This pamphlet is an immediate response to the Suez Canal war of 1956, which came as a sudden shock to the people with no prior warning. The effect on the mood of the nation was dramatic, since at the time we lived with the ever present danger of nuclear war always in our minds. This explains the content of this quickly produced pamphlet and the sweeping demands it makes.
Stop This War
This short pamphlet does not pretend to make a detailed analysis of the Middle East problems. Neither does it set out to analyse the specific role of Russia in these events. The author believes that if British Labour acts now along the lines outlined within, it will earn the lasting respect of colonial peoples and thus at one stroke greatly reduce the role of the Moscow bureaucracy - LET LABOUR LEAD !
Zero hour for World War lll is here. On land, sea and in the air the armed forces of French and British Imperialism are going into action. Sweltering under tropical desert heat are thousands of young men living their last hours – thinking of their homeland and their loved ones. Only a few weeks ago when many of them were still pursuing useful occupations in peace, little did they know they know that before long they would have to die.
British Labour must be firm and clear. The war which Toryism has launched in Egypt is not our war. It is an Imperialist war, organised and planned in the most cynical and brutal fashion against not only the united Arab world but colonial people everywhere. Labour must oppose this war with all its might. Any wavering, double talking, or backsliding by our spokesmen now will have disastrous repercussions. We are at the crossroads of the human race. Either Labour will stop the war – and it is the only force which can – or we will, as sure as night follows day, face a third world war with the most terrible consequences.
A CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE COLONIAL PEOPLE
Since the end of World War II we have been privileged to witness the most progressive historical actions since the Russian Revolution. Throughout the continent of Asia, millions of colonial people have surged along the road to freedom. This vast revolutionary conflagration of the East has now spread to the Middle East. For the first time in the history of the human race, millions of the poorest Arab people from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf, have begun to think in terms of more freedom and a better life. True enough their rulers are not by any means socialist, but rather reflect the profound national sentiment which at this moment is but a mirror reflecting the coming dawn of Socialist consciousness. That is why the Arab people are bitterly hated by the old gang of Imperialist robbers. It is not, as Eden would have us believe, a question of Nasser and his dictatorship. Since when has Eden and Co. the right to complain about dictatorship – is not the Government of Sir John Harding in Cyprus a perfect example of the most brutal type of dictatorship? The real issue is the beginning of the Arab revolution of which Egypt is right now the fountainhead. The Nasser regime simply represents a stage of this giant process.
If we start from this premise the problem of the Suez Canal fits into perspective. The Suez Canal should rightly be called the Arab Canal since it flows right through the middle of the Arab homeland. French and British Imperialism have no moral or legal right to determine who shall run it. That right belongs to the Arabs and in particular the Egyptian people. During the days when the British army ruled the roost it was a symbol of oppression – but since those days ended it has become a monument of freedom. That is why Egypt won the applause and overwhelming support of not only the Arabs but socialist-minded and freedom-loving peoples everywhere, when she decided to avail herself of her legal rights and nationalise the Canal. [In the sentence above which begins “During the days …”, “it” refers to the Suez canal – Ed]
Immediately there was a loud protest from the Imperialist politicians of the City of London and the Paris Bourse. Aging generals were rushed from semi-retirement, call up notices flooded the post offices, the spit and polish boys got to work, and a war was prepared in a matter of weeks. And for what reason? The Canal, said Eden, Mollet and co., cannot possibly work under Egyptian administration. Three months have gone by and this blatant lie has been effectively nailed, in spite of the utmost provocation. Immediately the war machine was primed, they withdrew the Canal pilots, but the Nasser Government remained calm and acted responsibly. By means of the most incredible sacrifice the Canal was at first run by a handful of pilots. Gradually the number was built up until today everything is almost normal. Not a ship has been turned away, even the big insurance companies have removed their excess rates for cargo.
Egypt has proved that she can run the Canal just as efficiently if not more, than the old gang from Paris. No wonder Eden and Mollet acted in desperation, for they had been exposed to the world as people who acted with the morals of thugs when faced by everything that was lawful and right.
After nationalisation, in demonstrating to the whole world that she could run the Canal, Egypt had committed the second unpardonable crime in the Imperialist casebook. Everyone could now see that once provided with an opportunity, colonial people are just as capable administrators and technicians as their white brothers. Egypt had provided a flaming signal for oppressed peoples everywhere.
That is why the Canal became the object of a cruel conspiracy. After the debacle in Indo-China, Imperialist France is now pinned down by the Algerian people, themselves an integral part of the Arab world. As it heads for total bankruptcy, its rulers, caught like white mice in the glaring searchlight of colonial freedom, rush hither and thither looking for a way out. They found ready allies with willing ears in Downing Street. Faced with growing economic difficulties at home, and the complete exposure of their foreign policy in Cyprus, Eden and Selwyn Lloyd were glad of an opportunity to line up with the Parisian bankrupts. Hand in hand they plotted as they walked to the brink of disaster, ignoring even the appeals of the “big brother” in Washington.
IMPERIALISM TRAPS THE JEWS
It is tragically ironic that the Jewish people, who have suffered perhaps more than any other race in history at the hands of Imperialism, should now be utilised as the spearhead of this reactionary drive against the Colonial people. It is a most despicable lie to suggest that the Arab people are anti-Jew; on the contrary, there is a greater respect for racial freedom in Egypt than in many capitalist circles in the West.
The Arabs instinctively fear Israel because it is a Capitalist State which they feel is a threat to their desire for freedom. Precisely because it is a capitalist state run by men whose object is to preserve capitalism, Israel, as it is now constituted, can never inspire or lead the Arab races. By its very nature it must remain an Imperialist outpost in the middle of this sea of turbulent nationalism. This is the key fact which must now be thoroughly grasped by socialist-minded Jews everywhere.
After the ghettos of Europe which were forced upon the Jewish people by Capitalism and which became, under fascist terror, the venues for the most horrible massacres, the Imperialists have, in Israel, succeeded in the creation of a state which can lead a bloody holocaust that will make Hitler’s crimes seem a tea party.
That is what is underlined by the manner in which the Ben Gurion Government conspired with the worst enemies of the Jewish people in order to find a pretext for Britain and France to invade Egypt.
The Jewish working people everywhere must denounce Israel’s stab in the back to the Arab people. The future of Jewry lies through a socialist solution and not through a Capitalist Israel. A socialist solution demands a real solidarity with the Arab people. In Israel this means unity in action against the common Imperialist enemy between the Jewish and Arab poor peasant and working class. Any other road spells a terrible end for Jewry.
DON’T TRUST WALL STREET
American politicians of both parties are busy in the midst of their presidential election campaign whitewashing their respective capitalist policies for Colonial peoples. Adlai Stevenson plays for the vote of the southern white bourbons under the slogan that “we must preserve the customs of the South”. Nixon, on behalf of the Republican Party, declares himself a friend of the Negro people. Every serious American socialist knows that both sides lie in order to catch votes. Their policy towards the Arabs is similar. The Middle East provides billions of dollars profits for the millionaires of Texas and Wall Street. As long as this continues, the policy of Washington is to make every effort to reach agreement with the governments representing national bourgeois and feudal interests in Arab countries. It believes that it is cheaper and better to buy off and utilise these governments as a buffer against revolution than to drive them into its arms. With its huge resources it is in a much better position to do this than British and French imperialism. Herein lies the root of the conflict between America and Britain. The issue involved is not a principled, but a tactical one, since both sides agree upon the necessity to exploit the colonial people, as was proved in the heroic struggle of the Korean peoples.
The Arab people must place no trust whatsoever in the role of U.S. Imperialism – it must rather turn itself four square towards the working class and Labour movement in the imperialist countries.
THE TORIES MUST RESIGN.
Never in its long history has the British Labour Movement faced a more serious crisis. On the one hand it stands on the threshold of a great advance if it proceeds with socialist principles – which means the recognition of the right of the Arab Nations to freedom and independence from imperialism.
The Labour Party and the trade unions must wage a mighty campaign throughout the length and breadth of the country that will force the Tories to resign immediately. This can be done, if action is taken at once. Our demands must be:-
Not a man, not a penny, not a gun for the war in Egypt.
Withdraw the troops immediately
Enter into friendly negotiations with the leadership of the Arab peoples.
Recognise Egypt’s right to the Suez Canal
Down with capitalism and imperialism everywhere, whether it be British, French, American or Israeli
Demand through the International Socialist Bureau that the Socialist Party of France should force Mollet to resign from the French Government.
Full support for a general strike.
Time is getting short. We must halt this war on the Colonial people or it will eventually engulf the world.
Only British Labour armed with a socialist policy can do it.
New Park Publication