Corbyn, Stop The War and the Murray worry

December 12, 2015 at 4:05 pm (apologists and collaborators, ex-SWP, Jim D, labour party, Middle East, reactionay "anti-imperialism", relativism, Russia, stalinism, Stop The War, SWP, Syria, truth, Uncategorized)

Run the film to see Corbyn, Murray and the celeb wadicals at the StWC beanfeast 

Jeremy Corbyn’s attendance at lest night’s Stop The War Coalition (StWC) dinner, and his continuing refusal to sever links with – or even criticise –  the group, causes some of us who generally wish him well, a real problem.

There can be no doubt, and there hasn’t been for several years, that the StWC is not primarily anti-war per se, but opposed to Western wars, whilst remaining at best indifferent to wars and interventions by non-Western forces.

StWC’s Lindsey German complains in today’s Morning Star, that “there are accusations that we are pro-Assad, pro-Isis, don’t support the Syrians. Every war we have opposed has seen these accusations raised. We were accused of supporting the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Gadaffi in Libya and now Assad. It has never been true, and it is the weakest of arguments for those supporting war that their opponents of necessity support the other side.”

Now, of course, German is right that opposing a war being waged by your own ruling class does not of necessity involve supporting the other side: but German is lying when she denies that StWC does just that. She’s lying because she, like most of the rest of the StWC leadership subscribe to a crude version of Lenin’s strategy of revolutionary defeatism, which in their hands amounts to little more than “the main enemy is (always) at home”, or indeed,  “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.”

German and her partner John Rees know this (and lie about it) because they were in the leadership of the SWP in 2001 and were responsible for Socialist Worker‘s gloating response, to 9/11 and for the SWP’s “line” of refusing to condemn the atrocities. It is a methodology that has informed the approach of the StWC ever since, even if the likes of German, Rees and Murray lie about it and/or resort to evasion. Surprise, surprise: a lot of the more ‘interesting’ articles (including anti-Semitic stuff) have mysteriously disappeared from StWC’s website over the last few days: fortunately, a public-spirited citizen has made sure that they’re preserved for posterity.


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Above: the Murray worry

A classic example of such dishonest evasion can be found in StWC Chair Andrew Murray’s answers to John Harris’s uncharacteristically probing questions, published in today’s Guardian – for instance:

“I suggest that the Assad regime has to go, and ask Murray if he agrees. But he doesn’t directly answer the question. We bat the point around for a few minutes, before we arrive at the reason why: as a staunch anti-imperialist, he says it’s not his place to call for the toppling of regimes overseas: a strange position for an avowed internationalist, perhaps, but there we are.”

The fact that Andrew Murray is StWC chair, and a  Communist Party of Britain (CPB) member raises some further interesting questions about the underlying politics of the StWC.

On the 19th of October Murray expressed this judgement:

The only solution to the dreadful civil war which has laid waste to Syria is a negotiated diplomatic end, says Andrew Murray.

The clear need is not for Britain to jump further into this toxic mix. It is for a negotiated diplomatic end to the dreadful civil war which has laid waste to Syria. Ultimately, only the Syrian people can determine their own future political arrangements.

But the foreign powers could assist by all ending their military interventions, open and clandestine, in Syria – ending the bombing and the arming of one side or another.

They should further promote peace by abandoning all the preconditions laid down for negotiations. Such preconditions only serve to prolong the conflict and to give either government or opposition hope that foreign military and diplomatic support could somehow lead to all-out victory.

On the CPB’s site he has added this, (no date),

Our bipartisan armchair strategists are obviously riled by Russia’s escalating military involvement in Syria.  But it is a fact.  What form of military intervention could now be undertaken which would not lead to a clash with Russia they do not say.  Even the head of MI6 has acknowledged that “no-fly zones” are no longer a possibility, unless the NATO powers are prepared to countenance conflict with Moscow.

This is the CPB’s view, expressed on the 14th of October.

In a statement today Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths said:

The Communist Party maintains its opposition to US, NATO and British military intervention in Syria. Whatever the pretext – whether to defeat the barbaric ISIS or to rescue civilian populations – the real aim is clear: to strengthen the anti-Assad terrorist forces (Islamic fundamentalists who have largely displaced the Free Syrian Army ‘moderate opposition’), create areas in which these forces can operate freely (in the guise of ‘no-fly zones’ and ‘safe havens’) and ultimately to partition Syria and replace the Assad regime with a compliant puppet one.

Russian military forces are now attacking all the anti-Assad terrorists, including Isis, at the invitation of the Damascus government – which has every right to issue such an invitation as the internationally recognised political authority in Syria.

  • Is Andrew Murray saying that his comrades in the CPB should change their ‘line’ that Russia has “every right” to bomb in Syria?
  • Does he genuinely support, against the policy of the party to which he belongs, the formal, avowed (if generally disregarded) policy of the StWC?

The fact that Murray, and the StWC as a whole, apparently feels no need to address that question, let alone answer it, is further proof of what a dishonest, hypocritical and politically bankrupt organisation it is. They seem to have a fig leaf, formal, position of opposing Russian bombing in Syria that can be called upon when they’re under pressure in the media, whist in reality doing nothing about it and appointing as their chair someone who, as far as can be judged, supports both the Assad regime and the Russian bombing campaign.

The difficulty those of us who understand this, but are generally in the Corbyn camp, have, is how to make this point whilst not lining up with the right wing who just want to use this as part of their campaign to undermine and eventually remove Corbyn. Not an easy balancing act to maintain, but an essential one.

Above: James Bloodworth exposes the lies and evasions of StWC’s hapless Chris Nineham


  1. Robert said,

    Of course, of course, but any solution will in the end be achieved by discussion between diplomats.
    The standard Narcissistic resort is to demand the impossible in language which can suggest that the impossibility proposed is in fact a very reasonable possibility. Such people should be greeted after the fashion of the big chief in the hackneyed Western film
    Before one of them opens his or her mouth to say nothing, make a gesture of peace with one hand and enunciate loudly:

    “HOW? Quite HOW?”

  2. Political Tourist said,

    Corbyn and the SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the one platform.
    And Corbyn acts like some super unionist.
    Your in Scotland you fool not Islington.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Thank Gawd Corbyn is holding out against Scottish Nationalism

  3. John R said,

    Kurds supporting air strikes against Isis protesting against STWC Xmas dinner.

    Hilary Benn is right. Fascism must be opposed.

    • prianikoff said,

      Only an idiot would believe that the British government supports the “Kurds”. Britain is just playing its usual game of divide and rule with them.

      These particular Kurds are KDP supporters (the flag of the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan might have given you a clue)

      The region’s President, Masoud Barzani, is cooperating with the Turkish forces who’ve unilaterally moved into the area near Mosul. Ostensibly to “train” Peshmerga forces for an offensive, but more likely to ensure the Kurds remain split.

      This hasn’t gone down well with the Iraqi Kurds who support the PKK, which Turkey has been bombing since July. (Barzani should have stepped down in the summer and the majority of the population are pro- Ocalan)

      It hasn’t gone down well with the Iraqi government in Baghdad either, which has lodged a complaint with the UN.

      Russia’s attitude to Turkey is now completely hostile and they will oppose any move it makes .
      Britain will support its NATO ally, despite Erdogan’s increasingly erratic behaviour.

      Which is why Britain’s continued involvement in *both* Syria and Iraq is so dangerous.
      The dangers of an escalation into an all-out regional war (or worse) should be obvious – except to social imperialists.

      • John R said,

        Isis admitted in Jan this year that, along with Kobane resistance, the U.S. air strikes lead to their defeat in that city. The only people who either wish to deny or ignore this event are supporters of “Stop the War”.

        America and Britain now see Kurdish forces as allies in the fight against Isis. The main obstacle to this has been Turkey as many Kurds believe they have been very happy to see Isis attack Kurdish areas as was the case last year. Luckily, for the Kurds, the Americans

        Funnily enough, the only person who had faith in “our NATO ally”, Turkey, to provide “humanitarian aid” and “safe passage” to Kobane was Jeremy Corbyn.

        As for being an “idiot” or “social imperialist”, well, what can I say?

        I don’t really care about the motives of the UK Govt or American Govt in fighting Isis. Whatever tactic they use ( divide and rule, air strikes, arming their allies) to defeat Isis is good. The main thing is that they help and provide aid to democratic, secular forces (eg the Kurds) in the area. At the moment, their interests coincide against a common enemy which overrides the objections of “our NATO ally”, Turkey.

        If that makes me a “social imperialist” then that’s what I am (where can I buy the t shirt, btw?). I’d much be that than an appeaser or supporter of fascism such as Isis.

        Oh, and if I were a resident of Kobane, I think I’d much rather rely on the UK and “our NATO ally”, America against Isis than help from “our NATO ally”, Turkey, as Jeremy Corbyn suggested.

      • Jim Denham said,

        I think you’ll find, prianikoff, that Kurds – more than most people – are very much aware of the treachery and duplicity of the West. That doesn’t prevent them from making intelligent use of whatever support (including military support) they can extract from the West.

  4. Howard Fuller said,

    The hypocrisy of Stop the selective War Coalition is so obvious. Since they came under major scrutiny the StWC website has been purged of many articles that expose their true face:

  5. Steven Johnston said,

    Surely STWC should be behind the UK bombing of ISIS as Putin is doing it too and he is backing Assad to the hilt! So the bombing can only have one aim, to appease Putin and help keep Assad in power. Or does anyone believe the drivel about offering Assad a “safe haven” to retire to once the civil war is over. Once it is concluded in his favour he can return to being a tyrant. Isn’t that what STWC want?

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