Apologies for Colonialism Do Not Belong in the Anti-War Movement

The following editorial appeared in the April 29th edition of "The Worker," newspaper of the Workers Party, USA.

Right now, anti-war activists are focussing a lot of their work on opposing the military occupation and colonial administration which the U.S. government is setting up in Iraq.

As the Iraqi people fight against U.S. occupation, they are helping ever-wider sections of people see the real aims of U.S. imperialism. It is the elementary duty of every supporter of genuine democracy to oppose the colonialism of "our own" government and support the Iraqi people's struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination.

What is more, the struggle against U.S. occupation and colonialism is a vital part of opposing the Bush administration's aims and plans to spread its war of conquest throughout the Middle East.

This is why anti-war activists must take note of the fact that various self-appointed "leaders" of the anti-war movement are supporting U.S. colonialism in Iraq.

For example, the homepage of "United for Peace" recommends to its readers an article by William Hartung which supports the imposition of a colonial regime in Iraq and only quibbles with the Bush administration over whether such colonialism should be "unilateral" or "international."

Hartung writes: "in Iraq, internationalizing the rebuilding process is the best way to ensure post-war stability. That means putting as much of the rebuilding effort as possible under U.N. auspices, as quickly as possible - from aid delivery, to decisions on which companies will get reconstruction contracts, to selecting an interim government, to training new Iraqi military and police forces, to setting out the steps needed to create a new constitution and elect a legitimate government."

The Iraqi people are completely left out of Hartung's equation; their right to self-determination is ignored and denied.

Hartung's politics comes directly from a section of the Democratic Party which, in typical neo-colonial fashion, seeks ways to cover over the real content and aims of U.S. colonialism in Iraq. Hartung's own words reveal his motives: "a multilateral process would be the best way to . . . ensure that a post-Saddam regime has maximum international legitimacy. . . . it is also the best option for meeting the long-term U.S. security interests." In other words, Hartung is nothing more than a PR man for the imperialist aims of the U.S. capitalist class.

Yet more. Hartung tries to read the riot act to any anti-war activist who continues to stand on principles. Hartung writes: "Some anti-war activists have expressed unease about a major U.N. role in postwar Iraq, suggesting that it would throw a cloak of legitimacy over what they view as an illegal military action. Those concerns must be counter-balanced by the realities on the ground."

In sum, in the aftermath of Bush's "victory" over Iraq, the anti-war movement must abandon any and all principles, ignore the right of the Iraqi people to independence and self-determination and instead join in lending "legitimacy" to colonialism and U.S. imperialism's "long-term security interests."

Such chauvinism and apologetics for U.S. colonialism simply cannot be allowed to pass inside the anti-war movement.