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Why We Should Oppose the Imperialist War on Libya
by Steven Argue Sunday, Mar. 27, 2011 at 5:42 AM
US / UN / NATO Hands off Libya! End US Support for Dictatorships Across the Middle East and North Africa! U.S. Out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan!
Why We Should Oppose the Imperialist War on Libya
By Steven Argue
The Obama administration, already waging wars in the Middle East killing many civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, has launched yet another war on Libya. Cruise missiles and bombs from the U.S., Britain, and France have destroyed installations and, according to the Libyan press, caused many civilian deaths. The U.S. military has denied these deaths, but they have often made similar denials in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan before being proven wrong.
Without evidence, the corporate media of the United States has dutifully reported claims made by rebels that Gaddafi’s military used its jets to purposely bomb civilians. Yet, defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted on March 2nd that “we’ve seen no confirmation whatsoever” of those accounts. We are, after all, dealing with the same corporate media that presented the American people with Bush’s lies of “weapons of mass destruction” to sell another war to the American people.
To be sure, Gaddafi’s regime has been brutal in dealing with protesters, but this in no way differentiates Gaddafi’s government from numerous U.S. backed client regimes in the region. This includes the U.S. puppet regime in Iraq that on February 25, 2011 opened fire on a protest for jobs and services and an end to corruption. Gunfire from Iraqi forces killed 29 people. Three hundred people were arrested and many were beaten, including journalists who also suffered mock executions before being released. Yet, an American military spokesman responded to those crimes saying the response of Iraqi forces was “professional and restrained.”
Participating in the U.S. led attacks against Libya are the U.K., France, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Along with sending war planes for the U.S. led attack on Libya, the United Arab Emirates has also sent troops into Bahrain as part of military operations that have brutally attacked Bahrain’s pro-democracy movement. The protests are against the U.S. backed dictatorship of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Those attacks have killed an unknown number of people and doctors have been arrested to prevent them from revealing casualties. Despite the brutal repression in Bahrain by the U.S. sponsored states of Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, renewed protests are taking place in Bahrain as of this writing on March 25th.
While client regimes of the United States commit mass murder of civilian protesters in Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, and elsewhere, with U.S. supplied weapons, we are told that the U.S. led military attacks on Libya are to protect the lives of civilians.
Henri Guaino, one of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's closest aides, said March 21st that western air strikes against Libya were likely to last "a while yet".
French imperialism has been active in the region of North Africa for many years, including by supporting dictatorships in Niger friendly to French uranium mining companies that allow French mining interests to profit from Niger’s rich uranium mines at the expense of the environment, harsh exploitation of workers, and giving little in return to Niger for the country’s resource. Workers in these mines are not informed of the risks, not given basic protections, and not given treatment as they develop lung cancer. And despite Niger's rich uranium mines, the UN Development Program’s 2006 Human Development Index ranked Niger as the poorest country in the world. Sixty percent of the population lives on less than a dollar a day, life expectancy is only to 45-years old, and adult illiteracy is 71%.
Despite their crocodile tears for the people of Libya, the French capitalists, as well as the British, and American ones participating in this war, have their eyes on better profiting from Libyan oil through their stated desire to overthrow the regime of Maommar Gaddafi. In addition, they are seeking to eliminate an example of where an anti-imperialist revolution took control of the oil wealth of their country to pay for things like subsidized food, fuel, and transportation, as well as free healthcare, housing, and education. Programs that raised life expectancy to 74 years where it was only 50 years under the U.S. backed dictatorship of King Idris, and raised literacy from 20% under King Idris to present figures under Gaddafi of 88.4% literacy for adults 15 and over and 99.8% literacy for youth between 15 and 24 years of age.
Despite social democratic mythology around social programs in France, programs that were in reality won through the militant struggles of the French working class, France remains both a capitalist country and an imperialist country. French workers have won a better standard of living than the American working class, but those gains are now more and more on the chopping block due to the world capitalist crisis. In France, as in the U.S., the capitalists are trying to make sure that it is workers who pay for the economic crisis rather than the capitalists.
As we face austerity around the world, millions of working class dollars, taken through taxes, are being squandered by waging war on Libya. The United States has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the war on Libya. Each of the Tomahawk missiles fired cost between 1.5 and 1 million dollars. So far at least 124 Tomahawk missiles have been fired. Fuel for war planes also costs about $10,000 dollars per hour. The U.S. portion of the war against Libya will cost billions of dollars. The bill for France and Britain will also be high. Like the billions the United States has already spent in its occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, this will not help the American working class, but it will line the pockets of the military contractors at tax-payer’s expense. One could point out how many school teachers this money could keep employed, how many lives could be saved by providing healthcare, how many jobs could be provided by rebuilding crumbling infrastructure and building a green economy, or how much needed housing this money could provide, but our capitalist government has no intention of increasing the money spent on those things anyway.
This U.S. led intervention in Libya, taking a particular side in the civil war there, makes Libya the seventh country (at least) where U.S. troops are presently directly participating in war. Those countries are Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, and Iraq as well as Colombia where U.S. troops and military aid are propping up the Colombian death squad government.
In addition to military attacks, the United States and Europe have carried out the largest seizure of assets in history against Libya and are carrying out full scale sanctions on all industrial and consumer goods as well as financial transactions. Similar sanctions were carried out by the United States against Iraq in the 1990s killing 1.5 million Iraqis, most of them children.
Taking hypocrisy to its usual heights, the U.S. government is carrying out the military and economic attacks on Libya in the name of “protecting the lives of civilians”. To be sure the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi has massacred civilians in their attempts to put down an uprising against Gaddafi’s rule. This, however, does not differentiate Gaddafi’s behavior in any way from U.S. backed dictators in the region like those in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, and the recently overthrown dictatorships of Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Egypt and Tunisia. Nor does it differentiate Libya from Israel where U.S. military aid is used to murder protesters and Palestinian civilians. On top of that, the killing of civilians does not differentiate Gaddafi’s activities from those of Mr. Obama in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
This is, after all, the same U.S. government whose troops have been slaughtering civilians, men, women, children, and journalists in Iraq and Afghanistan with impunity to defend the corrupt, murderous, and repressive governments that the U.S. has installed in those countries.
As much of the left already knew, and as Wikileaks documents confirmed, the war crimes of U.S. imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan are extensive. Released by Wikileaks were 90,000 documents on the war in Afghanistan and 350,000 on the war in Iraq as well as helicopter gunship video that shows U.S. troops nonchalantly mowing down two journalists, first aid respondents, and children with machine gun fire. The perpetrators of these crimes are not being punished, even with video proof of the cold blooded murders revealed. Instead, the military brass are prosecuting Bradley Manning for allegedly releasing the video.
Also included in these documents are details of executions at U.S. checkpoints, the torture of detainees, and the crimes of U.S. “Task Force 373”, a team of professional assassins responsible for numerous massacres in Afghanistan. These atrocities started under Bush and have continued, without pause, under Barrack Obama.
In addition to the brutal invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, in the last decade the U.S. government overthrew the democratically elected government of Haiti in 2004 through direct military intervention installing a government more friendly to the starvation wages paid by U.S. corporations, overthrew the democratically elected government of Honduras in 2009 installing a death squad regime (Obama’s coup), and carried out a coup against the democratically elected government of Venezuela in 2002 that was defeated through a popular uprising of the working class that split in the military. .
Now the U.S. government, along with France, Britain, and any client Arab regime they can drag along behind them, are attempting to orchestrate “regime change” in yet another country. In their crosshairs is the regime of Col. Muammar Gaddafi and what is left of the revolutionary changes he brought to Libya with the 1969 overthrow of the U.S.-backed monarch King Idris who ruled Libya from 1951 to 1969.
It was largely due to Gaddafi’s 1969 revolution that the OPEC oil embargo happened. Gaddafi’s leadership played a critical role in securing oil money from the United States, Europe, and Japan for the poor countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Yet, it was only Iraq and Libya who reinvested that money back into programs that benefited their people. The U.S. backed Saudi Arabian monarchy and the Shah of Iran, on the other hand, invested in the west and conspired to rob the majority of people of their resources in the interests of a few elite in their countries and in the interests of imperialist owned oil companies.
Iraq is already suffering for their “crime” of spending oil money on the people, money that the imperialist oil companies see as squandered potential profit. For spending that money on people’s needs like education and healthcare their country is now occupied, over a million people are dead as a result of the imperialist invasion, millions have been made refugees, and much of their economy has been destroyed through privatization and other “free trade” measures.
In Libya, under the U.S. backed dictatorship of King Idris, over 80 percent of the population of Libya could not read or write. With the anti-imperialist Gaddafi revolution and the socialization of much of the oil industry, illiteracy was dramatically reduced by the early 1970s. During this time the Libyan government used the country’s vast oil resources to carry out profound economic and social development, including big improvements in nutrition, healthcare, education, and a massive water project. Life expectancy in Libya was 74 years by 2008 while it was only 50.5 years under the U.S. backed King Idris in 1968.
In comparison, another oil rich country in Africa that did not have an anti-imperialist semi-socialist revolution as Libya did, Nigeria, continues to have a life expectancy of 46.9 years today. In Nigeria the foreign oil companies Shell Oil, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Total, Agip, and Addax Petroleum make massive profits from Nigerian oil without any oil money returning to meet the needs of the Nigerian people. And instead of the U.S. government militarily intervening against the brutally repressive dictatorships that have ruled Nigeria, governments that have even executed environmentalists for complaining about the activities of the oil companies, the U.S. sends these Nigerian governments military aid.
Despite the gains made in the Libyan revolution, Libya has never been a socialist country. Economically Gaddafi’s semi-socialist reforms like the nationalizations of foreign owned oil companies and banks did benefit the working class, but Gaddafi also allowed for a problematic private capitalist economy and capitalist class to continue to exploit the working class. Even worse, some of the semi-socialist gains of the 1969 revolution are being dismantled by Gaddafi himself through IMF-dictated austerity programs and privatization with neo-liberal reforms like privatization lining the pockets of foreign capitalists. Still, much of the oil sector is under state control and public funds still pay for things like subsidized food, fuel, and transportation, as well as free healthcare, housing, and education.
Besides never overthrowing capitalism, Gaddafi’s system has also never had another important ingredient for building a truly socialist society. That ingredient is workers’ democracy. As in Stalinist societies as well as under Gaddafi’s bourgeois regime, without the ability of the working class to freely express ideas and vote on them, the working class does not have power. There has been no such thing as free expression under Gaddafi’s rule. Instead, Gaddafi carried out what he called a “cultural revolution” in 1973 where Gaddafi openly proclaimed, “We must purge all the sick people who talk of Communism, atheism, who make propaganda for the Western countries and advocate capitalism. We shall put them in prison.” Amnesty International reported on Marxists, Trotskyists, and members of Islamic Liberation being rounded up and jailed, many of them executed. In addition, books that went against Gaddafi’s “cultural revolution” were burned.
Despite major problems, women’s rights have advanced under Gaddafi, with women, for the most part, officially granted equal economic, social, and political rights. Where there was once a lot of discrimination in education, Libyan girls today have good educational opportunities and their illiteracy level is near zero. Still, Libyan women have not made the advances for women’s rights made in Soviet Central Asia, China, or even in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. A truly socialist society would not mistreat victims of rape, as Libya does, by prosecuting them on charges of fornication and adultery. Women’s participation in the economy in the 1970s was 6% compared to 22% participation today. Of course this is far better than under the U.S. imposed Mujahideen / Taliban counterrevolution of Afghanistan where women were completely stripped of their rights due to U.S. intervention. It is also much better than the U.S. backed Saudi Arabian dictatorship where women are not even allowed to do things like control their own funds, drive, or walk in public without a male escort. Life for Libyan women has improved since the overthrow of the U.S. backed King Idris, but obviously being better than what U.S. imperialism imposes on women is a pretty low standard.
Along with IMF austerity and privatization, the Gaddafi dictatorship has moved much closer to U.S. imperialism by officially supporting the so-called U.S. “war on terror”. In addition, in the 1990s, Gaddafi expelled Palestinians from Libyan territory and black African immigrants face discrimination in Libya as well.
While Gaddafi has done much to cozy up to U.S. imperialism, those changes have not been enough for the U.S. imperialists who demand a world of complete puppets like the Mubarak dictatorship of Egypt and unhindered access to oil wealth for profit, as they have in Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. The extent to which Washington has moved against the Gaddafi regime means they have found someone better to do the job of oppressing and exploiting the Libyan people.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has recognized the rebel government of the Transitional National Council (TNC) based in Benghazi. That recognition came after meeting with both Mahmood Jibril, a former member of the Gadaffi regime and now Prime Minister of the Transitional National Council’s government, and senior TNC representative Ali al Issawi, who was Gaddafi’s economy minister who headed up the country’s privatization and austerity programs.
On March 9, 2011 Chairman of the TNC and former Minister of Justice under Gaddafi’s regime, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, formally called for the “no fly zone” over Libya, in effect calling for imperialist war against Libya. These calls have been coupled with TNC calls for air-strikes against forces of the Libyan government clearly making the TNC a cat’s paw for the current imperialist attacks on Libya. In addition to calling in foreign intervention, the rebels have also harassed immigrant workers and killed at least 100.
The rebel government offers no real alternative for Libya’s plebian masses. Instead of fighting against privatization and foreign imperialist control, rebel government representatives Jalil, Issawi, and Jibril represent the dismantling of the gains of the 1969 revolution through imperialist intervention and the privatization of the Libyan economy for the gain of imperialist corporations. They have given a direct invitation for military intervention in a country that suffered so much under imperialist control during the time of King Idris (1951-1969). And have in fact raised the flag of King Idris as their official flag.
The one potential redeeming quality one could find in the program of the TNC is their assurance that they are fighting for democracy. But with so much backing from imperialist countries like the United States, we should always ask, “Democracy for whom and for what purpose?” That is the same question that the imperialists always ask before they decide to either support a democracy or to overthrow it. The only form of “democracy” the U.S. government ever supports is “democracy” where it is the wealthy who rule. “Democratic” or not, if the TNC was not purely counter-revolutionary in terms of its planned use of oil money, the United States would not be supporting it. Whether democratic or a dictatorship, countries that spend their oil wealth on the people have always been seen as enemies by U.S. imperialism. Two examples of U.S. interventions against such democracies can be seen with Iran (1953) and Venezuela (2002).
In 1953 the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh was overthrown in a CIA orchestrated coup. The reason? Mosaddegh had nationalized Iranian oil wells that had been under the control of British Petroleum. That CIA orchestrated coup installed the brutal capitalist dictatorship of the Shah of Iran. With U.S. backing the Shah’s brutal totalitarian regime ruled for quarter of a century torturing and killing leftists and union leaders while allowing western oil companies to profit from Iranian oil and leaving nothing to the Iranian people.
Likewise, the U.S. government was involved the 2002 one day overthrow of Hugo Chavez. Chavez, opposed to the privatization of Venezuelan oil, was instead spending oil money on education and healthcare while his policies were also reducing unemployment and poverty. A U.S. backed coup put privatization advocate Pedro Carmona in power. Immediately after taking power Carmona’s coup also dissolved the elected National Assembly. Democracy was, of course, not the goal of U.S. imperialists who see Chavez as a hindrance to U.S. corporate interests in South America.
Showing her usual hypocrisy, representative of U.S. imperialism Hilary Clinton stated that “Gaddafi doesn’t approve of democracy.” But the election of Obama didn’t end the never ending U.S. imperialist war against democracies that help the poor and working class. In fact, the Obama administration played a central role in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Honduras, replacing it with a death squad government that, among other things, murders union leaders and journalists. The “crimes” of the elected Zelaya government Obama helped overthrow? Zelaya raised the minimum wage and had friendly relations with the Chavez government of Venezuela.
Likewise, the U.S. continues under the Obama regime to prop up the worst dictatorships in the world, including the worst dictatorship in the world, the Saudi Arabian monarchy. Support for that monarchy includes a recent $60 billion dollar arms deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. It also includes silence from the U.S. government as the Saudi Arabian monarchy guns down protesters in the streets and sends troops into Bahrain to help put down the popular rebellion taking place there. Similar silence was heard when the U.S. backed dictatorship in Yemen gunned down pro-democracy protesters.
In addition, the U.S. also provides Israel with three billion dollars in military aid every year that has been used repeatedly to slaughter civilians. And in neighboring Egypt, the U.S. propped up the repressive torture regime of Mubarak with 1.3 billion dollars in military aid every year, aid that continues due to the fact that no real revolution has occurred in Egypt and the same old repressive military remains in power. At the same time, continued struggles by the Egyptian and Tunisian working classes and the building of revolutionary parties there could lead to real revolutionary change. Revolutionary change in Libya, as in Egypt and Tunisia, will not be led by forces in alliance with U.S. imperialism.
The regressive counter-revolutionary forces of the Transitional National Council (TNC) are now the cat’s paw of an imperialist war against Libya. Therefore Liberation News opposes absurd slogans like Socialist Action’s "Victory to the Workers' and Peasants' Uprising Against Qaddafi!" (March 6, 2011). Instead, Liberation News, while giving no political support to Gaddafi, calls for the defeat of imperialist intervention in Libya, including the defeat of all agents of that intervention like the TNC. Yet a number of nominally Trotskyist groups have voiced their support for this supposed “revolution” including Socialist Action (US), the Socialist Workers’ Party (US), the Freedom Socialist Party (US), the International Socialist Organization (Socialist Worker newspaper), Socialist Appeal (Britain and elsewhere), and Socialist Alternative.
On the other end of the extreme are those organizations that have, at least in the past, given uncritical support to Gaddafi’s Libya. These include the Stalinist Workers’ World Party (WWP) and its Stalinist offshoot, the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), as well as the Healyite Workers League (U.S.) which, after implosion of its parent group in Britain, the Workers Revolutionary Party, formed the Socialist Equality Party, better known for its World Socialist Website (WSW).
The Stalinist WWP / PSL tendencies moved away from Gaddafi when Gaddafi joined the so-called U.S. “war on terror” and carried out neo-liberal reforms in Libya, but their political tendency did give political support to the bourgeois regime of Gaddafi while Gaddafi was killing Marxists and others to silence political opposition. While these Stalinists have changed their position on Gaddafi as Gaddafi moved closer to imperialism, they never retreated from giving full political support to the brutal bourgeois regime of Saddam Hussein.
Likewise, the forerunners of the nominally Trotskyist WSW gave full political support to Gaddafi while he was murdering Trotskyists. They even went so far as to promote Gaddafi’s writings. In return, Gaddafi funded their newspaper. In addition, these renegades from Trotskyism turned over the names and photos of Iraqi communists to the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein. In return, Saddam Hussein funded their newspaper. Such opportunism has no place in the Trotskyist movement. David North, current leader of the WSW, was an active leader of the Workers League when this was all taking place. North’s anti-working class opportunism has not stopped. Today North goes by the name of David Green in his business affairs, and while his WSW website opposes unions, David Green is the president of a twenty five million dollar a year non-union printing company, Grand River Printing & Imaging.
The Trotskyist program of Liberation News stands firm in giving no political support to either the pro-imperialist rebellion under the TNC government and monarchist flag, nor to Gaddafi’s erratic and brutal bourgeois regime with its green flag of Islamic populism and semi-socialist reforms, but we do stand resolutely in defense of the national sovereignty of Libya against imperialist attacks and call for a military defeat of all U.N./U.S./French and U.K. attackers of Libyan sovereignty. Imperialist intervention will bring nothing but bloodshed and new dictators friendly to U.S. corporate and strategic interests. While opposing imperialism we advocate workers’ revolution in Libya to bring down Gaddafi’s repressive police state government, to bring rights to the oppressed Berber nationality, to socialize the entire economy to meet human and environmental needs, and to enact an internationalist socialist program that fights against imperialist intervention and exploitation in Libya, North Africa, the Middle East, and throughout the entire world.
U.N. Authorization for War
The U.N. has given the green light to the U.S. led war against Libya as well as backing economic sanctions. This is the same U.N. that is currently occupying Haiti, defending the U.S. imposed coup government and U.S. owned garment companies that pay starvation wages. It was also under a U.N. resolution that U.S. enforced sanctions killed 1.5 million Iraqis in the 1990s. In the 1950s the U.N. carried out a war in Korea killing three million people in defense of the U.S. imposed capitalist dictatorship of Syngman Rhee, a dictatorship that executed hundreds of thousands of leftists and suspected leftists. While some liberals whined about the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan being unilateral actions, socialists were clear that we opposed imperialist intervention in those countries whether or not it was carried out under a U.S. or a U.N. flag.
Countries that sit on the U.N. Security Council have the ability to veto resolutions, but none that sit on that body did so when it came to the war resolution against Libya. Among those who could have vetoed the resolution, but abstained, were Brazil, China, Germany, India, and Russia. The fact that capitalist countries like Germany, Russia, Brazil, and India didn't take any real stand against this imperialist war is no real surprise any more than it was that Stalinist China did the same.
China, after refusing to use their veto against this imperialist war resolution ran a commentary in the Communist Party’s main newspaper, the People’s Daily, that complained, “The military attacks on Libya are, following on from the Afghan and Iraq wars, the third time that some countries have launched armed action against sovereign countries”. They go on to say that in places like Iraq "the unspeakable suffering of its people are a mirror and a warning." No doubt. But China's failure to stand-up to U.S. imperialism in the U.N. is further indication of the need for a working class political revolution in China that overthrows the repressive Stalinist bureaucracy and brings workers' democracy, an end to capitalist inroads into the socialist economy, and the establishment of a revolutionary government that has an internationalist working class program opposed to supporting the wars and exploitation of U.S. imperialism. This is the Trotskyist program on China.
Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua, Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador, Cristina Ferdinez, President of Argentina, Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela, and Fidel Castro have all opposed the U.S. / UN / NATO aggression against Libya. Unlike countries that abstained on the question of military force against Libya, however, none of the countries they represent have veto power in the United Nations. This exposes the completely undemocratic nature of the UN. Those who bring U.N. flags to anti-war protests should stop doing so. The U.N. flag represents undemocratic imperialism, war, and starvation sanctions.
Opposition to the War in the U.S.
Ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Dick Lugar has argued that Obama needs to seek a declaration of war in order to carry out a war against Libya. Further more he states:
"With the Arab League already having second thoughts, and Turkey nixing NATO taking over, today there are even more questions. We also have to debate how all this effects the Saudis, Bahrain and Yemen. The facts are that our budget is stretched too far and our troops are stretched too far, the American people require a full understanding and accounting, through a full and open debate in Congress."
While Dick Lugar’s opposition to Obama’s war and call for democratic debate is welcome, his hesitations on the war are based on his desire to have debate among the representatives of the American ruling class in congress on whether or not a war in Libya is really in the interests of U.S. imperialism. His objections are not on the basis of what is in the interests of the working class of the United States nor the interests of those working classes suffering under the yoke of U.S. imperialism. In fact, despite rare coincidences like this, those interests are in general diametrically opposed to the positions of Dick Lugar.
Taking up the question from the left of the spectrum of American bourgeois politics is Democrat Congressman Dennis Kucinich who states:
"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.
"While the action is billed as protecting the civilians of Libya, a no-fly-zone begins with an attack on the air defenses of Libya and Gaddafi forces. It is an act of war. The president made statements which attempt to minimize U.S. action, but U.S. planes may drop U.S. bombs and U.S. missiles may be involved in striking another sovereign nation. War from the air is still war.
"Congress should be called back into session immediately to decide whether or not to authorize the United States’ participation in a military strike. If it does not, the action of the President is contrary to U.S. Constitution. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution clearly states that the United States Congress has the power to declare war. The President does not. That was the Founders’ intent,"
The “founders’ intent” was actually nothing noble, it was slavery, the slaughtering of Native Americans, the exploitation of workers, and of giving the vote solely to rich white men. Granted, Obama as imperial president isn’t playing by certain rules that would force a more democratic debate on the question of going to war. But the problem goes far beyond whether or not Obama is playing by the rules. The problem is in part a political system that gives representation only to the wealthy. And the problem is an entire imperialist system constantly at war.
In the 2004 presidential election Dennis Kucinich portrayed himself as an anti-war candidate of the Democrat Party. Yet on his web site the Kucinich campaign stated that Kucinich:
“…supports a strong and efficient military. He believes that the current practice of procuring ever more costly weapons has the effect of weakening military readiness. As the cost of new weapons systems rise, the cost of merely replacing aging weapons with new ones becomes prohibitively expensive. As a result, U.S. military forces shrink, while they become at the same time more expensive to maintain and more prone to failure.”
So Kucinich advocates more frugal and efficient spending on imperialist terror and murder. With the United States government at war in a number of countries and propping up dictatorships around the world to further U.S. corporate interests, a strong and efficient U.S. military is not in the interests of the world's working class, nor in the interests of the U.S. working class and the working class youth sent off to war.
Kucinich’s failure to see the consistent problem with U.S. imperialist wars was also spelled out sharply in his vote granting Bush the use of force against Afghanistan.
Like Lugar’s opposition, Kucinich’s is welcome, and like Lugar, nobody should look to Kucinich as a leader in the struggle to end U.S. imperialist wars.
As opposed to building a political alternative to the war policies of the Democrat Party, Kucinich’s main role is to draw those of us fed up with that corporate owned party of imperialist war right back into it. Kucinich makes this point clear when he states, "The Democratic Party created third parties by running to the middle. What I'm trying to do is to go back to the big tent so that everyone who felt alienated could come back through my candidacy" (Counter Punch, April 2003).
Yet that “big tent” of the Democrat Party Kucinich speaks of is one that, despite its name, is not democratic. It is a tent dominated by big capital and the politicians subservient to it. It is under this tent that the ruling class would like to swallow up the legitimate opposition of the people towards war and turn us into the water boys for the “responsible” politicians of the Democrat Party.
Not content with trying to herd those of us to the left of the Democrat Party back into that wretched bourgeois swamp, Kucinich also supports political repression against us. Kucinich voted for a resolution before congress that falsely claims, “Mumia Abu-Jamal stood over Officer Faulkner and shot him in the face, mortally wounding him…” Yet this is not what the actual eyewitnesses said. For instance, eyewitness William Singletary says, "Mumia Abu-Jamal didn't shoot Daniel Faulkner. The passenger in the right-hand side of the Volkswagen [that Faulkner had stopped] got out of the car and shot him." ("Witness: Abu-Jamal didn't do it" Philadelphia Daily News Dec. 8, 2006) For more on Mumia’s case see: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/07/19/18436405.php
Cases like those of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier are a blatant frame-ups meant to scare and silence leftists who know we could be the next Mumia or Peltier. Unlike Kucinich, those of us not working to preserve this unjust system say: An injury to one is an injury to all! Free Mumia Abu-Jamal! A vote for Kucinich is potentially a vote for your own execution.
As opposed to supporting the least evil of those who oppress us, revolutionary socialists start from the necessity of building something different than the established bourgeois parties. Mass protests in the streets against wars can be helpful, as can be organizing soldier’s resistance against the wars and pickets to stop the shipment of war armaments. But the need to build a revolutionary workers’ party in the United States is critical.
In the fight against imperialist wars in the United States we come up against the fact that much of the peace movement retains illusions in the Democrat Party, the same party propping up dictators, carrying out coups, and sending U.S. troops to war. Many of those who are not Democrats are part of groups that are not about putting a new revolutionary leadership forward, but are instead all about pressuring the hopelessly capitalist and imperialist Democrat Party from the left. These groups include the Green Party, most of this country’s nominally socialist groups, and a myriad of anarchist individuals and formations.
Other groups that are clear about the need to build a revolutionary party, specifically the Spartacist League and the Internationalist Group, drop the ball on a number of essential questions, not the least of which being the question of climate change. Those groups are, unfortunately, unaware of the critical need to attempt to stop the capitalists who are rapidly causing the destruction of the Earth and human civilization in their insane drive for massive immediate profits.
Liberation News is instead clear about the need for a revolutionary party that fights for workers’ power, the smashing of imperialism through socialist revolution, and the building of an egalitarian socialist society with workers’ democracy that produces for human and environmental needs rather than profit. We call for the organization of such a party and ask all who agree to join us in the League for a Revolutionary Workers Party.
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