An Open letter to the SNP – Challenging the vacuous rhetoric of war.
To all MP’s and MSP’s of the Scottish National Party
We the undersigned write to implore our representatives in the SNP to refuse war in Syria or anywhere else in the Middle East, and to broaden the debate on our foreign policy for public scrutiny.
We insist that the SNP refuse to be cowed by the political game in Westminster into maintaining the currently imposed parameters of the debate about intervention in Syria. We demand that they speak frankly, openly and honestly to expose the real reasons for the war and that they make this the undeviating character of their political engagement on such issues. That they speak about the long standing and open US foreign policy to control oil and natural gas reserves, the UK governments complicity and partnership in the rapacious wars that have ensued and our countries commitment to the arms industry that benefits. We remind them that we do not seek popularity in Westminster. We seek to challenge the status quo, expose corrupt self interest, betray the vacuity of the politically motivated narrative and differentiate our way of being and our way of doing democracy from that which exists in Westminster. We demand that our representatives speak the truth, and demand that what is known is acknowledged, not be drawn into their game of halve truths, pre-framed debate, moral compromise and point winning politics. It is clear to us that the debate is vacuous and it is not inspiring to see our leaders subject to the restraints imposed.
Perpetuating the limited debate on Syria, where the pro’s and con’s of alternate ways of tackling ‘terrorism’ are debated, devoid of the very obvious and basic financial motivations of a few powerful players for our involvement, not to mention the vast and hideous carnage that we and our allies have inflicted on the world, does nothing to solve the root causes of the problems we face and thus fails the Scottish people. Though the latter element has been touched on as a causal factor in the emergence of Isis, we insist that this debate is opened up; specifically, that the mechanisms that unite war, oil & gas reserves, the arms industry, the media and our foreign policy are spoken about openly. That those companies and individuals who benefit directly are exposed, that the nature of the cost to the taxpayer and the financial returns to shareholders are analysed and made easily available to the public. In such debate, the undermining of our democracy and our destruction of the Middle East should be put in the context of these drivers and the deliberate propagation and imposition of neoliberal economics on other countries.
Only with an open view of this history and its colonial antecedent can an alternative vision of our future in the world be meaningfully proposed. An alternative view that is drawn from a vision of the future rooted in the common decency of our people and our great potential to innovate, create and build; a potential that is sadly forsaken and underutilised by this commitment to militarism. This is the history and nature of the problem we face and this is the debate to which our representatives should be devoted.
A clear parallel exists with the change we strive to introduce in our own society, as evidenced by the character of our movement for independence. The grass roots movement of Scottish nationalism is civic, open and inclusive. It must be attended by a view of geopolitics and world history that is not the ubiquitous and invidious, Eurocentric view of the world, and the partial, exclusionary and partisan view of history that currently dominates. This is the open and honest politics that we demand from the SNP, a party that, for now, transcends party politics and is granted the greater role as our de facto leaders in our quest for change. In this role the party must engage with the will and sentiment of the people and in doing so today, must recognise that having come through the referendum campaign, with its state sponsored propaganda against us, we have become sceptical of the mainstream narrative, well researched, eager for frank and open talk, and most importantly, expectant of something greater from the SNP, something that transcends the morass of contemporary politics and foreign policy. You must not underestimate us and believe that we will be easily swayed by their inevitable response, duped, and unable to recognise the truth from lies. In any event, what needs to be said is easily evidenced. The truth is powerful, but it is our friend, and we welcome it into the light.
We know that the Iraq war was about Oil reserves and ‘opening up’ that country, creating a neo-liberal state.
We know that the spread of neoliberalism, by politics and force, has resulted in huge inequality and is now openly bankrupt as an economic theory.
We know that the calculus of austerity is a lie, propagated so that private organisations and individuals can benefit from the destruction of public services.
We know that the US predicted the rise of the so called ‘Islamic’ State, otherwise known as ‘Isis’ or ‘Daesh’ as a result of their policies in the area, and that they saw it as positively aligned with their strategy, and so continued.
We know that the ‘civil war’ in Syria was promoted and facilitated by our own and allied interference, that we have supplied money, training and arms and that we are accountable for the death and displacement of millions and for the destruction of that country.
We know that this war in Syria is a proxy war, fought over oil and gas reserves, spurred by President Assad’s choice of a Russian backed gas pipeline over that preferred by us, the US and our allies.
We know that Islamaphobia is maliciously spread by ‘think tanks’ and polemicists funded by those who would have us hate and dehumanise the people of countries whose resources they desire.
We know that mainstream media is in thrall to government, dominated by the vested interest of power.
We know that there are financial ties between arms industry shareholders, media owners/ shareholders and government.
We know that this insanity is facilitated by the usurpation of the democratic power of the people by the power of the corporation, which is rightly understood as sociopathic, as it is legally obliged to have no concern for society, the world, or its people.
We know that all of this geopolitical manoeuvring, death and destruction is for natural resources that we should not, for the sake of our planet, our own ecological life support systems, even pursue! The shareholders of these companies force the scramble for their profit margins in an industry that shall, must, soon be replaced.
All of these things are known because they are indisputable. Yet they are barely mentioned in the debate over current foreign policy. What are we to make of a democratic process where these realities remain unsaid in the halls of power? What are we to make of our leadership if they cannot voice them? The true contemporary drivers for war remain even more unspoken than the history of our colonialism; that our wealth and geopolitical position was dependant on dominating foreign counties and enslaving their populations. This is unacceptable. What is more, it is incompatible with an aim to lead our country into a better future. The party cannot be shackled to an outdated and bankrupt narrative as this awareness blossoms amongst the people. They must be committed to political engagement from an unredacted reality for a process of transparent, participatory democracy to function.
How much further along would renewable technology be, if the money for wars was instead put into research and development? How many countries, riven by war and starvation could contribute to human development if we did not follow policies to divide them against one another and allow corporations to harvest their resources? How much fairer, richer, developed and happier would we be, if our people were not distracted by struggle, fear, poverty and misinformation, but engaged in innovation, learning and creation? How could this narrow and myopic debate on Syrian intervention even be voiced if our representatives laid bare the corruption of our democracy, the complicity of our media, the crime of our wealth, and the blood on our hands?
We are the people of Scotland, and we understand these things. We understand that what democracy we have left is failing us. Our civil rights are diminished in the name of security and defending ‘our’ ‘way of life’. Our capacity, and our right, to produce for ourselves is weakened by the constant encroachment of big business. All of this equates to the growth of inequality under this flag of ‘freedom’. Freedom to do what? Freedom to destroy other countries, demonise other cultures and religions, murder people in the millions so that we can live in fear and poverty but control the means to destroy the worlds ecosystem? All the while we become less free and our society more strained by insecurity and tension. It is not our ‘freedom’ that our children fight for, but the freedom of the rich few to dominate the many and the freedom of corporations to control and destroy unhindered by conscience or sanity. We require our leadership to protect us from this, and as a first step, they must recognise that it is so.
We demand that the SNP, as our leaders and representative, confront and dismantle the rhetoric that determines the parameters of the debate. That they expose the companies, people and industries that thrive and profit from war, lies and destruction. That they speak the plain unabridged truth and take a moral position against the perpetuation of this mad facade and that they represent the people of Scotland’s desire to take no part in the murder of other peoples, the destruction of their cultures, the destabilisation of their governments, or the pillaging of their resources. We demand that we divest from the economics of war and the scramble for fossil fuels. That they fight for the freedom of the people from the power of corporations and strive for a future where the democratic will of the people is the only influence on government. We demand a vision of the future free from war, where our wealth is put to use in the development of technologies and social institutions that facilitate the true freedom of our people; the freedom to think, to create and to build a future united and in peace.
Most importantly perhaps, we know that there is no future on the current path. Between war, climate change and technological developments that presage great social upheaval, we know that things are only set to get worse. We must part from the UK in order to have a future at all; but we must first dismantle their rhetoric and construct our own frame of reference in order to imagine that alternative.
We are the people of Scotland. We will not bow down to the rule of the British establishment, the tyranny of corporations or the manipulative power of mainstream media or state sponsored propaganda. We will not send the sons and daughters of our communities to kill and die in order to line the pockets of the shareholders of oil, gas and weapons companies. We will not send bullets and bombs to terrorise the people of the Middle East and we will not be divided as a community by hatred, fear and bigotry. We are the people of Scotland. We are diverse, we are many, but we are one!
Please sign the petition to add your support
D. S. Thomson
30th November 2015