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Resist the drive to World War Three

Belfast Anti War Group

June 2024

Genocide Joe Biden.

The claim that we are heading towards global war may sound alarmist but when we look at what is going on in the world it is difficult not to draw this conclusion. There is a major war in Europe; there is genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gaza; and tensions are rising in the Asia Pacific.  All of these flashpoints have the potential to escalate to a state of general war in which nuclear weapons are deployed and tens of millions of people die.

US war drive

We are already well along this path of escalation.  Nowhere is this clearer than in Ukraine where the war has pitted NATO against Russia. While this may not yet be a direct confrontation between the two, the increasing supply of sophisticated weaponry that depends on NATO military personnel for deployment, is raising that prospect.  The latest move has been to lift restrictions on the use of missiles allowing for strikes deep within the territory of the Russian Federation.  Some political leaders in Europe have even called for the deployment of NATO combat troops in Ukraine. Such a move would undoubtedly lead to a war between NATO and Russia in which nuclear weapons would be deployed.

A plan by the US to deploy missiles to Ukraine was the immediate cause of the Russian invasion of February 2022. This followed on from the Maidan coup of 2014 and the military offensive against the predominantly ethnic Russian populated regions of eastern Ukraine.  There are many criticisms that can be made of the Russian attack but the claim that it was unprovoked is not one of them.

Since the onset of the war the US and its allies have rejected every peace proposal, such as the Istanbul Accords of March 2022, that could have ended the conflict. The consistent feature of such plans is the military neutrality of Ukraine but rather than seek peace the US has sought to escalate the conflict. As Russia gains the upper hand in Ukraine the tactics of the US and its allies have become more desperate and provocative. This has created a very dangerous situation.

The proxy war model is part of the strategy by US imperialism to maintain itself as the dominant power in the world.  This involves the weakening and break-up of the Russian Federation and also control over the Middle East.  The end point of this is war with China, the state that the US views as its greatest rival.  The common thread running through all of these conflicts is US imperialism.  This is not hidden.  Biden administration officials have repeatedly linked Russia, Palestine and China.  The $100 billion war bill passed by the US Congress, which bundled all of these together, makes it explicit.

Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan are all anchors of imperialism in strategic areas of the world. They are not independent actors but proxies acting on behalf of the United States.  We donít hold with conspiracy theories about Israel directing the United States government. The tail doesnít wag the dog.  Joe Biden has the power to end the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.  He doesnít because it is not in the interests of the US ruling elite to do so.

Austerity and repression

Another element of the war drive has been a ratcheting up of the level of repression and censorship across north America and western Europe.  In nearly all states the right to assembly and free speech has been curtailed. The extreme example of this is Germany where the expression of any form of solidarity with Palestine has been criminalised.  We are bombarded daily with propaganda as governments condition their populations for war.  Some states have even made moves to reintroduce military conscription.

Of course, all this war mongering has to be paid for and as more resources are allocated to military spending public services are being cut back.  The drive to war and austerity go hand in hand.

Solidarity and resistance

The words solidarity and resistance are often used without any consideration of what they actually mean or what practical action should flow from them.  Indeed, when we examine what is being advanced by those who claim to be anti-war and in solidarity with the Palestinians, we find that it falls short of what is claimed.  This is particularly the case with Palestine solidarity.  The official IPSC group hasnít really got beyond expressions of sympathy for the people of Gaza.  Its activities havenít extended beyond marches and consumer boycotts. In the case of Ukraine, the situation is even worse with many of the parties and organisations who were part of earlier anti-war movements actually supporting the war!

Sympathy is not solidarity.  The only firm foundation of solidarity is shared interest; a recognition that the people of Palestine and the people of Ireland have a common enemy in the form of imperialism; and that the broader US lead war drive constitutes a real threat to the lives and livelihoods of working-class people across the globe.  This perspective also needs to inform the activity of any solidarity and anti-war movement.  The primary objective must be to end the support from our own governments and from within our own states for war and genocide.  Itís a hypocrisy to rage against the US and Israel and ignore the collaboration that exists all around us.

The most effective action is that which challenges those who we have the closest and most immediate association with. This is the lesson of the pro-Palestine encampments at Trinity and UCD which were successful in bringing an end to those universities' links with Israel and to companies complicit in the oppression of Palestinians. This is the type of disruptive action that needs to be rolled out across broader society to challenge civic bodies, academic institutions, trade unions and political parties on their passivity and collaboration.

We must build a movement that puts an end to Irish involvement in the drive to war. At the very minimum that means an end to cooperation with NATO and an end to the facilitation of the US military at Shannon Airport.  It may be claimed that this in itself will not disrupt the drive to war but if a movement in Ireland is part of a worldwide movement against war, then it can make a difference. Given the threats we face, the urgency to build such a movement has never been greater.

Belfast Anti War Group

The Belfast Anti War Group has been active since early 2022.  We were the main organiser of the protest against the visit of US president Joe Biden to the city in April 2023 and have participated in many of the Palestine solidarity events that have taken place since Oct 2023.

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