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Sunday, 8 November 2015

Remember that WWI was an imperial war

Jeremy Corbyn is targetted again today by the Dail Mail, and other right wing newspapers, for insufficiently recognising the sacrifice of millions who died in numerous British wars over the past century. He did not bow low enough. He suggested that wars are usually futile. That Wilfred Owen's poem Futility is appropriate for reading on Remembrance Sunday. That wars and capitalism are interlinked. That the First World War was a bloodbath that was propelled by naked land grabs and not a defence of freedom against aggression or of democracy against autocracy.

Among other things, the Daily Mail objects to this statement by Corbyn: 

'I have no objection to people wearing poppies in memory of those who died in wars, but in doing so we should have enough humility to realise that war kills and, as the first world war showed, is usually futile.

'There are alternatives but they require a different way of administering the world and standing up to commercial pressures, arms and mineral companies who seek to move in behind Western intervention.

'Perhaps this is where we should be focusing and not on the jingoism and bunting that was hung out in 1914 for the young men who were seen off on train stations in London before breathing their last on the western front.'

In the Sunday Times, a Tory MP accuses Corbyn of politicising Remembrance Sunday.

In those attacks is revealed what the Right considers that British wars have been fought for and Britain stands for in the world. It revelas the Establishment consensus - the politics - behind remembering the dead, remembering those who lost their lives. Behind all the talk of sacrifice is a hard-nosed pro-war politics that remains on the current political agenda. It reveals one stark fact that has hardly changed despite so-called decolonisation - that the British Establishment's imperial world view remains fundamental to their self concepts and concept of the 'national' interest.

Jeremy Corbyn's election to Labour leader threatens that imperial, pro-war consensus that led to the most recent wars of choice that Britain has waged, and is waging - Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and its current military role in Iraq and Syria.

Corbyn does not stand alone - he stands for an influential and widespread viewpoint that is opposed to militarism, imperialism and war.

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