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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Jeremy Corbyn and Stop the War aren't Pacifists!



… or even “anti-war”.

American readers may not be aware that the British Opposition – the Labour Party – has appointed a communist (or, in his own words, a“democratic socialist”) as its leader.

Jeremy Corbyn MP was the chair of the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) from 2011 until September 2015. A week after his election as leader of the Labour Party (in September 2015) he announced that he was stepping down from the role. He also said that he'd continue to support Stop the War.

The StWC has been actively campaigning against military action in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria since it was created in 2001. Thus it was inevitable that both Jeremy Corbyn and StWC would be against any military action in Syria. Though, as we shall see, not because they are pacifists or even anti-war.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has only just accused those who are against air-strikes against the Islamic State in Syria as being “terrorist sympathisers”. He's right. However, Leftists are terrorist sympathisers not because they oppose air-strikes; but because they are literally sympathetic towards terrorist groups (e.g., Hamas and Hezbollah) and terror-supporting states (e.g., Iran and Syria) and their various causes. Isolationists and others, on the other hand, will be against Syrian intervention for very different reasons.

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First things first. Jeremy Corbyn is not – repeat not – a pacifist and it's a disgrace that certain tabloids and commentators have described him in that that way. He is self-described as a "anti-imperialist campaigner" who's working within the system he ultimately wants to destroy. This is a stance which dates back to Antonio Gramsci in the late 1920s and 1930s. After that, the Frankfurt School, Saul Alinskyand many others have updated Gramscian theories for their own countries and for their own times.

Thus Corbyn is not against war – he's only against wars fought be Western “capitalist states”. The Stop the War Coalition too is only against supposedly “capitalist wars”. Many other forms of violence - carried by Islamists, communists or those who aren't white (e.g. “national liberation movements”) - are supported by Stop the War. In other words, the Stop the War Coalition has zero to say (in terms of demonstrations, activism and rhetoric) about wars and violence carried out by non-capitalist states and Islamic terror groups.

The founders of StWC were all members (or former members) of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). Indeed it was only the other day that I saw Corbyn share a platform with SWP member and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) leader: violentcriminal,Weyman Bennett.


Since we're on the subject of the StWC, it's also worth mentioning the strong connections between its leaders and activists and the Iranian theocratic state. Various StWC leaders have presented programmes for Iran's Press TV channel; along with other Islamist outlets. George Galloway, for example, is also an important leader of the Stop the War Coalition.
John Rees and CAGE


One other leader - and a founder - of the StWC (its 'national officer') is John Rees; who's also a founder and leader of the very recent Trotskyist frontgroup – The People's Assembly. Rees also effectively works for the Iranian state and does itspropaganda business via Press TV and the Islam Channel. (Here's a CST link on John Rees's work for the Islam Channel.) Indeed recently John Rees took part in the infamous press conference held by the Islamist group CAGE in which Britain's 'Jihadi John' was both defended and supported.

John Rees, then, will receiving thousands of pounds (minimum) a month from the Iranian state. Rees, as a leader of The People's Assembly, also once said that he'd support Iran in a war with Britain. And, as everyone should know, Iran supports both Bashar Assad and Hezbollah – all at the heart of Syria's current civil war.

Now what does Stop the War and John Rees think of the Iranian state killing gays, persecuting Christian minorities and oppressing women? Actually, they don't think that any of this is wrong. Why is that? It's partly because Iranians have brown skin and they're also – or the state is – against the West and semi-officially (at least) anti-capitalist. That's all it takes for Trotskyists/progressives like John Rees to reverse their previous deeply-held political standards. Change the oppressor's skin colour from white to brown (or to black) and the oppressor simply ceases to be an oppressor. That's how simple Trotskyist logic is.

Now set John Rees views on Iran and indeed Syria within the context of a Trotskyism - now called 'progressivism' – which states that black and brown people can never be racist; or even be held responsible for political violence. This is true, apparently, by (Marxist) definition. Why is that? Because brown and black people never have 'political power'. This means that they are always 'oppressed' and always victims. Thus, like a mathematical equation, they simply can't do either political or criminal wrong... just like children really! This is the stipulation/diktat behind the hypocrisy and (positive) racism of the Left.

Thus Stop the War and Jeremy Corbyn are against military intervention for two main reasons:


i) They are strong supporters of Iran. Iran is a strong supporter of Bashar Assad's regime in Syria. (Here is John Rees saying “Don't Attack Iran!''.)

ii) 'Western capitalist states' would be carrying out the military intervention in Syria. Therefore that's automatically wrong because, according to Marxist logic, it will be exclusively driven by the “inevitable laws of capitalist accumulation and imperialism”.


So, to recap. Jeremy Corbyn and the Stop the War Coalition aren't against military intervention in Syria because they're against war or violence. They're certainly not pacifists. Indeed they are Trotskyists and communists who have a strong commitment to what they themselves call “revolutionary violence”. This also partly explains their tacit defence - and sometimes support - of Islamic terror.

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*) Some examples of John Rees's work for Iran, via Press TV: