Against Our Own Ruling Class
In the U.S and throughout the world, to struggle against war and imperialism has always been one of the profound demands of the class struggle. In our country, the workers and people have not had any choice but to wage this fight.
In particular, the American people have always opposed the aggressive, imperialist wars of "our own" government - from the wars in Korea and Vietnam, to the counter-revolutionary U.S. interventions in Central America of the 1980s, to the wars in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, popular mass movements like these are growing against U.S. intervention in the Middle East, against preparations for war against North Korea and Iran, for friendship and solidarity with the people of Cuba and other peoples oppressed and attacked by U.S. imperialism, against U.S. backed aggression and militarization of Latin America, etc. So too, mass struggles against such imperialist institutions as the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO, as well as fights against the gargantuan military budgets, fights for nuclear disarmament and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, fights against the military draft and the militarization of society have been unfolding.
The consciousness of every generation of American workers has also been formed, in part, by the international experience and victories of the working class movement and the liberation struggles - by the victories of socialism in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 30s, by the world-wide Anti-Fascist war, by the glorious national liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people, etc., etc.
Indeed, even from our earliest days, the American people fought to create this country as a land of refuge for all the oppressed and exploited. The U.S. working class is made up of workers who have come here from the four ends of the earth, bringing with them the inspiration and experience of the revolutionary struggles in their homelands. The U.S. workers have always sympathized with and supported the liberation struggles of the peoples everywhere.
The burden of war and militarism weighs heavily on the backs of the U.S. working class and people.
It is the working people who pay the price - in death and taxes - for the war program of the capitalist class.
So too, both the Republican and Democratic parties, as parties of big capital, have been and are parties of war and militarism that hold a monopoly over the political affairs of our country. The Democratic party generally takes upon itself the dual task of both helping to preside over the bi-partisan capitalist program of war and aggression even while it mouths empty peace slogans in its attempt to sidetrack the wrath of the popular anti-war movement. These two parties act as mouthpieces of the militarism and chauvinism which are the official ideologies of the capitalist ruling class. What is more, they are even trying to push our school children into military academies.
Today, the so-called "war against international terrorism" rests, in the first place, on the most thorough exploitation of the U.S. workers. Monopoly capitalism's slogans of "increasing international competitiveness" and "peace through strength" mean slashing social investments and privatizing public services. It means tax cuts for the rich and a greater burden of poverty for the masses.
Yet more, grave dangers are facing the peoples. U.S. imperialism is preparing for more wars to suppress the anti~imperialist and revolutionary movements, such as the wars it is presently waging in Iraq and Afghanistan. So too, U.S. imperialism is carrying out an unprecedented military build-up in Europe, and so paving the way towards another inter-capitalist, inter-imperialist war fought to see which robber and exploiter will control the most economic territory and empire. We oppose such reactionary inter-imperialist wars and fight against the aggressive policy of the, U.S. government in preparing for such a war or in waging one. We resolutely oppose siding with one imperialist power in the name of opposing another, just as we oppose wars waged by imperialism against the liberation movements of the peoples. Rather we fight against all imperialism (U.S., Russian, Chinese, French, British, etc.) - while firstly taking responsibility for striking blows against our "own" ruling class.
How to Advance the Anti-War Movement
The decisive way to advance the anti-war movement is to help orient and organize it as a genuinely proactive movement.
One vital starting point is to carry on a continuous struggle against the chauvinism of the capitalist class. We cannot let U.S. imperialism - which has committed innumerable crimes against humanity - pass off any of its program under the banners of "freedom," "human rights," "democracy," "humanitarianism," etc. Resurrecting the racist doctrine of the "white man's burden," the Western powers are using these slogans to declare that some peoples are not yet ready for independence and self-determination and need to be "mentored" and "civilized" by the imperialist powers. These ultra-chauvinist doctrines assert the "moral superiority" of "American values" and justify the brazen violation of the sovereignty of countries.
No, the U.S. working class can never rise to its feet and win its emancipation without rejecting and defeating the chauvinism and militarism of the capitalist class.
Rather, our constant task is to expose the real class interests - the interests of profit and empire - which drive the war program of the U.S. capitalist class.
The cause of militarism and the aggressive foreign policy and wars of the U.S. government is the imperialist social system. Imperialism is a social system in which the monopoly capitalist class lives not only by the exploitation of the working class and people at home, but also by the exploitation, oppression and enslavement of whole nations and peoples throughout the world.
Nearly 3,000 U.S. corporations have overseas investments in 24,000 foreign affiliates. In 1998, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported that U.S. companies held $4 trillion in direct investments overseas. Sales from these overseas operations were nearly $2.5 trillion, an amount equalling more than 25% of the country's gross domestic product. The export of commodities account for another 10% of the GDP or nearly $1 trillion in 1998. In addition the developing countries owe some $1 trillion in debt to the U.S. finance capitalists.
Through these investments and loans, the U.S. capitalist class grabs hundreds of billions in super-profits every year. The very social existence of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class is bound up, not only with the exploitation of the American people, but also with the super-exploitation and plunder of the entire globe.
To police this empire the government deploys its warships and jet bombers, its nuclear missiles and subs, and hundreds of thousands of American troops throughout the globe. Thus the struggle against war and militarism is necessarily a struggle against the imperialist relations of exploitation and domination, a struggle against the monopoly capitalist class and the government which is, in fact, completely subordinated to the interests of the big capitalists.
Exposing and fighting against imperialism and its war program also includes a continuous fight against imperialist deception and pacifism. War and militarism are not policies arising from some "hawkish" imperialists who might be opposed by some capitalist "doves." War and imperialism are inseparable parts of the imperialist system. It is this system which must be fought against. The struggle against American chauvinism and imperialist pacifism means taking a principled stand in support of the oppressed peoples and in defense of the right of every people to determine their affairs for themselves.
Part of advancing the anti-war movement is linking together the manifold currents of struggles into one mighty torrent, into a broad popular front against war. To do this we must zero in on the real target - the monopoly capitalist class and its Republican and Democratic parties.
The struggle against war and militarism requires that the working class and progressive masses build up their own political organizations, independent of and in opposition to the political parties of the capitalists.