The July-September 2003 edition of the World Socialist Web Site Review is now available. Published amid the unraveling of the lies and fabrications used to justify the US-led invasion of Iraq, and with the US-British occupation descending into a quagmire, the latest 72-page issue begins to examine the political lessons of the Iraq war.
The editorial, The UN vote on Iraq: the political issues, draws the implications of the May 22 vote in the United Nations Security Council, in effect authorising indefinite neo-colonial rule over Iraq. In a display of breathtaking prostration, the UN rubberstamped an invasion which, just weeks earlier, the governments of Germany, France and Russia were declaring would violate international law. The UN vote exposed the futility of the illusions promoted by protest organisers around the world that the UN—and the Schroeder, Chirac and Putin governments—could be pressured into halting the US-led war.
“For the millions who took part in the antiwar protests around the world, the vote in the United Nations provides a salutary political lesson,” the editorial states. “It demonstrates the complete worthlessness of relying on the bourgeoisie or its political agencies as a bulwark against imperialist war and the need for a new political strategy. The only viable means for waging a struggle for world peace is the independent mobilisation of the working class in every country to abolish the capitalist system that inevitably gives rise to war and to refashion society on a socialist basis to end social inequality and want.”
The magazine features a series of articles and statements indicting the Bush administration’s rape of Iraq, including the mass murder of its soldiers and civilians and the looting and destruction of the country’s infrastructure and cultural heritage. The rape of Iraq explains: “The aim is to reduce the country’s people to a destitute and atomised mass, creating what the Bush administration sees as a tabula rasa upon which it can imprint its own right-wing and predatory schemes.”
Two penetrating articles by WSWS international editorial board chairman David North trace the connection between the war and the underlying economic weakness, political decay and staggering social inequality afflicting American capitalism. War, oligarchy and the political lie probes the objective significance of the Bush administration’s resort to lies to carry through its unprovoked and illegal invasion. The crisis of American capitalism and the war against Iraq points to the malignant contradictions in the American body politic and makes a prescient warning: “Whatever the outcome of the initial stages of the conflict that has begun, American imperialism has a rendezvous with disaster. It cannot conquer the world. It cannot reimpose colonial shackles upon the masses of the Middle East. It will not find through the medium of war a viable solution to its internal maladies. Rather, the unforeseen difficulties and mounting resistance engendered by war will intensify all the internal contradictions of American society.”
A report delivered by international editorial board member Nick Beams to public meetings in Australia develops the WSWS analysis of the driving forces behind the eruption of US militarism. Beams examines the falling profit rates, increasing resort to financial manipulation and speculation, and mounting attacks on the social position of the working class that have dominated American and world capitalism since the late 1970s. In another article on the world economy, Beams reviews the latest manifestation of this crisis in the falling value of the US dollar.
Also featured are the opening report and the six resolutions adopted by the March 29-30 World Socialist Web Site-Socialist Equality Party Conference “Socialism and the Struggle Against Imperialism and War: The Strategy and Program of a New International Working Class Movement,” in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Delivered by David North, Into the maelstrom: the crisis of American imperialism and the war against Iraq reviews the deep historical roots of the war and assesses the objective significance of the unprecedented global movement against it. “These demonstrations, which have developed almost spontaneously, independent of, and in opposition to, all the traditional political forces of the bourgeois establishment, can only be understood as the preliminary expression of the emerging internationalist and socialist response to the crisis of the world capitalist system.”
Another important article, The historical roots of neoconservatism: a reply to a slanderous attack on Trotskyism, reviews the proud and principled record of the Trotskyist movement in the United States, answering a crude attempt to attribute to it the origins of the extreme right-wing cabal that dominates the Bush White House and the Pentagon.
Other articles expose the reactionary agenda behind the US “road map” for the Middle East, advance a political strategy to fight the attack on workers’ pensions in France, and examine the British government’s attempt to silence antiwar criticism by witchhunting Labour MP George Galloway.
In the Asia-Pacific region, articles document the Indonesian government’s “shock and awe” military offensive against the people of Aceh, examine the mounting social inequality and unrest in China and expose the neo-colonial calculations behind the Australian government’s involvement in the invasion of Iraq.
Two significant exchanges of correspondence are included in the magazine. The first, a reply to a US war correspondent by arts review editor David Walsh, indicts the war propaganda pumped out by the American media. Walsh points out that German propagandists and journalists were charged before the Nuremberg tribunal for similar complicity in the Nazi war crimes.
In the second exchange, Nick Beams replies to a supporter of the “Saffra-based” critique of Marx’s Capital. Beams explains the central significance of Marx’s analysis of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall under capitalism.
The arts review section contains David Walsh’s opening essay on the Buenos Aires 5th International Festival of Independent Cinema, Fred Mazelis’ review of The Pianist, Roman Polanski’s film of the Warsaw Ghetto, and Joanne Laurier’s review of Divine Intervention, a film by Palestinian director Elia Suleiman.
The July-September 2003 WSWS Review provides, in an attractive, easy-to-read and durable form, some of the most critical political analysis presented daily on the World Socialist Web Site. We encourage all our readers to purchase the new issue, become regular subscribers to the magazine, and send articles, comments and correspondence to the WSWS.
Current and back issues of the WSWS Review can be ordered through Mehring Books at firstname.lastname@example.org in the US for $US5 per issue, email@example.com in the UK for £2.50 per issue and firstname.lastname@example.org in Australia for $A8.00 per issue. Annual subscriptions (four issues) are available for $US30 in the US, £12 in Britain and $A35 in Australia.