Build the Popular Front Against War and Imperialism
The movement in opposition to the U.S.-NATO war against Libya is bringing broad, new sections of people into active political life.
This movement is adding new impetus to the on-going struggles against militarism and the government's entire war program. Over the last few years, tens of millions of people have joined in the movement against the U.S. government's wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East. Thousands of people are taking part in a struggle to close down the "School of the Americas" as part of the movement to end U.S. military intervention in Latin America. These struggles, like the fight against the war in Libya, are part of a broad current of opposition to the aggressive foreign policy of the U.S. government. Across the country, activists continue to fight against the U.S. embargo and blockade of Cuba, to build solidarity movements with peoples fighting against U.S. domination and intervention in Latin America, in Asia and throughout the world, to mobilize public opinion and fight against the gargantuan military budget and the militarization of society.
The fact is that opposition to war and imperialism has always been one of the deepest and broadest currents of the struggle of the American people.
This struggle is needed because the very nature of the capitalist-imperialist system leads the government to make war against other countries. The U.S. monopoly capitalist class has set up a modern-day empire – plundering the resources, exploiting the peoples and dominating the economies of countries throughout the world. To protect this empire and these profits, the U.S. government has stationed troops in more than 100 countries, deployed its nuclear weapons and war fleets over the whole globe and established a web of military alliances and pacts. Time and again, the U.S. government has made wars against the peoples to "protect" and expand the empire of the capitalist class.
Today as the world-wide crisis of capitalism deepens, the rivalries amongst the various imperialist powers are intensifying and the U.S. monopolies are fighting to create a uni-polar world under their domination. The strategy of U.S. imperialism is to create tensions and militarize every situation so as to assert its rule on the basis of "Might Makes Right." With this aim in mind, the U.S. is already at war against Afghanistan and Libya; it is waging "low intensity" wars in Colombia, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. The U.S. is also militarizing Asia, carrying out repeated provocations against North Korea and sowing the seeds of war on that continent.
But while the monopoly capitalists live by exploiting other countries, the American workers and people aspire only to live in friendship, in peace, and in unity with the peoples everywhere. It is this profound aspiration which gives rise to our struggle against war and imperialism. Every generation of Americans has grown up and molded itself, in part, in struggle against the aggressive wars waged by the capitalist government – in the movement against the war in Vietnam, in the anti-nuclear movement and struggles against U.S. intervention in Central America, in struggle against the war in Yugoslavia, etc.
What is needed to advance this movement and for the people to realize their aim of living in a world of peace and friendship? In our opinion, the decisive thing is to help provide the anti-war movement with consciousness, independent organization and program. In other words we must politicize ourselves and our movement.
Politicizing ourselves and our movement means carrying out widescale analysis and discussion over such questions as: what is the cause of militarism and war? who are the friends and who are the enemies of peace? what strategy and tactics must we employ. Politicizing our movement means recognizing the role of the people as the force for peace; it means summing up our experience and learning how to step-by-step increase our organized and independent strength. It means merging the various currents of the anti-war, anti-militarist movement into one mighty torrent. Politicizing our movement means going beyond simply reacting to the aggressive, interventionist program of the government. It means taking the initiative into our own hands and rallying people around a positive aim and program. Only by setting our own agenda can we empower ourselves in the fight to put an end to war and imperialism once and for all.
The immediate program of the Workers Party calls for a democratic foreign policy. We demand an end to all U.S. intervention and aggression against other countries, the withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad, the dismantling of all aggressive military pacts and alliances, such as NATO, and respect for the sovereign equality of every nation – for the right of every people to settle their affairs and determine their social and political system for themselves.
Winning the struggle for such a democratic foreign policy means building up the conscious and organized movement of the people in opposition to and struggle against the capitalist warmakers.
We call on the workers and everyone who values peace to join in the urgent struggle against the U.S.-NATO war in Libya and the entire war program of U.S. imperialism. We call on the people to take the politics of their movement into their own hands and to make this struggle a new starting point for building up a broad popular front against war and imperialism.
Peace is the cause of the people!
Build a Popular Front Against War and Imperialism!
Break Out of the Straight Jacket
Do Not Let the Rich Silence Our Voice
How many times have people been told that "Even though none of the candidates are any good, you just have to vote for the 'lesser evil?'" This tired refrain is really an admission of the complete bankruptcy of the current political process.
The issue involves much more than simply whether or not one pulls a lever for a Democrat or a Republican. The line of "lesser evil" aims at making people forget about the deeds of the government, at silencing the voice of the people and preventing people from expressing their own political aims and interests.
To begin with, just who is the "lesser evil?" The government's reactionary agenda – its slashing of social programs, its aggressive foreign policy, its attacks on people's democratic rights, etc. – is not merely the work of some of the capitalist politicians. It is the bi-partisan program of both the Democrats and Republicans.
In fact, when various opportunist political groupings try to create hysteria about the "ultra-right" Republicans and promote the Democrats as an "alternative," they are only making it easier for the Democrats to carry through the reactionary agenda of the capitalist class. Let us not forget that it is the Obama administration which is privatizing government services; which is calling for more cuts to Medicare and Medicaid even while trillions of taxpayers' dollars are being turned over to the Pentagon arms merchants, the Wall Street bankers and other big capitalists; which continues to arbitrarily hold prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere in violation of the Geneva convention and other international laws; which launched the war in Libya and is escalating U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, the Philippines, which is stepping up threats and pressure against against Syria, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, etc., etc.
The line of the "lesser evil" insists that people "stop complaining" and be "pragmatic." But this really means that we are supposed to shut our mouths, give up our own political aims and agenda and passively accept the tutelage of the admittedly "evil" Democrats and/or Republicans. But complaining – denouncing – the capitalist politicians is an essential part of defending the interests of the people. In particular, denouncing the Democrats (along with the Republicans) is the only way to consistently reject and isolate the reactionary agenda and begin to express our own independent political point of view.
The line of "lesser evil" seeks to cover over the real cause of the oppression and exploitation of the people and of the government's reactionary agenda. The problem is not that some politicians are "bad" while others are good. The problem is that both the Democrats and Republicans represent the class interests of monopoly capital. And it is this fact, the fact that monopoly capital controls the political power and is using it to attack the people all along the line, which is the problem. The workers and people can not get very far in their struggle if they ignore the root cause of the problem.
The line of "lesser evil" seeks to keep all the political initiative in the hands of the capitalists. According to this logic, the struggle for progress or retrogression is a struggle between two wings of the capitalists and the role of the workers and people is nothing more than to line up behind one or the other wing. In short, the people have no independent role whatsoever in shaping the society they live in.
This is the real crux of the matter.
Just as the reactionary agenda of the government finds its source in the class interests of the capitalists, so too, the agenda for social progress, enlightenment, and emancipation finds its source in the aspirations and struggles of definite classes – in the struggle of the working class and people.
All across the country, people are already in motion. At the workplace, workers are continually in struggle against capitalist exploitation – fighting against wage and benefit cuts, against downsizing, restructuring, contracting out, privatization, the substitution of part-time employees for full-time, etc. Over the last several years, nation-wide movements have emerged to defend social programs such as social security and public education. People are not only resisting but taking the initiative into their hands and coming out to demand that health care be recognized as a right and guaranteed for everyone. Ever-wider sections of people are opposing the government's aggressive foreign policy and war programs. Many struggles are breaking out to defend democratic rights.
What is more, people are expressing their profound alienation from the current political process and demanding a real role in governance – in shaping the society they live in. This is the starting point. The real issue facing the working class and people is to give independent political expression to the interests and aspirations which arise from their own real conditions and on-going struggles.
The Workers Party says that the line of submitting to the "lesser evil" is merely another means for keeping the workers and people sidelined and outside of the political process. We say that it is high time to beat back this blackmail.
We say. "Don't let the rich and their political parties silence our voice and our struggle." "Denounce the Democrats and Republicans for their attacks on the people."
We say that the future of our country depends on the workers and people asserting themselves and taking their rightful place as the active and leading force in our country. The starting point is to come into the political arena on the basis of our own independent aims and program.
Two Urgent Tasks
Despite the U.S. government's insatiable appetite for pre-emptive war and the atmosphere of continual crisis drummed up in the monopoly-controlled media, the American people are not giving way and will not give way to chauvinism and militarism.
On the contrary.
People do not want the U.S. government declaring itself the judge, jury and executioner of the world and imposing Might Makes Right. In fact, broad sections of the people are taking stands against the U.S.-NATO war on Libya as well as the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Class conscious workers and political activists are showing how the administration of the so-called "peace president" is using the slogans of "humanitarian intervention" and "defense of democracy" as pretexts to escalate terror and aggression against other countries. At workplaces, on the campuses and in the communities, activists are initiating discussions and working to create an atmosphere in which people can speak out against chauvinism and war. In mass meetings, rallies and other actions organized in cities across the country, large numbers of people are straining to break from the tutelage of the Democrats and to find the ways to give an organized and conscious expression to their demand for an end to the aggressive wars launched by the U.S. government.
Pushing this work forward involves two urgent tasks.
Firstly, we must exert the maximum energy to thwart Obama's plans and stay the hand of the warmakers by bringing the broadest possible sections of people into the anti-war struggle.
At the same time, we must use this work as a new starting point in the struggle for a democratic foreign policy – a policy which ends U.S. militarism, interference and aggression and recognizes the sovereign equality of all peoples. This means laying the foundations for a broad, popular front against war and imperialism. It means strengthening our political independence by organizing in opposition to and struggle against the capitalist class and its political parties, the source of militarism and war.
Both of these tasks take many forms. But the decisive starting point is generating the maximum amount of discussion amongst the people. A profound politicalization process is underway. To assist this, we need to create new space in which people can calmly deliberate over their interests and give expression to the profound anti-chauvinist and anti-war aspirations which beat in the very heart of the American people. We must help foster a new political atmosphere – one in which the lies of the media can be exposed and the facts brought out, one in which those pushed aside and suppressed can speak, one in which people can get to the root of the problem and organize themselves to take action.
The people who already are actively fighting against chauvinism and militarism know that every day – in fact, in almost every discussion – the people are winning. We know that being active – by standing up for what is right – we advance and win. We know that the aspirations of the American people to live in a world of peace and friendship are unconquerable.
Let us rise to the tasks of the times and turn these aspirations into a powerful political movement which stays the hands of the imperialist warmakers and advances towards the goal of abolishing imperialism and war once and for all.