Down With U.S. Imperialism!

Defend Iraq Against U.S./British Attack!

All U.S. and Allied Troops Out of the Near East Now!

Statement of the Political Bureau of the Spartacist League/U.S.

MARCH 19—The rape of Iraq has begun. American missiles and bombs are slamming into Baghdad and southern Iraq, while an American and British invasion force is poised to move in from the south. The human cost in lost lives and displacement that the rapacious American capitalist class has in store for the long-suffering Iraqi people will be measured in the millions. This is nothing but a colonial war of naked imperialist aggression to be followed by a colonial occupation of this oil-rich Near Eastern country. The U.S. rulers prattle about bringing “democracy” and “liberation” to the Iraqi people—like the Zionists “liberated” the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The gruesome devastation planned for Iraq is the true face of U.S. imperialism—wading in blood and dripping with filth, a roaring beast devastating culture and humanity.

It is in the class interest of the international proletariat to clearly take a side in defense of Iraq without giving any political support to the bloody Saddam Hussein regime. Every victory for the U.S. imperialists can only encourage further military adventures. In turn, every humiliation, every setback, every defeat they suffer will serve to assist the struggles of working people and the oppressed around the globe. The U.S. imperialists intend to pulverize Iraq, planning to drop some 3,000 “smart bombs” in the first 48 hours of this one-sided slaughter. The United Nations inspectors did their job, setting Iraq up for the kill by verifying that it had no means to defend itself. With the world’s mightiest empire arrayed against neocolonial Iraq, it could not be clearer that the chief means of defending Iraq is through international class struggle, particularly in the United States.

Workers in Italy, Scotland and elsewhere have already staged labor actions against the war, including blocking military goods destined for the Persian Gulf. Such actions point the way to the kinds of labor struggles that are necessary, especially in the belly of the American imperialist beast. The obstacle to this is the AFL-CIO labor officialdom, which pits American workers against their class brothers and sisters around the world by promoting national chauvinism and subordinating workers to the dual parties of capitalist rule, the Democrats and Republicans.

Defense of Iraq is inescapably tied to defense of the Palestinian people against Zionist terror. The right-wing Sharon government, which is currently slaughtering Palestinians at a rate of up to a dozen a day, could very well use the cover of war to implement a genocidal program of forcible expulsions of the Palestinians. The deliberate murder of a young American student, Rachel Corrie, is a message to all defenders of the besieged Palestinians that it’s open season on them, too. Antiwar protesters must take up the call to defend the Palestinians and demand: All Israeli troops, settlers out of the Occupied Territories now!

To the millions of workers and antiwar youth who have marched in cities around the world, now is the time to redouble your efforts. But what is crucial is to understand what’s wrong with the antiwar movement. You were told by all the organizers of antiwar protests—from International ANSWER to Not In Our Name and United For Peace and Justice—that to stop the war from happening what was needed was the broadest possible movement. This can only mean a movement built in alliance with “antiwar” Democratic Party politicians like Jesse Jackson. You were told lies! To build an antiwar movement with bourgeois politicians is to build an antiwar movement with representatives of the very class in whose interest imperialist war is waged. And it is precisely now that the war has begun that these “respectable” liberal politicians will rally around “our troops,” even as they carry out a colonial slaughter in Iraq.

The protests of millions around the world are a welcome expression of defiance and opposition to American imperialism. But to put an end to war, one must start with a perspective that challenges the very basis of the capitalist system. War is not simply a policy but the logical outgrowth of this irrational capitalist order. The question facing antiwar activists and workers is not merely one of more militant tactics. If there is one lesson to be drawn, it is the absolute necessity of fighting to get rid of this deeply inhumane system through workers revolution. Only socialist revolution can put an end to imperialist war!

Fighters against imperialist war must look to mobilizing the social power of the multiracial American proletariat in struggle. There is plenty of anger at the base of American society. The bloated American ruling class and this particularly grotesque government are lording it over working people and minorities, showering tax cuts on the rich while millions are homeless or losing their jobs and pensions. There is widespread fear and loathing of this Christian fundamentalist government that wants to extend its oppressive reach into every aspect of people’s lives. It is little wonder that despite all the pro-war jingoism of the media, a good chunk of the population still opposes the war. Indeed, within the imperialist military itself, many black, Latino and working-class soldiers do not want to kill and be killed for this racist government rife with admirers of the Confederate slavocracy.

The domestic reflection of the U.S. war on Iraq is the Bush administration’s broadside against workers, minorities and immigrants. This government is tearing up the rights that have been won through decades of militant struggle for black freedom, for union rights, for women’s equality. Now they are threatening to round up over 11,000 people of Iraqi descent, including American citizens. Following 9/11, they detained Near Eastern and South Asian immigrants. Then they declared that anyone Bush determines to be an “enemy combatant” could be stripped of all constitutional rights. They now want to expand the USA-Patriot Act to strip citizenship from anyone deemed to be aiding “terrorists.” In the name of the “war on terror,” the government wants to squash any expression of dissent. This must be met with defiant mass protests, centered on the social power of labor, against the Iraq war, in opposition to the roundups, detentions and deportations and in defense of all our rights. Full citizenship rights for all immigrants!

In pursuing its ambitions for unchallenged world domination, the American bourgeoisie increasingly sees no further use for the UN. The UN was created at the end of the Second World War as a creature of the imperialist powers—centrally the U.S.—to provide a cover for their wars and interventions. Today, American imperialism’s open talk of “pre-emptive” strikes, including nuclear first strikes, has served to sharpen tensions and hostilities between the U.S. and its imperialist rivals, centrally Germany and France. This is the shape of the “New World Order” emerging from the counterrevolutionary destruction of the Soviet Union, whose military might helped to stay the hand of the American nuclear madmen.

The Soviet Union was the homeland of the 1917 October Revolution, which overturned capitalist rule in Russia. Despite its subsequent Stalinist degeneration, it was a workers state embodying enormous gains for the working class, women and diverse national and ethnic minorities. Carried out in the midst of World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution pulled Russia out of the war and showed how imperialist depredation and war can be defeated. We fought for the unconditional military defense of the Soviet Union against imperialism and capitalist counterrevolution, just as today we fight for the defense of the remaining deformed workers states—Cuba, Vietnam, China and North Korea—including their urgent right to develop nuclear weapons.

The increasing hostilities between the imperialist powers portend future interimperialist wars to be fought out with nukes. And the U.S. imperialists have clearly proven themselves capable of plunging humanity into a nuclear holocaust. The only way to prevent that catastrophe from happening is through international socialist revolution. The Spartacist League, U.S. section of the International Communist League, fights to build a Bolshevik workers party in this country committed to the defeat of U.S. imperialism through socialist revolution. Writing on the fourth anniversary of the Russian Revolution, Bolshevik leader V.I. Lenin stressed “the grim and inexorable truth that it is impossible to escape imperialist war, and imperialist peace...which inevitably engenders imperialist war, except by a Bolshevik struggle and a Bolshevik revolution.” Defend Iraq! All U.S. troops out of the Near East now! Down with U.S. imperialism!

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