The Malvinas War
The war in the Malvinas (erroneously called the ‘Falklands’ in the UK) wasn’t the most serious ‘post-imperial glory’ conflict that Britain has been involved in the last just under 80 years – since the end of World War II – but it certainly was the most pointless, avoidable and shameful of all such outrages.
Two equally inept fascist leaders (Thatcher in the UK and Galtieri in Argentina) sought to divert attention to their failing policies at home by playing the nationalist/imperialist gambit over a collection of treeless islands in the South Atlantic. As a result almost a thousand lives were lost, half as many more were injured and an unknown number psychologically scarred. On top of that millions of pounds of resources were wasted during the (relatively) short conflict and in subsequent years.
The British were ‘victorious’ – but only by the skin of their teeth and with a huge dose of luck. And for the future of the people of Britain that was probably the worse possible result. The Union flag once more flying over Port Stanley meant that Thatcher was able to adopt the mantel of the Roman Emperors, standing to take the salute as the British Armed Forces marched past her in London on 12th October 1982.
For Britons at the time (and in the subsequent 40 years) it meant that Thatcher was able to grab hold of the tail of moribund imperialism, play on the feelings within the country that bemoaned the ‘loss of the empire’, manipulate an undercurrent of racism and use the ‘Falklands factor’ to get herself and her inept Tory Government re-elected in 1983.
The result of that was the speeding up of the programme of privatisation (a programme that originally started as a tactic of ‘selling off the family silver’ due to the Tories non-existent economic policy – which was later turned into the ‘philosophy’ of neo-liberal economics), the beginning of the destruction of the welfare state and a full frontal attack upon workers rights through the attempts to destroy their trade union organisations.
Subsequent governments (of whatever political colour) followed similar policies and that resulted in the destructive, baseless and futile wars of the 21st century with the country arriving at the sorry state of affairs that it found itself when having to confront the covid pandemic in March 2020.
The documents reproduced below are presented here to give an idea of the (in the main) opposition to the shameful and disgraceful ‘adventure’ in the Southern Atlantic in the (northern) spring of 1982.
The Falkland Islands – The Facts, London, HMSO Books, May 1982, 12 pages. The Thatcher Government’s justification for the war crime.
Falklands Crisis – A ‘Socialist’ answer, Ted Grant, Militant, London, 1982, 7 pages. A typical example of Trotskyite drivel that justified a clear imperialist operation.
Falklands-Malvinas, Whose Crisis, Latin American Bureau, London, 1982, 148 pages.
Malvinas are Argentina’s, Revolutionary Communist Party, London, 1982, 32 pages. A Trotskyite view of the Malvinas War.
One Man’s Falklands …. , Tam Dalyell, Cecil Woolf, London, 1982, 144 pages.
‘Rejoice’ – Media Freedom and the Falklands, Susan Greenberg and Graham Smith, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, London, 1982, 40 pages.
Iron Britannia – why Parliament waged its Falklands War, Anthony Barnett, Alison and Busby, London, 1982, 160 pages.
Thatcher’s Torpedo – The sinking of the Belgrano, Tam Dalyell, Cecil Woolf, London, 1983, 80 pages.
A message from the Falklands, David Tinker, Penguin, London, 1983, 214 pages.
On the Spot – The Sinking of the Belgrano, Diana Gould, with an introduction by Tam Dayell, Cecil Woolf, London, 1984, 80 pages.
An A to Z of the Falklands, Tam Dayell, West Lothian Labour Party, 1984, 32 pages.
The sinking of the Belgrano, Arthur Gavshon and Desmond Rice, New English Library, London, 1984, 238 pages.
Information leaking out 40 years after the event
UK deployed 31 nuclear weapons during Falklands war
British warships deployed to the South Atlantic after Argentina’s invasion of the ‘Falkland Islands’ (las Malvinas) in 1982 were armed with dozens of nuclear depth charges. Prince Andrew served on HMS Invincible, which carried 12 nuclear weapons.