This is class war

Address by Bob Doyle, International Brigade veteran,
at the unveiling of the International Brigades Commemoration Committee Memorial to the local volunteers, Writers’ Square, Belfast, October 13th 2007.

Hello everyone,

It is grand that the efforts, and the often heroic sacrifices made by our comrades in the past are remembered here today. It is right and fitting that we should honour the part that they played in the fight against fascism. But let us not fall into the trap of romanticising the past and isolating it from events today.

Let us also remember that the same US Corporations that supplied the fascists with oil in Spain are today pilfering the oil of the Iraqi people.

The British Government that lied to the people while secretly giving financial credits and hypocritically allowing arms to be smuggled to the Spanish fascists is the same government that today lied about weapons of mass destruction and took the British people into a war that they did not want.

I read that Britain has by far the highest prison population in Europe. Well a few probably are violent criminals that need to be locked up, but these are a handful, Most are in prison for drug and alcohol related crimes, or petty crimes against property; like women caught shoplifting or lying about their benefit claims. And who are these prisoners? Few of them will have gone to public schools or coe from wealthy homes. They come from the deprived, the mentally disturbed, and the disenfranchised. They are the victims of poverty. And what is the answer of our government? It is to build more prisons.

This is class war.

And while they plan to stuff yet more of the victims of the corporate state into prisons, we have seen in the last few years the massive theft of public wealth and its transfer into private hands. This is crime on a huge scale.

In the decade ending in 1996, Rupert Murdoch’s company, News International, paid virtually no tax on recorded profits of almost a billion pounds. This is the man whose paper The Sun is constantly going on about single mothers and refugees as so-called benefit ‘scroungers’. No one deserves jailing more than Rupert Murdoch, but he is an honoured guest in Downing Street.

Meanwhile the state is forever extending its surveillance of us, collecting evermore personal information and whittling away at our civil liberties.

Make so mistake, this is class war. Fascism is not something that was defeated in the past. It is alive and thriving in Britain. It is here today.

So while we pay our respects to those who fought in the past, let their sacrifice also be an inspiration to us today. Let us honour their memory by carrying on the struggle against those who put profit before people, the ongoing fight for the liberation of mankind.

La lucha continua.

Bob Doyle, Belfast, 13th October 2007.

More reports on the Belfast Memorial events