After the February 15 mass demos
What next to defeat the imperialist war?
Claudia Cinatti
La Verdad Obrera 116


February 15 was momentous day. More than 10 million protesters took to the streets in around 600 cities worldwide to say no to war in Iraq. The massivity of the demonstrations made a big impact on the governments of the world, boosting also the morale of all those who want to stop this criminal offensive. As days go by, the case for war becomes more and impopular for the international public opinion, particularly that of the main belligerent countries. The British students are calling to occupy the campuses once the war commences, while the rejection of war, even one backed by the UN, soars in the polls. In Italy, the anticapitalist activists tried to blockade a railway line to stop military supplies bound for the Gulf, whereas the unions have been threatening to strike once the war starts. In the US, in turn, the antiwar coalitions are getting ready for a new mass action for next March 15.


Imperialism's choice: either war or the peace of the cemeteries

The February 15 demos were a big step forward in the fight against war, but failed to make Bush and his allies change their minds. While the diplomatic disputes are still raging, the war preparations have advanced massively. The aircraft carriers, the figher jets and the US/UK troops have been already deployed in the Persian Gulf. Many military commentators deem the war might start in mid March.
There is no time. We have to step up the protests.
A wide vanguard of hundreds of thousands of activists has seen through the imperialist agenda underpinning the war moves -and this shows in the slogans they chant 'No war for oil!', 'No to war for the Empire!'. Yet, the majority of the antiwar movement harbors pacifist illusions, thinking that the UN can stop the course to war, or that this can come about just as a result of 'civil desobedience' and street protests. We revolutionaries always draw a line separating the conscious action of the reformist and bourgeois leaders who resort to a 'peace' rhetoric to wrap up their own reactionary agenda, from the honest pacifist illusions harbored by the mass movement. Right now, the pacifist mood in the imperialist countries is highly progressive in itself because it puts whole social layers on a collision course with their own governments. But if we regard this path as the sole strategy to be pursued, we might end up with a view holding that the peaceful coexistence of the oppressed peoples of the world with their oppressors is possible, without ever challenging the foundations of the capitalist-imperialist system.
The pacifists portray the Gandhi-led struggle for the liberation of India as a conclusive proof that an oppressed nation can achive freedom without resorting to violence against its paymasters. India gained independence from Britain thanks to the heroic fight of its people, which paid a high price for the tactics of 'non-violent resistance' posed by Gandhi -thousands were massacred by murderous troops of the British Empire. Thus, the Indian people failed to definitely break away with its oppresors and exploiters, and its leaders ended up accepting a semicolonial status for India. The violence, the destitution and the famine flourishing today in the streets of Calcutta bear testimony to the bankruptcy of such pacifist strategy.
There will be no true 'peace' as long as the imperialist domination over the world remains in place, condemning millions to a life of starvation, exploitation and misery, on top of which come murderous wars to uphold the profits of the corporations. That is why we should not only fight against Bush, Blair, Aznar and Berlusconi, but also against the 'weapons inspection' regime devised by the imperialists such as Schroeder and Chirac, demanding the UN-imposed economic embargo should be lifted as well. In the event of war, we are not 'pacifists' ourselves, nor do we take a neutral stance. We are for the outright defeat of the US and its allies. Whereas we unconditionally side with Iraq's military camp, we do not give the slightest political support to Hussein's reactionary regime, which suppresses its own people and the Kurdish minority in Iraq.


A revolutionary policy

In the European imperialist countries, where there is a mass anti-war movement, we stand by the policies of the comrades that make up the League for a Revolutionary Communist International -LRCI. We have already published common declarations in the face of the Palestinian struggle, the imperialist war in Afghanistan and the imperialist offensive against Iraq. In a recent article titled 'After February 15 - For a global general strike against the war', the comrades claim that 'national bodies should be formed, rallying the delegates coming from the forums and the local meetings and also the unions that want to undertake direct action against the war. In Europe, should Bush launch the war, we must fight for a general strike in the companies, in the schools and the universities across the country. We have to force both the union leaders and the union federations worldwide to launch a global general strike. We have to hit the warmongers where it hurts. We must blockade and sabotage the war effort wherever we are: we call on the workers in the unions and the antiwar activists to blockade military transport in the harbours, the railways and the airplanes. We call for direct action and for boycott campaigns focused on American corporations such as Exxon and the US embassies.' (Workers Power Global, London ) Such perspective of direct action undertaken by the mass movement against the war and the imperialist governments carrying it out can boost the mobilization in the semicolonial world.
Latin America, a key region to fight back US imperialism, has witnessed a number of vanguard demonstrations to reject the attack against Iraq. We have to step up the demonstrations and reinforce our solidarity with the Iraqi people. The antiwar movement is an international one, thus posing the urgent need of unifying the struggle in the main advanced countries with those in semicolonial countries such as Argentina, Venezuela and Bolivia, which are rising against imperialism as well. We revolutionaries have a massive chance in front of us: the challenge of coming together with the most advanced layers of this movement in the perspective of a revolutionary and internationalist strategy, uniting the struggle against the war with that against our exploiters and their governments at home. The task is to smash the very foundations of an imperialist system that condemns most human beings to a life of sheer poverty and resorts to war to uphold its grip ove the entire world.