[Marxism] US Militant and the war in Iraq

Einde O'Callaghan einde at gmx.de
Mon Apr 12 06:52:24 MDT 2004

I don't normally read the US Militant (never having been a great fan of 
the paper or its organisation) but the following old article was spammed 
in alt.politics.socialism.trotsky recently without comment and I 
happened to read through it.

It seems to me that it is simply an excuse for abstention from the real 
existing anti-war movement on a sectarian maximalist basis that 
contrasts dramatically with the intervention of the SWP(US) in the 
movement against the Vietnam War, where in my personal opinion they seem 
to have tended a little too much in the other direction.

Einde O'Callaghan

Why antiwar protests don't stop wars 
     alt politics socialism trotsky
February 10, 2003 - from http://www.themilitant.com

In his letter (see website), 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.

Last week’s Militant included a news article about the January 18
protests in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and elsewhere. It also
carried reports on the interested and often eager response by many
marchers to revolutionary literature. The Young Socialists and
Socialist Workers Party literature tables were busy scenes of
discussions about the war drive at home and abroad and its linkage to
the economic crisis of imperialism.

An account of a Young Socialists event in D.C., organized around the
title of "The Young Socialists and the Fight against Imperialism and
its Wars," was also featured.

The socialists explained that the drive to war is not an optional but a
necessary course by the imperialists, with those in the United States
to the fore, as they act to defend their interests. They are pressing
to gain a bigger share of the resources of the semicolonial
world--including the massive oil wealth of the Middle East. War and
military occupation are the accompaniments to this drive.

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.

On the face of it, it’s clearly not true that the protests have thus
far stopped the launching of war. Washington has moved steadily and
ruthlessly to put together the troops and equipment for an invasion.
Now that most of what they need is in place, U.S. officials are beating
the drums more loudly.

We also shouldn’t forget that the air war has already begun: U.S. and
British planes have stepped up their bombing of Iraq’s so-called
"no-fly" zones. They are deliberately targeting the country’s air

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.

Related articles:

U.S. threatens Iraq with war in ‘weeks not months’
London: 40,000 troops for Iraq war
U.S. prepares bloody assault

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