On What Basis Do We Unite

January 6, 2003

Everyone can see how busy the capitalist class is preparing and carrying through its war program. Massive military forces are being deployed not only in the Persian Gulf but across the entire globe. Reservists are being called up. The militarization of the economy has increased dramatically. The rights of immigrants and all Americans are being attacked to silence voices of opposition to war. The politicians and media incessantly beat the drums of militarism and chauvinism.

In this environment, it would indeed by naive to forget that the capitalists, as part of their war preparations, are working very hard to contain, fragment, and liquidate the rapidly growing anti-war movement of the American people.

The capitalists use many tactics against the people's movement. Their propaganda machine tries to slander the movement as "marginal" and even "unpatriotic." Outright repression is used. The capitalists also use the tactic of trying to undermine the anti-war movement from within.

Thus, as the anti-war struggles become more widespread and thoroughgoing, the capitalists try ever-harder to keep it under the leadership and domination of an "official opposition," composed of a few capitalist politicians and other media personalities.

The media-anointed "leaders" of the anti-war movement confine their "opposition" to suggesting to the Bush administration that a preemptive, first-strike against Iraq is not the best strategy for the U.S. to follow. Of course, at the same time, these "anti-war" personalities insist on weapons inspections and the disarming of Iraq. They also declare their complete support for the "war against terrorism" including the occupation of Afghanistan, U.S. support for Israel, etc. Many of these "anti-war" politicians have already endorsed a war against Iraq if the U.N. and/or major U.S. allies join in and make it "multilateral."

The great danger here lies especially in the fact that liberalism and opportunism insist that the genuine anti-war activists must tone down their thoroughgoing anti-war, anti-imperialist demands in order to "bring in" and coddle such official "leaders."

In this environment, activists must carry on nonstop ideological and political work to clarify the aims and tactics of the struggle and safeguard and strengthen the independence of the anti-war movement.

By trying to confine the focus to the single question of a preemptive strike against Iraq, the official "opposition" is covering over the real extent, character and aims of imperialism's "international war against terrorism." The reality is that the U.S. government has already declared that this war will last for decades and is already waging it in Afghanistan, Palestine, Colombia, the Philippines as well as Iraq. The anti-war movement must face up to this real challenge in order to win the peace.

Yet more, the official "opposition" keeps spreading American chauvinism inside the anti-war movement. Not only do the "anti-war" capitalists insist on imposing the dictates of U.S. imperialism on Iraq through weapons inspections and sanctions, their virulent racism can be seen in repeated attacks on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, on Cuba, on the Palestinian people and others.

Organizationally, the opportunist line calls on the genuine anti-war activists to be foot soldiers and organizers in "coalitions" oriented towards "winning over" and "bringing in" the capitalist politicians themselves. The narrowest agenda is forced onto such coalitions and the politicians are given pride of place as the speakers and representatives of the "movement." To keep this hierarchy intact, opportunism tries to prohibit any political discussion which would "alienate" the official "leaders." In fact, such coalitions end up extremely narrow because they push away the masses of people who are looking for enlightenment and a real fight against the capitalist warmakers.

For Mass, Anti-Imperialist Organization and Struggle

For our part, the Workers Party welcomes any and all opposition to imperialism's war program. But, firstly, we must never forget to distinguish between what is genuine and what is sham.

Most importantly, we start from the fact that the only force which can be relied on in the struggle against war and militarism is the broad masses of American people. The war program is bringing home to all, the urgent need to organize the people as an independent political force, in opposition to and struggle against the parties of war and imperialism.

Strengthening such an independent movement means sticking to principles. It means cherishing and defending the consciousness and organization of the people above all else. Politically it means opposing chauvinism, militarism and imperialism in all their forms not surrendering to, ignoring or conciliating with the aims and ideology of imperialism. It means struggle against the parties of war and imperialism.

To unite the broadest numbers of people in common actions against the warmakers, the people must, as a first principle, strengthen their own unity and empower themselves by building their own organizations, not surrender their independence in order to cater to a narrow strata.

This means building up mass anti-imperialist organizations as the solid, irreplaceable foundation of a genuinely broad anti-war movement.