Socialist Worker

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Issue No. 2483

Thousands protest outside parliament ahead of the vote for war

Thousands protest outside parliament ahead of the vote for war (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The ruling class loves a war. They pretend that we all have a “national interest” against an outside enemy and distract us from the attacks they are raining down on us.

The Tories also want to use this latest war to ramp up racism against Muslims.

Yet David Cameron has the nerve to try and co?opt the “You ain’t no Muslim bruv” comment by a witness to the knife attack at Leytonstone Tube station, in east London. He wanted to portray himself as being on the side of millions of Muslims who feel demonised.

But it’s Cameron who is creating the racist climate that labels Muslims as dangerous “extremists”. He’s trying to position himself to launch a fresh attack.

The Tories’ pumped out war propaganda—and were helped by the Labour MPs who joined them.

But thousands of people across Britain are not swallowing their war lies or the racist rhetoric that goes with them. Protesters took to the streets in their thousands in the days leading up to the vote to bomb Syria on Wednesday of last week. People are angry—and they are right to be.

They can see that bombing Syria is not about making people safe in Syria or in Britain. It is yet another imperialist adventure so the West can carve up the Middle East.

Now that the bombing has begun, we can’t let up on the protests.

Many who have marched over the last week remember the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and know what the reality of imperialist war looks like. Many others are getting involved for the first time.


We must stay in the streets, and win all those who are unsure about the war to join the resistance. We need to expose the Tories’ true motives for sending bombers to a country already destroyed by war. And we need a militant mass movement that can force the Tories out of the war.

That also means mobilising to resist the racist backlash against Muslims.

Activists can build anti-war rallies, pickets and protests everywhere. Trade unionists can raise the issue of the war at work and activists can build links with local mosques, schools and colleges.

We can stop this war—but we need to get organised.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn voted against the war, alongside the majority of Labour MPs. But he gave a “free vote” to the Parliamentary Labour Party and 66 MPs voted for airstrikes. It was sickening to see Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn claim that bombing was in the socialist tradition of internationalism.

He even had the gall to invoke the memory of the Spanish Civil War. The real meaning of internationalism is that you have more in common with ordinary people across the world than you ever have with your own ruling class.

The Tories and political commentators heaped praise on Benn because he played into the establishment’s hands. He gave the Tories’ bombs a left gloss.

If we are to beat the Tories and their lackeys in Labour we can’t sit back and hope that change will come through parliament.

Socialist Worker argues that real change comes from below. That’s why the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is organised in branches across Britain.

We believe that being a socialist means being part of every struggle—big or small. We support workers on strike, we fight for refugees’ right to find a home in Britain.

And we are part of every mobilisation against the Tories’ imperialist wars.

But we will never get rid of wars until we get rid of the capitalist system that breeds them. That means we will need a revolutionary struggle that transforms society. Being a socialist isn’t just about what you are against, it’s about what you are for.

If you want stop the bombing of Syria—and don’t want to keep marching against new wars every year —join us in the struggle.

The SWP is fighting for a socialist society free of war, exploitation and oppression.

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