Against "Support the Troops"---

Support G.I. Resistance!

Leaflet by the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, July 16, 2007.
(CV #40, August 2007)

. The U.S. ruling class maintains and expands its domination of foreign labor, markets and strategic resources through the massive application of organized violence by the armed forces and intelligence agencies under their command. To the rich, such violence is essential, as the peoples of the world and rival ruling classes are disinclined to allow this plunder to proceed without a fight. Supporting this military in any form is contrary to the interests of the workers and poor. Instead, we should support the G.I. s who resist the military.

. The past 100-plus years of monopoly capitalism and consequent division of the world into spheres of influence lorded over by competing major world powers--along with the resistance this has inevitably given rise to--has necessitated a state of permanent militarism and skyrocketing military budgets. The position of the U.S. as the world's foremost economic power is inseparable from the fact that the government spends more on armaments than its next fourteen closest competitors, combined. Nor is it separable from the fact that the U.S. has troops in at least 135 foreign countries and permanent military bases in almost 60 of them, not counting shared and leased bases. World domination, however, requires more than the mere threat of force and, indeed, the U.S. military has aggressively attacked several dozen countries just since WWII, killing millions. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are but the latest in this horrible sequence.

. Moreover, the U.S. military plays a vital role in preserving the class rule of the rich at home. From the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 to the mass rebellions of the 1960s, U.S. rulers have not hesitated to fire on the masses when their usual methods of control and deception prove inadequate.

Against "Support the Troops"

. "Support the troops" is a reactionary slogan, which, in spite of individual intentions, can only be used to drum up support for unjust imperialist wars. By hypocritically focusing on the lives and well being of the men and women sent to kill and be killed in their wars, ruling class ideologues seek to draw attention away from the plight of those on the other end of the gun and to pre-empt any serious discussion of why this killing was ordered (by them!) in the first place. To put it another way: rather than openly making an argument for their armed robbery on a massive scale, they instead seek to evoke human sympathy for the people they send to commit such acts. Meanwhile, the masses of people are justly concerned for what's happening to the discarded, broken troops rotting in V.A. hospitals, for example. But if this is real concern, it must continue on to support for the troops who refuse to kill and die for U.S. imperialism.

. The question of "support the troops" must not be abstracted from the question of what these troops are fighting for. For example, in Iraq they're being used as cogs in a military machine that fights to suppress all resistance to U.S. imperialism's strategy of dominating this oil-rich country in the heart of the oil-rich Middle East. This war is being fought in the interests of the big U.S. oil companies and the entire ruling class, and against the interests of the masses of people in this country and in Iraq--where the opposition to U.S. troop presence is overwhelming. And, because both the Republicans and Democrats politically represent the economic interests behind this war, they try to rally support for it (and prolong it) under the banner of "support the troops."

. This is aided by the fact that these soldiers are recruited from our families, friends and communities. Increasingly aggressive and intrusive recruiting, combined with poverty, unemployment and the high cost of a college education compel and encourage young workers to enlist in the military, to kill and die for the class enemy, objectively against their own class interests. This injustice presents the imperialists with a great danger, the danger that U.S. soldiers might act in their own class interests, that they might stand up and resist.

Support the troops who refuse to kill and die for U.S. imperialism!

. As soldiers learn the truth about U.S. wars--often from their own experience--many of them refuse to take part. Today this is true for thousands of active-duty soldiers and the number is growing.

. The subjective motivations of these soldiers vary and are often contradictory. Some oppose the war in Iraq on the basis that it is illegal and point to a soldier's right and duty to disobey illegal orders. Many simply don't want to be killed in a rich man's war and figure that, if U.S. rulers want the oil so badly, then why don't they go and get it themselves? A small but growing section of G.I. resisters oppose the war, and all imperialist wars, on the basis of a class-conscious internationalism. All of this resistance is honorable, and resistance based on the latter has the potential of shaking the imperialist system to the core.

. The G.I. resistance movement is therefore destined to play a key role in the movement to force U.S. imperialism to leave the countries it has occupied, just as it did in Vietnam, and to prevent it from launching new military adventures. These are truly our troops, our class brothers and sisters, and they deserve our full support.

Against Right-Wing Slander

. Right-wing commentators like to slander G.I. resisters as "cowards" even as these troops bravely face vilification, economic hardship and even exile or imprisonment in payment for their courageous stands. Behind this slander lies the fact that it is difficult for the imperialists to dominate the world with a military that refuses to blindly follow orders without question. They fear the specter of a soldiers' movement that would rather stand with the oppressed than participate in a war which it is in their own interests to resist.

. As the apologists for imperialism seek to vilify and undermine the resisters, the anti-war movement needs to rally behind them. And as the imperialists seek to continue their war using revised strategies, we must continue to expose their lying justifications for imperialist domination of entire peoples.

No more blood for oil and empire!
Support the G. I. resisters!

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September 8, 2007.