November 3, 2012

Why Canadians must oppose the war effort

Photo: Protest in Israel against the war

By Darrell Rankin

      The question of war or peace in the Middle East is at a critical moment. The people and sovereignty of Iran and Syria are in grave danger. A small spark could set off a huge war engulfing many countries, including the NATO military alliance.

     Backed by the corporate media and joining other Western powers, the Harper government is imposing sanctions and cutting diplomatic ties as a cover for its own war preparations. Adding to the problem, it is hard to find disagreement on this issue between Harper and the main opposition parties.

     We need millions of Canadians to understand that Harper's war drive must be stopped. We need to explain the reasons behind Harper's role on the world stage, and his government's growing isolation from the world majority on the issue of peace in the Middle East.

     We need to pressure Parliament to make Canada a voice for peace and disarmament in the region. Working people would lose from such a war, as any party that represents workers should know.

     Trade unions and other popular organizations in Canada need to help build the anti‑war movement. This would be the greatest act of solidarity with working people of all nations and religions in the region, because a new war would kill workers of all kinds.

     We need to understand the motivations why the corporate ruling class here and in the Middle East is moving towards war. Only a small handful of people would benefit, especially the arms dealers. To them, a new war is useful as a tool to blind workers and prevent their unity for a better world.

     The Harper Tories have the foolish expectation that a new war would place Syria and Iran under the reactionary control of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and give more time for Israel to tighten its grip over the Palestinian people.

     Like masters at the chess board, Western powers want to alter the Middle East balance. Colonial attitudes that support regime change in Arab countries are alive and well in Ottawa and other Western capitals. But wars do not always reach the desired end.

     For the West, the usual reason for Middle East wars ‑ oil ‑ is receding to the background. There is a growing anti‑popular, reactionary purpose to the latest war drive.

     According to Prime Minister Stephen Harper the "hopeful spring of democracy" has given way to an "angry summer of populism... (R)arely has the free and democratic world been less secure."

     These are convenient words for a true imperialist. They paint the world as full of threatening chaos, a world we must bring under control for the danger to disappear.

     The words are a ruse employed by apologists to justify the drive to dominate other nations. They are used to conceal the danger and chaos created by imperialism in the first place, through sanctions, the arms race and open bellicose threats.

     At first, a war might help the most reactionary circles in the West, who continue to use workers as pawns and cannon fodder. These corporate global overlords intend to crush the democratic, popular character of the Arab Spring and stop it from spreading.

     As emphasized by Harper's own words, hatred of the popular movements is a prominent motivation behind the threats to Iran and Syria. War is a desperate measure by the West and its allies in the region to crush the popular movements and the hopes for global anti-imperialist unity. Even more serious, another Middle East war could easily grow into a world war, pitting the West against China and Russia.

     Intense military preparations in several global hotspots are putting realistic solutions to hunger and climate change on the back burner, where the big oil and grain corporations want them to be. Militarism guarantees that the jobless will continue to go hungry.

     Communist and workers' parties have long stated that another world war can be stopped by a very broad anti‑imperialist alliance. A new Middle East war would complicate building this unity.

     From that perspective, it is vital to block a new war against Iran or Syria. At home and globally, the peace movement has much work ahead to explain the democratic alternatives to war.

     We need to build broad, popular support for comprehensive, mutually agreed and verifiable disarmament in the Middle East, and for the right of the Palestinian people and all nations in the Middle East to decide their future.

     This means ending arms shipments into Syria that violate its sovereignty. Canada must end arms sales to regimes that are violating Syria's sovereignty, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States.

     One thing has not changed about the escalating war threat. The wallets of the Western arms corporations are growing fat off the Middle East.

     This is a war we must stop!

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