Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Nuclear near-miss (1986)

From the June 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard

It is difficult to decide whether ignorance, complacency or callous cynicism best characterises the nuclear power industry. Since the accident at the Chernobyl power station in the Ukraine, most countries with a nuclear power programme have proclaimed that there is nothing to worry about, that their power stations are absolutely safe. In America the authorities claim that nothing similar could happen in the United States since western safety standards and reactor design are superior to those used in Russia. In West Germany official government statements have said that such an accident could not occur there because its nuclear reactors as "absolutely safe". Japan, because it has almost no fossil fuel deposits of its own, is committed to increasing nuclear power generation. Energy authorities there have rejected calls even to review their nuclear programme, let alone halt operations at its 32 nuclear plants as is demanded by trade unionists and environmentalists. A Japanese official said there would be no change in plans to increase nuclear power output from 26 per cent of total energy supply to 35 per cent by 1995. Ignorance, complacency or cynicism?

And what about these comments made before the accident by various "experts" in the field?

  • In June 1983, B. A. Semenov. Russian Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy and Safety at the International Atomic Energy Authority said of Chernobyl: "A serious loss-of-coolant accident is practically impossible".
  • In 1975 a study by the American Atomic Energy Commission concluded that an accident serious enough to kill 70 people would only happen once in a million years of a reactor's operation.
  • The US edition of Soviet Life earlier this year published a feature on Chernobyl under the headline "Total Safety" which described the idea of a core melt-down as "incredible".

Such statements cannot be the product of ignorance of the risks involved in nuclear reactors. In Russia, apart from the Chernobyl accident, there has also been a core accident at an experimental fast reactor; in America there has been the accident at Three Mile Island and a fast reactor core melt-down at the Fermi reactor; and in the UK the Windscale plant suffered a serious accident in 1957. One international study has calculated that nuclear power plants in 14 countries have experienced 151 "significant nuclear-safety incidents" since 1971.

So if nuclear accidents can and do happen, why do governments world-wide seem intent on ignoring, or down playing, the risks? The example of Russia is instructive. Russia has considerable oil and gas resources and is, in fact, an oil-exporting nation. But both oil and gas fields are in Siberia in the east of the country, whereas the main industrial centres are in the west and the area of most rapidly expanding population in the south. European Russia consumes 60 per cent of the country's total electricity and yet produces less than 20 per cent. Much of that power must therefore be brought thousands of miles and it has been estimated that the cost of power doubles for every 1.000 miles that it has to be transported. Thus, nuclear power stations which can be built where they are needed represent a solution to the problem of providing cheap energy. So the Ukraine, far from the oil and gas fields of Siberia, gets 40 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power stations, the biggest of these being at Chernobyl.

At present nuclear power provides 10 per cent of electricity used in Russia and there are plans to increase output by 400-600 per cent over the next 15 years. If, as a result of the Chernobyl accident, the nuclear programme is slowed down Russia will have to continue to pay the much higher price for bringing power from Siberia and suffer the consequent loss in exports as oil and gas are diverted for domestic consumption. Nuclear power is, therefore, important to maintaining profits in Russia: cheap energy means lower unit costs and higher profit. And this is the motivation behind nuclear power in other countries too — a motivation that is sufficiently powerful to make it worthwhile to conceal or play down the considerable, often unknown, risks involved.

The ruling class in the western capitalist countries have been swift to try to make political capital out of the Chernobyl accident, alleging the inferior quality of Russian reactors and lamenting the lack of openness on the part of the Russian government. But on both issues their hypocrisy is breath-taking. The British reaction was typical. It was argued that a similar accident could not happen in Britain because the Chernobyl reactor was of a unique Russian design which is not found in this country and had no form of secondary containment (a strong, enclosing structure around the entire reactor and heat exchanger that would contain the radioactivity should there be any leak) and so would not meet British safety standards. It was further claimed that Russian reactors were built dangerously close to densely populated areas and. to reinforce the message. Peter Walker, the Energy Secretary, said that there had never been in the UK any "emergencies involving significant radiological hazards to the public at any civil nuclear installation".

These statements are a mixture of misinformation. half-truths and lies. Although it is true that the Chernobyl reactor was one of a unique Russian design (a graphite moderated boiling water system) it is also true that it is a "hybrid" comprising features commonly found in reactors throughout the world, including Britain. In fact the most serious nuclear accident so far in this country that at Windscale in 1957 — involved a graphite-uranium core which caught fire releasing large amounts of radioactive iodine over a wide area. Graphite moderators were also used in the early British and French Magnox reactors. Many of Britain's older nuclear power stations, including the Magnox reactors and the advanced gas-cooled reactors, do not have secondary containment. In the early years of the nuclear power programme it was boldly argued that reactors would not be built unless they were totally safe and so secondary containment was both unnecessary and would undermine public confidence since they implied the possibility of a leak. (Of course, secondary containment also increased the cost of the power station).

Britain is far more densely populated than Russia. A nuclear accident here is likely therefore to have far worse effects than a similar accident in Russia. At the time of the Windscale accident the Atomic Energy Authority said that the release of radioactivity presented no "hazard to the public". Nevertheless the sale of milk was banned within a radius of 200 square miles of the reactor. In fact the full extent of the Windscale accident was not made known until 1983. In that year the National Radiation Protection Board said that the accident may have caused up to 260 cases of thyroid cancer, 13 of which had proved fatal. So much for British freedom of information.

But why is it that the Russian authorities did not provide information which might help the Russian people avoid the effects of radiation? Like the West, the Russians have constantly told people that nuclear power stations are completely safe. Despite this there has been considerable opposition to the building of new reactors, especially in the Balkan republics — opposition which the Russians. given their commitment to nuclear power for economic reasons, would be unhappy to encourage by giving out information about a serious nuclear accident. The accident is, anyway, likely to have adverse economic effects on trade with East European countries, which the Russians will be anxious to minimise. As the Guardian (30 April 1986) reported:
  The whole thrust of the latest Comecon joint nuclear plans is that there should be more and bigger plants to save fuel and to facilitate the building of bigger and better manufacturing centres If these plans are now delayed, as seems highly likely, a whole series of capital investment projects will also have been thrown into disarray.
Many East European reactors are built along similar lines to the one at Chernobyl using Russian-built components. That market for Russian goods will be under threat unless the Russians can minimise the seriousness of the accident.

Most people don’t understand very much about nuclear power so when they read about the release into the atmosphere of radioactive substances like iodine and caesium (already detected in countries far away from the site of the Chernobyl accident), or about the possible release of strontium. ruthenium and plutonium-241, it really doesn’t mean very much to them. They have to rely on experts, who claim to have information and knowledge, to translate this into things that they do understand. And they do understand when Friends of the Earth in Sweden say that the total number of cancers from the radioactive cloud, if it travels over highly-populated areas, may exceed 10,000 over the next 20 years; that it is estimated that in order to de contaminate the affected area around the site of the Chernobyl reactor it will be necessary to remove at least four inches of top soil. They do under stand that in addition to the two people killed (according to the Russian figures) and the many more who were undoubtedly hurt as a direct result of the accident, numerous others face long-term health risks, and Russian workers — scientists and engineers — had to risk their lives by entering the highly radioactive Chernobyl site in order to make the three other reactors safe. (There are four reactors on the same site because this reduces costs although it compounds the risk). And they also understand that those people who are responsible for making decisions about whether to build nuclear reactors, and about safety standards, are not coming clean about the risks that are posed to ordinary workers throughout the world. People like Lord Marshall, Chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board, with a vested interest in expanding the nuclear power programme, who said, in the week of the Chernobyl accident, that the radiation inside the exclusion zone was "no worse than smoking a couple of cigarettes a year" (Observer, 4 May 1986). Do you trust a man with such a complacent attitude to human health and safety to be making decisions about nuclear power on your behalf? Do you trust the social system which needs people like that to spread verbal smokescreens over situations of such peril to the human race?
Janie Percy-Smith

The good, the bad, the ugly (1986)

From the June 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard

Does the election of Clint Eastwood as Mayor of Carmel, California, mean that the Ronald Reagan syndrome — an irritating rash of ageing movie stars spreading into positions of power — is about to flourish ever more malignantly? Even by the standards of capitalist politics. Eastwood's election seems more puzzling than most. Carmel is a small (pop 5,000) seaside town which began as an artistic hermitage and has developed into a refuge for a few of America's elderly rich. The place is protective of its environment — it mounts a stern resistance to things like obtrusive advertising, flashing neon signs, fast food disgorgers and the like (these monstrosities are considered more suitable for the places where American workers, who contributed so signally to the affluence of Carmel's inhabitants, eke out their lives) Eastwood has lived in the place for some 14 years, he owns a restaurant there and his bid to become Mayor was said to be motivated by a desire to make his business more prominent with just the kind of eyesores which Carmel has always resisted. It might have been expected, then, that the electors would have given Eastwood, as a threat to their cherished environment, the voting equivalent of a sheriff s bum's rush out of town and then gone quietly back to enjoying their wealth. Perhaps his election was the result of those 2,166 people who voted for him being dazzled by his halo of showbiz glamour. All of this was written up in the British press in terms which encouraged the voters here to wallow in a smug assurance that of course they would never fall for such an appeal.

Well, as Eastwood himself might say. in a rare outburst of loquacity. "Oh. yeah?" British politicians are no exception to the general rule, in that they wrap their intentions up in some attractive tinsel but any worker with a flicker of consciousness, or a glimmer of memory, should have no difficulty in tearing this aside to get at the reality underneath. The Tories, for example, persist in telling us that life in Thatcher Britain is really very enjoyable and secure. There are still a few problems but these are well on the way to being sorted out. Meanwhile, we should rejoice over a fall in something called interest rates which determine how much one section of the ruling class pay another for borrowing their money — or about a fall in the price of oil (but then again at some times we should rejoice when the price of oil goes up) or we should get interested in whether workers at Westland's or British Leyland are to be exploited by the British capitalist class or by a group of capitalists from America or Europe.

Underneath this packaging the poverty of the workers deepens — more and more are forced into the desperate struggle to survive on the dole, they die of the cold or because medical services have been cut back, the pressures of making ends meet become more intense for those who are in work. Yet millions of workers support the Tories at election time, millions are impressed by Thatcher's supposed firmness of purpose.

Are these people dazzled by Thatcher's appearance — her hairdo, her teeth, her schoolmarm's voice? Do they tremble ecstatically at the sight of Lawson's well-nourished frame? It can't be that they are impressed by any overwhelming logic in the case for the Tories, for there has never been a successful Conservative government — in the sense that they have kept their promises, solved the problems of capitalism, been midwife at the birth of a prosperous and secure country.

As we all know, the voters sometimes get restless with Tory government, with the same old faces posing at the door of Number Ten. the gutter press revelations about the intimate lives of the same old leaders, the same old rhetorical tricks before the TV cameras. It becomes time for a change and luckily for capitalism (the system's spokespersons say it is luckily for democracy) there is an alternative party who will make some trifling adjustments in running capitalism and who have a clutch of promises and delusions to use in misleading the working class in allowing them a period of power.

In spite of all the combined efforts of Neil Kinnock, Tony Benn and the Militant Tendency, Labour has not been counted out of workers' reckoning as a future government for British capitalism. Their latest offering, outlined by Roy Hattersley in the House of Commons on February 12. is "Directed reflation with public sector capital spending on housing, schools and roads" which will be financed through £3 billion more taxes on the higher income groups. This type of programme is probably seen by most workers as not entirely out of touch with reality, dealing with matters which concern them like unemployment, bad housing, deficient services. This bland, predictable response to capitalism's malaises may dazzle enough workers to win the seats needed to get Labour back into power. They will then set about "creating jobs", "controlling inflation", hoping that their relations with the trade union movement will enable them to impose wage restraint without the kind of turmoil which this has caused in the past.

This might be more convincing were it not for the fact that these policies have already been tried and have failed. Hattersley is telling us that it is possible to control capitalism's economy as easily as if it were a motor car — a touch on the brake here, a dab on the accelerator there — but there is no evidence, either in theory or in practical experience, to support him. Unemployment is a result of capitalism's anarchic cycle of economic boom and slump and essentially it is quite out of the control of any politician or "expert". The Labour government of 1929-31 could not control it and when unemployment again began to emerge as a serious problem in the 1970s. the Labour government then could only watch in impotence as the dole queues doubled.

Whatever their relationship with the unions Labour cannot deny the class conflict of capitalism. They can't eliminate, through juggling with the tax regulations, the fact that this is a class divided society, in which the interests of the socially useful, productive class — the workers — are opposed to those of the socially useless parasites — the capitalists. On that fact the policies of past Labour governments. with those of much of the trade union leadership, have come to grief. Every Labour government has gone down in miserable defeat; there is no reason to think that things will be different in the future, no cause to believe that there is some mysterious lesson, closed to them in the past, which they can have learned now and which will enable them to succeed where once they failed. Perhaps the millions of workers who vote Labour, in spite of the evidence of that party's impotence and futility, are soothed by Kinnock's endless drone of verbiage, or by Hattersley's avuncular lisp; it can't be because of any glowing record of successful Labour governments.

Voting Tory or Labour — or for any of the others like the Alliance or the Communist Party — is like choosing between the Bad and the Ugly, with either label applying to either party. What of the Good? Capitalism puts the human race into such peril that the issue must be faced: there is nothing to hope for in the workers putting their trust in the parties which do not challenge the basis of modern society. Are the working class to continue to deny their political power to change society, by surrendering it to leaders who can only skim over the system's surface? Or will they assert that power to bring about revolutionary. fundamental social change to a world where poverty, famine, war. needless disease. class conflict are unknown?

Voters — which means workers — all over the world need to face these questions. Running the political cowboys out of town would be a start. Socialists have been around urging this for too long; when the working class begin to act for themselves we shall be able to ride off into the sunset.

Capitalism — terrorism unlimited (1) (1986)

From the June 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard

On the morning of 15 April, American planes bombed the Libyan capital of Tripoli, ostensibly in reprisal for Libyan support of terrorism, the most recent manifestation of which was the killing of an American at a Berlin disco. The planes were launched from US bases in Britain, indicating the extent of the British government's subservience to American policies and power. In the United States almost all politicians seemed to have jumped on the jingoistic bandwagon in support of the attack but in Britain even a number of establishment figures were critical of the government's acquiescence, and a number of other West European governments openly opposed the American action. The TV pictures of killed and wounded civilians, including children, in Tripoli served to emphasise the inevitable consequences of Reagan s adventure.

The Libyan bombing reveals yet again the bloody nature of capitalism and its attendant wars. It is not enough that there should be the unnecessary deaths of millions annually through starvation (in a world where food is destroyed because it cannot be sold profitably) and the continual violence and humiliation which constitutes daily life for wageworkers. In addition, capitalism's rulers frequently settle their differences — about control of the earth's wealth and inhabitants by warfare, killing and maiming in defence of their property and bank balances. Of course, it is not the rulers who do the killing and dying but the ordinary workers and peasants of the world.

Since he seized power in 1969, other capitalist governments have had as much trouble handling Libya's Colonel Gaddafi as they have had spelling his name. Cushioned by vast oil reserves and the wealth derived from them, the Libyan rulers have financed and supported groups from the IRA to Abu Nidal's Palestinian faction. The American bombing was avowedly aimed at curbing the Libyan state's support for terrorism.

Given that all capitalist states rely on the use of violence to protect their interests, one might wonder how they can dismiss some — but only some — forms of violence as "terrorism" and therefore beyond the pale of civilisation. The apologists' answer would generally be that the use of armed force by governments is legitimate, while its use by anti-government forces is terrorism. This distinction would have to be complicated slightly to allow for those violently opposing an enemy government. Reagan and friends would regard the Contras in Nicaragua as freedom-fighters, not terrorists. But in theory at least, the difference should be clear-cut: state violence is acceptable, indeed necessary, all other violence is terrorism and unacceptable.

The truth is that under capitalism all use of force, whether by governments in defence of the status quo or for conquest, or by would-be rulers wishing to gain power for themselves. is ultimately directed against working people. Whether labelled as terrorism or not. capitalist violence attacks the oppressed and exploited for the sake of their exploiters. Whether bombs in Tripoli or police charges in Wapping, violence is just one of the tools used by the capitalist class to defend and maintain their domination.

Socialists are not pacifists. If, at the time of the establishment of a socialist society, the overwhelming socialist majority were confronted by a recalcitrant pro-capitalist minority intent on sabotage and violence, we would have no compunction in using whatever force was necessary to suppress them. But socialism will be a society of peace and harmony which capitalism, with its in-built violence of armies, police forces and production lines, can never be.
Paul Bennett

Capitalism — terrorism unlimited (2) (1986)

From the June 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard

The murder of workers in airports in Rome and Vienna, the killing of two men in a Berlin disco and the bullet which killed a British policewoman have nothing to do with freedom-fighting or liberation. Freedom does not arise from the barrel of a gun; liberation will never be the product of the killers who claim to be serving higher causes.

Capitalism is an inherently violent social system. It was founded by violence; it has expanded and prospered due to violence; its much-cherished law and order is institutionalised violence. Killing is not capitalism gone wrong, but the system running as normal. The history of capitalism is a long and bloody story of murdering and maiming and threatening and plundering so that a small minority of the world's population — the capitalist class — may own and control the major resources of the earth to the exclusion of the vast majority who produce all the wealth — the working class. In every country in the world, including the so-called socialist countries (which are state capitalist), the minority on top owe their position to violence.

To those defenders of capitalism who make noises of disgust about the violence of the unauthorised terrorist let us ask, where did the capitalists obtain their property from? They won it in the early days of capitalism by forming armies and terrorising the poor peasants and small landlords and stealing their land from them. The appropriation of capitalist property was a process of successful mugging expeditions: the European aristocracy of today are the inheritors of the muggers' plundered gains. The common lands, hitherto used by the poor, were enclosed and appropriated by capitalists who forced others to keep out. The law of trespass ensured that non-property-owners could be killed — and many were if they tried to enter the land of the capitalists. The early history of capitalism, going on well into the last century in Britain, saw thousands of workers being killed for stealing the necessaries of life. The state, which is the machine of class violence used by the bosses to keep the workers in line, has killed numerous workers who have offended against the sacred rights of property.

How was the British Empire built if not by such terror tactics? The ruling class of Britain, armed with the Bible and the bullet, plundered the earth in the quest for profits. Those who stood in their way were killed. In the sixteenth century, when Britain went to war with Spain — readers will remember the defeat of the Armada — it was nothing different from the battle of power between the gangs of Chicago and New York in the 1930s. Workers were sent to their deaths in these imperial wars in order to determine which national group of capitalist gangsters would own and control new resources, territories and exploitable populations.

In the late nineteenth century two new national gangs of European capitalists came on to the scene: Italy in 1860 and Germany in 1870. They made efforts to enter as rivals in the competition for world domination and so more workers — in their millions — were killed in wars. The workers who were slaughtered in world wars for economic interests which were not theirs were not regarded as the victims of terrorism. But that is precisely what they were.

In this century the British robber class has lost its Empire and must rest content with exploiting the workers at home. The British working class was poor when British capitalists had an Empire and we are poor today: one thing is certain, the Empire never belonged to us.

Today two new major empires — superpowers in modem times — dominate the world: America and Russia. The President of the USA now sermonises about the evil of terrorism. The status quo must not be disturbed. Does this man Reagan not know that without terrorism the American state would never have been established? The revolutionaries of 1776 who threw off British imperial rule were regarded by the British ruling class as terrorists. Had they been defeated the name of George Washington would have been listed in the history books together with Gerry Adams and the PLO leaders. The rulers of Israel echo their American masters in condemning terrorism. In the 1940s these same leaders who now have state power were themselves terrorists, killing British soldiers in order to gain state power. Once the American terrorists obtained power in 1776 they became legal terrorists and many thousands of native Americans (Red Indians) were murdered callously by the state because they were in its way. In 1986. while Reagan makes complaints about Libyan-backed terrorists damaging American capitalist interests. American-backed terrorists are being given huge amounts of money by his administration in order to dislodge the elected government of Nicaragua.

The class struggle is a messy, violent process. The capitalists will stop at nothing in their struggle for more power within the world market. The Libyan government is seen to represent a new form of Islamic, Arab nationalism which could endanger existing interests in Africa and the Middle East. As capitalism develops — if workers let it — more power blocs will emerge, all competing for supremacy, and one would be naive not to predict such rivalry leading to wars, both local and frighteningly global.

Workers have no interest at all in ever supporting the capitalists of the country where they live. In recent years the Arab ruling class has prospered greatly due to massive oil profits, but the Arab workers are still living in some of the most deprived conditions in the world. Arab workers have nothing to gain by the expansion of their masters' powers. In the USA. the alleged land of capitalist prosperity. it was reported in the newspaper of the Longshoremen's Union in March 1986 that government figures state that 22.2 million Americans are now living below the official poverty line and 9.1 million of them are in jobs but cannot afford to make ends meet. So much for the incentive for workers to fight to make their bosses rich.

Who are the real terrorists? Yes, the deluded workers with home-made bombs and the fanatics who fire at innocent crowds are killers, but let them not divert us from the killing which goes on with the blessing of the boss class. According to a report from the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, in 1984 10.4 million workers were injured and 28,500 were killed in accidents at work. (This is based on information from seventy countries). How many of these deaths and injuries were the direct result of capitalists making a profit out of unsafe working conditions for those they exploit? In a recent report from the Health and Safety Executive we are told that over the last three years 400 British building workers have been killed and 30,000 injured, many seriously. According to the report.
It is possible that economic pressures may have resulted in a general lowering in the degree of safety and supervision on site, and in the increase in the practice of undercutting at the expense of safety.
The recession has led capitalists in the construction industry — notoriously, some of the worst employers in Britain — to risk killing their employees for the sake of offering more competitive prices. We have read no report of Thatcher sending the anti-terrorist squad to the building bosses to ensure that justice is done for the 400 men who have died. On the contrary, it has been recent government policy to go in for what is called deregulation in the construction industry — they have cut the number of inspectors employed to check that building sites are conforming to legal safety standards. According to Richard Peto. Reader in Cancer Studies at Oxford University.
 . . . there will be a total of about 50,000 asbestos-induced deaths in Britain over the next thirty years . . . 50,000 deaths is a number so enormous that it is difficult to comprehend. For example, it greatly exceeds the number of murders during the same period . . .
Those who die from asbestos-caused cancer — and we have plenty of evidence to show that many workers already have — will die for profit: 50.000 sacrifices to the god of profit makes anything planned by the PLO or the IRA look like kids playing with a peashooter.

So workers must beware not to be conned into believing that the "baddies" are only those whose violence is not initiated by the capitalist rulers. While we must oppose the senseless killing of WPC Fletcher we remember the workers who have been murdered. injured and abused by the British police; we must oppose the bombers, but never forget the greater violence perpetrated in the name of profit. When 15 million children under five annually die while food is locked away or dumped in the sea the capitalists are in no position to lecture workers about what is evil. Those who have invested millions of pounds, dollars and roubles in the weaponry which could annihilate the entire planet have no right to tell workers that violence is to be deprecated. Those who allowed thousands to die and suffer at Bhopal in India because there was profit to be made for Union Carbide cannot preach about senseless killing. The numerous capitalists who have investments in bloody dictatorships, such as South Africa where over a thousand workers have been killed in the last year for protesting, are hypocrites when they take it on themselves to attack the Libyan regime. The capitalists are the people of violence and tyranny and any words of theirs against certain violence and some tyrannies are worthless and contemptible.

Only socialists can oppose terrorism because only socialists stand in opposition to the system which causes it. There is no other way to destroy the misery caused by organised violence than to abolish its cause.

Let us consider the other choices which have been proposed. There are those who say that we need new, more responsible leaders: Mondale instead of Reagan. Kinnock instead of Thatcher. Do they really believe that Mondale, faced with a perceived threat to US power, would not respond militarily? Does anyone seriously believe that Kinnock, tied to the terms of the military agreement with the USA which allows British bases to be used for American military attacks, would have acted differently from Thatcher? The fact is that these leaders have no option but to dance to the tune of capitalism, for its logic governs them, not they it. Others rather simple-mindedly argue that more faith should be placed in the United Nations, more appropriately known as the Disunited Thieves. The class struggle cannot be fought out around a conference table and the rivalry between capitalist and capitalist will turn violent quite regardless of resolutions passed by diplomats.

Some argue that Britain should turn from alliance with the American Empire to the Russian. The Russian ruling class could never be so callous as to bomb civilians, we are told. But they have killed over 100,000 workers in Afghanistan since they invaded it and one would be naive to imagine that Russian bombs would not carry out a similar raid to the US one if Russian imperial interests are threatened. It has even been suggested that workers in Britain should support Gadaffy because, in the words of the unfailingly foolish Revolutionary Communist Party, any enemy of the British bosses must be supported by the British workers. According to that logic workers in Britain should have supported Mussolini and Hitler — and. indeed, the RCP urged workers to support Galtieri's struggle for the Malvinas in 1982. This sort of pathetic nonsense is what passes as Marxist-Leninism. From other quarters we are urged to return to religious slumber — like born-again Christian Reagan whose interpretation of "Thou Shalt Not Kill" contains an addendum: "unless under instructions from the White House".

Gadaffy is a Muslim, a believer in the faith of Islam which is the Arabic word for submission. It is time for workers to reject the posture of submission for it has been the position of the wage-slave class for too long. There are no answers to violence within the system of violence and that is why peace and security depend entirely on the establishment of a worldwide socialist society now. Tomorrow might be one bomb blast too late.
Steve Coleman