Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thoughts on the 'No Fly Zone' by Ian Dixon

The introduction of a 'no fly zone' over Libya has led to plenty of debate within our local party. Ian Dixon our candidate in Kenley ward has composed the following piece. Ian is the Chair of Peace News and Housmans Bookshop. In 1960 he was a founding member the British anti-war group the Committee of 100.

We all know that the US military/corporate complex sticks its snout only into areas where there is a pay off in terms of strategic military power or loot from oil, lucrative contracts etc. It is not a question of cynicism it is a realistic assessment of the nature of power. We all know that dictators are only bad when they threaten our governments’ interests. If they are aligned with “us” then they can slaughter as many of the people as they think fit – usually with our assistance.

Who sold Gadaffi the arms in the first place? – Western governments. Are we now asking these same govts to intervene in some altruistic way to save the Libyan people? These are the, merchants of death we are talking about – the guys who gladly sell arms to both sides in a conflict, and when the country is smashed to pieces they send in contractors to earn fortunes at the expense of the local people.

Do you really trust them to limit operations to preventative flights to stop Gadaffi strafing his own people.

To me this beggars belief. Yes Libya has oil and the US and Europe will do anything, kill anyone to get it cheap.

If the No Fly zone happens the powers that be will then say that they need to hit Gadaffi’s air power at source on the airfields , then in the industrial targets. Before we know it we will have a third (or is it fourth) war on our hands with all the pseudo patriotic and military claptrap propaganda that we have been enduring over recent years. At the end there will be another devastated country that needs “US expertise and personnel” to rebuild, and one that has another puppet government warmly supportive of the Nato and the US.

Yes, of course, we need to support the Libyan people, directly where we can but also by campaigning more intensely against the arms trade and by exposing the true nature our aggressive governments.

Sorry if the language is intemperate but as I get older I find my patience with the view that somehow we live in a humane society where nice uncompromised UN guys with lovely blue berets gently restrain the nasty people. This failure to address the real nature of power is, in my view, one of the biggest psychological barriers to real social change.

If I can draw a final comparison which is relevant I wonder how many are familiar with the story of the Peasants’ Revolt. After the Black Death the labour force was decimated and through scarcity acquired real bargaining power. Under watt Tyler’s leadership a peasant army cornered the King in London and demanded freedoms that were totally revolutionary. The rebellion, however, was subject to a fatal ideological flaw. Watt and his mates thought the King was a nice guy who was surrounded by a bunch of less chivalrous barons and knights who were the bad guys who day to day enforced the supremacy of the ruling class. So when the King said he accepted the demands and shouted to the crowd to join him in Clerkenwell (or was it Camberwell?) they followed him only to find when they got there that it was not to sign a new charter or Rights but to be surrounded by the King’s formidable bowmen and surrender.

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