Monday, April 09, 2007

Weekly Worker # 668 April 12th 2007

Weekly Worker (April 5th) leads with the smiling happy faces of the released British army personnel, 'Only pawns in their game' (although the cropping on the righthand side gives more focus to the pensive looking guys over there), with a subtitle suggesting that the propaganda manoeuvre was designed to swing opinion in favour of a 'surgical' strike against Iran. Hmm, not convinced, think its more the case of a botched attempt to convince us that we are in the right and that our lads and ladette got treated badly.

Eddie Ford follows the story up with 'Hostage crisis and reactionary schemes', which lets us know that a) British imperialism has been humiliated;
b) Ahmadinejad has got lots of troubles and this is a good way of blaming the 'little Satan';
c) and the regime was in a win-win situation;
d) Britain seems to have done a 'non-deal deal', lots of murky unexplained business.
e) Ahmadinejad comes out emboldened over other issues, especially nukes.
f) There are differences between the US and British imperialism over Iran.
g) This is the context for letting the sailors sell their stories, winning public support for participation in a 'surgical strike'
h) US offered help that was refused, and basically went along with a diplomatic 'solution'.
i) Will Hutton in The Observer (April 8th) thinks its an augury of 'soft power', but this is wrong, especially if you imagine what would happened if it had been American sailors being captured;
j) and then imagine the Iranian response in Iraq!
l) Especially as al-Sadr is in Iran, getting praised, etc.
m) Al-Sadr's political programme is reactionary, would necessitate annihilating political progressives;
n) so Neither Washington nor Tehran.

Eddie follows this up with 'SWP backs the mullahs - official', which starts with the Iranian teachers strike and HOPOI, contrasted to the SWP and Casmii (Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran), reading the possible ambiguities in the SWP position; but the SWP's 'real position' is revealed by this from SW on April 7th: “Millions of ordinary people in Iran are determined to resist any new attempts by the US and Britain to undermine the Iranian government. The anti-war movement around the world must stand by them”, which the CPGB reads as emblematic of the SWP's brand of 'anti-imperialism', with the Iranian regime as a strategic ally against imperialism. Eddie finds this obscene, totally against the demand for working class political independence. And, of course, this part of a wider retreat from class politics, including Respect, etc. And, says Eddie, the SWP is paying a price in loss of members.

Yasamine Mather weighs in with 'Double standards in London and Tehran' which starts with the lack of legitimacy for the US-UK in the region, but focuses on domestic reasons for the seizure of the sailors and the timing, etc. Confessions are pretty routine in Iran, and the treatment of the regime's domestic enemies has been far far worse: thousands killed, tortured, etc. Mather doesn't think Ahmadinejad got entirely his own way, the release was a 'caving in', there were negotiations and it has secured a place in the fortcoming Cairo conference on Iraq, and finally there is domestic criticism.

Jim Moody reviews more bad news from IPCC Group II: Climate Change 2007, moving to the need for an alternative strategy and finding the SWP response just platitudinous, with a failure to condemn Kyoto as a resutl of its pursuit of broadness. The Socialist Party advocates nationalization as its solution, but fails to address the international nature of the problem.

Mike McNair has two dense pages taking on the Revolutionary Democratic Group's 'democratic permanent revolution'. Yawn.

Chris Knight has two interesting pages on the March for Social Justice in 1997 and the role of Reclaim the Streets in solidarity with the dockers and Reclaim the Future. This is fascinating and useful, and there's an interesting point about Seattle not coming out of nowhere: there's been the dockers International Day of Action in 1997. The Liverpool dockers lost their dispute, but changed the world. I don't quite agree, there is a case to make about international solidarity being inadequate to win the dispute, especially in contrast to what the TUC should have done. But despite this, its an interesting recuperation of a neglected piece of recent history.

And finally 'Sheridan to back SNP' continues to attack the whole 'SSP experience' as a disaster.



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