Unity Statement -- What is the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee?

(CV #43, June 2009)


. The Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee adopted the following Unity Statement at a meeting on May 3. This replaces their previous Unity Statement passed in September 2006.

Imperialism is the enemy

. Modern imperialism is rooted in the capitalist system of production, where it has reached the stage in which giant corporations and banks are merged into huge conglomerates (monopolies) that play the decisive role in global economic life: monopoly capitalism. This monopoly capitalism is not only based on the exploitation of wage labor at home, but the laws of capitalist competition force it to maximize profits through exporting capital and dominating markets, sources of raw materials, and low-wage labor internationally. Moreover, beneath and alongside the dominant monopoly capitalism, the old competitive capitalism goes on as well, giving rise to new concentrations of capital and new monopolies whose internal economic laws also demand expansion. The intense contradictions, rivalries and uneven development within this world economic system inevitably give rise to wars.

. In the imperialist countries, the social class owning these monopolies, the monopoly-capitalist class (the bourgeoisie), plays the decisive role in economics, culture, politics, and the state. In the U.S., this is the class whose interests lay behind the "war on terror", the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, threats of war against Iran, bullying of Latin America, support for the Israeli Zionist domination of Palestine, huge war budgets and permanent militarism. The Democratic and Republican parties are its principal political instruments, while some smaller pro-capitalist parties play a special role in fostering illusions that there can be a "kinder, gentler" capitalism without wars and oppression. They divert activists, workers and the oppressed away from reliance on mass struggle and toward reliance on electoral politics with the aim of "fixing" an inherently unjust and exploitative system.

. Internationally, the most economically, politically and militarily powerful among the imperialist states use institutions such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and World Bank as tools for their imperialist interests and to give their actions a "multilateral" cloak of legitimacy.


. Anti-imperialist activism means political work targeting the imperialist system as the root cause of wars and other crimes against the masses. It means exposing and opposing the lies and deception of the class enemy and the political forces that serve them, the Democratic and Republican parties in particular. And, since there are no solutions to be found within the system, anti-imperialism means working to arouse and unite the masses of people who suffer under imperialism to struggle against the imperialist ruling class.

. These include:

. Our struggle is part of a world struggle of the workers and oppressed peoples everywhere. Thus, we support --- and work to popularize --- the struggles of the masses of other lands against the imperialist powers as well as their local exploiters. Such internationalism is crucial in building a politically conscious and liberating movement against the main enemy, which is at home.

. The imperialist system must be overthrown through revolution if there's to be liberation from the exploitation, racism, oppression, and wars that it brings.

Against opportunism and pseudo-anti-imperialism

. Imperialism and its wars are not mere policies of this or that wing of the ruling class; nor are they mere exceptions to an otherwise peaceful and benevolent system; nor can the system be reformed in such a way as to eliminate them. But the liberal Democrats (as well as the Ron Paul/Pat Buchanan Republicans on the right) preach that imperialism is indeed only a policy: the policy of the particular group of capitalist politicians that they disagree with. And they try to capitalize on the masses' anger at various imperialist outrages in order to get more of their particular bourgeois political trend elected to government.

. Meanwhile, reformist misleaders within the progressive movements opportunistically work to keep the just anger of the oppressed masses within the same imperialist political framework when they directly advocate support for "lesser evil" imperialist politicians, usually Democrats. And when the masses get angry enough to participate in protest demonstrations, etc., the opportunists still work to promote reliance on the imperialist system in a slightly different way: by promoting the idea that the only "realistic" aim of protests can be to pressure various imperialist politicians to do this or that. Despite any talk of "building an independent movement," at the end of the day its the politicians, not the masses, who are promoted as the real heroes who can finally come and save the day if only we "hold their feet to the fire" enough. At the same time, the opportunists often whine about liberal politicians lacking a "backbone," which serves to cover up the fact that they already do have a backbone -- an imperialist backbone!

. Thus, opportunism trails behind, and helps prop up, the political status quo. But opportunism also often masquerades as anti-imperialism, while tearing out the very heart of anti-imperialism: the class standpoint of the workers and oppressed peoples of the entire world. Internationally, this often leads these pseudo-anti-imperialists to cheerlead for "Third World" reactionaries, thereby betraying the masses under their yoke. With regards to Iraq, for example, they prettify and support religious fundamentalist and Ba'athist enemies of the people as long as they're fighting the occupation, gloss over or ignore their ugly compromises with the occupation, and say nothing (or next to nothing) of their crimes against the masses. Real anti-imperialism, on the other hand, means supporting the Iraqi people -- whether presently armed or unarmed -- both in their struggle against the foreign occupation as well as their struggle against internal reactionaries who seek to take advantage of mass anti-occupation sentiment and use it to advance their own narrow interests at the expense of the Iraqi masses.

. Alongside of all these rightist political practices in the mass movements, opportunism sometimes also assumes the "leftist" and elitist form of disdainfully standing aside from the imperfect mass struggles. But in either form, opportunism is based on lack of confidence in the ability of the workers and other oppressed people to organize in their own right to change history. Moreover, it gains its ideological strength from the ruling class itself. Thus, the struggle against opportunism is an inseparable part of the struggle to build the movement against imperialism.


. SAIC is composed of people with certain differing analyses of world imperialism and world political forces, and we seek to unite with others who will inevitably have still differing ideas. Thus, we strive to unite activists and groups with various ideas about what the imperialist system should be replaced with, but our organizational basis of unity simply consists of the ideas outlined in this document. When disagreements arise over how to implement the tasks implied by these ideas we struggle to seek truth from facts -- i.e. , to carefully investigate and analyze the issue in question. We seek to have as much consensus as possible through extensive debate and discussion. But when decisions need to be taken, the majority rules.

. SAIC works to arouse and unite the masses of people to struggle through its wide scale leafleting, organization of anti-imperialist feeder marches and contingents, and other independent work. We also seek unity of action against the common enemy with organizations and individuals outside the committee. In the coalitions or other forms used to build these united actions, we insist upon democratic proceedings, including the right of all participants to freely express themselves, to have fair representation on the speakers platform, etc.

Membership and organization

. SAIC exists to raise the level of revolutionary consciousness and organization in the mass movements and in society as a whole, not for recruitment or self-promotion for its own sake. SAIC members are expected to put our collective political line into practice through active participation in our work. Anyone who demonstrates a willingness to do so is eligible to apply for membership. Prior to applying, we encourage people who want to be members to first carefully study our literature, attend meetings and do political work with us (and compare this to what other groups in the movement are saying and doing) for a period of time.

. Membership is formalized by majority vote of current SAIC members. A member who does not meet the conditions of membership may be removed from SAIC by a majority vote after significant attempts to resolve the contradiction(s) in question have failed.

. SAIC annually elects a Chairperson and a Secretary-Treasurer, both of whom can be recalled at any time by majority vote on a motion which cannot be ruled out of order on the agenda. The Chairperson is responsible for ensuring that meeting locations are found and announced, soliciting items for the agenda, conducting meetings, and calling special meetings. The Secretary-Treasurer is responsible for keeping a record of meetings, recording all decisions, and keeping track of financial contributions and expenses.

Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, May 3, 2009

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