It has always struck me that many people on the British left know far more about US foreign policy horrors than those committed by this country. This is, perhaps, unsurprising since the mainstream media and British academics systematically keep the public in the dark about such abuses.
Although Britain clearly has much less power, its policies are often worse than those of the US. British policy towards Iraq is not an aberration: violating international law and the UN, supporting repressive regimes and promoting a neo-liberal economic order are all permanent features of British foreign policy.
My view is that the left needs to expose this more, to mobilise larger numbers of people to demand radical change. The chronology below highlights some of the key events in British foreign policy over the last 10 years. We have to ensure that what is done in our name over the next decade is nowhere near as horrific.
1994: Britain increases arms exports to Turkey just at a time when the latter is undertaking major operations against its Kurdish population, destroying 3,500 villages and killing thousands.
April 1994: A million Tutsis die in Rwanda. Instrumental in reducing the size of a UN peacekeeping force in the country, and in making sure the UN does not use the word “genocide’ to describe the atrocities (which would obligate international intervention in the country), Britain is effectively complicit in the slaughter.
1992-1995: British policy contributes to the destruction of Bosnia, and tens of thousands of deaths, by preventing both the lifting of an arms embargo against Bosnia and international military action in its defence.
1996: A British military training team is sent to Saudi Arabia to help Riyadh with “internal security’.
February 1996: An MI6-backed bomb attack on Colonel Gaddafi of Libya kills six innocent bystanders.
September 1996: Britain supports US cruise missile attacks against Iraq.
August 1998: Britain supports US attacks against al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan.
December 1998: Britain and the US launch an aerial bombing campaign in Iraq.
March 1999: Britain and Nato bomb Kosovo, thus precipitating a humanitarian catastrophe that the bombing was supposed to prevent.
August/September 1999: Five thousand are killed in East Timor and 500,000 flee Indonesian-backed terror in the run-up to an independence referendum. Britain continues arms sales to Jakarta before agreeing only to delay and not stop them. Downing Street tries to take credit for stopping the violence in East Timor by helping to establish a UN peace-enforcement mission there.
October 1999: Chinese premier Jiang Zemin visits Britain. The government refuses to raise Chinese human rights abuses with him, while police deny protesters the right to peaceful assembly.
1999: The UN estimates that more than half a million people have died from sanctions against Iraq maintained largely by Britain and the US.
January 2000: Chinese defence minister general Chi Haotian, who commanded the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, visits Britain to explore EU-prohibited “military cooperation’ between the two countries.
February 2000: As Russian forces flatten the Chechen capital Grozny, foreign secretary Robin Cook says he “understands’ Russia’s problems.
May 2000: A unilateral British intervention helps stabilise security in Sierra Leone. Britain had previously rejected proposals to beef up a UN force in the country.
July 2000: Briton Ian Henderson resigns after a career as head of repressive security services in Bahrain.
November 2000: The High Court rules against the government and decides that Chagos islanders be allowed to return to some of their Indian Ocean homelands. They were evicted by Britain between 1967 and 1973 to allow the US to build an air base on Diego Garcia, from which the islanders continue to be barred.
2001: British arms exports reach £5 billion.
February 2001: Major US and British bombing in Iraqi no-fly zones.
August 2001: Further increase in bombing Iraqi no-fly zones.
October 2001: US and British bombing of Afghanistan. Civilian deaths greater than those killed in the US on 11 September.
2001: British arms exports to Israel are twice those for the year before, reaching £22.5m as Israel steps up aggression in the occupied territories.
2002: Britain gives £3m military aid to Nepal, whose forces are responsible for the majority of deaths in a vicious civil war with Maoist rebels.
August 2002: The US and Britain secretly increase their bombing of Iraqi no-fly zones.
March 2003: The US and Britain invade Iraq.
May 2003: Indonesia intervenes in Aceh province, using British aircraft and tanks.
June 2003: Amid mounting violence, rigged elections in Chechnya are welcomed by Britain as Russia widens its war in the Caucasus to the neighbouring Russian republic Ingushetia.
June 2003: With human rights atrocities by government and allied forces proliferating in Colombia, Britain organises international donors to increase support to the government of Colombian president Alvaro Uribe Velez, and steps up covert military aid to Bogota.
2004: Occupation and corporate invasion of Iraq deepen, with increasing human rights violations committed by British and US forces.
Grassroots posters giving an alternative take on the general election
Hundreds of people surrounded the fences this weekend. Hera Lorandos spoke to women who have suffered inside.
Laying out the case for Labour's leadership of a Progressive Alliance, Jeremy Gilbert argues that far from posing a threat to the Left, the Progressive Alliance offers a golden opportunity to end Tory rule and build a 21st century government committed to social justice
The Greens have stood down in Brighton Kemptown to clear the way for Labour, and the Lib Dems won’t stand in Brighton’s other seat, Green-held Pavilion. Davy Jones, who would have been the Green candidate in Kemptown, says this shows the way forward
The snap general election represents a unique opportunity to defeat this terrible government. We believe that visual artists have a crucial role to play!
Drax is the UK's biggest source of CO2 emissions – and we're paying for it, writes Almuth Ernsting
For the past 3 years, Barby Asante and members of London-based artists' collective, sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, have been responding directly to the vision of James Baldwin. Ahead of the nationwide release of a new film about the American activist and author, they reflect on the enduring relevance of Baldwin in Britain today.
Housing campaigners' gains in Bristol are spurring on a national movement to build a renters' union, writes Stuart Melvin
A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank
Greece’s heavy load
While the UK left is divided over how to respond to Brexit, the people of Greece continue to groan under the burden of EU-backed austerity. Jane Shallice reports
On the narcissism of small differences
In an interview with the TNI's Nick Buxton, social scientist and activist Susan George reflects on the French Presidential Elections.
Why Corbyn’s ‘unpopularity’ is exaggerated: Polls show he’s more popular than most other parties’ leaders – and on the up
Headlines about Jeremy Corbyn’s poor approval ratings in polls don’t tell the whole story, writes Alex Nunns
The media wants to demoralise Corbyn’s supporters – don’t let them succeed
Michael Calderbank looks at the results of yesterday's local elections
In light of Dunkirk: What have we learned from the (lack of) response in Calais?
Amy Corcoran and Sam Walton ask who helps refugees when it matters – and who stands on the sidelines
Osborne’s first day at work – activists to pulp Evening Standards for renewable energy
This isn’t just a stunt. A new worker’s cooperative is set to employ people on a real living wage in a recycling scheme that is heavily trolling George Osborne. Jenny Nelson writes
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 24 May
On May 24th, we’ll be holding the third of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Our activism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit…
Reflecting on a year in the environmental and anti-racist movements, Plane Stupid activist, Ali Tamlit, calls for a renewed focus on the dangers of power and privilege and the means to overcome them.
West Yorkshire calls for devolution of politics
When communities feel that power is exercised by a remote elite, anger and alienation will grow. But genuine regional democracy offers a positive alternative, argue the Same Skies Collective
How to resist the exploitation of digital gig workers
For the first time in history, we have a mass migration of labour without an actual migration of workers. Mark Graham and Alex Wood explore the consequences
The Digital Liberties cross-party campaign
Access to the internet should be considered as vital as access to power and water writes Sophia Drakopoulou
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part III: a discussion of power and privilege
In the final article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr gives a few pointers on how to be a good ally
Event: Take Back Control Croydon
Ken Loach, Dawn Foster & Soweto Kinch to speak in Croydon at the first event of a UK-wide series organised by The World Transformed and local activists
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change
Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces
Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond
On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network
Disrupting the City of London Corporation elections
The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter
#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement
Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.
Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees
Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides
The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari
Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next
Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill