The kind of antiwar movement we need

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at virgin.net
Wed Nov 27 14:41:23 MST 2002


Socialists in Europe must be very careful that our opposition to Bush's war
doesn't take an anti-American flavour. It's very easy for this to happen, as
there is a history of anti-American sentiments in Europe into which anti-war
feelings can tap if we're not careful. I have before me a pamphlet by the
British Communist Party called Get Out! from the early 1950s, aimed against
the stationing of US servicemen in Britain. It talks about 'the arrogant
slouch that is the hallmark of the Yank soldier everywhere -- in or out of
uniform'. Moreover: 'Wherever they go they spread corruption and moral
degradation among our young people. They are above the law and treat British
people and British ways of living with the open contempt of a "master
race".' It talks about the need for 'a fight... for our cultural heritage
and the protection of our children from the spread of these alien and
disgusting attacks on their moral welfare' -- this is specifically aimed at
US comic books. This sort of language could easily have been from the
extreme right, and has no place in left-wing publications.

It's an easy trick in Europe to pose opposition to US adventures in
patriotic language, that is, to see it as a national rather than a class
question, that British, French, German, Italian, etc, workers and bosses
should combine against the American foe. It means lining up behind the
bosses in an anti-American popular front. If in the past this was a little
abstract because the European bourgeoisies would always side with the USA in
the Cold War bipolar world, the increase in US unilateralism and the US
bourgeoisie's quest for global domination will lead to the rise of European
bourgeois opposition to the USA. The tendencies towards Europe versus
America can already been seen over the forthcoming war with Iraq, and will
be strengthened if the USA succeeds in establishing an arm-lock over the
Gulf and Middle East.

European socialists must be sure that they do not make any concessions to
Euro-chauvinism.

Paul F


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