Take the Future into Our Own Hands

February 18, 2003

On 2/16, in Chicago, the Anti-Imperialist News Service held its monthly forum.

One day earlier, most of the participants had marched in a local rally organized as part of a weekend of international anti-war actions. In addition, over the last several weeks, the activists at the AINS meeting had helped organize a number of other actions and were deeply involved in organizing the anti-war movement in the schools, communities and workplaces. Thus, the activists brought to the meeting a firm determination and an optimism born out of the ever-widening struggles of the people.

Michael Thorburn, from the Workers Party, gave the opening talk.

Looking at the immediate situation, Michael Thorburn emphasized that even though U.S. imperialism is hellbent on war and will remain aggressive as long as it has a single tooth left, it is the people who are the decisive force. In other words, we must rally all our strength to stay the hand of the warmakers. If the U.S. imperialists launch the war, we must step up the fight to stop it.

Michael Thorburn pointed out that this urgent, immediate struggle to stop the war on Iraq is part of the struggle for the future of humanity. Two perspectives are facing us. On the one hand, U.S. imperialism has declared that its "war against terrorism" will last for decades. If imperialism has its way, the future will be one of continuous war - war fought to impose U.S. domination and colonialism, imperialist exploitation and oppression on the peoples. In opposition to this future, the peoples are fighting for a world of peace and friendship, without racism, colonialism, domination and exploitation - a world which guarantees the sovereignty and rights of every country and people.

Michael Thorburn also emphasized that the current crisis is driving home the fundamental political lesson that while the vast majority of the people want and need peace, the decision-making power - the government - is in the hands of the parties of war. Winning the peace requires that the people take the question of politics into their own hands - that they themselves build the political alternative and power to give expression to their profound aspirations for peace, progress and emancipation.

People also discussed a number of other questions, including the features and origins of American chauvinism, how to address various ideological and political issues which arise in building the anti-war movement, the immediate tasks facing the movement, etc. Future issues of "The Worker" will report on some of these themes.