Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The ABC of anti-imperialism

Reports of the death of the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) are very much premature. In my local town we organsed a very successful 'die-in' and there were similar events throughout the country on Saturday and last Thursday on university campuses.

An older Iranian man came up to me as we were setting up and asked why we don't say more about how terrible Ahmedinajad is. This is the same line that was put by the CPGB, the AWL and Hands Off the People of Iran (HOPI) at the StWC Conference a few weeks ago. I explained to him that it was the primary aim of the StWC to prevent any attack on Iran. At a time when the warmongers in America, Britain, France and elsewhere are creating false claims about Iran trying to build nuclear weapons (contrary to the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)) and unfounded and ultra-hypocritical claims about intervention in Iraq, it is the job of anti-war campaigners to highlight the disastrous consequences any attack would have for the people of Iran as well as for the democracy, students' and women's movements there. To get sucked into discussing the rights and wrongs of the Iranian regime would only give ammunition to the warmongers. That is not to be an apologist for the regime. It is the ABC of anti-imperialism.

When an imperialist country is threatening to attack a less powerful country, anti-imperialists everywhere must focus all their energies on preventing the imperialist country from starting a war by aiming all their political firepower on the imperialist country. This is to recognise the difference in their respective capacities to exploit and oppress people around the world. This is particularly true if you happen to be living in either an imperialist country or a nation that supports an imperialist power. To criticise both the imperialist country and the country they are threatening equally is to re-enforce the inbuilt inequality in the situation and thus to favour the imperialist power. It is always in the interests of anti-imperialists to see the imperialist power defeated. Any defeat for any imperialist power is a blow against imperialism in general.

Thus the defeat of the Israeli Army (IDF) by Hezbollah last year should be seen as a victory for anti-imperialism regardless of any criticisms you may have of Hezbollah. Many of us gave Hezbollah unconditional, but not uncritical, support.

Criticism of the Iranian regime is fine, but things do not occur in isolation or in the abstract. Any criticism must be considered in the light of how it will fit in to the current debate on how to resolve the 'Iranian' question.