Issue 217 of SOCIALIST REVIEW Published March 1998 Copyright Socialist Review

Stack on the back

Pat Stack

This may sound like a contradiction, but, on the one hand, I am a revolutionary socialist who believes that workers will have to use force to overthrow the existing order. On the other hand, I don't much like violence in any form. Indeed one of the reasons I am a socialist is to be part of a struggle to create a world free of war, violence and tyranny.

I reject pacifism despite its fine ideals because I simply don't believe that those who run the existing world order would, for a minute, allow a vote or a peaceful movement to bring about change.

Yet those who run the existing order would label me an extremist, would argue I was in favour of violence for my political ends, would say that such violence is never necessary and can never be justified.

Their representatives in the mass media would repeat this line, and very large numbers of people would balk at the notion of violent revolutionary change. Yet our leaders and their media mouthpieces are frauds and hypocrites when it comes to the question of violence.

As I sit here writing this column it is not clear whether Sinn Fein is about to be kicked out of the peace talks because of alleged IRA activity. What is clear, of course, is that peace talks without Sinn Fein are about as relevant as a football match without a ball, or an orchestra without instruments. No Sinn Fein, no peace - end of story.

Yet the government that is laying down these conditions is itself sending the wonderfully ethical Robin Cook around the world with Madeleine Albright, desperately trying to whip up a war frenzy to get enough people on board to make the bombing of Baghdad seem respectable.

As this rather ghoulish version of an ageing Sonny and Cher world tour does its worst, what are we being persuaded to believe? That untold violence and devastation is justified because it will prevent...untold violence and devastation; that innocent Iraqi men, women and children will be bombed because it is in their own interests?

There used to be a cartoon programme on television called Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. One of the characters in it was a mad McCarthyite who explains to a neighbour that he has been intercepting the neighbour's mail to protect his (the neighbour's) personal privacy. Well, sorry, but that's just what ethical Robin and Megadeath Madeleine seem to be offering Iraq. All this of course is bad enough, but what makes it worse is that the trigger happy atmosphere seems to have increased in direct proportion to Bill Clinton's little local difficulty.

There was once a war fought about Jenkins' Ear - the details escape me. I do very clearly, however, remember the war of 'Thatcher's face' in the Falklands. Now we stand on the verge of the most obscene of all - the war of 'Clinton's dick'.

The war should be the real shame of the Clinton administration, not his libidinous goings on. If it is possible to compound that shame then there is the fate of one woman which should be remembered when we look at the real crimes of Bill Clinton.

I speak not of Monica Lewinsky, Gennifer Flowers or Paula Jones, we don't yet know the full facts of those incidents. But we do know that he allowed the most brutal and savage attack on one woman: Karla Faye Tucker. Which brings us all the way back to violence. Because what was done to that woman was vicious, cold blooded killing for the sake of it.

Karla Faye Tucker should surely have been looking for parole, not at a life sentence. Heaven knows, the American prison system can claim few successes but she genuinely seems to have been one. She had been weaned off the drugs that had dominated all her teenage and adult life, the drugs which had led her in a crazy haze to commit her awful crime. Now she had even found god, been born again and all that other stuff that the people who allowed her to die are supposed to believe in. She was now a threat to no one, there was no need of deterrent, no cause for her to die - except cold blooded, violent, revenge.

Texas Governor George Bush (son of warmonger George senior) could have pardoned her - instead he asked god to bless her and then played god himself. Clinton could have saved her, but, hey, women were causing him enough problems without embarking on a controversy about another one.

One of the subliminal messages that will be sent back, if and when collateral damage is being inflicted on Iraq, will be that, after all, they are only Arabs, people with such little respect for human life they watch public executions. Anyone who saw the warped and twisted mob that waited outside the building where Karla Faye Tucker was murdered should have little doubt that they would have paid for tickets to be inside if they had been on sale.

Yes, I believe in revolution to sweep aside the existing order, because in just a few short days I have watched their way, their civilisation, their system. They all claim to be non-violent, but their violence and hypocrisy looks like chucking away peace in Ireland, bringing war to Baghdad, has already murdered a harmless woman, and perhaps worst of all has turned some of their own citizens into a bloodthirsty lynch mob.

No violence I could contemplate would begin to compare to all this.

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