Stop the cuts, stop the bombing and welcome the refugees!

7 October 2015

Speaking at the Manchester Tory party conference, foreign secretary Philip Hammond said that "there is a beginning of consensus now in parliament that we have to take the fight with Isis to Raqqa in Syria, rather than just attacking them in Iraq". In other words bombing Syria is back on the agenda.

Last time Cameron tried this, he was defeated in the Commons and he hasn't risked it again since, although this didn't prevent him from using drones over Syria - and at what cost to the population?

But, what does this government - and the other rich governments involved - care about the fate of the population? They dare to invoke "humanitarian" motives, but their only concern is to maintain their "order", so that profits keep flowing from the poor countries' natural resources, into the coffers of the rich multinationals.

In fact, a measure of their concern for the population is the 20,000 bombs dropped over Syria and Iraq by western aircraft over the past year and the casualties and destruction this implies!

Western forces out of the Middle East!

Cameron will probably tell us at some point that bombing Syria, or even sending troops there, is the only way to restore "stability" in the region. As if bombing Libya hadn't turned the country into a war-zone between rival militias, destabilising neighbouring countries! And isn't Isis itself a blowback from the occupation of Iraq?

Cameron has already inadvertently let the cat out of the bag by embarking on a diatribe against what he calls Russia's "classic asymmetric warfare" and accusing Putin of wanting to save Assad's skin. Whereas he, Cameron, makes no secret of the fact that he wants to see "regime change" in Syria, because Assad has "butchered his own people". But apparently "butchering" the Syrian people is alright as long as it's done by the RAF!

The truth is that there will be no "stability" in the region as long as it remains a playground for the rivalries and manoeuvres of all kinds of protagonists - from the US and various aspiring regional powers, like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. By propping up dictators and militias - and playing them off against one another - they feed the region's bloody chaos. Nor is this happening just in Syria and Iraq: a US-backed, Saudi-led, bombing campaign is being waged in Yemen, almost unreported.

Far too much damage has already been done in the Middle East. Any western military venture there should be opposed, whether it has UN backing or not - contrary to the abject policy adopted by the Labour party conference!

.... and welcome refugees!

Over the past few months, the very same rich countries involved in these bombings have tried to stop the flow of refugees created by their criminal policies. They closed their borders, sent them their water-cannons - and in some cases, even their tanks!

True, unlike his Hungarian colleague Orban, Cameron didn't set up a razor-wire fence around Britain, nor prisoners' camps for the refugees. But with Britain being surrounded by heavily-patrolled waters and already having 10 ill-famed detention centres, he doesn't need to!

Cameron dared to offer shelter to just 4,000 Syrian refugees a year over the next 5 years, out of the 4 to 5 million who fled the country! This, from the government of the country which played the second biggest role in destroying Iraq and transforming it into a training ground for militias like Isis! How far can the cynicism of these people go?

On Tuesday, Home Office minister Theresa May justified this insult to humanity, by trying to whip up fears that an inflow of refugees would threaten the working class here.

But this is a lie. The refugees are not a threat to the working class. The only threats today are the bosses' attacks on jobs, wages and conditions and Osborne's attacks on benefits and public services. And stopping these attacks depends on changing the balance of class forces.

A rich country like Britain has the means to face a large inflow of refugees. More infrastructure can be built and more public services provided - to meet all needs. All available work can be shared out between all workers, refugees or not, and a decent income guaranteed for all. And the capitalists can be made to foot the bill out of their colossal profits.

Not only has the working class nothing to fear from an inflow of refugees, but it has everything to gain, because it will reinforce its ranks against a capitalist class which is also responsible for the refugees' plight. So, yes, all refugees should be welcome to enter and settle in Britain. This government keeps saying that it has to pay its debt. It should pay its debt to the Syrian and Iraqi people!