The following article is from a leaflet of the Seattle Communist Study Group
urging people to join the anti-imperialist feeder march to the ANSWER rally
at Westlake: Saturday Sept. 24, 10:30am, Seattle Central Community College.
(CV #37, Feb. 2006)
. Several objective conditions exist for the anti-war movement to enter a period of great advance, including:
. Also, military recruitment is bogged down; public support for the war is at an all-time low; the war budget swells at the expense of the maintenance of vital public services; and resentment is smoldering among the troops, especially in the National Guard. Yet the occupation grinds on, and the pile of Iraqi and American bodies grows and grows.
. But for the anti-war movement to advance, the present ideological and organizational impasse must be overcome. This requires demonstrating that a system of imperialism lies behind the occupation, not merely the "evil" of Bush's gang. With the growth of capitalist imperialism, huge industrial conglomerates connected with major financial institutions have formed and spread around the globe in search of resources and markets. Militarist states work in the general interest of the nationally based finance capitalists as a whole, creating favorable political conditions for international investment; establishing "spheres of influence"; and, as in Iraq, smashing regional competitors when necessary. The overall objective of dominating the Middle East is shared by the entire American ruling class. The latter is interested in increasing its influence over the world oil market, maintaining a military presence in the region, and assuming a more dominant posture in world affairs while reducing dependence on international allies.
. The US has long been the major power looming over the Middle East as over many parts of the world, more so since the fall of the Soviet Union. Under Saddam Hussein the Iraqi ruling class sought to carve out an independent niche for itself in the region, using oil as the main weapon. Along with this process the imperialists of continental Europe, Russia, and (to a lesser extent) China used diplomatic and economic means, dealing with both Iraq and Iran, to weaken the US position and strengthen their own. Unable to counter these developments through the pressure of trade agreements and negotiation, the US declared Gulf War I in 1990, and in its wake spearheaded the notorious sanctions regime that dragged through the 90's but failed to achieve the total capitulation of the Baathist regime. At the turn of the new century 9/11 and the "war on terror" brought forth a more aggressive foreign policy in general, and provided an opportunity to try to put a definitive end to the unfavorable drift in the Middle East. The Baathists were smashed. Large bases were established indefinitely. A series of collaborating governments were set up in Baghdad. Neo-liberal policies favorable to US business were imposed on the country.
. But, for all this, the US hasn't the ability to totally dominate Iraq or control it directly. It must cultivate an alliance with sections of the Iraqi bourgeoisie. And while it would like to do away with international alliances, it cannot. So imperialism may be forced by political realities in Iraq to accept a less direct and powerful influence than was originally hoped for, with a greater role for the UN and a coming-to-terms with elements of the insurgency. But the pressure of imperialism, of unequal treaties, of the threat of renewed sanctions and periodical bombings, would continue to weigh heavily on the Iraqi people.
. Moving the anti-war movement forward also requires exposing the wrecking role of the Democratic Party, and of its liberal wing in particular. The Democratic Party supports the war and occupation. Major party leaders such as John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden, are quite passionate about it. Slightly to their left stands Senator Russ Feingold, calling for a "timetable" for withdrawal. He says he'd prefer to continue the occupation until the end of 2006, but that he's flexible. He agrees with the military goals of the occupation and leaves it up to Bush to draw up the real timetable in which they can be achieved. Democrat Tom Hayden, known for his Vietnam-era activity, also recently came out with an "exit plan". But among other pro-imperialist features, his plan, like that of the liberal darling Dennis Kucinich, preserves US domination of Iraq through the UN. The influential MoveOn.org, in its coverage of Cindy Sheehan's encampment in Crawford, Texas, kept quiet about her clear demand for immediate and unconditional withdrawal. Reversing its previous stance, United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ), a large anti-war coalition mainly in the East, says it stands for immediate withdrawal in its call for the September 24 march. But then UFPJ turns around and calls on activists to lobby Democrats to support Barbara Woolsey's congressional resolution, which definitely DOES NOT favor immediate withdrawal. Anything but the latter amounts to a fundamental agreement with the imperialist aims of the war/occupation.
. During the 2004 presidential campaign the anti-war movement lost momentum as large sections of it were sucked into electoral work for pro-war Kerry, pro-occupation Dean, and pro-UN-occupation Kucinich. Afterwards, Kerry helped form the militarist "National Security Democrats" group. Dean parlayed his electoral populism into a chairmanship of the Democratic Leadership Council, where he prays for Bush's success in Iraq "now that we're there". Kucinich continues to play hide-and-seek in the Party with his vision of multilaterally occupied Iraq.
. To advance the anti-war activity, the most conscious and militant activists must come
together to form an anti-imperialist core within the movement. The major opportunist
coalitions, such as ANSWER and UFPJ, accommodated or encouraged the 2004 sabotage of the
anti-war movement. After Bush's victory the Democrats shifted further to the right, but these
coalitions remain entrenched in the policy of prettifying the liberals. The mass movement which
these coalitions misled has yet to recover. The real anti-imperialist movement will be opposed by
the opportunists, and must be built from the ground up by ordinary activists who sense the
treachery of the coalitions.
. While the opportunist coalitions are based on an alliance between liberal capitalist Democrats and petty bourgeois leftist intellectuals, revolutionary anti-imperialism is oriented toward the working-class, the oppressed nationalities, and the youth. Workers are the only section of society that has no interest in maintaining the system of imperialism. The predicament of the US working-class is similar to that of Iraqi workers. While the quisling elements in Iraq obviously benefit from the occupation, the bourgeois leadership of the Baathist and Islamic resistance are motivated by their longing to return as unchallenged exploiters of the Iraqi masses. They seek to build up an independent power base to strengthen their negotiating position vis-a-vis the occupation authorities and the quisling elements. Their present military activities are often pursued with a view toward their eventual incorporation into (or settlement with) the occupation government. And after the occupation they can be expected to form a government with the former quisling elements. So the Iraqi workers need to create and preserve political and organizational independence within the resistance struggle.
. In the same way, anti-imperialist workers in America need to gain independence from hostile class forces which dominate the anti-war movement. Winning the workers to the anti-imperialist position is a step toward enabling them to break with bourgeois politics on other key fronts of the class struggle, such as resisting onslaught of concessions in wages and benefits that has defined the current epoch of the labor movement. We need to bring class analysis to the anti-war masses. We need to spread anti-imperialist consciousness into working-class areas with leaflets, posters, rallies, etc. We need to study the structure of modern imperialism and the attitude of different classes towards it. And crucially, we need to find new forms of organization to focus these efforts and make them more effective.
--Seattle Communist Study Group, Sept. 15, 2005
March 9, 2006.