The following statement has been published in Proletarian Revolution No. 67 (Spring 2003).
As we meet, the world is again on the brink of a devastating imperialist war. The imminent American attack on Iraq is yet another ugly episode in the long, blood-stained history of capitalism.
As revolutionary proletarian communists, we openly stand for the military defense of Iraq and for the defeat of American aggression. We are heartened by the fact that masses in every part of the world are forcefully demonstrating their hostility to the coming war. We will do everything we can to turn the opposition to war from patriotic and pacifist conceptions to a firm class-conscious fight against imperialism.
Our military defense of Iraq does not mean any political defense or support to the Iraqi bourgeois dictatorship headed by Saddam Hussein. The American superpower is seeking to punish Saddam, its former subordinate ally. In the eyes of his former masters, his crime was not the tyranny he visited upon the Iraqi people but that he tried to maximize his own power against the interests of imperialism by attacking Kuwait. The first Gulf War, the murderous U.N. sanctions and the currently planned war were designed to warn the other subordinated rulers in the neo-colonial world—the other Saddam Husseins, the other Milosevics, the other Noriegas of the past and the future—that they must faithfully obey Washington or face obliteration.
The war has an even greater aim. The workers of Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East are rising up and fighting back against deepening exploitation. The coming attempt to devastate Baghdad and massacre more thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqi workers is a warning that the American ruling class will use all its might to enforce its avarice.
The opposition of the French and German imperialists stems in part from the fear that the war will provoke greater upheavals in the Middle East and at home. However, their opposition is primarily a reaction to the United States’ open and aggressive unilateralism in its foreign policy, whose immediate aim is to control Iraqi oil and thereby tighten America’s chokehold over their oil supplies as well as its military domination of the Middle East.
Long ago, at the height of the Cold War, our political tendency alone predicted that the next world war—if not prevented by socialist revolution—in all probability would not be between the U.S. and the USSR but among the U.S., Germany/West Europe and Japan. We also saw that the U.S.’s enemies of that moment, Russia and China, would inevitably be enlisted as junior partners of one or the other of these antagonistic major imperialist blocs. The coming attack on Iraq has brought this developing inter-imperialist rivalry to the surface of world events, as the West European imperialists have been forced to challenge American imperialist hegemony.
The U.S. rulers face added dangers in pursuing their headlong drive toward war. Cracks are already beginning within the capitalist class itself. While these may be subordinated if the war proves to be immediately successful, they could open up widely if the war machine falters during the invasion or as a consequence. However, the world capitalist crisis and its internal impact has already impelled the U.S. capitalists to press their attack further on the American working class. This, combined with the war, could provoke an upheaval by the workers if the war is not concluded quickly. The potential impact on anti-war actions would be enormous.
Clearly the working-class presence within the struggle against the war has been more forceful in West Europe. Trade union action is a sign of how deep working-class hostility runs in these countries, accelerated by deteriorating economic conditions.
The genuine hatred of imperialism and its arrogant exploitation of masses everywhere is producing explosive demonstrations against America’s adventure in Iraq by workers and other oppressed people across the world. They see the links between their desperation, the U.S.’s power play in the Middle East, and the continuing imperialist oppression and inhuman violence against the Palestinians and Chechens.
In the context of the floundering world capitalist economy and the growing signs of a massive worldwide depression, the potential for unity between the anti-war and the economic struggles and protests is being heightened by the moment. Within the growing anti-war movement in the various parts of the world, we communist revolutionaries pledge ourselves once again to fight for working-class leadership of all the oppressed and exploited masses, of all the anti-war fighters, of all the demonstrators who seek a world without war and poverty.
We emblazon the truth upon our banners: only the re-creation of the Fourth International as the proletarian world vanguard party can lead the socialist revolution, the only hope for now-suffering humanity.