Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2483

Labour crisis over Syria war shows limits of reformism

The Left around Jeremy Corbyn should now be clear about the dilemma they face trying to use Labour as a vehicle for social change.

They have stormed the parliamentary bastion of careerism and self-interest.

But they found an impregnable wall of warmongers and establishment figures dismissing Labour members’ wishes.

Corbyn quite rightly emphasised debate and democracy to come to a position on bombing Syria, but that counts for nothing in the Labour Party.

He is up against MPs with limitless admiration for business ventures, military or otherwise, launched by enemies of our class.

Corbyn should have exercised his mandate to force MPs to toe the party line, whatever the consequences.

They’ll only come at him again.

Instead we were left with a dirty compromise that can only spell despondency for the left and utter terror for more people across the Middle East.

This debacle should not deter people from resisting capitalism or from supporting Corbyn.

But it must be a wakeup call to those with any illusions that Labour will show real compassion for those battered by the system.

Barry Conway, Wigan

Eight Merseyside Labour MPs voted for war on Syria last week.

They think they are safe sitting on big 30,000 majorities. But they need to remember they had comrades in Glasgow with majorities just as big as theirs until very recently.

Judging by the mood at a recent Merseyside Momentum day, some local MPs may not get a chance to stand in another general election if grassroots members have a say.

Phil Rowan, south London

lI felt physically sick listening to the pro-war speeches in parliament on Wednesday of last week. In Wakefield we had an emergency Stop the War meeting on the evening of the vote.

Some of those at the meeting had been part of the We Are Wakefield convoy to Dunkirk the week before.

They had seen the appalling conditions people who had fled the wars in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq were living under.

People were so angry that when the meeting finished a delegation went immediately down to local pro-war Labour MP Mary Creagh’s surgery.

We took signs saying “Don’t Bomb Syria” and “Kids die when politicians lie”, and posted photos of the protest on Twitter.

As the dreadful news broke that British airstrikes had begun, there were also reports of MPs complaining that people were protesting against their decisions.

What did those MPs who voted for war, especially the 66 Labour ones, expect? 

People are extremely angry and are taking to the streets and social media shouting, “Not in my name.”

That needs to continue as long as they continue to support yet another bloody imperialist war.

Sally Kincaid, Leeds

lThe British people and their representatives in parliament should not be disillusioned with the mealy-mouthed hype of David Cameron regarding Syria.

He seems to be taking the helm for his financial elite puppet masters, who have created enemies for British citizens all over the Islamic world.

It seems the only objective of Cameron is for another regime change and another leader submissive to the geopolitical aims of financial elitists in the West.

Air-strike-diplomacy is no diplomacy.

William Burns, Edinburgh

Tsipras is wrong to back Israel

Socialists will have been shocked to see Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras shake hands with murderous Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu recently.

Tsipras also proclaimed Jerusalem as the “historic capital” of the Zionist state.

He turned his back on Palestinians’ longstanding demand that illegally occupied East Jerusalem be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The reason for his embrace of Israel is a planned three-way gas deal between Israel, Greece and Cyprus.

This deal is not only economic. It is also political in that it cuts out Turkey, which pleases the nationalists of the Greek ruling class.

Tsipras’s despicable conduct in Israel is the latest manifestation of the parliamentary politics of Syriza.

This focuses upon an accommodation with the Greek state, rather than a reliance upon the independent action of the Greek working class.

Mark Brown, Glasgow

The left has let us down in Uruguay

I have been a reader of Socialist Worker for over five years now. It is a thorough source of information of what happens in Britain and the rest of the world.

I follow with concern what is happening in the Middle East and Europe.

Your publication does a lot of good in bringing understanding and clarity to this complex situation.

I understand that Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure from the right and his own party.

In Uruguay we are on the third re-election of a party from the “left” that has bowed before the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Transnationals.

I know it is not easy to break off from such strong powers.

Fernando A. Mattos, Montevideo, Uruguay

Violence is at France’s heart

Violence is intrinsic to French society. The tragedy in Paris was the grim result of entrenched racism that traps Arab and African victims in the slums of the “banlieues”.

France is only about class inequality at the expense of freedom.

Zekria Ibrahimi, by email

Can Socialist Worker give some advice?

I keep hearing from some on the right and on some on the left that I can’t be Christian and Socialist.

I disagree. I am both and always will be.

Please could you tell me the consensus of opinion of your readers.

Nick, by email

Don’t pick on Christianity

“Don’t let the Church muscle in on Christmas,” you say (Socialist Worker, 28 November).

Christmas is a Christian festival. You might as well have said, “Don’t let the Mosque muscle in on the Koran”.

All religions must be freely allowed to operate.

Under socialism all religions will dissolve. Until that time we must not target any religion.

Elijah Traven, Hull

Let’s shame pro-war MPs

I believe that MPs who voted for war should be named and shamed.

And Jeremy Corbyn should take this as a clear indication of who is against him.

Subyatee Bertram, on Facebook

Tiffany’s links to war crimes

Tiffany’s, the leading diamond jewellery retailer, is under pressure after it was revealed it sources many of its diamonds from the Beny Steinmetz Group.

This group has “adopted” a unit of the Israeli military accused of war crimes.

It also appears that Tiffany’s was aware of the risk this posed to its reputation in 2014.

Sean Clinton, Ireland

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Article information

Tue 8 Dec 2015, 17:19 GMT
Issue No. 2483
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