How to Advance the Anti-War Struggle:

The Workers Party is calling on all anti-war activists, on everyone who longs for peace, to join us in discussing the way forward - in sorting out what needs to be done to advance the anti-war struggle and win the peace. As part of this ongoing campaign, we will publish this regular column in The Worker; and we encourage all our readers to study, write for and actively discuss this column.

Our Party firmly believes that the issues facing the anti-war movement can only be solved through the broadest participation of the people themselves. In fact, we think that it is the responsibility of activists to participate in this discussion, to give their views in a straightforward manner and help sort out the politics and program of the anti-war movement.

Over the last 3 and 1/2 years, tens of millions of Americans have come out in public opposition to the government's war program, creating a new political situation. Every day, opposition to the war in Iraq and the entire so-called "war against terrorism" is growing. The people have exploded the Big Lies of the media and government and exposed the aggressive, colonial aims which drive the government's wars. Awakening to political life, people are looking into the history and root causes of U.S. imperialism's aggressive foreign policy. People want to find out how to win a real and lasting peace. Despite repression, disinformation, political diversion and relative inexperience, people keep initiating new actions and new organizations to extend and deepen their movement. Already our struggles are providing support and inspiration to the peoples in Iraq and elsewhere who are struggling against U.S. aggression. In short, we have made a great beginning.

But it is only a beginning and much more needs to be done.

In fact, the government is continuing and will continue to escalate the war in Iraq and extend its aggressive wars to more countries. The Bush administration insists U.S. troops will be at war in Iraq for years to come. At the same time a permanent U.S. occupation and counter-insurgency war continues in Afghanistan. The U.S.-Israeli aggressors are stepping up their war and colonization in Palestine, trying to eliminate the viability of any Palestinian state. On a daily basis, the U.S. government is threatening Iran and Syria and already the Pentagon is flying reconnaissance missions and carrying out on-the-ground military operations inside Iran. Similar threats are being made against North Korea even as the U.S. escalates its militarization of the Korean peninsula and Asia. The U.S. continues to occupy Haiti and it is stepping up its pressure against Venezuela. U.S. imperialism is also escalating counter-insurgency wars in Colombia and the Philippines.

Thus the people cannot afford any illusions. It is up to us to stop the wars and win the peace. In order to do so, the burning need is to further organize ourselves - organize ourselves as an independent, proactive force in struggle against the parties of war and imperialism.

Isn't the most obvious and fundamental fact that while the anti-war sentiment and stand of the people is extremely widespread, the consciousness and organization of the movement is lagging behind? Isn't the most obvious political reality the fact while war and militarism is part of the way of life of the capitalist ruling class, the American people do not have their own mass anti-war organizations to unite and mobilize themselves in a sustained struggle for peace?

Thus, tens of millions of people have no organized way to express their opposition and few, if any, activities to participate in it. The movement remains far too sporadic - too 'hit or miss.' The people are not united around common goals and program, nor are they working together to achieve either immediate or longer-term goals. The government is continually attacking the movement and this causes division amongst the people especially in the absence of an organized struggle against the government's diversionary politics.

The Workers Party says that to change this situation the burning task is to popularize the independent anti-war politics and organize genuine anti-war, anti-imperialist organizations. Such an independent anti-war movement must begin from the real aspirations and demands of the people and keep all the issues of theory, strategy, tactics and organization in the hands of the people themselves. Such a politics demands the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Similarly it demands an immediate end to U.S. occupation and war in Afghanistan, in Haiti and Palestine. To win the lasting peace which humanity aspires to, we must insist on the complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad, an end to U.S. aggression and intervention in all its forms and recognition of the sovereignty of every country.

And the problem facing the anti-war movement is even more complicated. Today the people's movement is not simply unorganized, it is continually being disorganized.

In truth, the organization and leadership of the anti-war movement is not in the hands of the people at all! More often than not, peace groups, "anti-war spokespersons," literature, demonstrations and other actions are stage managed and "led" by political opportunists who work to keep the movement under the tutelage of the Democratic Party.

The recent elections is but one case in point. The anti-war activities of millions of people were liquidated by opportunists who diverted the movement's energies and resources into campaigning for Kerry. Instead of building a stronger movement, this opportunism caused tremendous damage. And the same game goes on. Today opportunism continues to insist that the fate of the anti-war struggle hinges on the actions of Congress and the Democratic Party.

This politics covers over the deeds of the Democrats, who just like the Republicans, are presiding over the capitalist war program. This politics, in fact, underestimates the dangers and problems facing the people by reducing the question to George Bush and the Republicans alone.

Even more importantly, opportunism negates the activity and role of the people. It refuses to empower people by discussing and clarifying the issues. It tries to narrow the anti-war movement by focussing only on Iraq and preventing activists from taking up other issues. It waters down the aims and demands of the people; for example, opportunism refuses to insist on the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. In fact, opportunism promotes the same chauvinism and imperialist objectives as the Democrats (for example, insisting that the Iraqi people are incapable of asserting their sovereignty and need mentoring from the U.S.).

We say that this politics must be criticized, isolated and repudiated and the people must take charge of their own movement.

To sum up. In our view, the very starting point of a proactive, organized anti-war movement - the minimum basis for organizing ourselves is:

1) starting from our own aims and agenda - demanding nothing less than an end to U.S. aggression and intervention;

2) targeting the parties of war and imperialism - the Republicans, the Democrats and their opportunist hangers-on;

3) relying on the people themselves to solve all the problems of strategy, tactics and organization.