Socialist Democracy statement on the London bombings
28th July 2005
Socialist Democracy condemns the recent bomb attacks in London. The infliction of random violence on ordinary working people can only be described as a crime against the working class. Nor do the reactionary Islamist groups who seem to have carried out the bombings have any political alternative to offer the young Muslims who are increasingly drawn to them.
At the same time it must be understood that the London bombings represent Blair’s war coming home. To attempt, as the British government have done, to decouple the London attacks from the invasion and occupation of Iraq is naïve at best, dishonest at worst. Blair’s own response, that the bombings have no connection to Iraq but are simply the expression of an “evil ideology” based on hatred of the civilised values he claims to represent, falls into the latter category. Blair’s record of enthusiastic warmongering, and his complicity in civilian casualties from Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone to Afghanistan and Iraq, puts his crocodile tears in perspective.
In the current situation the tasks of socialists are clear. There must be a defence of Muslims against racist scapegoating. There has already been a sharp rise in hate crimes against Muslims in Britain, the racists have been crawling out of the woodwork and the government’s response has been to tell Muslims that they must meekly accept racial and religious profiling. A population that already feels itself under siege, suffering not only racism but disproportionate levels of poverty, which saw its own members among the victims of 7th July, is now being held collectively responsible for the actions of a tiny minority. But Muslims are far from being the only target.
An aggressive defence of civil liberties is now vital. The Metropolitan Police, with the full support of New Labour, are now openly operating a shoot to kill policy. Blair’s proposed legislative package goes much further. The cops being given the opportunity to hold suspects for three months rather than 14 days is internment by another name. The proposed offence of “indirect incitement” and promised crackdown on bookshops and websites promoting a vaguely defined “extremism” indicates the possibility that people in Britain could be prosecuted for giving verbal support to armed struggle in Palestine or Kashmir. We also have to take account of Blair’s warning to the judiciary not to get in his way by questioning the legality of the government’s actions. In a context where liberals have caved in – the pressure group Liberty can only call for shoot to kill to be applied with care, and has proposed increased use of wiretaps as an alternative to internment – defence of even liberal positions falls to the left.
Most importantly, there must be a renewed movement for an immediate withdrawal of imperialist troops from Iraq and a recognition of the right of Iraqis to determine their own future. The anti-war movement has been quiet for some time now, but it is more relevant now than ever. The working class must mobilise in its millions to secure a withdrawal from Iraq, and to bring down the Blair regime in the process.