Side-by-side comparison

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Jan 31 16:09:22 MST 2003

The Militant, Feb. 10, 2003
Why antiwar protests don’t stop wars

(Reply to a reader)

In his letter, Joe Lombardo asks about the Militant coverage of the antiwar 
protests. Along with "international pressure," such mobilizations, he says, 
are "all that is stopping the launching of war" by the U.S. government.


Wars and depression are the outlook provided by this system. Such 
developments go hand in hand with a push against workers’ rights, as the 
bosses and their government seek to carve more profits from working people 
and to curtail our ability to fight back.

Antiwar protests have never by themselves stopped the imperialists’ march 
to war. We shouldn’t draw the wrong lessons from the U.S. defeat in 
Vietnam. Washington was defeated by the workers and peasants of Indochina, 
who waged a heroic and increasingly large-scale war against the most brutal 
and heavily armed power the world has ever seen. The antiwar protests and 
the defeatist moods that penetrated the armed forces were important allies 
in that revolutionary fight.

At present the large antiwar protests have a pacifist stamp characteristic 
of a pre-war period. Alongside the capitalist politicians and liberal 
forces, who will fall in behind the war effort when the shooting starts, 
are many young people looking for a way to respond effectively to the 
brutality of capitalism. The Militant aims to provide factual coverage of 
the war buildup and to explain scientifically the foundations of the war 
drive. We also explain that out of the struggles of today and tomorrow, 
including the fight against imperialist war, working people will go through 
the defeats and victories necessary to forge a revolutionary movement. Only 
by overthrowing their rule can the capitalists be disarmed and the drive to 
war be stopped.



Workers Vanguard No. 795, 17 January 2003

What brought an end to the Vietnam War was not NPAC’s peace crawls or even 
the more militant civil disobedience protests. Rather it was the 
battlefield victory of the Vietnamese workers and peasants, who were 
fighting not only to expel the American invaders but for a social 
revolution against the capitalist order. We called for military victory to 
the North Vietnamese deformed workers state and the South Vietnamese 
revolutionary fighters and raised the slogan “All Indochina Must Go Communist!”

The Spartacist League fought to win radical antiwar activists to the 
proletarian struggle. In an October 1967 leaflet titled “From Protest to 
Power,” we explained:

“A political movement built solely around the war is incapable of unifying 
the various forces of discontent within American society. On the contrary, 
the necessary support given to the suppression of the American working 
class by establishment ‘doves’—[antiwar Senator] Wayne Morse is a leading 
Congressional advocate of government strike-breaking while the liberal 
establishment, including King, unanimously supported the bloody suppression 
of the ghetto risings—is a major obstacle to building a mass anti-war 

“The anti-war movement can force Johnson to withdraw U.S. troops only if he 
is more afraid of it than of the victory of the Vietnamese Revolution. No 
demonstration, however effective and militant, can do this. Only a movement 
capable of taking state power can. The anti-war movement has no future 
except as a force for building a party of revolutionary change.”

Today, as well, we fight to break the ideological chains that bind the 
working people, oppressed minorities and radicalized youth to the “lesser 
evil” Democratic Party of American imperialism. The central task remains 
the forging of a revolutionary workers party to lead the workers to power. 
Only by wresting the means of production from the hands of the capitalist 
imperialist rulers and creating an international planned economy can the 
needs of the billions of toilers now consigned to hideous poverty begin to 
be met and the threat of war ended once and for all. Anti-imperialism 
abroad means class struggle at home! Defend Iraq against imperialist attack!

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list:

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