Occupation of Iraq - time to move beyond protest
The Anglo-American occupation of Iraq is a grave warning to the rest of the world. For the British and American governments will clearly stop at nothing to impose their political will on humanity on behalf of the economic interests they serve.
In resorting to brutal military force as a means to an end, the Bush and Blair governments have introduced the prospect of an endless period of war against states that do not conform to their self-proclaimed "values".
All the unpredictable consequences of war are contained within this momentous shift. These include the danger of larger-scale, international conflicts as well as social upheaval and opportunities for transformation as the crisis unfolds.
For the attack on Iraq has profound underlying causes that are hidden behind all the propaganda and outright lies peddled by the media and organisations like the Blair Broadcasting Corporation, otherwise known as the BBC.
The use of unparalleled military might in such a brazen way is a sure indication that the social system of globalised capitalism is no longer able to rule in a peaceful, nominally democratic way - either at home or abroad. The contradictions within the profit system have produced forces and tensions that cannot be contained peacefully.
Corporate-led globalisation has resulted in tremendous over-capacity in both goods for sale and finance looking to earn a return on investment. Some analysts suggest that overproduction is 40% in cars, 100% in bulk chemicals, 50% in steel and 140% in computers.
The downward pressure on prices and profits is enormous, making new markets and investment opportunities urgent. These are the tensions that have driven the corporate-owned Bush administration to lead the attack on Iraq.
The aim is not, as some on the left suggest, to colonise Iraq as part of a new, US empire and plunder its resources. Instead, Iraq and its oil reserves will be brought into the world market. In the wake of the pre-emptive attack and occupation of the sovereign state of Iraq will come a US-led military administration under General Jay Garner.
Far from "giving Iraq back to the Iraqi people", the US interim regime – which leaves the UN on the sidelines - plans to open the door to the oil and other transnational corporations to exploit and "rebuild" Iraq. State-owned oil is to be privatised and food subsidies abolished. These are the "values" thrust on the Iraqi people at gunpoint. The intention is to install a compliant regime to make this work when the US and British troops leave.
Another key factor behind the militarisation of politics is the loss of legitimacy and authority the Bush and Blair regimes, among others, have suffered as a result of the globalisation process. Everyone knows they are the facilitators of the so-called free market economy and nothing else.
What they do command, however, is the state as an instrument of violence and oppression. Soldiers and police will carry out their orders so long as they are paid enough. In this way, the use of state violence in Iraq is also an attempt to retrieve lost political authority.
Fighting for their national pride and independence, and not for Saddam Hussein, those who bravely resisted or simply watched anxiously have paid dearly for their "liberation". Thousands of innocent women and children and countless numbers of ill-equipped, poorly led and outgunned soldiers and militia lie dead, or dying of horrific wounds. While many survivors are undoubtedly glad to see the end of Saddam’s regime, they reject the Anglo-American invasion and the arrogant way “democracy” is being imposed.
Both the US and British forces have savaged towns and cities with unchallenged air and artillery power. All this is justified by people like defence secretary Geoff Hoon. His claim that Iraqi mothers who had lost children to cluster bombs would "one day" be grateful rates as one of the most depraved statements made by this reactionary New Labour government.
While the invasion is opposed by countless millions throughout the world, it went ahead as a result of a failure and betrayal of leaders. In Britain, the trade unions signed up to the Stop the War Coalition's campaign against an attack on Iraq. Yet they did absolutely nothing when the crunch came while Iraqi workers died under the bombs. With one or two notable exceptions like George Galloway and Tam Dalyell, most MPs have stayed silent since the invasion.
All the Arab states kept pumping oil, which they would have once used as a weapon in fighting for the Arab cause. These countries have long degenerated into despotic, corrupt regimes and their complicity will not save them from the Bush-Blair crusade.
The lessons are clear: millions reject the horrific future painted by Bush and Blair. They are unrepresented by regimes that owe their allegiance to corporate interests and whose democratic credentials are virtually non-existent. Protest will not move them one inch.
There is an urgent need to develop a clear vision and strategy for the mass movement, with the aim of securing regime change in Britain and America. This requires a campaign for the removal of the Bush and Blair governments as a whole. The goal is the ending of the profit system and the creation of a truly democratic society based on co-operation and need. There is no other way to stop the war machine from rolling on to its next target.
Immediately in Britain this means going beyond New Labour and everything it stands for. If you agree with this, come to the Voices for the Future conference this Saturday, April 12 and take part in shaping the future.
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