Feature

War: The Global Opposition

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Lindsey German introduces statements from activists in Egypt and Europe who are part of a growing international movement determined to stop Bush and Blair's war in Iraq.

The central question facing us this new year is war. Daily, the US war machine grinds into place, with weapons of mass destruction shipped into the Middle East in preparation for a massive bombardment against the people of Iraq. Tony Blair used his holiday in Egypt to meet with Hosni Mubarak, a man who presides over one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East but whose loyalty to the west ensures he is not threatened with sanctions or war.

Bloody Streets of New York

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Martin Scorsese's new film tells of American Civil War race riots. But this is only half the story.

One icy night in 1855, the celebrated street brawler John Morrissey walked into a Broadway saloon and spat in the face of Bill 'The Butcher' Poole, the even more renowned goliath of the New York streets. Poole, who led a murderous mob of anti-Catholic 'know nothings', was the arch-foe of Morrissey and other Irish gang leaders in the pay of Tammany Hall. Morrissey tried to blow Poole's brains out with his pistol but it misfired and Butcher Bill was preparing to 'bone the Irishman's cutlet' when the police intervened.

Oil and the Intifada

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An attack on Iraq will lead to more instability in the Middle East.

The assertion of US power explains in general the attack on Iraq, but there is a more specific reason which helps to explain its timing and gives it added urgency. This is the US rulers' fear of the spread of the spirit of the Palestinian intifada to other Arab states, beginning with Saudi Arabia.

Capital and Conquest

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Chris Bambery recalls the brutal history of the British empire.

On 2 September 1898 at a place called Omdurman, outside the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, 20,000 British and Egyptian troops under the command of Lord Kitchener faced 52,000 lightly armed cavalry and infantry. The latter proceeded to charge Kitchener's lines. The new machine-gun created by the American Hiram Maxim opened fire and some 10,000 Sudanese were left dead on the battlefield. There were fewer than 400 casualties on the imperial side, with just 48 British soldiers being killed.

Bush's Ultimate Thule?

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US imperialism has received a cold reception in Greenland.

In the early summer of 1951 a group of Inuit hunters, guiding a French anthropologist, returned to their homes in Thule in the north west of Greenland after a daring expedition to Canada's Ellesmere Island. When they had left the year before, Thule was one of the most remote communities on earth--20 igloos and a trading post established in 1910 by Greenland's national hero, Knud Rasmussen, to provide a base for his famed ethnographic explorations.

Reasons to be Fearful

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Bush and Blair are desperate to justify war on Iraq. Andrew Stone demolishes their lies one by one.

Saddam Hussein is the new Hitler.

This facile comparison, which has also been applied to General Galtieri, Colonel Gaddafi, Slobodan Milosevic and Osama bin Laden in recent years, has become so tired that even many hawks are now embarrassed to use it. A new trend is to insinuate this false parallel with references to 'appeasing' Saddam Hussein.

'A Party I am Beginning to Despise'

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Labour Party activists talk about their anger at Blair's drive to war.

A war on Iraq could plunge the Labour Party into its biggest crisis ever, with the possibility of mass resignations and the certainty that tens of thousands of Labour Party members will be marching against the government on 15 February. This is a prospect that, you would think, would worry the Blairites at head office, but that's not the feeling I got when I telephoned Labour's headquarters to ask for a response: 'We're not aware of anyone leaving the Labour Party because of the war on Iraq. Nor are we aware of any feeling of discontent.

Venezuela: The Rich Striking Oil

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Chris Harman introduces two accounts which shed light on the struggle to depose Hugo Chavez.

The new year saw the second concerted attempt within a year by the Venezuelan upper classes to overthrow the government of Hugo Chavez. On both occasions the scenario was like that enacted against the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1972.

Nato's Sea of Troubles

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The expansion of Nato eastward comes on the eve of war. Dragan Plavsic argues this is no coincidence.

'Nato has became a European peace movement. An effective movement, that is, to spread peace across the continent,' gushed Timothy Garton Ash in the 'Guardian' in November, one week after the three Baltic states-Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania-together with Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, were invited at Nato's Prague summit to join the alliance in 2004. In his enthusiasm for this miraculous conversion, Garton Ash turned a blind eye to the heart of the matter - Nato as the vehicle of US imperial expansion eastwards, and war as an integral part of the strategy.

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