Scottish Socialist Party

Mobilising against war

Throughout the last week the Scottish Socialist Party has held meetings across Scotland to discuss the impending war. Many considered the turnouts disappointing (70-100 in Edinburgh and 200 in Glasgow), given the seriousness of the current situation. However, taking into consideration the short time scale in which the meetings were organised, the attendance was relatively pleasing.

The September 24 Edinburgh meeting had three platform speakers: Ally Black (SSP), Brian Quail from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Lindsey German for the SWP. Comrade Black began by expressing his sympathy for the innocent men and women killed on September 11, but stressed that this must not be met with more killing in the Middle East. The task confronting socialists is to oppose the war and to oppose the military foreign policy of the USA. That included continuing to support the Palestinians against the oppression of the US-funded Israeli state. We must also fight against the upsurge in racism which the war hysteria has already begun to create.

Comrade Black pointed to the economic repercussions arising from the New York attacks. He mentioned the 26,000 airline job losses that have already taken place and the 100,000 expected in related industries. The comrade rightly pointed out that as socialists we must have answers for all aspects of the crisis and that we are the only people who will provide solutions that are both rational and humane. He quoted Trotsky, suggesting that, although at first war will rally the working class behind its rulers, it can also provide a catalyst for revolution.

Brian Quail spoke mainly of his experience as a CND activist during various wars over the years. He too mentioned the rise in the number of racist incidents since September 11 and warned of the international repercussions of the war drive, predicting, for example, civil war in Pakistan. He ended by urging everyone to attend the weekend?s events of demonstrations and vigils.

Lindsey German also dealt with racism and Palestine. However, the main theme of her contribution was the hypocrisy of the west. She dealt with the atrocities committed to further the aims of US imperialism at the expense of much of the rest of the world. She said that if you want to see barbarism and religious fundamentalism, then look to the USA.

The SWP, through its refusal to condemn the attacks on World Trade Center, is engaging in a form of apologetics for the terrorism of the islamicists. The fact that US imperialism is responsible for more deaths than bin Laden and co does not make the latter progressive. We have to stand not only against imperialism but also against reactionary anti-capitalisms and regimes such as the Taliban. We must provide a political solution for the working class as well as for the people of the Middle East. The islamicists are part of the problem, not misguided allies in the struggle for that solution.

Sarah McDonald