The Worker (Update), June 26, 2014
Published by the Workers Party, USA
P.O. Box 25716, Chicago, IL 60625
Workers Party's Fight for the Pro-Social Agenda
In the present conditions serious responsibilities as well as tremendous possibilities confront the Party and the working class activists.
Every day, as the crisis of capitalism deepens, as the big monopolies keep imposing their thoroughly anti-social agenda on our country, more and more people are looking for a genuine alternative to the bankrupt politics of the capitalist class.
Capitalist restructuring and the drive to “increase U.S. competitiveness in the global economy” are imposing new and more intense forms of exploitation on the workers. For example, practically every worker feels the pressure of job and economic insecurity as the capitalists increasingly shift to a contingent workforce; wage cuts as well as the slashing of vital benefits such as health care and pensions are dramatically undermining the workers' standard of living; labor legislation, enacted over the last 60 years and more to establish certain minimal protections on such questions as hours of work, unionization, health and safety, workers' compensation, etc., is under attack all across the country.
In addition, the capitalist class is carrying out a profoundly reactionary agenda in all spheres of society. Government investments in vital social programs – from education to health care to Social Security – are being slashed. The public infrastructure, the delivery of vital public services and the social sectors of the economy are being privatized. This anti-social agenda aims at stripping away any concept of rights and entitlements for the workers and denying that government has any responsibility for the well-being of the people.
In the face of this offensive, it is the working class which must come forward as the political leader of the whole country, mobilizing people on the basis of an agenda which corresponds with the needs of social development and the demands of the people.
The experience of the Workers Party shows that all the conditions exist for mobilizing people on the basis of a genuinely forward-looking, pro-social program. Wherever the Party has taken the initiative to develop its independent program, large numbers of workers and activists as well as various organized political forces have been eager to take up the fight. This is the Party's experience, for example, in the struggle against privatization, in the Campaign for Economic Rights, in the work on democratic renewal, in assisting the development of the pro-social press, etc. Bringing forward a positive, pro-active program – a program which opens the way for the renewed progress of our country – is the key to empowering people to come into independent political life.
U.S. Continues War
As the Obama administration threatens to launch new U.S. airstrikes and makes plans to increase the number of U.S. military advisers stationed in Iraq, Obama is trying to justify the Iraq war by claiming that the U.S. is acting in defense of the rights of people and even civilization itself.
Precisely because there is so much opposition to U.S. war and colonialism in Iraq, U.S. imperialism is continually at work trying to disguise its exploiting aggressive aims. U.S. imperialism has long relied on the counter-revolutionary tactics of imperialist pacifism – of talking about “peace” while waging war, of promising “negotiations and compromise” while imposing its dictate . . .
Below we reprint an article first published in “The Worker” on January 17, 2006.
What the Imperialists are Planning
The U.S. capitalist class, in its centuries-long struggle to subjugate other nations, has relied on the counter-revolutionary dual tactics of combining open military aggression with political deception. The use of such dual tactics takes many forms. For example, during the wars of conquest against the Native peoples, the capitalists repeatedly signed peace treaties while preparing yet new wars. In more recent times, U.S. imperialism has frequently alternated and combined direct military intervention with “indirect” domination through puppet armies and governments.
The U.S. government has employed such counter-revolutionary dual tactics from the very beginning of its war against Iraq. Even before the “official” start of the war in March 2003, the U.S. government combined open war threats with repeated calls for “negotiations,” “weapons inspections,” etc. The facts show that these tactics were used in tandem with the single objective of putting Iraq under the thumb of U.S. imperialism. The Pentagon has subsequently admitted that for months before the war, while the press was filled with talk of “negotiated solutions,” the repeated bombing campaigns against Iraq were the first salvoes of the war. As for the “weapons inspectors,” they have confessed to being spies reporting to the U.S. military. In the U.S., the “softer” tactic of “negotiations” helped to hold the opposition at bay, create the illusion that war could be avoided even while carrying the chauvinism and imperialist aims of the warmakers into the anti-war movement.
Today, as the resistance in Iraq continues to defeat the U.S. aggressors and the American people step up their anti-war struggles, the capitalists are further refining their counter-revolutionary dual tactics. In particular, the Democratic Party is increasingly advertised as the “alternative” to “Bush's war.” But the Democrats’ “exit strategy” is only an attempt to buy more time for the war and cover over the character of U.S. occupation.
To begin with, let us not forget that for all that the Democrats huff and puff, they remain adamantly opposed to the withdrawal of U.S. troops. This was proved again in mid-November when the House of Representatives voted 403 to 3 against the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. Commenting on the vote, the Progressive Democrats of America (which advertises itself as the extreme “anti-war” wing of the party) contemptuously referred to the demand for immediate withdrawal as a “cut and run” position (PDA statement, November 18, 2005).
A good picture of the real program of the “left-wing”, “anti-war” Democrats can be seen by looking at the Congressional hearing, entitled “How to Bring the Troops Home”, organized last September by Lynn Woolsey and 18 other Congresspeople from the “Out of Iraq” caucus.
One of the star “anti-war” witnesses at the hearings was David Mack, Vice President of the Middle East Institute and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East.
Mack's preoccupation is that the U.S. “not leave Iraq in a way that would make matters worse: worse for Iraqis and laden with future threats to vital U.S. interests.” Echoing George Bush, Mack worries that “Iraq may become a failed state...offering safe havens to international terrorist groups and a vast pool of embittered and desperate recruits from among the Iraqi population...think of Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of Soviet forces. But Iraq's strategic position, married to its far superior resources of potential wealth...would make it vastly more dangerous.”
Thus, Mack insists on “a responsible U.S. disengagement from Iraq [which] requires an international diplomatic context, and a lower U.S. profile...the U.S. and Iraqi governments should agree on benchmarks for the gradual disengagement for U.S. and other foreign military units from the policing of Iraqi cities and major lines of transportation, as well as the gradual reduction of overall forces levels...the U.S. and Iraqi governments should make arrangement for the period in which residual U.S. forces would be requested by the Iraqis to provide training, logistics, air cover and backup to Iraqi forces... we will not engage in precipitous withdrawal that would jeopardize Iraq's own efforts to assure its national security. To that end, we will not establish artificial deadlines...the U.S should encourage Iraq to seek the assistance of other governments, especially from the NATO alliance in providing military assistance and training.”
This, then is the neocolonial strategy of the Democrats and U.S. imperialism: talk about withdrawal but set no “artificial deadlines” and in fact continue the war; try to “lend legitimacy” to the occupation by training Iraqi forces and paying international troops even while maintaining enough U.S. forces for backup and “logistical, air support.” All in order to guarantee “vital U.S. interests” including access to Iraq's “superior resources of potential wealth.”
Another witness Professor Chayes, former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, makes it clear that the Democrats' strategy is little more than using different words to describe the same military colonialism, little more than trying to perfume the smell of gunpowder.
“I think that the U.S., for the foreseeable future – which I hope will not be much longer than a year – must provide security and continue the training that it has started.
“We need to alter the doctrine – the military doctrine – by which we stay. We have got to withdraw from the role of war-fighters, and probably withdraw, as well, from an active anti-insurgency role, and move to what we would call a ‘stability force’.
“Now will that persuade anybody? Will anybody believe that we are doing anything but an inplace withdrawal. That's a hard question. But we did it well internationally. I mean, I wish we could internationalize the forces. We cannot. I wish we could blue-hat the Americans as we did in Korea – but I think that's totally unlikely.
“So, if we made a public announcement, at the same time that a mediator was in place, that the role of the U.S. forces is simply to train, to be replaced, and to be stability forces, then it might be that we could provide at least as good security as now is provided.”
In short the Democrats’ “exit strategy” is nothing but a change of face, a change of name, a “blue-hatting” of U.S. occupationist troops.
In fact, the Democrats’ “exit strategy” which remains contingent on Iraqi “stability and security” to protect “U.S. interests” is really no different than Bush, who keeps building up Iraqi puppet troops and a puppet government to give the appearance of legitimacy to the U.S. occupation.
This capitalist program of neo-colonialism is infiltrated directly into the anti-war movement by an unholy alliance of opportunist so-called “anti-war leaders” and sects.
For example, the “Win Without War” group expresses its so-called anti-war position like this:
“To serve both U.S. and Iraq's best interests the U.S. must transform its military occupation into an Iraqi-led, regionally backed, and internationally supported effort to achieve stability and a representative government.
“Only by ending the U.S. occupation can the Iraq army, police, border patrol, law enforcement officers emerge as necessary and trusted elements of a sovereign country, rather than reluctant accomplices of an unwelcome occupation. Assistance with training and equipment from NATO, other international bodies, along with the U.S. will be necessary.
“We do not suggest the U.S. walk away from the ongoing conflict and security problems. The U.S. will need to continue some military operations during a transition period. These might include patrolling no-flight zones, border surveillance, training for Iraqi security forces, intelligence collection and maintenance of a regional peace-keeping or quick-reaction forces. These functions could require a sizable contingent of U.S. forces and would be best if U.S. forces operated with other international forces, perhaps under an international command. In any case, they would no longer be part of an occupying army whose mission was to battle the insurgency, but part of a peacekeeping/stabilization force whose mission was to protect the population.” (Win Without War, September 21, 2005)
Thus opportunism not only advocates continuing the war, it embraces, heart and soul, the very aims of the capitalist warmakers. Opportunism, infected with imperialist arrogance and chauvinism, cannot for one second grasp the issue of Iraqi sovereignty and the inalienable right of nations to self-determination. Rather, it works to provide an “anti-war” cover for continued U.S. military occupation. Opportunism aims at keeping Iraq permanently under the thumb of U.S. imperialism, by advertising the “legitimacy” of a puppet, neo-colonial government which keeps U.S. and international “stabilization” forces in the background.
In the course of our struggles against the war, we unite with all the forces working for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the end to U.S. domination and occupation.
In this struggle we expose the attempts of the Democrats and opportunists to substitute pro-war, pro-imperialist slogans and aims for the genuine demands of the people – the immediate, unconditional and thorough withdrawal of all U.S. troops and an end to U.S. occupation and interference.
We must be clear about the aims of the Democrats and opportunism. Their interests are the “vital interests” of U.S. imperialism – the interests of colonial domination and exploitation in Iraq and other countries. They remain sworn opponents of the right of the peoples to self-determination and independence. Their strategy always rests on U.S. military power even while trying to cover over the war program with phoney “anti-war,” pacifist phrases.
Our aim, the aim of the people, can only be to oppose imperialism and colonialism in all its forms. Our aim is to create a world of genuine peace and friendship in which the sovereignty and equality of every nation is recognized and guaranteed. This requires the complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad and an end to U.S. interference in all its forms.
Our aims can only be carried through by building an independent movement of the workers and people, a movement in opposition to and struggle against the capitalist class which is the source of war and colonialism.
Only such an independent movement is the reliable force in the immediate struggle to get the troops out and only this movement is capable of carrying our struggle through to the end.
The Rights of Immigrants – The Rights of All
While on the surface the capitalist state seems to follow contradictory policies on the question of immigration, there is a “method to this madness.” On the one hand, the capitalists recruit immigrant labor from the four ends of the earth, making extensive use of the labor of both documented and undocumented workers. On the other hand, the capitalist government and monopoly controlled media never tire of “alerting the nation” about the “tidal wave of illegal immigration;” repressive laws and measures are implemented against immigrants and millions of undocumented workers are deported every year.
In fact, these two seemingly contradictory policies – the extensive use of immigrant labor side-by-side with a constant campaign allegedly seeking to limit the use of immigrant labor – are merely different sides of the same coin. Precisely because the undocumented immigrant workers are subjected to a host of repressive laws they remain in a condition of virtual slavery. While some workers are deported, the capitalists always have plenty of “fresh blood” at hand.
The net result of this policy is that immigrants – both legal and illegal – are forced into a caste which can be super-exploited and oppressed. In other words the system of discrimination and persecution against immigrants was created and is maintained in order to provide the capitalists with a pool of cheap labor. This, in turn, assists the capitalists by creating divisions amongst the people, forcing down the wages of the entire working class and denying the rights of all.
This situation must be changed. The people of this country have always tried to create a land of asylum and a society which guarantees equal rights for all. This is especially true of the U.S. working class which is made up of workers of all nationalities. The workers can only advance their class interests by defending the rights of all.
The struggle for immigrant rights is especially important at this time. The Obama administration is demagogically talking about “amnesty” for undocumented workers even while it is preparing yet more attacks on immigrants. Obama is proposing a “limited amnesty” which would leave millions of undocumented workers mired even deeper in illegality. In addition, Obama is pushing for an expanded “guest worker” program – like the infamous bracero program of the 1950’s – to provide a constant stream of cheap labor for the capitalists in such sectors as agriculture, hotels, meatpacking, nursing homes, etc. Guest workers are allowed in the country only for limited periods as specified by their work contracts, denied the rights of citizens, and subjected to the worst working and living conditions.
In short, Obama and company look on immigrants not as human beings with inalienable rights but as an “economic factor” for increasing the profits of U.S. capitalism – as meat in the market to be superexploited. Today, as part of its program of “globalization,” U.S. imperialism is not only plundering other countries, but – after despoiling other economies and depriving people of their livelihoods – imperialism seeks to bring the disenfranchised foreign workers here to be at the beck and call of the U.S. capitalists.
The struggle for immigrant rights as well as the entire fight against the reactionary agenda of big capital shows the need for the workers and people to take the initiative into their hands by coming out as an independent political force with their own aims and agenda. An essential part of the workers’ agenda is the demand for a modern definition of rights. Not only must every member of society be assured equal economic, political and social rights but these rights cannot be left to exist only on paper while they are ignored or violated in practice. The economic and political system must provide real guarantees so that everyone can enjoy the right to a job or livelihood, to free medical care, to full participation in political affairs and all the other inalienable rights of the people.
Education is a Right!
No right is more fundamental than the right of every member of society to have equal access to education so as to prepare herself for the future and learn from the accumulated knowledge of society.
For decades and decades the working class has fought to insure that its daughters and sons have the right to free education. These struggles take many forms, including the struggle of teachers for a living wage and secure jobs, the struggles against segregated schools which deny equal education to the children of the oppressed nationalities, the struggle of parents against school closings and budget cutbacks and for improved education programs, the struggles for pre-school and day care programs funded by the government, etc.
The workers must never submit to the blackmail which claims that the government “has no money.” We must demand an end to tax increases and an end to the dismantling of the public schools. We must demand that the huge resources at the government’s disposal be used to guarantee the right of the people to equal education. These demands can be won when we unite our ranks – parents and teachers, young and old – and stand up for our rights.
Attacks Against U.S.-Maliki Forces Rising in Iraq
The following article is reprinted from The Anti-Imperialist News Service, June 22, 2014.
In early June, Iraqi resistance fighters mounted new attacks against the U.S.-installed Iraqi government of Nouri Al-Maliki. The monopoly controlled media began reporting on June 6 that an uprising in the city of Mosul was underway.
By Tuesday June 10, the Iraqi uprising defeated government forces in the city of Mosul in Nineveh province. According to news reports, the insurgents took over Mosul's airport, army operations center and other installations. They also set fire to police stations and freed hundreds of detainees and political prisoners that were jailed by the Iraqi government. The Iraqi police and soldiers dropped their weapons and abandoned their posts. On Wednesday June 11, the resistance fighters moved south and took over the city of Tikrit, the administrative capital of Salahuddin province.
By Wednesday June 18, Iraqi troops were coming under attack around the city of Baiji, which holds Iraq's largest oil refinery. And, the resistance fighters are about 80 miles north of the city of Baghdad. In each Iraqi city where government forces are defeated, the insurgents are greeted by the local population as liberators. In each city, Iraqis that were arrested by the government forces under Iraq's terrorism laws, were freed from city prisons where they were being held.