Politicizing Our Movement
December 10, 2016
Eight years after Obama took office, Guantánamo Bay detention camp is now established a hundred-fold more deeply as an imperialist institution than ever. All the “core values and morals” that underpin its existence are as they were from the start. The detainees continue to be classed as “unlawful combatants” who “do not have any of the rights” which are supposed to be granted to prisoners of war. So too, the U.S. government continues to make its own law with respect to the treatment of these prisoners. This fascism must be stopped!
Just as Obama lied about having plans to “Close Guantánamo,” political opportunism continues to work to prevent the buildup of the independent political movement of the people as the only way to eliminate the scourge of war and militarism altogether. Social democracy and liberalism do this by promoting every illusion in the capitalist system and political parties. Today, despite the fact that at this stage of the warfare connected with the so-called “war on terrorism,” U.S. imperialism is more aggressive than ever, opportunism is relying on one of its ideological keystones to prevent the further organization of people in opposition to the war program of their “own” government. In order to keep the working class under the tutelage of the capitalist parties, opportunism is relying on the idea that the monopoly capitalist ruling class is split into two-factions – in particular, that today it is split into a wing of hawks and a wing of doves.
In addition to creating illusions in various politicians, this entire line mystifies the cause of the aggressive foreign policy and war program.
War and militarism is not a “mistake” made by some bad, aggressive men and women. It is a constant product of the capitalist-imperialist system; it is the class interests of the capitalists which leads them inexorably to war. In the present era, the U.S. monopoly capitalist class lives not only by the exploitation of the American working class but also by the superexploitation and plunder of nations and peoples throughout the world. And driven by the capitalist law of “expand or perish” the capitalists, in the final analysis, must rely on force (war) to protect and expand their empire (both from rival capitalists and from the liberation movements of the people). From its very base, capitalist-imperialism is built on war – it is a system of exploitation and domination of whole nations and people, relationships which can only be enforced through violence and subjugation.
What is more, in the present situation, U.S. imperialism is especially warlike because of the intensity of the worldwide capitalist crisis. For many years, U.S. monopolies have tried to shift the burden of this crisis onto the backs of other countries and peoples but the reality is that the U.S. capitalists are not as economically and politically strong as their vast appetite for profits. Thus, to maintain its superpower status and strive to achieve its morbid dream of a unipolar world, U.S. imperialism relies on military force. That is why the so-called “international war against terrorism,” this blueprint for world domination through military force, is the bipartisan program of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
When the opportunists raise the issue of so-called contradictions and splits within the ruling class to a central position they are saying that the capitalists determine what happens in the world. They are saying that the capitalist class – and the alleged contradictions and struggle within it – are the motive force of history. As for the masses of people – we are relegated to the most minor position, with no other role but to pressure or beg the capitalist rulers.
To disrupt the working class and popular movements, the capitalists also employ a variety of anarchist ideologies and sects. Such groupings often advertise themselves as “communists” and “revolutionaries.” But such sects generally abstain from politics and the sum total of their activity is to try to impose their particular pet mantras on the movement. This dogmatism works to undermine the political unity of the workers and create an atmosphere of division. The capitalists hope that in rejecting the dogmatism of such sects, activists will also reject genuine communism.
“Left” sectarianism, just like social democracy and modern revisionism, denies the revolutionary and independent role of the working class. Despite “revolutionary” phrases about the “judgment day,” in real political life the “left” dogmatists offer no alternative and leave the workers under the tutelage of capitalist politics. In other words, such dogmatists do not see or join in the motion of the class to organize and assert itself. Rather they are determined to abstain from politics until such time as the masses embrace their special sectarian dogmas.
As a result, liquidation and defeat is imposed on various struggles.
Indeed, time and again, workers have seen their economic struggles sold-out by union “leaders,” and watched these same “leaders” electioneer for the capitalist politicians and beat the war drum for U.S. imperialism’s war program. People have seen the socialist Soviet Union transformed into a capitalist-imperialist power and, in country after country, watched the phony socialists and phony communists join the capitalist governments. The lesson from this experience is that it is the capitalist class itself which is the source of split and betrayal.
The Workers Party recognizes that the struggle against opportunism of all hues is an essential and continuous part of the struggle of the working class. It is part and parcel of the struggle against bourgeois ideology and politics. But the struggle against opportunism cannot be waged as an isolated thing in itself. On the contrary. The struggle against opportunism must be waged in the course of taking up the decisive tasks facing the movement.
The key thing is to give political expression to the independent aims and program of the workers. It is such an independent politics which empowers people to break the stranglehold of capitalist politics. (It is precisely because social democracy, revisionism and left dogmatism fight against the independent political role of the workers that they are roadblocks to the movement.) Organizing ourselves independently and in struggle against the parties of war and imperialism, organizing on the basis of anti-imperialist politics empowers people to develop a pro-active movement.
The way forward is to strengthen the people’s own, independent organizations and political initiatives – the way forward is through mass anti-imperialist struggle and organization. The goal of this movement is a real anti-war government which makes a radical break from the parties of war and imperialism.
We must take the initiative into our own hands and fight to bring about a fundamental change in our country’s foreign policy. We must implement a genuinely democratic foreign policy which includes:
– Withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad;
– Ending U.S. intervention and aggression in all its forms;
– Ending the militarization of our country;
– Respecting the sovereignty and rights of all.
Such a program for a democratic foreign policy is capable of rallying and inspiring the broadest sections of American people and helping to bring them into independent political life on the basis of their own aims and deep aspirations. Such a program will be fully put into practice when the government and parties of war are replaced by a government of the people.