Against War and Imperialism
by Michael Thorburn


This pamphlet is meant to be a call to vigilance and a call to struggle against the war program of U.S. imperialism.

Grave dangers are facing humanity. Already the U.S. government is waging war against the peoples of Iraq and Colombia, imposing a military occupation on Yugoslavia, assisting Israel's war against the Palestinian people, setting up new bases in the Philippines and threatening North Korea, etc., etc.

The events of the last decade show that U.S. imperialism has entered a new phase in its struggle for empire and profits; it is trying to create a unipolar world with itself as the sole superpower. And to do so, it is relying on the doctrine that Might Makes Right.

Under the banner of "globalization," the U.S. is insisting that every country accept the "free market" system and the dictates of the international monopolies and bankers.

In Yugoslavia, U.S. imperialism has declared that it has the right to carve up the territory of sovereign countries.

In East Timor and elsewhere, U.S. and Western imperialism have again embraced the colonial doctrine of the "white's man burden," declaring that imperialism can decide if and when a people are civilized enough to be free.

And still, the Bush administration is preparing a further buildup of the U.S. military machine and telling the people that it is preparing more wars.

The American people have no choice but to oppose the chauvinism, the militarism and war program of U.S. imperialism.

Everything that makes us human revolts against the barbaric crimes of the U.S. government - its wholesale bombing of civilian populations in Iraq and Yugoslavia, its support for paramilitary death squads in Colombia and elsewhere, its war of liquidation against the Palestinian nation, etc., etc., etc. The struggle against U.S. imperialism is a necessity for everyone who holds democracy dear; it is an irrepressible part of the struggle to assert our own humanity.

In fact, every generation of Americans has been tempered in part through the struggle against war and militarism.

In my own case, my organized participation in political life more or less began with the struggle against the war in Vietnam. Like millions of American workers and youth, my own experience taught me that rather than fighting for "freedom" and "democracy," the U.S. government could only be fighting to fortify and strengthen its own system of class and national oppression.

That is why I wholeheartedly supported the Vietnamese people. I knew - almost instinctually - that the Vietnamese were fighting against the same dark forces which exploited and oppressed the American people.

In other words, our struggle against war and militarism arises not only because it is the workers and people who pay the price - in death and taxes. Even more fundamentally, it arises from our deepest aspirations to live in a world of peace and friendship amongst all peoples, from the drive of the people for liberation and emancipation.

The whole history of the last century shows not only that imperialism means war but that the peoples - through struggle and revolution - can defeat the war plans of imperialism and overthrow it.

The decisive thing is never to take a fatalistic attitude but rather to take the issue of war or peace into our own hands and develop a proactive movement.

Today, all over the world the peoples are coming out in struggle. The Cuban people are defending their national independence in the face of the U.S. imposed blockade. The movement of the Korean people for reunification and against U.S. occupation has reached a new stage. An upsurge has emerged in the struggle of the Puerto Rican people against U.S. militarism and colonialism. The Palestinian people, the Colombian people and others are pushing forward their liberation struggles. Broad movements have emerged against capitalist globalization and the program of neo-liberalism.

Through such struggles the peoples are averting and defeating the war plans of imperialism. Each of these struggles helps to weaken the common enemy. Each of these struggles helps broaden, both in the U.S. and on a world scale, the common front against war and imperialism. In the course of such struggles, we aim at overthrowing the capitalist-imperialist system altogether.

Michael Thorburn
February 2001