Author Topic: Discussion Forum Block the Plans For another Pro-War Government  (Read 3759 times)

nestopwar

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Discussion Forum Block the Plans For another Pro-War Government
« on: January 31, 2009, 09:06:01 PM »
South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition will Hold a
Discussion on this topic:
Tuesday , February 17, 2009
Trinity House Social Centre, 134 Laygate,
South Shields. (Nearest Metro
Chichester)
7.30pm - 9.00pm


The Forum will focus on making preparations
to block the new arrangements for another
pro-war government and focus on our
agenda of an anti-war government and
standing anti-war candidates.

Despite President Obama being elected in America on
the promise of ‘change’ there are many reasons for
fearing new forms of pro-war government here and
abroad.
We can see all round support given by the present
pro-war British government which has enabled the
Israeli terror state to launch is murderous offensive
and now occupation of Gaza.
David Miliband the foreign secretary and South
Shields MP has played a key role in defending the
Israeli zionists war crimes against the Palestinians.
He also visited the Congo and on behalf of the British
government supported the stepped up interference
in Africa.
They also have plans for further militarisation in
Afganistan and Pakistan.
They also have ongoing plans to suppress the
population here and the use of the economic crisis
to futher privatise public services, to further impose
economic bondage on people to protect the very rich.
All of these reasons increase the danger of more wars
and should make people bring forward their own antiwar
candidates and build on their experience and make
preparations to block the plan to elect another pro-war
government.

Published by South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition
c/o Trinity House Social Centre, 134 Laygate, South Shields, NE334JD
Phone: 07796267722 email: stswc@blueyonder.co.uk
website: http://www.northeaststopwar.org.uk/southtyne

Phil Talbot

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Re: Discussion Forum Block the Plans For another Pro-War Government
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2009, 04:16:52 PM »
In The Beginning ... (almost six years ago) ...

The start of the South Tyneside Stop the War Coaliton forum in committee room C at South Shields town hall, 7pm (BST), 21st May, 2003, was almost delayed because it was growing dark outside, and so inside, and most of the dozen or so people present in the room could not find the light switch.
No town hall staff seemed to be on duty to help with this technical problem.
Fortunately one person present, Roger Nettleship, hospital worker, Unison union official, and one-time independent parliamentary candidate, had the wit and wisdom to continue searching the wall area near the main door until he found the switch ... just in the nick of time ... so that the meeting could start in a brightened state ... more or less on time.
In the forum's opening address Alan Newham celebrated the "unlikely alliances" that have been building up in the anti-war movement.
He cited the well-testified example of: "The Socialist Workers' Party marching shoulder-to-shoulder with the Mothers' Union."
From an openly open-minded socialist perspective, Alan (who remembers that Marx's mottoes included 'DE OMNIBUS DUBITANDUM - to doubt of everything') then went on to address the historical background of the present world situation.
He called attention to the recently published Perpetual War For Perpetual Peace, by Gore Vidal.
The title is a quote from the American historian Charles A. Beard.
The book lists the number of wars and conflicts in which the U.S. has been involved.
To quote: "In these several hundred wars against communism, terrorism, drugs, or something nothing much between Pearl Harbour and Tuesday, September 11, 2001, we tended to strike the first blow. But then we`re the good guys, right? Right."
Gore is a somewhat prickly, partly exiled, fairly ageing, thorn in the American - and wider world - consiousness.
In an article published in the British Observer (27/10/02 - copyrights observed) Gore directly quoted the words of James Madison at the dawn of the American republic:
"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded beause it comprises and develops the germ of very other.  As the parent of armies, war encourges debts and taxes, the known insturments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.  In war, too, the discretionary power of the executive is extended .. and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people ..."
Words that might give all food for thought, it might be thought.
But as everyone knows, words are not enough ... and actions speak louder than ...
Speaking at the forum, Alan Newham wondered: "What do we DO here - our area?"
What indeed?
In all cases, human actions and communications take place (on a relatively small scale)in a widening (literal or metaphorical) forest of symbols, which include sounds, smells, tastes ... and physical things ...
While giving his opening address Alan was wearing a commercially produced sweatshirt of complex design, which included a representation of a musical score by Shostakovich.
Dmitry Dmitryovich Shostakovich was a state-sponsored musician working mostly in the former USSR, who was widely recognized as one of the 20th Century's greatest classical composers.
Dmitry watched apalled, but feeling almost powerless himself, as the Stalinist state machine (which supported his own work, and which he mostly supported on principle) massacred  (along with many others) the folk bards of the Ukraine, as part of a cultural war.
Most of the slaughtered bards were old and frail, and from the point of view of the Soviet authorities represented out-of-date ways of thinking, feeling and doing that had no place in the new Soviet world of the early 20th Century. (But where is that 'brave new world' now?)
The official justification of the purge was a clampdown on nationalism in the name of 'Internationalism' - even though, at the time, the Stalinists themselves were in the process diverting their ideology from one of 'international socialism' to one of 'socialism in one country'.
Watching the killing of the bards - and many others - from a personally relatively safe academic distance, Dmitry wondered about his own compromised position.
What was he to do?  Give up his state-sponsored vocation in protest? - and probably be persecuted himself as a consequence. Or continue to compose in what many would regard as the service of a regime that violently suppressed the freeedom of music?
Wracked by such private doubts - which perhaps helped his creative flows - Dmitry went on making music - which in some ways preserved and recreated the massacred bards' work ...
Then, despite his personal caution, and despite his mostly orthodox Soviet outlook, Dmitry was almost purged himself in 1936, when the officicial Soviet paper Pravda published an article headlined 'Chaos Instead Of Music'  accusing him of 'leftist distortion', 'petty bourgeios senstaionalism' and 'formalism'.
His survival was largely due to the popular success of his 5th symphony - to which he gave the subtitle 'a Soviet artists' practical creative response to just criticism.'
In the second world war, Dmitry worked as a firefighter during the Nazi seige of Leningrad - out of which came his 7th Symphony, The Leningrad, which became a classical anthem of the struggle against fascism, widely performed in the USSR, the UK, and the USA during the war.
Dmitry's works are marked by sharp contrasts, which some interpret as akin to political dialectics.  They have tragic intensity, grotesque often bizarre wit, humour, parody and satire - and he frequently uses quotation, including of his own previous work.
The ways of free expression - musical or otherwise -  and open dialogue are never without complexities ... and compromises ... and ambiguities ...
A funny thing happened on the way to the forum ...
At the People's Assembly, Westminister Hall, London, March 12, 2003,  Nader Naderi, who gave the second opening address at the STSTWC forum on May 21, met George Galloway.
George is a maverick British Labour MP who - since meeting Nader - has been smeared and pillaried by the mainstream British media for saying things about the war in Iraq that many other people believe - in this country and elsewhere. (Many others believe George went too far ... but that is the way open debate sometimes goes ..)
What happened when George (known to some as 'Georgeous') met Nader (a respectably married  South Tynesider, with good family links to Iran, and, by his own description, a 'capitalist' businessman.)?
In Nader's own words: 'I shook him by the hand and said to him: "May I commend you on your balls?".'
(Context. Just before Nader spoke to him, George had openly suggested to the People's Assembly - attended by more than 1,000 people, but little reported in the mainstream media - that British troops should refuse to fight in Iraq.  Nader reported this remark back to STSTWC a few days later - and expressed surprize that what seemed to be an open call to mutiny by an elected MP of the governing party had not attracted attention in the national press, tv, and radio. Later a few soliders did refuse to fight - in barely reported episodes - and later still George was widely accused of 'treason' - but the idea that the soldiers were directly influenced by George's previously barely reported remarks must be very open to doubt.)
Nader can spin out ambiguous - even kinky - sounding lines, but he can also put things straight.
He told it as he saw it to the forum:
"The fact was, and is, Saddam offered little in the way of a threat to the national security of the U.S., and the U.K - a historical fact, considering the length of the war, and the manner of defeat of an ill-equipped, and rag-tag Iraqi Army ...
... since the downfuall of the tryannical regime of Saddam, one fact is clearly emerging: annexation of the Iraqi oil by the warring factions, , and its incorporation into various American corporate bodies - with further money being siphoned by those managing to get lucrative contracts for rebuilding Iraq.
Simple fact is if these players were to divert such funds from U.S., and U.K. taxes, they most probably would have been found guilty of fraud, and sent to jail, however by going through the route of war, they have laundered their proceeeds, at the cost to those who died fighting this war.  The simple fact you should all remember is: crime should not pay, however sophisticated the criminal, and his or her methods of committing crimes.  In other words, it is up to you to be aware of why violence is chosen in preference to civilized modes of human discourse."
Anna Snowdon, who was informally chairing the 21 May forum, thanked Nader and Alan for their contributions, and went on to highlight some of the relative successes of the anit-war movement .
It had without doubt helped to save lives by acting as a restraining influence on the use of force by the U.S. and U.K.
And then Anna said: "We nearly stopped the war"
This simple phrase was not greeted with universal politeness at the forum.
It was a trigger for a somehwat heated discussion on the question of 'how nearly was "nearly"?'
Why the idea of 'nearly' stopping a war should provoke anger is a question causes a pause for thought
Meanwhile, the forum continues ... perhaps with ongoing regret that, for the people killed an maimed in the war, our 'nearly' was, indeed, not nearly enough ...

(Philip Talbot, 22/05/03 (Reviewed - spelling etc tidied a little - 14_02_2009))