Towards the end of 2020 Open Labour released a pamphlet criticising Stop the War and its influence. Here is our response

Lindsey German & Andrew Murray – Foreword by Jeremy Corbyn

Click Here to Download: No Return to Blair Wars Pamphlet


Introduction

For five years, the principles of Stop the War Coalition were articulated by the leader of the Labour Party. In some ways, this was a surprising development. After all, for years Stop the War’s main actions and campaigns had been directed against the policies of a Labour government, above all over the Iraq War of 2003.

However, the depth and persistence of anti-war opinion, and the continuing strength of the anti-war movement resonated deep within the labour movement. It contributed to the decision of Ed Miliband to oppose air strikes against Syria in 2013, a position which led to the planned strikes being abandoned. And it certainly contributed to the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader in 2015, a decision made by a party membership desperate for an alternative to the New Labour politics of war and neo-liberalism.

In this pamphlet, we argue for the continuing salience of those policies amid indications that Corbyn’s successor, Sir Keir Starmer, and his Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy will look for ways to abandon them. Not only are the main lines of Stop the War’s policies popular in the country, but they are also overwhelmingly popular among the Party membership. And the contemporary international situation makes them as relevant as ever, notwithstanding many changes in the world since our foundation in 2001.

The attack against Stop the War has been most recently expressed in a pamphlet published by Open Labour – A Progressive Foreign Policy for New Times. It was launched with the participation of Nandy, and subsequently endorsed by another member of Labour’s foreign affairs front bench team. Its arguments aim at returning Labour to its worst mistakes of the past, all made under the heading of ‘liberal intervention’.

Here we aim to briefly refute the main arguments of the Open Labour authors. We rebut the allegation that our opposition to regime change wars means alignment with the regimes targeted for removal; recall the actual record, behind the rhetoric, of the wars of intervention of the last thirty years; examine the recent changes in the world balance of power; defend the importance of anti-imperialism as a political orientation; expose the hypocrisy of the alternative advocated; and sum up the foreign policy choices facing the next Labour government.

We hope to ensure that the apparent course set by Starmer and Nandy does not go uncontested.  These issues should be debated throughout Constituency Labour Parties and the trade unions, as well as the Left and society more generally. This pamphlet is a contribution.

Lindsey German

Andrew Murray

January 2021

Click Here to Download: No Return to Blair Wars Pamphlet

10 Feb 2021

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