(Leaflet of the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee issued
in support of the October 11 anti-war demonstrations)
. In defiance of massive anti-war sentiment, the recent conventions of the parties of big business have again united around a war program. McCain and Obama both want to scale back U.S. troop levels in Iraq in order to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and spread it into Pakistan. Both want to expand the size of the U.S. war machine by adding more soldiers and legislating record post-WWII war budgets. Both support Israel, the most heavily militarized state on earth, as it decimates the Palestinian people. Both rattle sabers against Iran, and have stepped up their anti-Russian rhetoric. Both are following in Bush's footsteps.
. These facts show the need to build the anti-war movement independent of, and against, the
political parties of the rich. In fact, the Democratic and Republican national conventions were
met with anti-war protests of several thousands, many of whom have already reached this
conclusion. Now, on October 11, there will be renewed protests in Seattle and other U.S. cities.
We encourage your participation! Let us unite to use this demonstration as a way to encourage
more people into political motion, and to help organize an independent movement. Further, let us
unite in protracted work to expose the lies, deception, and fear-mongering of the politicians, and
to spread analysis of the root causes of current and future wars.
What's behind the "war on terrorism"?
. U.S. politics are dominated by the parties of the super-rich, the monopoly-capitalist class. The economic strength of this class is in decline relative to foreign rivals for the domination of global markets, raw materials and low-wage labor, and it has increasingly been struggling to reverse its declining economic power through reliance on military might. Thus, there was no substantial "peace dividend" at the end of the Cold War, and the ruling class used 9/11 as a pretext to jack up military spending to even higher than Cold War levels. Today this spending is approximately 47% of all the other countries in the world combined.
. But McCain and Obama want even more; and when "anti-war" Obama says, "I will rebuild (!?)
our military to meet future conflicts," he's obviously not speaking about conflicts with a handful
The "good war" in Afghanistan
. In the 1980s, $600 million yearly was spent for the CIA's "dirty war" in Afghanistan. As part of this, the CIA financed and trained both Afghan reactionaries, and Saudi Arabian religious fanatics like Osama bin Laden. With the Soviet defeat, the U.S. ruling class had less interest in Afghanistan, although it was friendly to the Taliban right up until 2001.
. Meanwhile, former CIA "asset," bin Laden, had turned against the Saudi monarchy and the U.S. stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich lands, and the 9/11 atrocity was a product of his terrorist campaign. But the U.S. government responded with its own terrorist atrocity: the killing tens of thousands of innocent Afghan people in a war to smash and replace the Taliban government, even though the Taliban had offered to turn bin Laden over to a third country if the U.S. would stop bombing. Filled with imperialist arrogance, the U.S. government went on to
topple the Taliban anyway, but found no bin Laden.
. Seven years later the U.S. props up an Afghan government of murderous warlords and corrupt politicians that barely rules outside the capital, Kabul. Additionally, the U.S. and its NATO allies are coming under increased attacks by tribal, regional, ethnic, and Taliban forces that they lump together as simply "Taliban." In response to this, they've long been blindly shooting or bombing anyone who moves or is "suspect," and most notoriously, people going to wedding parties. Then, in August, one such air attack killed 96 people, 60 of them sleeping children!
. The Pashtun people, the largest single ethnic group in Afghanistan, has disproportionately suffered from these massacres, and is seething with anger. Moreover, 30 million Pashtuns (the majority) live across the border in Pakistan, where they're now also seeing their innocents murdered by U.S. drones and ground raids. Following in Bush's footsteps, McCain or Obama will only bring more such tragedies. They justify them by saying that bin Laden is hiding somewhere in the border region, or that the Taliban uses it as a base, but their interest in the area is obviously more than this, i.e., around 70% of the NATO supplies being used to pacify Afghanistan are trucked from Pakistan through the Khyber Pass, and the convoys are coming under increased attacks.
. So rather than being a "good war," from the get-go the imperialist invasion and attempted
pacification of Afghanistan has featured glories like military imprisonment of thousands of
people, torture and racist murders, and obliteration of thousands of lives with sophisticated
weaponry. It has been a war to monopolize terror in this very poor country, a terror that McCain
and Obama promise to escalate.
Painting disaster in Iraq as "victory"
. The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was imperialist aggression to dominate Iraqi oil resources against local and global rivals. The U.S. also wanted to establish permanent military bases with which to defend its sphere of influence in the entire oil-rich region. But this project has gone from disaster to disaster: Rather than welcoming their "liberators," the masses of Iraqi people rapidly grew to hate and organize against them. Ba'athist remnants and factions of fundamentalist reactionaries organized and dominated a formidable armed resistance. The Shia clerics threatened rebellion if elections weren't held, and when they were held the U.S. -favored parties came out a poor third. The elected fundamentalist al Malaki government wants closer relations with Iran, and is resisting U.S. demands on it in the current "status of forces agreement" talks.
. Now, after a million Iraqis have been killed, and millions others turned into refugees, after neighborhoods and cities have been "cleansed" of the "wrong" group of believers, after many of the resistance fighters have been killed and many of their leaders have accepted U.S. cash in return for changing sides, there is relatively less violence in Iraq. Bush and McCain boast that this is a victory, but beneath this they want to continue occupation with fewer troops (and just as many mercenaries) in order to save what they can of their original imperialist objectives.
. And so does "anti-war" Obama. Faced with mass anti-war sentiment, he says that the war was "misguided" by the Republicans, but sloughs over his own votes to fund it. More importantly, he talks a lot about his slow withdrawal plan . . . and talks a lot less about the fact that it would leave behind tens of thousands of "residual" U.S. troops, plus mercenaries. But just as Bush's plans have repeatedly failed, this one will inevitably fail too.
. In fact, although the ruling class is trying to reverse the decline of its monopoly-capitalist
empire through military means, the past seven years have shown that for all its weapons, and all
of its organized murder in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. imperialism has its limits and is headed for
defeat. We should work to hasten this defeat by working to rally all of the exploited and
oppressed people in this country around anti-imperialist and truly liberating politics.
In solidarity with the struggling peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq
. From the first days of the occupations of their countries, ordinary Afghans and Iraqis have repeatedly risen in protest against the crimes of the occupying troops, as well as against the occupations themselves. Many have also justly taken up arms against the foreign oppressors. And such actions have shown the potential of the people of these countries to liberate themselves. But the armed struggles have been dominated by forces that are also enemies of the people, i.e., the likes of the Taliban and warlords in Afghanistan, Ba'athists and reactionary clerics in Iraq--as have been the general politics in society. Thus, the necessity of organizing a revolutionary-democratic political current among the masses that combines their fight against imperialist occupation with the fight against domestic reactionaries.
. Although their numbers are presently small, every step that Afghan and Iraqi activists take in
this direction is of tremendous inspiration to anti-war activists in this country. Moreover, we
should stand by them by building the U. S. anti-war movement independent of the politics of our
own exploiters and oppressors. Let us use the Seattle march through Central Area and Capitol
Hill neighborhoods to reach out to the working people and youth with anti-imperialist politics,
and as part of the protracted organizing necessary to build the kind of movement capable of
doing away with imperialism and its inherent product, war.
Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee
September 20, 2008
Modified: October 27, 2008.