marxism-digest V1 #5643

Richard Harris rhh1 at
Sun Mar 30 13:05:26 MST 2003

>Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 09:02:31 -0800
>From: "Walter Lippmann" <walterlx at>
>Subject: Re: Forwarded from Anthony (NYT)

Walter said: "Peace IS patriotic, whether you like it or
not. We need to appeal to the troops
and do everything we can to get the
truth about the war aims and what the
government is up to, clear to the troops.

I agree with Nadal's suggestion: "Have you
hugged your mechanized infantry today"?
Yes, they should be hugged, kissed and
given anti-war leaflets. "

I really don't want to disagree with comrades at this serious time, but
Walter is quite wrong.  Where I am, I am actively campaigning amongst the
local population, especially organised workers, to make clear that this is
an aggressive imperialist war that tells us all we need to know about the
nature of the state (out of control - no effective democracy) and its
contempt for  people, here us and the Iraqi people.  Workers of the world
unite! is needed more than ever.

It strikes me as terribly wrong to fall behind the language of the
bourgeoisie - patriotism, 'our' state, 'our' troops.  It is these bloody
troops who are doing the killing!  Isn't all this talk about hugging the
troops abstract rubbish?  They are in the Gulf.  I can't relate to them.
Can you?

In my town there is the base of the Queen's Regiment.  The whole lot are
surrounding Basra.  I hope they are sick of it at saying so to their wives
and partners.  I hope, that through my efforts and that of others here,
wives and partners are telling them that there is massive opposition at
hope.  That is where I am and that is what I can do.

But there isn't that massive opposition yet.  Until I can get thousands in
this town on the streets, I will not begin to have an impact on the Army, or
on the political class.  Thousands will have an impact on the political
state well before the Army.  That is the realistic goal.

A conscript Army fought for nearly four and a half years in WWI without
cracking.  The professional British Army is not going to fall apart in the
Gulf.  It is a distraction and stupidity even to think about it when, at
present, we cannot even bring the weight of the working class into action
with anti-war strikes.  As I have said before, if the time comes when the
Army looks like splintering, I will spend time trying to relate to them
(?how, they are outside Basra?)  In the meantime, there is work to do, and
that involves convincing the people that we should not be rallying behind
our troops (the urgent daily demands of Blair.)  We should look at what
Blair's army is doing, criminally invading another state and shelling and
bombing cities, for Christ's sake.

Canterbury, Kent

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