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June 2003 • Vol 3, No. 6 •

Independent Political Action

By Bonnie Weinstein

In an article by Tariq Ali, entitled, “Business as Usual” that appeared Saturday, May 24, 2003 in The Guardian, Tariq says, “The UN has now provided retrospective sanction to a pre-emptive strike.” Unfortunately, his evaluation seems very close to the truth. His article illustrates how the whole Security Council caved in as soon as U.S. bombs started to drop. (The article is reprinted in this magazine.) At the same time the issue of the U.N. as a peacekeeping force in Iraq is still being debated in the antiwar movement. There is also a growing discussion about “defeating Bush.” Some have expressed fear that Bush will win again and feel he should be stopped at all costs and that the antiwar movement should rally around the Democratic Party candidate no matter who he is.

The two issues are the same in the sense that appealing to the U.N to keep the peace and lending support to the Democrats in order to “defeat Bush” are no alternatives to what is really needed. They are “lesser evil” alternatives but conveniently do not go far enough to bring about real change. In other words, the U.N. stands no chance of keeping peace any more than electing a Democrat will alter the course of imperialist politics—owned and controlled by American capitalist corporate bosses.

The antiwar movement, if it maintains its independence from Democratic party politics, can play a strategic role in making the connections between the human needs of all working people and the trillions of tax dollars that are being spent to finance the giant U.S. war machine.

Instead of supporting some kind of “interim” government in Iraq or Afghanistan, appointed by the U.S., the movement demands equality, freedom, democracy, human rights and self-determination for the Iraqi people and the people of Afghanistan. The movement must continue to demand that the U.S. troops be brought home and that the money spent on war be used to supply all the necessary material aid to rebuild what the U.S. government destroyed. At every opportunity the antiwar movement should contrast the horrors of war with the good that could and should be done with those trillions of dollars if it could be spent on human needs instead of war.

“U.S. out of Iraq! Bring all the troops home now! No pre-emptive wars! No U.S. support to Israel! Money for human needs not war!” These demands must be addressed to the people of the U.S. and the world to expose the impossibility of any capitalist party being able or willing to achieve them.

The goal of the movement must be to organize so massively as to make it crystal clear to all the politicians that these demands express the aspirations of the masses of working people—the overwhelming majority of people in the world. The antiwar movement has the opportunity to be in the forefront of the struggle demanding that the massive resources spent on the U.S. military budget be used to provide for human needs here at home—as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan and to continually point out the contradiction of spending money for war instead of on human needs.

There is no doubt that without massive material aid the people of Afghanistan and Iraq will be embroiled in conflict because there simply is not enough of anything left to go around. The people of those countries have lived in the midst of war and strife for generations—even before the devastation of these most recent wars. They have been embroiled in battles for the most basic rights and have lived under one oppressive regime after another for centuries.

The U.S. government, in the name of the American people, and with the resources that could be used for human needs everywhere, has bombed both countries further back into the dark ages, and then appointed themselves to rule over them. They claim that the people of those countries are “barbarians” and can’t govern themselves. At the same time, in the name of “civilization” and “keeping the peace,” they shoot all looters, take over and police the land and oil that is on it, and claim it for themselves until the indigenous people are “ready” for freedom and democracy. Just who are the real barbarians?

It is one hundred degrees of horror every day in the lives of those people after what the U.S. government has done in the name of bringing “freedom and democracy”; terrorizing and bombing a people in the name of “fighting terror” and where no terror connections were ever made. All in the name of ridding the world of “terrorism and the threat of weapons of mass destruction” by using some of the most powerful and deadly weapons of mass destruction, at a rate never seen before—on a beleaguered and practically unarmed population—and without coming up with any evidence that the “terrorism and weapons” they accused them of having ever even existed.

All the politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, support the U.S. military budget as a whole. They disagree in increments here and there. They unanimously agree that our electoral and political system of voting for one rich liar over another is the best way to “democratically” come to these world-altering decisions about when and where to use our deadly military might.

The antiwar movement, especially here in the U.S., has to stay focused on the demands it raises in conjunction with the needs of workers everywhere. It must stand independent of the entire U.S. government and all of their politicians.

An independent antiwar movement that stays true to its demands will keep the pressure on the whole government and on every politician and will help to expose what the U.S. government really does and what their politicians really do—which is serve the best interest of American business against the best interest of workers everywhere.

Michael Moore tells it like it is

I just saw Michael Moore’s masterpiece, “Bowling for Columbine”. I recommend this film to everyone. But surely, after seeing this movie, no one can believe that our government is on a course to bring freedom and democracy to the world. The question the movement must come to terms with is whether or not it would be possible for our government, structured as it is, to do so.

Some say that our system can be reformed. That it can be saved if only the “good people” are on top. So election after election “lesser evil” politics rules the country.

It is easy to get sidetracked by slogans like, “Stop Bush at all costs!” It is so easy to hate this guy! But this demand heard in every election campaign has brought us no further towards world peace than we had ever been—and it has cost the Iraqi and Afghan people another murderously devastating war! Well, the cost is too damn high! The worldwide antiwar movement must stay focused on the wants, needs, and rights of all human beings in a world without war—and to a life of freedom and opportunity.

We are all the same. We need food, shelter, medical care, and clothing. We work. We do and build and make and grow and harvest and operate everything and we have the right to live, raise children, have an education, develop our abilities and create new opportunities for those who come after us. We all have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The danger comes when the movement stops demanding these rights and, instead, pleads and begs and hopes that those gorging themselves on the plate of world wealth, power and domination will throw us a tiny crumb of what are and should be our inalienable rights as human beings—and this stagnant state of “begging alms for the poor” has been the norm throughout the history of world class society and it’s got to change!

Are we for human needs not war? Do we want to create a world of fairness and equality? The antiwar movement can most effectively organize and win around these goals if it remains an independent force for those ideas. It must stand apart from the ruling bodies and demand its rights from them. It must organize all who have the same interests to stand independently on its side because the movement is demanding the things that all working people need and deserve no matter who they are, what religion they are, what ethnic background they have come from.

We are at a turning point in the history of all humanity. And the United States capitalist government and its allies have amassed the most deadly force imaginable to let loose anywhere in the world that doesn’t crumble under their rule. The threat of war and nuclear annihilation involves all living things on the planet. The future of the world is at stake.

The only strength we have will come from our unity and solidarity for the kind of world we want—the kind of world workers everywhere want and have the power to build. It is this that will finally give us the power to control our own destiny.





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