We Are The Fascists

Hillary Benn

Hillary Benn (Photo by CIAT)

I always felt that if I’d been alive in the 1940s I would have supported the war against Hitler’s Germany.

But last night, listening to Hilary Benn’s speech in the Westminster debate on air strikes against Syria, where he compared the hideous activities of ISIS to the Nazis of the 1930s and 40s, I started to question whether we really should have gone to war with Germany at that time.

This is not because I have Nazi sympathies, but because ever since then, “fighting the forces of fascism” has been used as an excuse for numerous invasions where the real motivation seems to be taking control of the invaded country’s resources.

However if Britain had not gone to war against Hitler, the Nazis would have invaded and possibly conquered. I am glad that the people of Britain and America fought against Germany in the Second World War (including my own father, who was training as an officer in Jamaica and Canada at this time, but the war ended before he was sent to Europe.)

We’re the invaders now

Thinking about this brought me to the depressing realisation that we are all fascists in the West. Our countries are now the ones doing the invading and the regime change.

In the 21st century the NATO governments have invaded a succession of countries, effecting regime change in each one: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and now Syria.

We’re not committing the mass genocide that Hitler’s Nazis enacted (arguably) – though when British-made weapons are trialled against Palestinian women and children it appears that we’re just distancing ourselves more than the openly aggressive Nazis did.

We have our own warmongering Hillary

Our leaders talk self-righteously of humanitarian efforts, of replacing tyranny with democracy and of fighting the forces of evil as they bomb and plunder. Hilary Benn drew on the historical socialist struggles of the International Brigade against the forces of General Franco in the Spanish Civil War to win support for air strikes.

Referring to Hillary Clinton, Professor Jem Bendel of the University of Cumbria said in his blog that “we have our own warmongering Hillary too”.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond warned of terrorist threats from ISIS in the run-up to Christmas, effectively using the brutal violence of the terrorists to achieve his own desired outcome. It’s not surprising that many commentators see ISIS as proxies for the West, not dissimilar to the use of the brutal Freikorps by the Weimar Republic in Germany after the First World War.

The UK government recently adopted the name Daesh for ISIS, apparently because it is an insulting term. I wonder if the real reason is to try and deflect the embarrassment of this group of killers having an English name.

Vicious cycle of barbarity

A distinct pattern has emerged since 2001. Terrorist groups carry out atrocities, then a country or countries are invaded in order to “fight terror” – but the terrorism is never conquered. Instead, more terrorism ensues, especially towards the people of the invaded country, who also have to suffer bloodshed from the invading forces.

Regime change in the invaded country is always a part of this vicious cycle.

So when people say that the Paris attacks are the reason that we must bomb Syria, I fail to understand. The Paris attacks were unimaginably horrific. Why would we want to inflict a similar nightmare on more innocent people?

Why would we want to perpetuate the cycle of violence and bloodshed which, as recent history shows, is always the result of such attacks?

Unrepresentative democracy

One politician who said that the Paris attacks had influenced his decision to vote for air strikes against Syria is Simon Hoare, Conservative MP for North Dorset.

Hoare told the Western Gazette that his decision to back air strikes in Syria was made “two minutes after Paris”. He told the local newspaper that out of 130 emails he had received from constituents on the subject, 99.9% were against military action, adding:

“I am sent to parliament to exercise my own judgement. If voters disagree with me they can get rid of me at the next election. That’s the nature of our system.”

This is the system that we are allegedly trying to inflict on puppet governments throughout the “Fertile Crescent”. The real aim is, I believe, to take control of more of the world’s resources.

It’s often said that socialism and fascism are two sides of the same coin – both systems favour strong State control. In this case I believe we are on the side of the fascists.

Do atrocities only matter if they happen in wealthy countries?

utube logo

Snippets from the front page of YouTube GB, November 15th. Great sentiments – but why do they only apply to atrocities in Western, developed countries?

I was horrified to hear about the Friday 13th terror atrocities in Paris. I completely understand why people are changing their social media badges to the colours of the French flag as they try to express their abhorrence of the slaughter and show sympathy with the bereaved. I personally see this expression as misguided, but their intentions are well-meant so I admire the sentiment.

Flags

Clockwise from top left: Flags of Yemen, Syria, Palestine and Iraq, all countries where innocent people have been barbarically murdered by terrorists in their thousands in recent years. Will YouTube stand with these countries?

But when I turn on YouTube and see it draped with the colours of the French flag, it seems to me narrow-minded, Eurocentric and chauvinistic. What happened in Paris on Friday 13th was hideous and I sympathise with all the victims and their friends and families. But this kind of bloodshed is a daily reality for many ordinary people in Yemen, Syria, Palestine and Iraq. I’ve never seen YouTube’s front page draped in the national flags of any of those countries.

It highlights how pampered and sheltered we are in the wealthy, developed West, compared to many other countries. I believe that our living, growing planet has more than enough resources to allow all countries to be wealthy and developed, without any loss of wealth and comfort for the vast bulk of the population in the wealthier, developed parts of the world.

But it seems that a tiny minority of immensely greedy and powerful people want to gain control of the area known as the “Fertile Crescent” via proxy rulers so that they can plunder that region’s resources. As long as the rest of us allow this to go on, the war and bloodshed will continue.

When the conflicts in places like Yemen and Iraq are aired in the mainstream media few people in the West take notice – not unless our soldiers are directly involved – because it’s just too depressing. People are confused and feel impotent. They don’t know how they could help the situation, so they just turn off.

If on the other hand there’s news about animals being badly treated, whether in the UK or South East Asia, people will complain in their droves. And quite rightly – but why is it that people in far off lands, including children, are seen as less important than animals when it comes to brutality and barbarity?

I reckon that many people just feel overwhelmed when they hear news about atrocities in conflicts they don’t really understand, and that’s why they generally don’t act until it’s on their doorstep, until the comfortable world they’ve built around themselves is directly threatened.

But the operators of a massive corporation like Google/YouTube should know better. They serve the people of the world, and they should treat all of their customers with equal respect.

Labour MPs to defy their leader – and the people who elected them

472px-PollingStation_UK_2005

Why do we even bother?

Observer front page

In 2013 the public outcry against military intervention in Syria was so strong in the UK and the US that David Cameron and Barack Obama had to back down on their plans. People had seen the results of military campaigns in Iraq and Libya – innocent people killed, atrocities on all sides and bloody mayhem ensuing.

Cameron is likely to call for another vote for military action in Syria soon, and according to today’s Observer newspaper, at least 50 Labour MPs are set to defy the wishes of their elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and join a cross-party bid for military action.

The cross-party initiative is being led by Tory MP Andrew Mitchell and Labour MP Jo Cox, who have co-authored an article calling for an “ethical solution” (ethical bombing) in Syria. The article appears to be a rehash of one that Cox wrote for the Yorkshire Post in September.

One significant element is notably absent from the article on the front page of today’s Observer article.

The electorate.

The people who actually voted Labour, mostly because they were desperate for an alternative to Conservative rule.

I wasn’t one of them – I gave up on the idea that the Labour Party would bring any significant change from the Tory Party decades ago. And my faith in the concept of democracy is hanging by a thread.

Many people who feel as cynical as I do about the senseless wars that the UK and US have been involved in this century – whose real purpose seems to be plunder and corporate oil interests – have given up on democracy altogether and refuse to vote. They see voting as giving assent to the corrupt system we find ourselves governed by.

I can see their point. Maybe I’m foolish in thinking that we can somehow improve our democracy…

But for the time being I will keep trying.

 

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    Our democracy in the UK is deeply flawed. Under the "first past the post" system, which is used to elect the Westminster House of Commons, the majority of UK voters are not represented in Parliament by the party they voted for.
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