Alongside the report below on the recent protest against US imperialist aggression with Iran, we publish here a polemic against Trump's warmongering.
On Saturday 11 January, Socialist Appeal supporters joined thousands of activists in London to protest against Trump’s warmongering with Iran. Protesters marched from Portland Place to Trafalgar Square, chanting slogans along the way such as “Fight the bosses, not their wars!”
Outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the rally about getting to the root of the conflict and finding a solution, as well as the need for an international redistribution of wealth. His speech was warmly received.
Many protesters were anxious about the possibility of an imminent war against Iran. While this may seem like the logical next step for Trump and his war-hungry pals in the White House, a full-scale military conflict is ruled out.
Iran has a battle-hardened army, as well as many proxy groups in the region. It also controls the Strait of Hormuz, through which around 20% of the world’s oil supply is shipped. If blocked, this could cause oil-prices to sky-rocket, shattering an already unstable world economy. For all these reasons, war against Iran is highly unlikely.
But, above all, going to war with Iran would provoke huge demonstrations back home, creating precisely the kind of political and social instability that Trump is looking to avoid in an election year. After the costly defeats and failures of Afghanistan and Iraq, the American people are in no mood for further imperialist adventures.
Amongst many on Saturday’s demo, there was a distinct feeling of “here we go again”. But Trump’s actions aren’t the same as those of US imperialism in the past. American imperialism, whilst still the strongest military power in the world, has experienced a relative decline. It can no longer throw its weight around and play the role of world policeman, as in the past.
In light of the upcoming election, the US President has attempted to divert attention from the embarrassment of his impeachment case. But in the process, he has only revealed the weakened position that US imperialism now finds itself in.
In recent months, the masses in Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq, have led militant struggles against their own ruling classes, putting these regimes in a fragile position. Trump’s reckless actions, however, have temporarily cut across these mass movements, helping to prop up these regimes by providing them with an ‘anti-imperialist’ umbrella that people can rally under.
But the underlying contradictions that have given rise to these revolutionary developments - of widespread poverty, unemployment, and corruption - remain unresolved. These mass movements will therefore re-emerge in the coming period with increased ferocity.
The task of overthrowing the Iranian regime is down to the working masses of Iran - not the Trump administration in Washington, nor the United Nations. The masses of the Middle East must overthrow capitalism and replace it with a democratic, socialist, planned economy, run not for profit but for the needs of the people.
This is also the task before us in Britain. Overthrowing our own imperialist ruling class is therefore the best way that we can support the struggles of the working class in Iran and the rest of the Middle East.
By Ben Curry
The assassination of General Soleimani, Iran’s most senior military figure, has added petrol to the flames of the crisis in the Middle East. Trump’s actions represent an act of outright imperialist aggression. His whole justification for the assassination drips with hypocrisy. He claims that the Iranian general was a “terrorist” responsible for the deaths of upward of 600 US military personnel. But what of the 1.5 million Iraqis killed by the US military since 2003?
The US president has claimed that the murdered general was a man much hated by the Iranian masses and a leading figure in a tyrannical regime. But the idea that the US is fighting in the Middle East to defend “democracy” against “tyranny” is laughable. Immediately after the assassination, the Iraqi parliament voted democratically to expel US soldiers from the country. The Trump administration responded…with the threat of sanctions! The US government doesn’t even respect the parliament that they installed with their own bayonets.
Whilst it is true that there is a deep revulsion against the repressive theocratic regime in Iran, imperialist aggression only serves to strengthen the rule of the Ayatollahs. The past months have seen revolutionary movements of the masses not only in Iraq and Lebanon, but also in Iran itself. Just when the masses were moving to settle accounts with Iran’s brutal rulers, the American ruling class has allowed the Iranian regime to give itself an “anti-imperialist” veneer and mobilise millions of people on the street in its support.
Meanwhile, the actions of America’s volatile Commander in Chief have provided Boris Johnson’s new government with its first crisis. The entire thrust of Boris’ Brexit campaign has been to break from Europe and breath new life into the “special relationship”.
Boris wasn’t immediately available for comment after news of Soleimani’s death broke. Who can blame him? Who would want to break off a £20,000-a-week holiday in the Carribean to return to news like that? But how jilted he must now feel! Despite Johnson’s cringing loyalty, the Trump didn’t give him so much as a “heads-up”. Perhaps if the pet poodle continues to sit, heel and beg, the master will take more notice of it in the future?
Meanwhile, Labour's shadow foreign secretary and leadership hopeful, Emily Thornberry, has condemned both sides for “acting illegally” and has called for UN intervention.
Such an equivocal attitude is no way to defeat the warmongers. It is utter nonsense to claim that both sides are as bad as each other. It is clear that US imperialism is the aggressor, meddling in sovereign nations to bolster its own imperialist interests.
As for the effectiveness of appealing to the UN and “legality”, we only need to recall how well that worked back in 2003 at the time of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq.
We say: it is the right of the Iranian people alone to overthrow the Iranian regime. US intervention has strengthened the hand of counter-revolution. But pacifist appeals to the UN and “international law” won’t help anyone either. The best solidarity and support that genuine internationalists in Britain and the United States can offer to the revolutions in the Middle East is to fight to overthrow our own imperialist ruling classes.
No war with Iran! Stop imperialist aggression now!
Down with Trump! Down with the Tories! Down with imperialism!