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Arms Industry

The Civil War in Yemen: Britain Supports Our Bastards

The poorest country in the Middle East, Yemen (part of which was the former British colony of Aden) has endured years of instability and poor governance. After the 2011 revolution toppled President Ali Abdullah Saleh who had been in power for more than 30 years, a new president, Hadi, was sworn in with international backing – but he was never able to fully establish authority. Yemen descended into civil war in September 2014 when the Houthis, a Shi’ite sect, seized power. A coalition assembled by Saudi Arabia launched an air campaign in March 2015, to restore the exiled government of Hadi. The Saudi-led bombardments have resulted in massive loss of life, and damage to infrastructure and millions have been driven from their homes. 10,000 people have been killed, many more thousands injured. In addition, many more are indirect victims of the conflict, including those who suffer from chronic diseases, including high blood pressure and diabetes, and are unable to get treatment.

The French Bomb

The wave of protests against the installation of a new generation of American nuclear missiles in Western Europe — with massive demonstrations in October in Bonn, London, Rome and Brussels has not affected France where Mitterrand and his government (despite its four Communist Party ministers) are fully behind Reagan.

It is true that there was an anti-missile demonstration in Paris on 25 October but it attracted less than 50,000 people — not even a third of the number that gathered in Brussels the same day — and it was organised by a Communist Party front organisation, the so-called Mouvement de la Paix (Peace Movement). This was originally set up at the time of the bogus Stockholm appeal of 1952 when Russia was trying to use anti-war sentiments in Western Europe to gain a respite to develop its own atomic bomb, just as it is now trying to use these same sentiments to maintain its missile superiority in Europe.

Editorial: Waste Amidst Want

This is now a world of potential plenty. Yet all but a few are deprived in some way and many starve. At the same time part of the world’s resources are used up in making weapons of war and in training men and women to use these weapons. How is this terrible paradox to be explained ?

The technical basis of modern society is large-scale, mass-producing industry which can only be operated by co-operative labour. By its nature it draws into the work of producing things millions of people the world over. These millions work not on their own; they work together. No man makes anything by himself; he only plays a part in the co-operative labour through which things are today produced. Farms, factories, mines, mills and docks are only geographically separate. Technically they depend on each other as links in a chain. They are only parts of a world-wide productive system. In other words the world is one productive unit.

Sting in the Tail: Class Contempt

Class contempt

Nigel Dempster’s column in the Daily Mail (23 October) carried an uplifting little item that shows the owning class are not all money mad. It was feared that there would be a dispute in the family of Lord White of Hull when it was discovered that he had left an additional £2.6 million without a will.

Everyone behaved beautifully and there was no undignified squabbling. The lack of litigation over the £2.6 million could be explained by the earlier settlements:

    “Widow Victoria, who celebrated her 34th birthday last week, inherited around £17 million, his daughters Caroline and Sita were left £3.5 million each after being given homes in Los Angeles valued at £700,000 and son Lucas, 22, who is heading for tax exile in Bermuda, is the main beneficiary of the £70 million estate. ”

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