair supports Bush because he believes that the best way to obtain a bigger 'piece of the cake' for British capital is, at the moment, through collaboration rather than opposition. The British bourgeoisie know that he has their interests, not those of the US capitalists, at heart. Once again the Labour Party shows its true (nationalist) colours as a party fit for imperialism.

In Britain the anti-war opposition is an amorphous mass. Most trade unions have formally adopted an anti-war stance. However, the recent TUC congress showed that the union leaders are stopping well short of taking a principled position of defending Iraq against imperialist attack and instead peddle illusions in the United Nations, an imperialist controlled den of thieves. A motion passed by the General Council reads: 'To avoid the desperate human cost that would arise in the event of war, every effort should be made to find solutions through diplomatic and peaceful means with the UN playing a central role to ease tension and avoid war.' A vaguely pacifist hope for a 'solution' is no substitute for a forthright condemnation of the predatory Anglo-American plan to occupy Iraq to steal its oil. Because the union leaders have no intention of offering any serious opposition to the pending attack (and will attempt to throttle any attempt by militants to initiate such actions) their motion contains no hint of any trade-union organised action against the war. On the contrary, it virtually endorses UN-sanctioned war against Iraq: 'In addition, military action should only be an option if there is evidence made generally available which clearly demonstrates that Saddam Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems and poses a real threat to world peace.'

The TUC General Council, composed of agents of the capitalists within the workers' movement, naturally seeks to obscure the fact that the 'real threat to world peace' comes from the imperialist powers, specifically in this case the US and British governments. Once again the leadership of the unions stands shoulder to shoulder with the Labour warmongers. In order to provide an outlet for justified outrage about the plans for war, the rank and file is encouraged to attend pacifist protests like the 28 September demonstration in London, where the large numbers of demonstrators showed the widespread opposition to the imperialist war drive, but the leadership provided no perspective for an active struggle against British militarism.

Various so-called 'revolutionary' organisations consciously oppose any suggestion that the defeat of British imperialism in this predatory colonial war would be a good thing, and insist on trying to impose bourgeois-pacifist lowest common denominator politics on their 'Stop the War Coalition'. War is endemic to imperialism and the duty of Marxists is to win the most advanced elements of the working class to understand that only through the revolutionary overthrow of the entire international capitalist system will it be possible to eliminate war, along with hunger, poverty, racism and all the other social pathologies associated with the rule of capital over labour.

We reprint below a leaflet which was distributed by IBT comrades at recent anti-war demonstrations in North America.

Full text of leaflet available here

Posted: 16 November 2002