Demonstrate April 12!

US imperialism, get out of Iraq!

by the Seattle Communist Study Group:

. The US invasion of Iraq continues. No one knows how many thousands of people have been killed in this one-sided slaughter for domination of the Middle East and its oil resources. Hussein may be gone, but the US imperialists aimed not only to bring the Iraqi oil resources under their control, but to establish a larger military presence in the region with which to keep their theocratic and monarchist allies in line, bring pressure against the regimes in Syria and Iran, and stamp out popular revolutions of the oppressed peoples, including in Iraq. They'll commit more crimes in Iraq, and in the region. But the desperate aims of the Hussein tyranny were no loftier. It only fought to have its "rightful" share of the oil feast, and to once again be a regional predator. In fact both sides in this war were all along driven by the laws of capitalist production to expand and dominate markets, control natural resources, etc. Both were imperialist.

. According to Bush, the corporate executives and oilmen, however, we were (and are) supposed to cheer on "our" side in this fight. And their battle-cry was "Liberate Iraq!" But in truth the world's imperialist super-power fights to monopolize resources, and to do this it must dominate the Iraqi people. This includes continued national oppression of the Iraqi Kurds, and gun-point installation of new exploiters and oppressors upon the Iraqi masses. Bush's "liberation" only means liberation of profits for the American capitalist class, particularly the oil capitalists. Big corporations like Halliburton (Cheney's nonunion alma mater) have also been given huge no-bid contracts for "rebuilding". Thus the interests of the working class and all progressive people have been with neither of the sides the capitalist politicians and news media present. Our side, the side of the working people and progressive humanity, is a third side: the oppressed masses in Iraq, and the anti-war movement.

. Yet to develop the fight of our side, this third side, we need to raise and train our own army of political organizers. True, the one-sided contest between the world super-bully and the regional little bully is ending. But this is not the end of it, not for the Iraqi people, and not for U.S. imperialism. Iraq is being occupied by an imperialist master, and this is sure to give rise to mass resistance. The struggle of the Kurdish people for self-determination may also intensify. Our task is to support these struggles by developing the movement to get U.S. troops out.

. Meanwhile, the U.S. imperialists have troops in Colombia and the Philippines employed against popular insurgencies. They still have troops in Afghanistan almost a year and a half since they bombed and invaded. They will continue to support Israel's war on the Palestinians. And the whole world speculates where Washington will strike next. Bush, Cheney, et al have promised a never-ending imperialist crusade falsely named the "war on terrorism". The Democrats support this crusade. In fact one of the big criticisms by the Democrats in the pre-Iraq war buildup was that Bush was getting side-tracked from the "war against terrorism". This includes the new liberal "star", Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Thus the times demand that we work hard to develop the anti-war movement on an anti-imperialist basis. To do this requires political struggle against the demagogy of the Bush administration, as well as the sabotaging ideas and practices of the liberal-imperialist politicians (and their pseudo-Marxist assistants). Let's look at some of these issues. "Support our troops" vs. "Support G.I. Resistance!"

. "Support our troops!" is the slogan of Bush and his imperialist war fanatics. It is also the slogan of the liberals. But the facts are that the U.S. troops are killing and being killed in an unjust war. In this sense they're not "our" troops at all! They're fighting for the interests of the oil and other capitalists, and against the interests of the Iraqi masses. More, they're fighting for a government which has stepped up the building of a domestic police state while further attacking the living standards of the masses. Yet the soldiers are also overwhelmingly the sons and daughters of the working class, particularly national minority workers. They're part of the social class the anti-war movement must base itself upon. And with tuition costs sky-rocketing, jobs that pay anything rare, unemployment high, etc., these "volunteers" were mostly victims of a poverty draft who've now been ordered half-way round the world to fight against the sons of the Iraqi workers and farmers. They're being used. So just as during the Vietnam War, and just as during Bush Sr.'s Gulf War I, today's anti-war movement should reach out to the soldiers, concentrating on the enlisted men and women. We do this firstly by building the anti-war movement, and working to draw active duty people into it. Secondly, we support resistance inside the military to this imperialist barbarism. There is already much opposition to Bush's war being expressed by American servicemen/women, and there have already been instances of G.I.s courageously refusing orders to ship out. The anti-war movement needs to reach out to, support, defend and give aid and comfort to this trend in the military. During the late '60s and early '70s the G.I. resistance spread all through the military. It took many forms, everything from fragging of officers to mass refusals of orders to fight. And although the first Gulf war w! as short, there were also several well-known cases of soldiers refusing to fight (and also attending anti-war demonstrations in uniform). Bush IIs war and occupation is sure to give rise to more resistance inside the military. Continuing to build the anti-war movement

. The US-British attack was accompanied by massive amounts of pro-war propaganda from Bush, Blair, and the subservient capitalist news media and press. Protests immediately broke out anyway--all over the US, and around the world. In Seattle there was both more targetting of imperialism as being the cause of this war, and more emphasis on the issues of oil and empire in the slogans and signs. There was new militancy and sense of urgency. The latter has given rise to a lot of discussion on building bigger actions, something we should work to bring to fruition. There were also many lamentations on Indymedia and elsewhere that the first week's actions were smaller than the pre-war giant demonstrations. But it is often forgotten that the latter were organized for weeks and months ahead of time. (It should also be remembered that considering that they have the full support of Bush and the entire establishment, the flag-waving "Support our troops!" demonstrations have been really small!) Also, there have been desertions from the movement: Democratic Party politicians and labor bureaucrats. But their role in the anti-war movement was always to undermine it anyway. The fact that many thousands of people went into motion on March 19 and days after shows very clearly that the anti-war movement is much more than the Democrats and labor officials. Nevertheless, many illusions about them remain. Hence the need to repeatedly expose their treachery.

. Even the most liberal of Democratic Party politicians is not against imperialism and war. But they, along with some conservative Republicans, worry that Bush's unilateralism is causing the breakup of the old alliances through which the US imperialists fought to expand their domination. So during the pre-war build-up they worked to turn the anti-war movement into a pressure group for multilateralism. Thus Rep. Jim McDermott, various labor officials, and many other Democrats repeatedly spoke for multilateralism, for going through the UN process until its completion, etc., at anti-war events. They left unsaid that their multilateralism is meant to achieve the same world-dominating ends as Bush's unilateralism. They generally supported Bush's lying premise that the contradiction with Hussein was over "weapons of mass destruction". And, when Bush launched war many of these "opponents" pledged loyalty in Congress to Bush's leadership of it. Meanwhile, the head of the AFL-CIO (and Democrat) John Sweeney said "Now that a decision has been made, we are unequivocal in our support of our country and America's men and women on the frontlines as well as their families here at home." (Unequivocal support for Bush and his corporate cronies!) And in his Mar.19 statement, McDermott said "I do not agree with the path that President Bush has chosen. This war was avoidable. I fear that bypassing the United Nations and demanding regime change by force instead of working toward peaceful disarmament is a dangerous step for our nation." Thus McDermott's "opposition" amounted to yearning after the "peaceful" UN disarmament of the past decade: starvation of up to a million Iraqi people via sanctions coupled with thousands of U.S. and British bombings! The "dangerous step" he warns of is unilateralism. So now Democratic Party participation in the anti-war movement has shrunk. But its leaders always wanted to turn it into a pro "war against terrorism" and pro multilateral-imperialist movement anyway.

. Meanwhile, thousands of activists all over the country have been struggling to advance the movement. This has to be done without and against the politics of the Democrats. We also have to deal with various naive or distracting activities, slogans, and ideas (which are inevitable in a movement which is rapidly growing and filled with newly active forces). The following are some important examples:

Present tasks

 . The very system of capitalism breeds militarism, wars abroad, violent repression at home. (Count the number of wars and bombings the US was involved in during the "peaceful" Clinton '90s, or the number of African Americans murdered by the police!). It must be overthrown if there is to be peace. Hence, to work for peace means working to build the anti-war movement in a revolutionary direction. Many new activists are forming groups to put up posters, leaflet, participate in actions, etc. They hate what imperialism has unleashed upon the Iraqi people and want it stopped. More, there is already a trend among them which targets imperialism as the cause of this outrage, and struggles to oppose the sabotaging role of the Democrats. We need this: agitation and propaganda which tells the truth about imperialism, the truth about the Democrats, the U.N., etc., and we need to go to the workers and youth with it. This is revolutionary work to build the movement. We also need demonstrations. These give new people a way of linking up with the movement. The slogans and banners have agitational value. (Hence we should march through areas populated by workers and young people, carrying our message to those who are the movement's natural base.) They also give activists in an area a common focus for their activities over a period. This provides a basis upon which the movement can get more organized. For all these reason we call on all to attend the April 12 demonstration. Let us stand up for the people of Iraq! Let us raise our voices against this bloody occupation! Let us unite more closely to build the movement against imperialism!

Seattle Communist Study Group
Latest version of this leaflet, April 11, 2003.

(Reprinted in Communist Voice, May 20, 2003)

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Last changed on May 25, 2003.