One of the first pieces I ever had published was about Baby Bush’s War in Iraq, and the corresponding mass mobilisation of solidarity in the global anti-war protest of February 2003. And just as it was promised at the time, over fifteen years later the dead are still mounting in Afghanistan and Iraq, democracy is nowhere to be seen, large sections of the Middle-East are at war, and of course the most aggressive regimes in the region are taking every opportunity to expand and cement their control. Meanwhile, in the White House and Downing Street it is business as usual. Sadly, the current state of affairs was entirely predictable. But in the intervening time something has changed.
The mobilisation against the war was a turning point. Like a series of waves, accruing power as they find each others resonance, so marxist socialists and anarchist socialists, anti-capitalists, feminists, anti-racists, climate campaigners and pacifists all began finding common cause, and therein common currency. In short a solidarity that the left had been missing for years was beginning to appear. And it wasn’t long before the debate expanded. And keeps expanding still. Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn, Podemos, Syriza, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo; the list just keeps on growing. This is what solidarity is at its very core. However it is not all bread and roses yet.
In response, and again entirely predictably, the international ruling elite have reached for exactly the same play-book that they used the last time large sections of society became politically enlightened and collectively empowered. The same Anti – Solidarity play-book that eventually led to World War II. Much as before, the international ruling elite have tasked their political, propaganda and paramilitary middle-management with undermining any and all socialist leaderships, dividing society by normalising the discourse of the far right, colluding with the violence of the extreme right, accelerating their privatisation of the public services and commons, and misdirecting the public from their own criminality and ineptitude at all costs. In short stopping solidarity by any means necessary.
Unfortunately for them, they have overlooked several fundamental differences to the first half of last century. Not least of all, the fact that we remember all too clearly. But what can you expect when all they have is the most blinkered education money can buy. And so, if we can keep our composure, we make ground as each weapon they pick up and point at the rest of us blows up in their face. As the old saying goes, if they really are determined to fail, its probably best to let them.
However, we can’t just stand by and do nothing, we need to continue building for the future. As more of us come together, each of our campaigns take one step closer to being successful. We have waited centuries for their model to bring about democracy, justice, fairness, freedom and equality. It has failed at every hurdle. Their model has only benefited the 1%, while the rest of us have picked up the bill. We are the 99%, even those among us that are deluded into thinking they will get a seat at the table if they conspire against their brothers and sisters, and we need to stand together in solidarity.
In February 2006 I wrote a review of Sam Mendes’ adaptation of Anthony Swofford’s memoirs. Jarhead garnered a lot of press at the time, as is often the case from both sides of an argument. On that occasion it was in reference to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as Swoffard’s memoirs focussed on his time as US Marine in Daddy Bush’s Iraw war. Peace News published it in Issue 2470. To read it here or to download a .txt version of it please click through to the page.