Stop the War Coalition: No intervention against Daesh.
First the bald assertion.
The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) notes that the Labour Party voted against British intervention in Syria, in present conditions.
Stop the War warmly welcomes the Labour conference vote in opposition to British military intervention in Syria. It shares the view of conference delegates that this would only risk repeating the dreadful consequences of previous such interventions in Iraq and Libya.
We believe that every possible pressure must be put on Labour MPs to support the Party’s position if and when David Cameron decides to bring the issue to the Commons for a vote. It is vital that the strong lead given by Jeremy Corbyn in favour of peace and in opposition to western interventionism, now endorsed by conference, be supported by all Labour MPs, whether or not there is a ‘free vote’ on the matter.
Just as Stop the War has criticised US bombing, and the possibility of British intervention, in Syria, so too we cannot support Russian military action. It remains our view, supported by long history and experience, that external interference has no part to play in resolving the problems in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East.
Only strong, sovereign and representative governments in Syria and Iraq can take the fight to Islamic State and provide a real alternative on the ground to its rule. External powers should refrain from any direct or indirect military intervention and concentrate instead on assisting a negotiated end to the Syrian civil war, which would be a step in that direction.
Stop the War Coalition.
Next, this is what the motion says,
Conference believes the Parliamentary Labour Party should oppose any such extension unless the following conditions are met:
- Clear and unambiguous authorisation for such a bombing campaign from the United Nations;
- A comprehensive European Union-wide plan is in place to provide humanitarian assistance to the increased number of refugees that even more widespread bombing can be expected to lead to;
- Such bombing is exclusively directed at military targets directly associated with ‘Islamic State’ and is not aimed at securing regime change in Syria, noting that if the bombing campaign advocated by the British government in 2013 had not been blocked by the PLP under Ed Miliband’s leadership, ‘Islamic State’ forces might now be in control of far more Syrian territory, including Damascus.
- Any military action is subordinated to international diplomatic efforts, including the main regional powers, to bring the Syrian civil war to an end, since only a broadly-based and sovereign Syrian government can ultimately retake territory currently controlled by ‘Islamic State’.
The motion is clearly opposed to British intervention, off its own back, in Syria.
But it equally gives forthright backing for bombing if given the go-ahead by the UN.
It therefore is the case that delegates did not vote against all intervention in Syria.
Finally, what does the StWC think of UN authorised bombing?
Here is their answer:
With or without UN agreement, bombing Syria by Russia or UK should be opposed. Lindsey German
Stop the War would oppose UK military intervention with or without a UN resolution (look at the consequences of UN authorised wars in Afghanistan and Libya).
Here is German’s organisation, Counterfire, publishing the StWC’s plans on the strategy to follow:
The main task must be to extend the enthusiasm and energy generated by his campaigning over the past months into every local community, workplace and college.
The more people are actively engaged in the campaign to stop the drive to war in Syria, and in the anti-austerity movement, the more we will be defending Jeremy Corbyn under such relentless attack.
How can we do this?
For the anti-war movement, we need to get onto the streets in every area and onto campuses with leaflets, petitions, posters, badges, etc, drawing people into an ever-widening network of activists for peace.
We need to re-invigorate local anti-war groups and start new groups where none exist. While organising locally, the untimate focus will be on parliament and the need to break the consensus that always takes Britain into disastrous wars on the coat tails of the United States.
In 2013, mass pressure on MPs, coupled with the memory of Tony Blair’s catastrophic war on Iraq, delivered an unprecedented defeat for the government, as David Cameron tried to bounce parliament into supporting the bombing of Syria’s Assad regime.
Now Cameron hope that by switching the target to ISIS, he can reverse that defeat and take the UK into yet another pointless war that will serve no purpose, other than to create more death and chao, and drive more refugees to flee the war zone.
We need to implement immediately a comprehensive lobbying of MPs…
A plan of action: the anti-austerity movement
Stop the War has always contrasted the vast government expenditure on the military and weapons of mass destruction, and the draconian austerity cuts to public and welfare services. Billions are spent on the UK war machine at the same time that brutal cuts in benefits are driving some desperate victims to suicide.
The protests at the Conservative Party conference from 3 October will help shape the political landscape over the next months. Tens of thousands will be protesting there, not just on the opening day – 4 October – but for the whole week. The anti-war message needs to be heard loud and clear by the movement, by the media and by the politicians.
Time is tight — the flashpoints are imminent, and we need to act now.
Within a few days of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour leader over 120 new members joined Stop the War Coalition, an indication that the movements that underpinned his victory are recognised as central to defending him.
The stakes are high. With enough pressure from below, David Cameron’s government’s plan to bomb Syria can be defeated for a second time, which would be a long term humiliation for the warmongers.
We also need a big campaign and protest over the scandalous delay in publishing the Iraq war inquiry report, blocked it appears by those — like Tony Blair and Jack Straw — likely to be criticised by Chilcot. With Jeremy Corbyn declaring that Tony Blair should be held to account for alleged war crimes, there is a real prospect that Blair could be driven out of public life once and for all.
Next year parliament will vote on the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons system, at a projected cost of over £100billion. The Campaign for Nuclear disarmament is already mounting a concerted campaign to get MPs to vote against. A huge protest movement before parliament votes will intensify that pressure.
The moment a vote on bombing Syria is announced, Stop the War will call a protest, but the success, the scale, and the impact of that protest depends on what we all do in the next few weeks. Its up to us.
It would seem that the StWC has not the slightest strategy for confronting Deash.
It is unlikely that many will heed this call for ‘revolutionary defeatism’: concentrating their energies on the defeat of British imperialism.
In the process they intend to use the anti-austerity movement to moblise against core parts of Labour and UNITE policy on Syria.