Monday, 23 November 2015

There Can Be No Free Vote On Syria

Labour Party conference, only a few weeks ago, decided, clearly, that Labour could not support intervention in Syria, other than on the basis of a credible, long-term plan for dealing with ISIS, and the current civil war.  No such credible plan has been put forward by Cameron, or anyone else.  In fact, no such credible plan will be put forward, by Cameron, or anyone else, because, at a minimum, any such long-term plan will require the investment of trillions of dollars, in the region, over many years, to develop the economy of the region, and to create the kind of civil society, and social relations, required for a stable bourgeois democracy.  No such commitment is ever likely to be made.  No such investment is even being made in Greece by the EU, and other European economies, including the UK, are being subjected to austerity.

On that basis, there is no rational basis for Labour MP's supporting intervention in Syria, or anywhere else in the region.  All such previous intervention has inevitably led to chaos, for the reasons set out above, and has, in fact, made the situation much worse.  Saddam, Assad, and Gaddafi were vile dictators, and socialists have no reason to give them any support, or to defend them.  But, at least, under those vile bonapartist regimes, there was economic development, there was a movement towards modernism, as against the move toward the Middle Ages that the Islamists pursue, and there was even a greater level of stability.

Socialists should only have focussed their attention on removing those vile dictators, to the extent that they had built a progressive, and credible alternative to them.  As Lenin argued, for socialists, the achievement of bourgeois democracy is not an end in itself, but only a means to an end.  The main thing, was to do whatever best achieved a growth of the forces of production, so as to most rapidly develop the working classes, without whose predominance, the social relations required, even for bourgeois social democracy, are impossible to achieve.

No such progressive alternative existed in Iran in 1979,  Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, or Syria, and the same thing can be said of many more instances, where sections of the left have jumped to advocate bourgeois democratic demands, at the expense of developing the working-class.  Even where the working-class has been more developed, as in Iran, its relative strength has been diminished by the social power of other social groups, and division,s and by a failure of socialists to ensure a strict demarcation between their forces and those of the Islamists, in the name merely of "anti-imperialism", whose consequence then was to bring those other social forces to power, at the workers expense.

The progress that had been made, in the Middle East, as a consequence of the development that those bonapartist regimes achieved, has been lost.  Judged by objective historical development, the Middle East, now, is at a more primitive stage than it was sixty years ago, and the utopian moralistic policies of liberals, and some on the left, bear responsibility for that.

That chaos that has resulted, and which now impinges on Europe's social and political development itself, by strengthening the forces of conservatism and nationalism, as it seeks to defend borders, and to restrict movement, in response to the huge numbers of refugees, escaping the carnage in the Middle East, will not be made better, but only worse, by thinking that dropping even more bombs, even more violence, on the blighted people of the region, will help!

Socialists should have no part of it, and there can be no free vote on such action, given the reality, and given the clear nature of, recently decided, Labour Party policy.  MP's should be whipped to vote against the Tories hypocritical and warmongering policies.  Of course, any MP's who feel that they cannot abide by democratically decided Labour Party policy, are free, in the end, to vote according to their conscience.  But, they cannot then expect to hold positions in the Shadow Cabinet, and they have to take the consequences, as have Corbyn and others, in the past, of justifying their position to their CLP, and maintaining the support of the party members who put them into Parliament in the first place.

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