War and proletarian consciousness

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WR public forums on the question of 'War and proletarian consciousness'

The victory of ‘our’ imperialism is always a moment of terrible danger for proletarian consciousness. In 1918, the patriotic euphoria of victory was used to neutralise the massive discontent of the workers in Britain and France who had endured four years of butchery. And above all it was used to separate these sections of the proletariat from their class brothers in Russia and Germany - and thus, to isolate and ultimately destroy the main outposts of the proletarian revolution. The defeat of fascism in 1945 has been used ever since not only to justify the second imperialist holocaust, but also to bludgeon our minds with the idea that ‘democracy’ is the best of all possible worlds.

The collapse of Stalinism in 1989-91 was used to further reinforce this message, adding to it the definitive ‘proof’ that a communist society was at worst a nightmare of state terror, at best an unattainable ideal. Thus it is necessary to understand very clearly the scenes of rejoicing that have met the downfall of the Saddam regime.

The apparent refusal of a majority of the Iraqi masses to lay down their lives for the Saddam regime is certainly to be supported. Contrary to bin Laden and the Islamists, who have called for a jihad in defence of Iraq, and contrary to the Socialist Worker, which has called for exactly the same thing, the only internationalist position today is to reject the defence - tactical, critical or otherwise - of any nation state. The problem is that the ‘coalition’ is manipulating the feelings of relief sweeping the Iraqi population to trap them into supporting the fake liberation delivered by US and British tanks. The same forces which, in 1991, allowed Saddam just enough firepower to crush the revolts in the north and south of Iraq, have now presented themselves as the friends and allies of popular rebellion.

And in the victorious countries, especially America and Britain? The dazzling success of this military campaign will be presented not only as the justification for the war on Iraq - but above all as the best argument in favour of the next war in the strategy for ‘a new American century’.

It is urgent to discuss as widely and as deeply as possible the implications of what is now happening in Iraq. The ICC is organising a series of public meeting on this question. We strongly urge all organisations, groups and individuals who stand for a proletarian, internationalist opposition to war to use these meetings as a forum for debate and clarification.

LONDON Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1 Saturday 26th April at 2.30pm,

BIRMINGHAM Friends of the Earth Centre 54A Allison Street Digbeth, B5 Saturday 10th May at 2.30pm

Supplement to World Revolution 263 BM Box 869 London WC1N 3XX

WR, 10/4/03.