On the eve of its hundredth anniversary, people gathered St James church in London last night, for the great debate on how we should remember World War One. The discussion was led by Lindsey German convener for Stop the War, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Julian Brazier MP and John Blake, a history teacher and Editor of Labour teachers. The key points debated by the panel hinged on whether or not World War One was a ‘just and necessary one’ or only served the interests of empire.
The full speeches and Q&A sessions can be found here:
There were some quizzical views and opinions expressed by both John Blake and Julian Brazier, the debate ebbed and flowed on the historical context which resulted in the war and subsequently world war two. The legacy of these wars should have been peace but instead we have seen countless wars every decade since. The UK, not content with ending the troops on the ground campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, have instead chosen to support the US in the use of unmanned flying machines to be judge jury and executioner (whether you are innocent or not) and Tony Blair would have us blood stained in the midst of a civil war in Syria, going to show that you cannot keep a good war criminal down. Only Lindsey German really touched on this or the role that the military industrial complex plays in the permanent war economy we live in. As for John Blake, to suggest that the military industrial complex was a shadowy conspiracy theory raises eyebrows to say the least.
Julian Brazier also championed the “volunteer nature” of our armies over the conscription of our enemies over the decades but we have conscription, only under a different name – economic necessity. That is why recruitment posters for the armed forces feature heavily in community centres and areas where social deprivation is at its highest and why the ‘Ruperts’ generally come from a higher class base than your children, who get given faulty equipment and bulletproof vests, in the hope they don’t catch an IED and lose a limb.
War is a racket and it is paid for in the blood of innocent people and young men and women from working class backgrounds. We have more in common with the ‘enemy’ our governments and media prescribe to us than the corrupt billionaires sounding the drums of war. If we are to honour the memories of the dead then we must start by putting our arms down and start exposing the links between these generals, military industries, our politicians and the international banks.
BORIS JOHNSON has once again caused outrage with his comment that children at risk of radicalisation should be treated the same as child abuse victims and be removed from their parents and put into care, singling out Muslims in the process.
The Mayor of London cited the recent court case of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the men found guilty of the murder of Lee Rigby last year, as an example of what he called the potential for children to “learn to become killers or suicide bombers.” Boris must have casually forgotten that the two men he used for his sound reasoning and such delusion were actually born and raised Christian by Nigerian parents. Where will we draw the line for this? Did anyone from the government come out to say that when Emma West made her Nazi rant on London’s underground with her son on her lap? Her punishment was a 24 month community order under supervision, no mention of her children being taken away from her by Boris Johnson for his potential radicalisation, side man Nick Clegg or anyone else. So is Boris deliberately trying to drive a cultural war that they are getting extremely good at fanning the flames for? What about Tommy Robinson, the former EDL leader who’s group have previously expressed desire to blow up Mosques, will they be taking his children from him too for radicalisation? What about removing Catholic children from Irish parents in case we see a rise in the IRA?
No, Boris is quite clear when he talks about radicalisation, he means Muslim parents teaching their children about a peaceful religion, Islam.
If Boris is so keen to deal with radicalism in the UK and indeed the world, then perhaps he wants to steer parliament away from the military industrial complex puppet masters and away from their agenda of imperialism and globalisation. If we really believe that the way to peace is to send unmanned drones to bomb women and children in Pakistan and Yemen, to wage shock and awe bombing campaigns on Iraqi citizens and to destabilise governments we aren’t happy with, sending countries into a vicious spiral of civil war that threatens to engulf the world, well then we are lost. We can bomb this world into pieces but we will not bomb it into peace. We need to create an environment where radicalism cannot breed and this is the issue Boris so poorly fails to address – the role of environment.
What the Lee Rigby murder trial highlighted, as details of the pairs life was recounted, are the key roles society and environment play in our development from cradle to grave, Adebowale, the younger of the two was said to have had a history of mental illness and they point to a number of events that occurred in their lives that lead to that fateful day in May 2013. In fact, it is argued that we our susceptible to environmental conditioning from the moment we have one to be influenced by and this starts as early as our mothers womb, where we are at the mercy of their daily lives and chemical balances. It is here we first develop predisposition for addiction etc. The documentary Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, the third by Peter Joseph, had a 15 – 20 minute introduction on the role of genetics and predisposition which centred on the role environment plays in our development and is worth taking the time to watch if you haven’t or to revisit even if you have.
This does not excuse any of the numerous things that we humans do to each other every day and we are all guilty when it comes to the radicalisation of children/people because we allow environments to fester whereby hatred is the order of the day, but we are the ones that can change that, we are the ones who can demand an end to illegal wars and the sale of arms to people today who tomorrow we will be at war with for New Democracy. What is certain is that knee jerk, popularity seeking soundbites from people like Boris Johnson, who is only in it for himself, that only deal in symptoms and not the root causes of our problems are not the way to change things for the better. I will finish off with a quote from Nelson Mandela who captures this last point best.
Ten minutes catching up on the news headlines is enough to make your blood boil!
Obama says he needs to regain some credibility following the Obama care fiasco a few weeks ago… Really? Nothing about needing to regain some credibility because at the Democrat Convention in 2007 he said he would close Guantanamo Bay, restore habeas corpus and end the war. Instead Guantanamo continues with innocent people being force fed due to hunger strikes, NDAA bill was signed as well as CISPA, the NSA scandal erupted and of course we should not forget the drone war which was started by George W. Bush, but utilised and endorsed by Obama. People are summarily tried and excuted without trial and if you are unlucky enough to be a first responder in Pakistan or Yemen, the chances are they will send in the drones again and bomb you. Oh and don’t go to school because there are dozens of Malala’s out there being blown up by Obama’s drone army.
We should give him a peace prize…
Black people in the UK are 3 times more likely to be stopped and detained by the police than white people. This echos another statistic of black people being more than twice likely to be stopped and charged for drug related offences, even though there is an equal amount of use, abuse and sale of it by white and black people. If you are black and detained you are also more likely to die in detention, earlier I had posted being 100% more likely but upon reflection this detracts from others who have suffered at heavy handed police actions.
Nick Clegg says immigrants need to respect our way of life when coming here…you mean the way we do when we engage in illegal wars setting up check points, dropping depleted uranium and white phosphorus on them in their countries whilst listening to heavy metal? Or spreading new democracy by pitching up a McDonald’s restaurant and a Coca-Cola billboard selling trans-fats to children? As if this comment wasn’t bad enough, Clegg said it as a response to David Blunkett who claims there will be riots in his constituency because Romanians are “standing in the streets”. Imagine we lived in a world whereby we had the right to peaceful assembly!?
The fear mongering and scapegoating of Romanians has been relentless from all sides of the mainstream media. I am just waiting for the announcement from the Beeb that the Romanians have cursed our families and we’ll have to go witch hunting.
Where’s the good news? The good news is that people are slowly starting to see the need to join the dots and connect the issues we have been fighting in isolation up until now. Scapegoating and deflection are all means to divide and rule but feel that slowly people are becoming tuned in to this. We have more in common with each other than we do with the corporations and the bosses supposedly running this country and we stand to gain more by standing together than by going it alone. We need to move from being the change we wish to see in the world, to realising we are the change we have been waiting for. Attend rallies, march, talk to others about their problems, find common themes and joint solutions. Our moment is now.