There are alternatives to war as a method of solving problems, in particular the issue of Democracy, equitable distribution of wealth and the right of self determination of the Palestinian people, an absolutely core issue of the Middle East. They are issues that should be central to those of us who do not want permanent war. A war, which the rich corporate sector will lose, as there are just too many poor people in the world. The total population of the US and the EU only constitutes 12% of world's population. Bush cannot kill everybody.
The real challenge can be seen from the following facts:
- The total external debt of developing countries rose from $90 million in 1970 to $2,000 in 1998.
- 2.8 billion people live on less than $2 a day.
- Of the worlds 6 billion people. 1.2 billion live on less than $1 a day.
- 30-35,000 children die every day from preventable diseases.
- The gap between the richest 20% of the world's population and the poorest 20% has doubled over the last 40 years.
- The assets of the worlds top 3 billionaires exceeds the GNP of all the populations of the 48 least developed countries with a total population of 600 million.
- 80% of the world's income goes to the top 20% of the world's population.
- 60% of the world's population has to do with 6% of the world's income.
- 51 of the largest economic entities are corporations.
- Basic food and raw material prices fell by 50% in real terms in the last 20 years.
The purpose of Bush Blair and Bertie Ahern it to use their military to keep it that way.
Those of us that do not support the corporate elite need to build an alliance against the war not just in this country but also on a global basis.
We can take some initiatives in Ireland. PANA seeks support for a Nuclear Free Zone Bill and an amendment to the Irish Constitution to enshrine neutrality, and oppose the use of Shannon by the US.
The Irish elite will however continue to support the war, allows Shannon to be used and oppose the Nuclear Free Zone Bill and Neutrality. Their problem, however, is that the Irish people do not agree with them. The global corporate elite will continue to support the war. Their problem is that people all over the world do not support with them.
The Peace & Neutrality Alliance believes power derives from the people. If the poor are turning to the fundamentalists it is because those who claim to support democracy, such as Blair, Bush and Ahern have decided to back the corporates, to back the International arms industry.
The poor of the world see no difference between those who call themselves democratic socialists, liberals or conservatives. To the poor, they are all the parties of the rich.
To the poor, the only alternative on offer is that of fundamentalist version of religion, and because most of the rich are nominally Christian, they will turn to Muslim fundamentalists.
But the war is not about religion it is about oil. If the people of Iraq were Hindu, then the enemy would be "Hindu fundamentalists" if they were Christian, then the enemy would be "Christian fundamentalists."
A true interpretation of "fundamentalism" is a return to justice, a return to the basic and fundamental nature of all religions, which is "to love God, and thy neighbors as thyself". If love of thy neighbor is the fundamental, then we should all be fundamentalists, whether it is a fundamentalist Muslim or a fundamentalist Christian.
It is the job of those of us that support democracy, equality and justice to show that there is an alternative to corporate power. If we fail, then we all lose. If we are successful, then there is a future for us all.
On Saturday 15th of March there was an International Day of Protest in capital cities throughout the world. In Dublin, the demonstration was the largest peace march in history. Throughout hundreds of cities throughout the world people marched for peace and justice. A new "superpower" is being born. The superpower of the peoples of the world.
There is no justification in International law for an invasion of Iraq. Resolution 1441 does not give Bush the legal authority to go to war. Therefore preparations for war, or helping to prepare for war like allowing Shannon to be turned into a US air force base are not supported by International law. The UN Charter explicitly prohibits the threat of force as well as the use of force, unless such threat or actual use is enabled by the Security Council and comes as a result of the exhaustion of all other means. There is no basis in international law for a "pre-emptive war".
War can only be declared under the UN Charter fewer than two circumstances;
"In collective or individual self defence against actual or imminent armed attack and where the Security Council has directed or authorized the use of force to maintain or restore International peace or security."
There is no evidence that Iraq currently poses a threat to its neighbors let alone international peace and security. That Iraq has rockets that can go a mere 20 K further than UN regulations is not a threat to International security let alone the US which is thousands of miles away. If the security Council does agree to a 2nd resolution authorizing war, at the request of Bush and the leaders of the vassal states of the US, it will reflect the fear that the enormous military power of the US now gives rise to, rather than any justification in international law
Bush will win the battle for Iraq. He has so many powerful weapons at his disposal; he is so willing to kill so many Iraqi children that if he goes to war he will conquer Iraq. He will win the battle, but he will lose the war. The entire population of the US only constitutes 3-4% of the world's population. Their rich elite which Bush represents is so small, it cannot sustain his ambition the ensure US Imperial rule of the entire world for very long. Even with the support of the political elites in its vassal states like Britian, and Ireland they will not be able to sustain their power for long. Even if the political elites of the states on the Security Council reject the will of their own people and bow to the power of the US Emperor, they will not be able to sustain their power for long. The Era of the American Empire is coming to an end.
The need is to ensure that what replaces the Empire is not barbarism.
The need is to renew, revitalize and transform the United Nations as the inclusive global organization to in the words of the Charter to:
Reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of man and women and of nations large and small and
To establish conditions under which justice and respect for obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, and for these ends
To practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors, and
To unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
To ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
To employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,
have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims. By adopting the United Nations Charter and establishing the United Nations.
Two hundred years ago Robert Emmet, a leader of the United Irishmen who sought to establish an Independent, Democratic Irish Republic that would take its place among the nations of the earth was killed by the British Empire. The struggle to establish an Independent, United, and Democratic Irish Republic that would take its place in a transformed United Nations remains the objective of the Peace & Neutrality alliance. The Irish people have made great progress towards that objective in 200 years and we will not revert to supporting the Imperial tradition now.