No more blood for oil--- DEMONSTRATE MARCH 18 & 19!
The newest leaflet from the Seattle Communist Study Group. Perhaps it will inspire more people to take a hand in building the kind of anti-war movement necessary to put an end to this era of militarism, cold-blooded slaughter and heinous torture: a class movement against imperialism.
No more blood for oil---
DEMONSTRATE MARCH 18!
Meet at 1 pm, 2nd & Marion (Fed. Bldg). March in Portland on the 19th!
March 18 is the 3rd anniversary of the brutal U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. One hundred thousand Iraqi citizens are dead as a result. More than 2300 U.S. soldiers are also dead, with many more thousands maimed. All of Iraq is bleeding. Yet the trillions dollar slaughter goes on. In fact, we must soberly confront the possibility that after three years of bloodshed, the war may still be in an early stage. For example, nearly five years after invading impoverished Afghanistan, U.S., Canadian, and other NATO troops are still killing and being killed there, with the fighting INCREASING in recent months. But the stakes for the U.S. ruling class are much higher in Iraq than Afghanistan. Thus: Rumsfeld and various generals have in the past talked of U.S. troops being in Iraq for 9, 10 or more years; Bush's current plan to gradually reduce troop levels still leaves 100,000 U.S. troops in Iraq next year; and Iraqi government officials now say that they want U.S. troops in the country "as long as necessary".
So, three years after "shock and awe", the sober appraisal that the fighting is going to continue a long time should inspire all of the workers, youth and democratic and progressive people of the country to again look into the causes of this war, who benefits and who pays even with their lives, which social class has class interests fundamentally opposed to it, and who are OUR allies and comrades in Iraq? Doing this may inspire all of us to take a hand in building the kind of anti-war movement necessary to put an end to this era of militarism, cold-blooded slaughter and heinous torture.
A many-sided war for oil
Bush's pre-war lies were to cover up that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was motivated solely by IMPERIALIST objectives. These included that the U.S. ruling class wanted to overthrow a reactionary regional rival for domination of the oil-rich region (represented by the Hussein government), gain control Iraq's oil resources for itself, establish permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq with which to threaten or launch attacks against any regional government or movement that upset the U.S. imperial agenda for dominating the oil-rich region, and, through more control of today's crucial resource, oil, be in a position to dictate terms to rivals everywhere.
Driving these objectives are three facts: (1) The U.S. ruling class (the monopoly-capitalist bourgeoisie) has huge military superiority over any of the present world powers. (2) Its economic strength relative to them has been declining. (3) The laws of the capitalist system of production are such that if it doesn't dominate the petroleum of Middle-East and Gulf, its capitalist competitors in the E.U., Russia, Japan, China and other powers will, and all of them have been making inroads there. Thus it's DRIVEN to use it's unparalleled military might to recoup it's relative economic decline. THIS IS WHY IT FIGHTS SO HARD IN FACE OF WORLD CONDEMNATION, AND WHY THERE'S SUCH UNITY BETWEEN ITS REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTY POLITICIANS. So the unrivaled military superpower smashed the Hussein regime in weeks, sent troops to guard the oil ministry while letting the rest of Baghdad be looted, privatized the Iraqi oil industry, and began a multi-billions dollar project to build several huge permanent military bases. But filled with racist and imperialist arrogance, the Washington planners were blind to the kind of opposition their project would meet.
First, there was the question of the Iraqi capitalist class that Hussein had previously ruled for. Although defeated and fractured, it was still in competition with the U.S. monopoly-capitalist class over the prerogatives it would have in exploiting Iraqi labor, and how much of the oil revenues it would get. The result was that part of it began supporting armed insurgency in order to force the imperialists to concede them their former prerogatives. This was particularly true for Sunni bourgeois who had had privileged positions under the Hussein dictatorship and didn't want to lose them. Thus the armed resistance movement became dominated by Ba'athist remnants and reactionary clerics intent on establishing a new repressive dictatorship. And the U.S. military killing unarmed protestors, dragging people from their homes, flattening cities like Falluja, and gruesomely torturing and murdering at Abu Ghraib and other prisons caused many ordinary Iraqis to join or support this reactionary-led resistance.
Another part of the bourgeoisie opted to get what it could by allying with the imperialist occupiers for the time being, while strengthening its hand to later more peacefully squeeze them out of the country. These support the government, where the strongest factions represent Shia bourgeois in the south and the Kurdish national bourgeoisie in the north. The U.S. politicians and press praise this government as democratic, but the reality is that it's a government of midnight raids, death-squads and more torture, a government whose new constitution proclaims Islam as the state religion and reduces women to being second-class citizens, a government where ayatollahs pass judgment on legislation and clerics sit as court judges, a government that brutally represses the struggles of the workers and poor. But it's also a weakly formed government where the U.S. has played the dominant role in patching together and balancing off sectarian and national factional interests. This marriage may not work, and because the U.S. is building-up a national army whose units are often comprised of just one nationality or religious sect the divorce could be very bloody. Further, although it presently acts as an instrument of U.S. policy, the Shia majority in it looks toward a future alliance with the Iranian theocracy.
Our side in the war in Iraq
The sons and daughters of the working class of this country are being used as cannon fodder by a ruling class driven to dominate and slaughter in an open-ended war for oil and empire so that it can further enrich itself. At home the political representatives of these same capitalists continuously pare national budget items that assist the workers and other poor people to the bone (even veteran's benefits) while giving mega-billions to the big corporations like Halliburton, and they've enacted police state laws to use against all opponents. Thus the workers' side in this war can't be the U.S. government, nor the would-be dictators and theocrats dominating the Iraqi resistance. Our side is represented by the daily resistance struggles of workers and poor people of Iraq, and their struggle to get more organized so that they can put their independent stamp on the course of events. The vast majority of Iraqis are literate working people: teachers, factory workers, hospital employees, miners, oil-field workers, engineers, taxi-drivers, farmers, construction workers, technicians, etc., whose class interests lie neither with the warring local bourgeois factions, nor with the foreign imperialists, nor in being incited by religious demagogues into sectarian warfare. And, in extremely difficult conditions the Iraqi masses HAVE been struggling to defend their own interests against these enemies, i.e., demonstrations against the occupation, strikes, founding new trade unions, demonstrations by the unemployed and of women demanding equality, struggles against privatizations, and their own armed actions against occupation troops.
Yet as just, necessary, and courageous as these struggles have been and ARE, the Iraqi masses are still struggling to find a political course independent of the bourgeoisie, and the struggles themselves have often been scattered. Thus they're only essential foundation blocks upon which to erect the kind of revolutionary democratic movement needed. To build such a movement requires a complex fight against the divisive sectarianism of the religious leaders. It requires that the chauvinism of the Arab bourgeoisie toward the Kurds be fought against and the right of the Kurdish people to secede if they so wish must be upheld. It requires that the reactionary nationalism of the dominant Kurdish political parties, which oppress the Turkomen and other minorities in Kurdistan, also be opposed. And the struggle for equality of women must incessantly be waged everywhere.
Of course there are democratic Iraqis struggling to wage these fights, but the sectarian bloodshed of the past few weeks presses home that this work must have more political consciousness and organization., while there is not yet a class conscious political party of the working class that can lead the broad masses along this democratic and unifying path. So we have no illusion that the road to a brighter future for our struggling sisters, brothers and comrades in Iraq is going to be anything but long and hard. But by tirelessly working to build the movement against imperialism in this country in conscious solidarity with them, we can help shorten their road... as well as our own long road.
Build the U.S. anti-war movement !
In the weeks leading up to Bush's "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq millions of people took to the streets in protest. Since then the underlying outrage against the occupation war has developed farther as Bush's lying fear-mongering about Iraqi WMDs and connections to al-Queda was exposed on a much wider scale, and the revelations of U.S.-run torture chambers, revelations of corporate looting of the treasury in the name of "reconstruction", etc., became part of the mass consciousness. Meanwhile, the demonstration movement has continued, with 6000 people marching September 15 in Seattle to demand that the U.S. get out of Iraq, plus other demands. Yet the problem of political orientation for the movement remains, i.e., should it look to and rely on the left-liberal wing of the Democrats to do something, and try to get more of them elected, etc., or should it rely on building up a political trend politically independent of all the bourgeois parties---a durable trend capable of explaining the root causes of this war, and the next ones being threatened?
This question of political orientation is manifest in all the demonstrations. For example, the leaders of the large events called by the A.N.S.W.E.R. and U.F.P.J. coalitions (which we've always called on the masses to attend and promote their own politics in) always put up a slew of left-liberal speakers, but what are their appeals? Under the slogan "anybody but Bush" these speakers worked to turn the anti-war movement into an electioneering movement for the Democrats. And when their preferred candidates lost in the primaries (like "U.N. troops INTO Iraq!" Kucinich did), they told the movement to support the liberal Kerry---a war-hawk who often criticized Bush from the RIGHT (Bush should have sent more troops, I'll send more troops, etc.), and who paraded his military "credentials"! Now when the left-liberals speak they often try to line the crowd up behind one of the ever-changing "withdrawal" plans that rely on combinations of sending U.N. troops into Iraq, re-deploying U.S. troops to nearby countries for air-strikes, "in and out" operations, etc. Thus, at the Sept. 15 A.N.S.W.E.R. rally demanding that the U.S. get out of Iraq now, these speakers worked to get the crowd to support MORE blood being spilled for oil and empire. (In November we saw what the left-liberals' opposition to Bush amounts to when their party joined with the neo-cons to vote AGAINST a resolution for immediate withdrawal 403 to 3, with several of them mouthing right-wing militarist rhetoric about not "cutting and running". )
So an orientation toward the left-Democrats is a dead-end. An independent movement is needed, and we think that it is Marxism that shows the way to building it by showing the class basis of politics. It is Marxism that shows the need to base the movement on the working class. But many of those who speak in the name of Marxism are just hangers-on of the Democratic Party. Thus, the Trotskyists and Stalinists who are big forces in coalitions like A.N.S.W.E.R. refuse to get up to expose and denounce the wrecking role of the left-liberals. This is because while they say a few things against the Democrats in their newspapers, their real political orientation is to desperately look for saving personalities or trends from within the capitalist's political establishment. This is justified with lectures about "preserving unity" of the movement, but theirs is a unity acting AGAINST the interests of the masses of people in this country. And behind this orientation is the view that the workers and youth can't really do anything.
We think they can. The movements of 60s and 70s, the "battle of Seattle", and many other struggles have already proven it. But to prove it again---and go farther than we've gone before---requires protracted work to go to the workers and young people with written, verbal, and other agitation that explains how the enemy is not just Bush, but IMPERIALISM and the capitalist system it's based in (which also requires theoretical study). It requires that networks be built in the work-places, schools, communities, and military bases to do this... and linking them up, building anti-imperialist groups all over the place, etc. It requires that anti-imperialists organize more of their own demonstrations and other mass activities. And it requires work to mobilize for and actively participate in coalition demonstrations with anti-imperialist politics.
All out for March 18!
Support the struggles of the Iraqi workers and poor!
U.S. imperialism out of Iraq, NOW!
Seattle Communist Study Group, Mar 9, 2006
Read: Communist Voice at www.communistvoice.org
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