SPGB Socialist Opposition To War - Suppose they called a demonstration but no one came

Boris Johnson is a political iceberg. He presents himself to the public as a buffoon but below the surface there is a ruthless and calculating mind.

In October this year, in a debate on Syria and the bombing by Assad and Putin of Aleppo, he asked rhetorically, why Stop the War was not demonstrating outside the Russian Embassy. He knew the answer. Stop the War are anti-Western capitalism and will never demonstrate outside an embassy not associated with the evil United States.

Stop the War grade countries from good to bad. The US and the UK are bad, Russia is not so bad and the Kurds are good. They are anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian. Rather than stop wars they take sides in war and conflict. They have no interest in war being stopped. Their mind-set is set within Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism.

Stop the War is a political organisation with a political agenda largely run by Trotskyists from Counterfire, a splinter group from the Socialist workers Party. The two leading members of Stop the War are the Dave and Deidre Spart duo; John Rees and Lindsey German. John Rees is also a leading member of another front organisation, The Peoples’ Assembly against Austerity.

A flavour of Rees’s politics can be seen in the following remark:

According to Rees, "Socialists(sic) should unconditionally stand with the oppressed against the oppressor, even if the people who run the oppressed country are undemocratic and persecute minorities, like Saddam Hussein." (lan Johnson “The Euston Moment”, the GUARDIAN.com, 21 April 2008).

John Freedman, journalist at the GUARDIAN, also took up John’s demand for Stop the Coalition to demonstrate outside the Russia Embassy. (If they really wanted to stop the war in Syria they would target Russia 14th October 2016). In the event, the only person who turned up outside the Russia Embassy was a pacifist Buddhist.

Stop the War’s leadership is a despicable crowd. However, why weren’t Johnson and Freedman demonstrating outside the Russian Embassy? Where were all the anti- Assad and Putin forces in London? Obviously they have better things to do on a Saturday morning.

However, what Boris and Freedman do not do is question Western policy in Syria and the Middle East. They seem unable to offer a criticism of the West and its military policy in the region over the last one hundred and fifty years. Would Johnson have opposed Eden’s adventurism into the Suez some 60 years ago? It is hardly unlikely. He would be leading the cheering at Portsmouth docks as the troop ships left for yet another war.

Socialists do not take sides in the conflict between opposing capitalist states. Our argument against war is to highlight the capitalist cause and the existence of competing nation states. Wars occur because of the need to secure raw resources like oil, protect trade routes and to establish spheres of strategic importance. If you do not want war, conflict, death and destruction then you first have to organise to consciously and politically abolish capitalism.

Johnson and Freedman have no interest in the abolition of capitalism. Johnson wants to accelerate the war with plans to create no-bombing zones while there will never be criticism off capitalism from the I-pad of Mr Freedman. And similarly Stop the War has no interest in establishing socialism war. However, the leadership of Stop the War only want a mass of people to mobilise, to lead and to tell what to do. They, like Boris Johnson, have a political agenda below the surface. Their politics is the same as Johnson’s; to mobilise the politically naive. In this respect, they deserve each other.

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Object and Declaration of Principles


The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.

Declaration of Principles


1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (ie land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced.

2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce and those who produce but do not possess.

3.That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.

4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.

5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.

6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.

7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.

8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.