How to Advance the Struggle Against War

Answering the question: "What is the cause of the war in Iraq?" is an important part of building the anti-war movement. This is not simply an issue of ideology but a vital practical matter because only by answering this question can the people know against whom to wage their struggle and what they must do to win the peace.

Opportunism generally answers the question by claiming that the problem is "George Bush" or an "ultra-militarist group" of policy-makers known as the "neo-cons." In fact, since the emergence of the people's mass opposition to the war, the claim that the war in Iraq is a "mistake" or an aberration in U.S. foreign policy has become part of the ideology of the capitalist class. The ruling class hopes that by allowing some "official" discussion about mistakes in tactics, it can stop people from exposing the aims and root causes of the war.

But it is not hard to see that much more is at stake in Iraq than the Bush family's desire for "revenge" or bad intelligence reports about "weapons of mass destruction," etc. For example, who cannot see that oil, oil and oil has something to do with the issue. Or what about the history of U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and the Middle East - 60-plus years of U.S. interference, including CIA coups and direct military interventions in Iran, in Jordan, in Lebanon, in Palestine, etc.

Furthermore, both the Bush administration and the Democratic Party themselves advertise that the war in Iraq is not an isolated thing but part of a broad strategy, a so-called "war against terrorism" which they say will "last for decades" and in which more than 60 countries have already been targeted. This is a war in which the battlefronts extend throughout the Middle East and the whole world; its declared aims include guarantying U.S. military superiority, guarantying U.S. access to "free markets and investments," spreading the system of so-called "American democracy," maintaining U.S. "preeminence" in the world.

In short, the war in Iraq is part of the battleplan of the capitalist class for world domination.

The Workers Party says that the war in Iraq and the entire so-called "war against terrorism" are results of the capitalist-imperialist system.

Today, 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 superexploitation and robbery of countries throughout the world. The U.S. multinational corporations have set up more than 3,000 subsidiaries in other countries; one-third to fifty percent of the profits of the U.S. capitalists come from overseas investments. The U.S. military follows the corporate flag. The U.S. government has set up hundreds of military bases in other countries and carried out hundreds of armed interventions and wars to guard the profits and investments of the U.S. corporations.

Opportunism, by claiming that the problem is only Bush and the neocons, by covering over the cause of war in the capitalist-imperialist system, is lulling people to sleep about the severity of the dangers facing humanity. They are telling people we do not need to be overly concerned, that we certainly do not need to develop our independent movement for peace. Rather, all that we need to do is to petition and trust the policy-makers to set things right.

This opportunist politics, in fact, accepts and promotes all the underlying assumptions - the Big Lies - used by Bush and company to justify the war. Opportunism's "struggle" against Bush has generally been confined to complaining that Bush's methods were not the "best way" to stop the proliferation of "weapons of mass destruction," or to "defeat terrorism," and "bring democracy to Iraq and the Middle East."

Opportunism covers over the real aims of U.S. imperialism and imports the chauvinism of the capitalist class into the anti-war movement. Opportunism attacks the Arab peoples as "fundamentalists" and "terrorists" and insists that U.S. capitalism indeed has the "mission" to bring its version of "democracy" to the world. This "logic" reserves for U.S. imperialism the right to determine which countries are "democratic" and "good' and to decide whether they are entitled to sovereignty.

Since opportunism proceeds from the same aims as the capitalist class, opportunism ends up liquidating the immediate and urgent demands of the anti-war movement. For example, while Bush is criticized for various lies and mistakes, opportunism insists that "now that the U.S. is in Iraq, it has the duty to stay and stabilize the country" (because on their own Iraqis "fight amongst themselves").

Similarly, opportunism is concerned that Bush's methods result in "losing allies" and undermining the broader "war on terrorism." Thus, some capitalists and opportunists emphasize sending more troops to other fronts of the "war on terrorism," recruiting more multinational allies, etc.

In sum, opportunism seeks to transform the struggle against the Iraq war from a peace movement to a movement advising imperialism on the best military tactics.

On the basis of the theory that the war in Iraq is a "mistaken policy," opportunism's main political strategy is to call on the people to ally with the Democratic Party or at least its so-called "progressive wing." Opportunism never stops advertising a so-called "split" in the ruling class, claiming that the monopoly capitalists and their political representatives are divided into "hawks" and "doves." In addition to covering over the Democrats consistent support for the war, opportunism covers over the economic and class basis of the war program. The truth is that imperialist war arises from the very economic relations and aims of capitalist-imperialism - the superexploitation and domination of peoples.

The Workers Party, because it bases its struggle on the fact that the capitalist-imperialist system is the cause of war, holds that a real fight against war and militarism must expose the real causes and strike against the political parties of war and imperialism. Lasting gains in the struggle for peace can only be made by forcing changes in the underlying relations (the capitalist-imperialist domination of other countries) which lead to war. This includes partial changes such as the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq as well as the creation of real political barriers against the aims of the capitalist parties such as fundamental laws withdrawing all U.S. troops stationed abroad and barring U.S. military intervention against sovereign countries. To secure a lasting peace, the capitalist-imperialist system must be uprooted and replaced with a socialist system.

The Workers Party's program of anti-imperialist politics targets the parties of war and imperialism and recognizes that the only reliable basis of opposition to war and militarism is continually strengthening the independent movement of the masses of people.