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New Cold War? The Return of Stop the War, Jeremy Corbyn and ‘anti-imperialism’.

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Jeremy Corbyn, “the levels of anti-Chinese racism in our society are quite horrendous” .

In Left Out (Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire. 2020) it is said that “foreign policy is the real locomotive force” of Jeremy Corbyn’s leftism and that of his Director of Strategy and Communications, Seumas Milne.    (Page 77) Activists on the left would hardly have needed this book to tell them: the former Labour Leader was both prominent in the protests against the Invasion of Iraq, in the Stop the War Coalition (StWC), and, less visibly to the wider public, has been active within Liberation, the successor (renamed in 1970) to the Movement for Colonial Freedom. (MCF).

For Pogrund and Maguire his worldview is that “the US was both a global hegemon and a force for ill in the world. They believed its imperialism ought to be resisted, and that resistance to its imperialism could almost always be justified.” (ibid).

This is unfair to Corbyn (though not to Milne). Jeremy Corbyn has always emphasised human rights. Yet one would hope that he gave them first place, not get locked into the views put forward by (amongst others) his former top aide that submerge them with issues about ‘imperialism’.

The Movement for Colonial Freedom was born out of resistance to the British Empire. At present its legacy can be traced in the reckoning with this past, given a stimulus recently by the American-centred Black Lives Matter. But, as Priyamvada Gopal has argued in her important  Insurgent Empire. Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent  (2019) these radicals were shaped by a form of “engagement with non-European peoples.” (Page 453.) She traces the history right back to the French Revolution, the Chartists, Caribbean revolts, the long-history of the drive for independence in the Sub-Continent,  and the post-Russian Revolution anti-colonial movements, seen in on the left with the transnational League Against Imperialism (1927) and the emergence of Pan-Africanism.

The “insurgents who inspired them” changed the way anti-colonialists, anti-imperialists, thought. In place of liberal paternalism, and the view that the colonised learnt their demands from the example of ‘British’ liberty and the rule of law, the British, and other European lefts began to work with equals and became changed as a result.

Outside of academic and circles  ‘contrapuntal histories’ of Empire, however brilliant,  or battles over the symbols of the ‘culture wars’ over Empire, is of less importance than the kind of solidarity shown in the past by campaigns such as the Movement for Colonial Freedom. Many of us have taken the view that we have to listen to what today’s ‘insurgents’ from Syria, Belarus to Hong Kong have to say. Many of us, looking at the “post-colonial” world have found that demands for human rights, defined by people suffering abuses or demanding their own freedoms, take priority over global conflicts between the ‘hegemon’ and the rest.

Jeremy Corbyn is, as indicated, a supporter of the Stop the War Coalition. The meeting he addressed is titled, “The US, China, and the threat of War.”

Here is what a writer for Counterfire, a left group which has great influence in the StWC says of one player in this conflict.

China: a socialist force for good or an imperial superpower in the making? An historical evaluation – long read

Dragan Plavšić

China is an emerging imperialist power that is seeking to assert itself in a world dominated by the established imperialist power of the US, still the most powerful economic, political and military force in the world today. The escalating tensions between the US and China make the dangers of another Cold War palpable, with the Trump administration in particular determined to shift the traditional focus of US and Western foreign policy from Russia to China.

In this impending conflict, the left in the UK, the closest ally of the US, has a crucial role to play. First and foremost, it must be guided by the principle laid out in the First World War by the German socialist, Karl Liebknecht, that our main enemy is at home, not least given the eminently pragmatic fact that this is the enemy within reaching distance of our protests.[18]

But in following this principle, for all the reasons argued here, it would be a mistake to see China as somehow on our side, even if only on the misleading basis that our enemy’s enemy is our friend. This temptation should certainly be resisted, not least because we ought not to forget the corresponding principle of international solidarity with genuine struggles against oppression in other countries. We need to give expression to both principles as and when the need arises.

He gives an example,

The crisis in Hong Kong is a case in point. The left should certainly support the movement for the defence of democratic rights there, but in ways that encourage its political independence from the US and the West. In particular, this means opposing those who would raise the demand for Hong Kong’s independence, as this is a demand whose logic would drag the movement into increasingly submissive dependence on Washington and London.

Plavšić concludes

It therefore follows that our ally in China is not the CCP-run state but the working class.

This is a start, at least.

But the obsession with the potential for protests and movements to play into the hands of the ‘US and the West’ is not a good sign. It serves as a very convenient pretext for ignoring any message somebody, or in this case, a groupuscule, does not like. It enables them to protest “at home” while ignoring an ‘abroad’ that modern communication and migration, personal contact, and even holidays, makes pretty close to hand.

Human rights are universal. The national, religious and cultural oppression of Uighurs is an issue regardless of what the ‘West’ says and the class inflection it takes. We have to learn, like our forebears, that we cannot stand by and let their voices be unheard.


Unheard they were at the Stop the War Coalition’s Labour Fringe event.

This is an account (from the video) of what was said:

The meeting was introduced by Shelley Asquith. She introduced Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn began with the Coronavirus crisis, the refugee crisis, an environmental crisis, seen in the fires in the US and Brazil, and the effects of global warming on the polar regions. He then spoke on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and British complicity through supplies of arms to Saudi Arabia, Palestine, the dangers in the Middle East, . He wished to apologise for the War on Iraq, driven by “xenophobia” “excessive nationalism” and lies. It had unleashed terrorism. He wanted to see Peace in the Middle East (no mention of Syria).  The Stop the War Coalition needs to be here to oppose War. It can help halt the arms industry that has fuelled conflicts by moving in the direction of a “green sustainable future”.

Lindsey German focused on rising US-China tensions, and warned about being  “taken in by this kind of rivalry”. She stated while there are “criticisms that can be made” (no mention of what these might be) these should not be an excuse for War. Salam Yaqoob, claiming to be on the ‘left’  talked of Julien Assange, and algorithms, and compassion (Nothing about Uighurs),  joining the ‘keyboard war’ to promote solidarity and mental well-being.

At the end of the meeting, Corbyn talked “the levels of anti-Chinese racism in our society are quite horrendous” linked to Covid-19 (Corbyn), and a the encouraging international solidarity towards the United States the Black Lives movement, (nothing about Uighurs). Issues now  pumping up arms in the Middle East, stocking conflict with Iran, human rights (nothing about Uighurs). Builds up anti-China rhetoric, direct conflict, or wars by proxy with China. Our policy should be guided by environmental sustainability and human rights (nothing about China).

As Asquith said, the “anti-imperialist” movement has some way to go…

Full Video: Facebook.

I am blocked from following the Stop the War Coalition twitter feed to find out more reactions,   but there is this report;

Morning Star.

WE MUSTN’T bend to the propaganda campaigns of the warmongers,” Labour MP Diane Abbott told a Stop the War fringe meeting during Labour Connected at the weekend.


Ms Abbott pointed out that while in the US, as in Britain, there “is no money for proper personal protective equipment” Mr Trump had hiked the military budget by 18 per cent to $738 billion (£571bn).

She condemned his aggressive foreign policy, including the imposition of tariffs on other countries.

“Trump even slapped tariffs on Britain once — so much for the special relationship,” she said.

“But Boris Johnson owes so much to Trump that when Trump says jump, Johnson says ‘how high?’” — pointing to Britain’s craven agreement to cease working with China’s Huawei corporation under US pressure.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the world faced three huge crises: coronavirus, a refugee crisis that has displaced 70 million people and climate change.

“Yet where is the biggest humanitarian crisis? In Yemen because of the Saudi war.

“What is our contribution? To provide more and more arms. We are complicit in the killing of wholly innocent children,” he charged.

Mr Corbyn said he was proud to have formally apologised when Labour leader for the party’s role in starting the Iraq war.


Nothing about the universal human rights of those in China, the focus of the New Cold War.

Nothing about Syria.

Nothing about Venezuela.

Those who now hold mantle of League Against Imperialism ignore the very universality of rights that they claim to defend.

See: Shiraz. 

China and Myanmar face Uighurs and Rohingya that are fighting back after years of oppression




CND/Stop the War Coalition ‘Peace’ Forum to be Addressed by Defender of Chinese detention of Uighurs

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No Cold War, “Organising worldwide against the US-led New Cold War on China”.

This is the latest cause for the ‘anti-imperialist’ wing of the ‘Peace’ movement.

A New Cold War against China is against the interests of humanity

We note the increasingly aggressive statements and actions being taken by the US government in regard to China. These constitute a threat to world peace and are an obstacle to humanity successfully dealing with extremely serious common issues which confront it such as climate change, control of pandemics, racist discrimination and economic development.

We therefore believe that any New Cold War would run entirely counter to the interests of humanity. Instead we stand in favour of maximum global cooperation in order to tackle the enormous challenges we face as a species.

WIth its aim to defend not just China’s people, but the Chinese regime, the Peace Forum’s initiatives are already beginning to look like a reenactment of the worst aspects of the 1950s World Peace Council, with a much thinned out audience.

To say that this group has a sectarian and neo-Stalinist agenda opposed to internationalism and the democratic traditions of the labour and socialist movement, and the aspirations of the world’s progressives,  would be to downplay just how repugnant the new front is.

Here is their attack on our American comrades:

The former leader of the International Marxist Group, and present-day supporter of socialism with Chinese Communist Party  characteristics, John Ross is excited at their latest initiative.

The defender of China’s outstanding human rights record is right to be exhilarated at Victor Gao’s presence.

This is not a concentration camp’: Analyst Victor Gao on China’s Uighur prisons

High-ranking Chinese analyst Victor Gao defends the detention of an estimated 1 million Uighurs in the Chinese province of Xinjiang on DW’s Conflict Zone, by saying China is dealing with extremism and separatism.


Here is his Wiki entry:

Victor Zhikai Gao (born 1962) (Chinese高志凯pinyinGāo Zhìkǎi) is a Chinese international relations expert and translator.[1][2] He is a Director of the China National Association of International Studies[3] and an Executive Director of Beijing Private Equity Association. He is best known for his position as the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping‘s translator…..

Here are other speakers, who are also unlikely to be known to the wider public.

Here is Jodi Evans.

Margaret KImberley is also quite an internationalist.

She found time from her busy schedule to re-tweet this:


Julie Tang is a patriot.

China’s national anthem means peace and unity

Here is Chris Matlhako.

This seems to be one of his principal international interests.

 Abdallah El Harif of the Moroccan النهج الديمقراطي‎,  la Voie démocratique, a radical left group, seems a decent person working in very very hard conditions.

He holds strong views on the threats to China.

He is cited in this article by fellow speaker at the Forum, Vijay Prashad ,stuffed with citations from Mao-Tse-Tung) by another of the speakers at the ‘Peace Forum’.

Abdallah El Harif, a leader of Democratic Way (Morocco), spoke to me this week about CoronaShock.

China was able to defeat the virus because the government took quick, efficient, and appropriate measures. They mobilised resources because they considered human lives as their priority. The strong Chinese public health system – which is oriented to serve the people – played a key role. China and Cuba taught us about solidarity and internationalism as they sent medical teams around the world to fight the virus.

We are now witnessing the consolidation of a bipolar system. There is the US pole, which is rooted in military force, the imposition of the dollar as the world currency, the US control of the organisation of the global economy and finance, and so on. On the other side, the rising pole is represented by China, which is based on a strong, sovereign, and yet open economy. The Chinese do not have military ambitions, and they do not launch wars against other people; they respect international law and strike commercial – not imperialist – deals with other countries. The US pole sees the deterioration of its hegemony, and so it is lashing out at China. The aims of a government such as Trump’s is to divert domestic opinion from its own crimes in dealing with the pandemic by putting the blame on China.

Maroc : « Démystifier les mensonges sur “l’exception marocaine”, la “transition démocratique”, “la monarchie éclairée” et autres balivernes… » (2016. NPA)

Ollie Vargas is a supporter of the former Bolivian leader Evola Morales.

Vargas has strong opinions about Trotskyists.

Ludo De Brabander is a Belgium peace activist and Dutch speaker. Those who speak that language may be able to tell us more about him.

Here is Code Pink:

Black Alliance for Peace: China, Militarism and Bipartisan Games.

Trump shut down the Chinese consulate in Houston as both parties are in fierce competition to demonstrate their toughness on China. Neither party can explain to the people why China is such a threat today. Just a few months ago, Russia was the main threat.

That is why the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) takes the unequivocal and unambiguous position that we will never allow the U.S. state and its ideological henchmen to push us into opposition against any external enemy. We say, “no to a new cold war with China,” no to militarism, no to domestic repression, and no to the continued neglect of millions of workers and poor people in the United Stat

Kate Hudson (CND) and Lindsey German (Stop the War Coalition, Counterfire) will already be well known to this Blog’s readers. Many will be disappointed that Veteran Rally Speaker Tariq Ali is not billed.

No to War, No to Nato, do not seem to have updated their site or tweets to include this important event.

But, backed by people with such moral authority the world’s burgeoning movement to defend the Chinese state from accusations of violent oppression against the Uighurs, oppression of other minorities, and the suppression of democratic and labour rights, from Hong Kong onwards, the International Peace Forum is sure to have an impact.

There is another view:


Written by Andrew Coates

September 8, 2020 at 11:24 am

Galloway’s Scottish Tory-Unionist-Marxist-Leninist Alliance 4 Unity Backed by Workers Party of Britain.

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Marxist-Leninist Cadre of Workers Party of Britain Back Alliance 4 Unity.

This has indeed set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Michael Gove in talks with George Galloway to discuss protecting the United Kingdom against Scottish independence

Nationalists have reacted to the dapper Gent’s latest proposal on who should vote in an Independence Referendum.

George Galloway sparked outrage today after he spoke out about the Scottish referendum.

The controversial political figure – who advocated for Leave during the Brexit vote – said if a second IndyRef does take place then the 795,000 Scots living elsewhere in the UK must have a vote.

In 2014 those who considered themselves Scottish living outside of the country were not able to have their say. Regardless, Scotland voted 55 per cent to remain as part of the union.

In a shock move the Workers Party of Britain (leader George Galloway) – Scotland – has backed George Galloway’s Tory-Unionist-Marxist-Leninist Front, the  Alliance 4 Unity.

The Party, whose deputy is  Joti Brar from the Communist Party of Great Britain (M-L) and an active member of the Stalin Society,  has not lost its Marxist-Leninist principles. Playing a leading role in the Gallowayite bloc with the patriotic  advanced bourgeoisie they can spot anti-national pro-imperialist forces rearing their heads in Belarus.

Jodi Brar says,

Support is mushrooming for the new Galloway front: