Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2427

The escalation in Iraq proves anti-war prediction right

The recent escalation of the Western intervention in Iraq vindicates what anti-war protesters have argued. 

The increase in the military tactics used shows that there is no such thing as limited military intervention. 

Western leaders proclaimed that Isis militants could be defeated, or at least held back, through air strikes.

But such military intervention has only ever had a limited effect on terror groups.

Once again Britain is being dragged deeper into a war that it cannot win. 

This is horrifically reminiscent of the invasion of 2003, where Western intervention led to the destruction of Iraq and over a million deaths.

The West achieved none of its aims. And its invasion gave rise to groups such as Isis. 

Historically, military intervention has improved nothing in any country in which it has taken place, and this is clearly evident in Iraq. 

Further military intervention, as opposed to civilian humanitarian aid, will only pour fuel on the fire created by the last war. 

It is just a few years since British troops withdrew after the last invasion. This is why the anti-war movement, spearheaded by groups such as the Stop the War Coalition, is so important. 

History is bound to repeat itself if no one learns the lessons it teaches. 

Nothing came out of the last Western intervention aside from death, destruction and the rise of sectarian and reactionary politics. 

If this current intervention continues, we will no doubt be dragged into another brutal, pointless war.

Noga SoferUniversity of Sussex

A climate of change

Naomi Klein’s excellent new book This Changes Everything pulls together many insights from climate justice activists.

One question it tries to answer is why after 20 years of international talks, emissions continue to rise.

Klein blames firstly the fossil fuel interests whose power most governments won’t challenge.

Secondly, negotiations started at a time when the ideology of the free market was at its strongest. So they brought in ineffective market-based measures such as carbon trading.

Klein criticises the green NGOs that were co-opted by government and big business, and makes it clear that change won’t come without a political struggle.

It will take a war against the corporate interests that stand in the way.

Klein puts forward a vision of a better world, and a strategy of building a grassroots movement that combines climate change with social justice.

She calls for linking up struggles against fracking with fuel poverty and the demand for jobs in renewable energy.

She sees the indigenous people fighting tar sands oil extraction in Canada as the movement’s vanguard.

Klein’s book is very welcome. It puts a powerful critique of capitalism to a wide audience.

But one element is missing from its analysis. 

Klein talks about workers as another oppressed group. But workers’ self organisation is the one force that can realise the vision she argues for.

John SinhaNorth London

Selloffs to state firms show up the hypocrisy

Further to your article about rail privatisation (Socialist Worker, 18 October), there is another rich irony to add.

The publicly owned rail companies of France, Germany and Netherlands all now have big stakes in our privatised rail system. 

Similar situations exist in the bus network and with the energy suppliers.

The operators rated best are owned or part-owned by public sector rail firms. Yet the big parties continue to preach the hypocritical dogma that public is bad, private good. This must  justify the subsidies which fill their chums’ pockets. 

A further hypocrisy is that big profits go to foreign firms with their stakes in important sectors of British infrastructure, while George Osborne cuts in the name of the deficit.

The whole privatised rail system is a costly carve-up and a shambles. It should simply be renationalised lock, stock and barrel.

Brian Rosen, south east London

Why doesn't the left in Britain unite?

I agree with Alex Callinicos’s call for unity on the left (Socialist Worker, 18 October). 

I don’t think that this should be as one party. Putting the leaders of all the current left groups together would be like putting the proverbial cats in a sack. 

But surely groups could campaign together against austerity and in favour of socialism. 

This could be done as one body made up of a variety of parts.

Democracy would play its full part in resolving conflicts.

It’s tragic in such a long and severe capitalist crisis that the radical left is so weak. But I fear this call will fall on deaf ears. 

Small groups with what Callinicos calls their “petty narcissism” will continue—along with austerity and attacks on workers’ living standards.

Dave TateDurham

High cost of low rural pay

People think that life in Devon must be a rural idyll. But behind the picture postcard is severe hardship.

The costs of living and transport are higher and housing is unaffordable. 

Seasonal, zero hours work means thousands live hand to mouth.

But trade unions and others are launching campaigns to highlight poverty wages in rural areas. People are realising the true cost of low wage exploitation.

Wendy Butler and Kathrine Darkinlfracombe

A force that won’t learn

Police in Rotherham refused to believe the victims of child abuse, their parents and researchers even when presented with names and first hand evidence. 

This is confirmed in the report on Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham and echoed by new complaints from Sheffield. 

Far from being inhibited by “political correctness”, South Yorkshire Police treated these vulnerable children with contempt. 

Exactly the same contempt they showed to miners at Orgreave and working class football fans at Hillsborough.

Sarah CoxWest London

More egg on Labour’s face

I am surprised that anybody in the Scottish Labour Party could imagine Jim Murphy as their leader.

He will always be remembered for getting egged and calling it a “sinister attack”.  

John HeinEdinburgh

Why criticise science show? 

Dave Sewell uses his review of Human Universe (Socialist Worker, 25 October) to make important points about human evolution.

They read like criticisms but nothing in the first three programmes contradicts Sewell. 

I couldn’t spot a hint of determinism in Brian Cox’s commentaries. 

Dermot SmythChesterfield

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Article information

Tue 28 Oct 2014, 17:28 GMT
Issue No. 2427
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