Say No to War on Iran

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. – Eisenhower.

Listen in to Paradigm Shift (4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fridays at Noon) 24 Jan 2020 … today’s (24 Jan) show: ‘No to War on Iran‘ or listen online @ Paradigm Shift on Soundcloud.

Ian has discussions live with Annette Brownlie (Independent and Peaceful Australia Network) Maureen Todhunter (Just Peace, Brisbane, Corey (formerly Paradigm Shift) and interviews long time peace activist Gareth Smith Historical background on Iran prepared by Bevan Ramsden (IPAN) and Andrew Fullarton (IPAN).

“Demons of Hell” by Franz Dowling and Margaret Prestorious with sound recording by Corey.
“Who killed Reza Berati?” by Phil Monsour
“El derecho de vivir en paz” by Victor Jara sung by various Chilean artists.

Climate Change War

Significant mobilisation has been brought about by the bushfires in Australia. Uni Students for Climate Justice should be commended for organising these protests. People’s disenchantment with the federal government has been crystallised by the tragic consequences of the fires over the Christmas period 2019-20. That is why 10,000 people turned out at the rally in Brisbane on 10th Jan 2020. The bushfires and smoke have dissipated in Queensland and, predictably, so did the numbers at the follow-up rally.

So why have mobilisations on climate change been wrested from Extinction Rebellion or #Stop Adani or #Frontline Action on Coal?

There has been little discussion about people trying to stop the trains at Camp Binbee near Bowen in North Queensland. Not that facebook is any guide, but acceptances for the #Galilee Rising campaign are still small, reflecting the reality that getting people to where the coal is being exported, far from the big population centres, is difficult.

At the last rally in Brisbane on 17th January 2020, I listened to an excellent speech by Oula from Uni Students for Climate Justice about how the bushfires have displaced people from their homes.

Syria – the Levant

There are claims that climate change was a contributing factor to the civil war in Syria (2011-2020). Syria, a largely agrarian society, had experienced a terrible drought forcing farmers off their land. Moving to the cities was followed by unemployment, poverty and tensions with their city cousins. When people began to protest about this in 2011, the Assad government cracked down hard on some, leading to civil war, or so the theory goes. There is no doubt that Syria experienced a severe drought in the lead up to the civil war and that this had a major impact in a country whose economy depends on agricultural production.

The Assad government is secular and provides protection for various religious groups. For example, Christian living in Syria support Assad because he guarantees them safety. Although some authorities say that there has been a bitter split in the Christian community because of the civil war. However this may reflect views of Christians outside the country who don’t need protection. I don’t know.

The Syrian speaker at the rally concentrated on the failure of the Australian government and the fossil fuel companies and how the Australian government has demonised refugees by placing them in detention. The reality is about 3.8 million Syrians have been made refugees in neighbouring countries by the civil war. That’s one third of the population! Lebanon and Jordan took the bulk of these refugees.

The facts of the campaign against Scott Morrison are outlined in several articles on this website under Brisbane: ‘Sack Scomo’ series I, II, III and so on).

Academic versions of the debate can be found elsewhere. John Quiggan on his blog of the same name gives a good academic account of the forces at play however the language used is often technical. Quiggan does make an economic argument against the federal government’s denialism protecting profits.

So it is little wonder that the main slogan of the Sack ScoMo demonstrations has become Make the Corporations Pay! The corporations that profit from burning fossil fuels at least.

Attempts have been made to link the onset of war with climate change and bushfires. However more emphasis is placed on how bushfires have mobilised people not on why they were linked.

Discussion has centered on how difficult it is to mobilise people against a U.S. war on Iran. Trump is to the anti-war movement what bushfires are to the Climate Change movement. When the US President backs down as he did in June 2019 after threatening to fire missiles into Iran people don’t come out on the streets. Marxists call this the ‘objective conditions’.

On this occasion it looks like an accomodation has been made between the antagonists. Activists have spent years watching the crowds dwindle on peace and refugee issues. Vibrancy has gone out of the refugee movement with the slow absorption of asylum seekers from detention offshore to community detention onshore . The peace movement has been in the doldrums since the 2003 Iraq War and the disaster it caused the people of Iraq.

We do need to make a stronger case for why sitting home watching the television or surfing the internet is not an option. Some people feel secure because their wealth is not under threat, the stock market is on the rise, super pensions are paying dividends, the haves are happy with Morrison if a little concerned about the fires. They think their wealth will protect them from climate change.

We need to organise workers, to mobilise their unions. The Queensland Council of Unions Secretary spoke at the first Sack Scomo rally echoing the feeling in the crowd that getting rid of Morrison is not enough.

This article does not claim to be definitive. It poses questions that should be addressed especially in a society like Australia that has limited knowledge of the Middle East.

People should attempt to find out what is going on and attempt to explain the crisis to others. It is important because successive Australian governments have sent troops into the region and provided intelligence to the United States for no good reason. The refugee crisis has been provoked by Australian government intervention.

Finally we need to discuss the reasons for success or failure of actions taken in the public arena and how to build and organise a stronger anti-war movement.

Ian Curr
0407 687 016
Paradigm Shift 4ZZZ
21 Jan 2020

National Protest Rallies
(IPAN together with unions, community and other anti-war organisations has called a national day of protest and in support of the international day of protest against war on Iran)
25th January, 2020
at the following locations:
PERTH: 11 am outside U.S. Consulate Contact:
SYDNEY: 12 midday outside Sydney Town Hall Contact Nick 0420 269 929
ADELAIDE: 1 pm on Parliament Steps Contact 0404 629 764
BRISBANE: 11am, King George Square: Contact Annette 0431 597 256
MELBOURNE: 1pm, Steps of State Library: Contact Shirley 0417 456 001
NEWCASTLE: 11am, Westfields Kotara: Contact Bevan 0418 697 528
ALICE SPRINGS: Courthouse lawns, time TBA Contact Jonathan 0403 611 815
Bring our troops home from Iraq
No Australian Naval vessel for U.S. war in straits of Homuz
Keep Australia out of U.S. wars

For more information …

One thought on “Say No to War on Iran”

  1. Paradigm Shift with Ian and guests

    Welcome to the Paradigm Shift on FM 102.1 4ZZZ Fridays at noon.

    We challenge the assumptions of our current society, to resist oppression and investigate alternative ways of living for a world based on justice, solidarity and sustainability.

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