portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

actions & protests | imperialism & war

The elections offer no solutions: Fight imperialism with mass struggle!

The latest anti-war leaflet from SAIC. Conscious support for the masses of Iraqi people; the elections offer no solutions; developing the politics of mass struggle.

Five years of war in Iraq. One million people dead. Four million internal and external refugees. Four million people suffering from hunger. Ten million without safe water. U.S. war casualties approaching 4000. Dry statistics like these can't begin to tell the horror that individuals, families, cities, and an entire country are going through. Meanwhile, after six and a half years, with many thousands of Afghans already dead, plus nearly 500 U.S. soldiers, the war in Afghanistan is again being escalated. Why this never-ending nightmare?

In Iraq, the U.S. ruling class is fighting to control and profit from the world's fourth largest oil fields and tenth largest source of natural gas. Further, it wants to establish a permanent military presence there in order to ensure its domination of the entire oil-rich region. Meanwhile, the terrorist invasion of Afghanistan was intended to directly put down the challenge of terrorist attacks by Bin Laden & Co. But the U.S. also feared his growing influence in Saudi Arabia and had geopolitical motives in the region. So this war fought on Afghan soil was an indirect war for control of Middle East oil and gas. Now "mighty" U.S imperialism fears military defeat in one of the world's poorest countries. Hence, there's bipartisan consensus on sending more U.S. troops and 3000 more were sent last month.

Thus the rulers of this country are throwing away the lives of thousands of sons and daughters of the working people--and a million lives that are just as precious in Iraq and Afghanistan--in order to enrich themselves and defend their money-making empire. Building a movement to confront and overcome this ongoing imperialist atrocity is the challenge of this generation. But with what orientation should the movement be built?

Conscious support for the struggles of the masses of Iraqi people

After five years of brutal occupation the Iraqi people continue to struggle against their foreign and domestic oppressors: Last year Iraqi oil and railway workers waged major strikes, with the oil workers at one point being surrounded by the army. Women struggle for equality. There remains opposition to ethnic and sectarian "cleansing". And there's the just armed resistance to the imperialist troops.

But the Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions of the Iraqi elite are using sectarian and ethnic demagogy in order to organize armies and militias with which to strengthen themselves against rivals for domination. This has not only resulted in a bloodbath for ordinary Iraqis--it's undermining their ability to unite in struggle against their common enemies. And although a section of the people have bravely taken up arms against the occupiers, the armed resistance is mainly dominated by Islamic fundamentalist and ex-Ba'athist leaders who, along with the pro-U.S. factions, send gangs to brutalize and murder organizers of women and workers, as well as ordinary women for committing "un-Islamic" acts.

We should therefore support every step the Iraqi people take to organize a secular and democratic political trend. This will strengthen their struggle against foreign occupation, as well as against their domestic exploiters and oppressors. First and foremost in this support is working to build a U.S. anti-war movement that consciously confronts "our own" ruling class. This necessitates opposing the politics and political parties of the ruling class with our own class politics and organization.

The elections offer no solutions

After eight years of crude Republican-led "you're with us, or against us" bullying in the world, the U.S. government is isolated and despised as never before, even among its allies. Large sections of the ruling class therefore want to recoup its losses by putting a new face on U.S. imperialism, and this is reflected in the fact that the front-running Democrats have received more than twice the campaign contributions as the front-running Republicans: from Wall Street financial houses, hedge funds and private equity firms; from law firms and lobbyists. They expect and will get a return on their investments: continued attacks on the working people at home and continued empire abroad.

Thus, while Republican John McCain has glibly talked of being in Iraq for 100 years, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's refusals to pledge to get all U.S. troops out of Iraq by 2013 show that they also stand for an open-ended war until U.S. "vital" or "strategic" interests are met, which won't be anytime soon. And, like McCain, they favor sending more troops to Afghanistan; they've threatened to use "all options" against Iran; they've talked of sending U.S. troops to Pakistan; and they've both voted for Bush's war budgets.

But the majority of the people want the U.S. out of Iraq, so Obama and Clinton try to fool them with talk of withdrawal. Yet their "withdrawal" plans always leave tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq itself, while "redeploying" others to elsewhere in the region or to Afghanistan. Moreover, this is contingent upon 13 benchmarks set forward by the Bush Administration that include a better trained Iraqi army, an end to sectarian violence, and passage of a new oil and gas law. And they're generally silent about the Blackwater and other mercenaries being used in Iraq. Meanwhile, Obama and Clinton have long had an answer to Army chief of staff Casey's recent Congressional testimony, "Discipline. Desertions and unexcused absences have increased... You're seeing folks not showing up for deployments", i.e., they want to add around 80,000 troops to the military.

Frontrunner Obama says he's the candidate of change, but his foreign policy is right out of the ruling-class mainstream, including the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. His big financial backers are from Wall Street. His advisors include state officials and generals who stretch back to the Carter and Reagan era: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Anthony Lake, Larry Korb, and Gen. McPeak. He's heavily endorsed by the corporate media empire, and even by Reagan-appointed former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker. Obama offers no change.

What about Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, and Cynthia McKinney?

Libertarian Republican Ron Paul has campaigned as an "anti-war" candidate but the ruling class doesn't support his pro-withdrawal stand. However, he remains within the Republican war party; and despite his disfavor with dominant sections of the ruling class, many other sections certainly agree with his program of naked capitalist exploitation, tearing up environmental regulations, throwing out affirmative action, overturning Roe vs. Wade, building more walls along the border with Mexico, etc. He's used his campaign to do propaganda for these anti-people attacks.

Independent Ralph Nader and Green Cynthia McKinney, on the other hand, do stand for various progressive reforms--although Nader favors "guest worker"-style exploitation of immigrants. (Nader's vagueness about "rapid and responsible withdrawal" from Iraq also raises the issue of his past support for occupying Iraq with troops from other countries.) But Nader does not stand for the kind of mass struggle that it will take to force the U.S. out of Iraq, or for mass struggle at all. McKinney does vaguely talk of building a "social movement", yet after five years of horror in Iraq the Green conception of a social movement remains a tame and inoffensive movement that relies on the established political framework with an emphasis on reformist electioneering.

We need to build a different kind of movement than this; whoever one plans to vote for, if anyone, our main emphasis must be on building the mass movements with anti-imperialist politics. The movement against U.S. aggression in Vietnam, as well as many others, won victories as a result of mass struggle, rather than reliance on elections.

Developing the politics of mass struggle

Whether Obama, Clinton or McCain are elected, they only promise more war in Iraq and Afghanistan, while they also talk of launching new aggressions in the ruling-class drive to dominate global markets, sources of raw materials, and low-wage labor. Thus, anti-war activists should use the occasions of the candidates' local visits--as well as the Democratic and Republican national conventions--to expose and denounce them. This will help develop the politics of mass struggle, which is the only sure path forward.

In our daily discussions and literature we should draw out the class nature of the atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan: They're wars for the rich which ordinary working people the world over pay and suffer for.

We should look to the working class, national minorities, immigrants and youth as the real anti-war force in society; base our organizing among them; take anti-war demonstrations through their neighborhoods; and combined with this, rally the anti-war movement itself to support all of the progressive movements of the working and oppressed people in society.

We should continue to reach out to the ordinary soldiers, and support G.I. resistance.

And we should work to forge new anti-war and anti-imperialist groups to carry out this work, as well as link up present groups. We must also struggle against the opportunist misleaders of the dominant anti-war coalitions who stand opposed to this orientation.

If we do these things well we will be building the kind of movement that really assists the struggling peoples of Iraq as well as of Afghanistan. Moreover, we will be building up one of the streams of struggle necessary to end the imperialist system—and the wars, oppression, exploitation, and environmental destruction that are its natural product.

Solidarity with the Iraqi and Afghan masses in their struggles against imperialist occupation and domestic reactionaries!

U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan now!
For class struggle against imperialism!

Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee
March 2, 2008



Portland -- Saturday, March 15
South Park Blocks (SW Park and Madison)
Rally & March @ 2:00pm

Seattle -- Wednesday, March 19
Westlake Center (4th & Pine)
Rally @ 6:00pm

Ft. Lewis -- Saturday, March 22
Todd Harry Park (8720 North Thorne Lane SW, Lakewood)
Rally @ 2:00pm – March @ 3:00pm



For more information on the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, email updates or to post feedback, visit:  http://www.seattleaic.org

Our next public working meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 29, 3:30pm at the Capitol Hill Library (425 Harvard Ave. E).


homepage: homepage: http://www.seattleaic.org