Speech to the anti-imperialist contingent

at the Oct. 28, 2006 anti-war demonstration in Seattle

(CV #39, January 2007)

. The following is the text of a speech given by a comrade of the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee.


. Comrades,

. Today, at least 50,000 Iraqis have been killed directly by the U. S. government since 2003, and it could be a lot more--­ no one really knows. Babies and old folks, mostly from the poorer classes, our friends: victims of mass murder.

. The other side of the picture is that the masses of people resist -- with guns and without guns -- and they'll continue to resist in hellish conditions. While confronting the foreign occupiers they're also being used as cannon fodder in sectarian civil war between bourgeois factions fighting for their share of the Iraqi pie. Meanwhile, the armed resistance remains dominated by Ba'athists and fundamentalists that would set up a new tyranny. So charting an independent and liberating political course amid all this is slow and difficult. Still, their resistance (along with that by reactionaries) has been a political disaster for the mighty U.S. administration, and more disasters are to come. This shows something of the power of mass struggle, even in a small country with brutally oppressed people. And we can help them.

. Meanwhile, 2,809 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq. And, even more than in Vietnam, these soldiers have been from working-class and poor families, and disproportionately national minorities. Once again the sons and daughters of the poor are being sent to kill and be killed in a rich man's war: this time a war for oil and empire; a war to increase profits of not just the oil companies, but of an entire monopoly-capitalist class striving to control global oil supplies. With this control it wants to put the squeeze on rivals everywhere, and expand its profit-making empire.

. Driving this barbarous imperialism are the basic economic laws of the capitalist system of production: accumulated capital demanding expansion, leading to fierce rivalry with competitors to dominate markets and sources of raw materials. If the U.S. doesn't dominate Middle East oil, competitors from Europe, Russia and China will, with local exploiters also demanding a bigger share of the loot.

. This is the root cause of the nightmare being visited on the Iraqi people by the U.S. government. This is why the Pentagon lays its plans around being in Iraq until at least 2010. This is why liberal Senate Democrats and conservative Republicans last month voted to approve Bush's record war budget 100-0. And this is why the generals have this week been talking of sending more troops to Iraq.

. For there to be peace and justice in the world this imperialist system has got to go.

. This necessitates struggle on many fronts.

. Today we're fighting to build the anti-war movement. But U.S. imperialism cannot attack the people abroad without also attacking the people at home. Thus, on top of Clinton's police-statism we have the "Patriot" Act and now the Military Commissions Act. Meanwhile, racial discrimination and police brutality against minorities continues. And S. 2611 and other bipartisan bills in Congress represent a huge attack on immigrants in this country, and a huge attack on the entire working class. So when we raise the slogan "For class struggle against imperialism!" it means work to advance the struggles against these and other assaults on the masses of people here at home too.

. As we can see today, our work in the anti-war movement is cut out for us. The actual size and militancy of anti-war demonstrations has been going down, while the mass opposition to U.S. troops in Iraq is at around two-thirds of the population! We work to change this situation by bringing a new orientation (to the masses!), and a new class spirit into the movement. Today our efforts often seem paltry, but what else can we do but start with the living people at hand, and work from there?

. I'm convinced that together we can play a role in reviving and transforming the movement. Together, we can really bring fresh air into the anti-war movement and fresh forces into motion. In the course of this work we'll also be changing ourselves: becoming new and different people. This is needed if we're to contribute more to the movement to end the reign of U. S. imperialism, and all imperialism.

Build the anti-war movement!
Support the struggles of the Iraqi workers and poor!
Down with imperialism!

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February 25, 2007.
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