Socialist Worker

We can beat the lie machine

Issue No. 1818

IRAQ'S OFFER on arms inspections wrong-footed the US state at the start of this week. This means we can expect a torrent of lies to blunt opposition to a murderous attack on Iraq. The goalposts have already been shifted. We were told a few weeks ago that Iraq is a nuclear-armed state on the brink of invading its neighbours. But a study last week found that Saddam Hussein does not have nuclear weapons. None of the six states that border Iraq fear invasion. So now we are told Saddam Hussein is a bad man who could possibly get nuclear weapons in the future if someone gave him the technology possessed by only a handful of states.

The desperate spin from the New Labour government is a tribute to the strength of anti-war feeling in Britain and across the globe. So too is Bush's attempt to shroud his warmongering in the flag of the United Nations Security Council by offering France, Russia and China some crumbs from his table.

Millions of people in Britain see through the lies. The numbers are higher than before the last Gulf War, the Balkans War or the war on Afghanistan. There are deep divisions among the world's rulers. But the propaganda does have an effect if it is not challenged. A poll for the Guardian on Monday found the majority of those who expressed a firm view still oppose the war. Some 40 percent of people were against it, 36 percent for it, with an increase to 24 percent in the number not sure. Other polls have shown a bigger anti-war majority. Such shifts and turns in the polls are not surprising.

Governments go to great lengths to rally support in the run-up to wars, often from people who did not previously think about politics. But three things are now clear. First, the unprecedented opposition to the war is the basis for a mass movement beginning with an enormous demonstration next week. Second, we have to redouble our efforts to put the anti-war argument in every workplace, college, school and community. We have something the warmongers do not - tens of thousands of people who can convince their friends and workmates to stand up against war.

Third, Blair faces growing opposition over public sector pay and privatisation. Resistance over those issues can lead even more people to question why Blair puts bombing people above the rights of working people. The bigger next Saturday's march, the greater the pressure on Blair's divided government, and the bigger the number of people who can build opposition to the war.

  • Get to next week's anti-war demonstration.
  • Tell your friends and workmates about it, and ask them to come.
  • Ask your union or community group to support it, and to contribute to transport costs.
  • Make sure the majority anti-war voice is heard where you are.

Most people have not heard the kind of arguments and facts that Socialist Worker carries. Use them to win over more people to become part of the anti-war movement.

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What We Think
Sat 21 Sep 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1818
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