socialist movement

Anti-war protest in San Francisco

Well over 1500 people swarmed the streets of San Francisco to protest the latest terrorist drone attack of the Trump administration. About a quarter or more of the protesters were young. But the protesters should keep in mind the warning of self-identified Kurdish feminist Hawzhin Azeez: “We live in a world where we often forget that multiple truths can co-exist at the same time.” On her web site, Azeez explained the murderous role of Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by a US drone attack. “Sulaimani was a butcher and an instrument of Iranian proxy violence terrorizing millions in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, etc.” she wrote. “Most Iranians, Iraqis and Syrians are quietly if not openly (albeit wearily) celebrating Sulaimani’s death,” she added.

This emphatically does not mean that socialists – or the working class in general – should support US imperialism’s assassination of Soleimani. Terrorist acts always obstruct the working class movement, whether they are done by left or right wing groups. So, why should it be any different if done by US imperialism? In fact, as al Jazeera reports, tens of thousands of government supporters filled the streets of Tehran just two days ago, where in previous weeks Iranian streets were filled with those protesting against the very same regime. Just as 9/11 was a huge set back for the growing movement against the WTO at the turn of the century, so will this act of war by the US set back the movements throughout that region (although not as seriously as did 9/11). Also, any increased role of US capitalism throughout the region will end up repressing the workers and oppressed there, just as it does at home.

Antiwar movement
“multiple truths” should be kept in mind by the anti-war movement that may be springing up. Unfortunately, they were not. It is exactly because a new youth movement is struggling to be born that the mistakes of the organizers of the protests against Trump’s action were all the more serious. They are taking this new movement down a dead-end path. These organizers included all the old groups, such as ANSWER, United Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), Veterans for Peace, and a host of others, not a single one of whom, while protesting against Trump’s terrorist action, recognized the murderous role of Solemeini & Co.

This all flows from a denial of agency, a denial of the independent role of workers and the oppressed in countries like Iran and Iraq. If their role in history doesn’t exist, then neither does their experiences.

Many speakers talked about the wars abroad and at home.
They issued most fearful denunciations of Trump and of US imperialism. Some also denounced Obama. But the question that went unasked was “what are we going to do about it?” After all, we have been down this road many, many times before. Several of the older people in the crowd commented that they were “tired of protesting”.

Those campaigning for Democrat Shahid Buttar were prominent in the protest. Nobody spoke against all wings of the Democratic Party.

Movements rise and fall away
An important part of the reason that we have seen one protest movement after another rise and fall away starts with the lack of clarity on the role of the Democratic Party – not this or that Democratic politician, but the party as a whole. Within that party, it is the liberal or “progressive” wing that – like the green colored snake in the green grass – is the most dangerous. It is through the representatives of that wing that one protest movement after another – not to mention the unions – gets led away from taking the steps towards building its own party – a mass working class party. These “progressive” politicians play a role like that of the Pied Piper.

“Line of march”
must be the general “line of march” (as the Communist Manifesto puts it) of the coming movement – the road along which the movement can and must advance. In the United States, it seems at this time that a mass working class party will most likely develop out of the movement in the streets, working class communities and schools, the work places and in the unions. That is the first step towards building the working class party – as long as it is explained and clearly kept in mind as such. Otherwise, it will just be sucked into supporting the liberal wing of the Democratic Party one more time.

For starters, that explanation was needed.

As such a movement grows, and as the working class starts to play a more decisive role, it will start to come together to further advance our class. That is exactly what a working class party is – a party that flows from and also helps coordinate and advance the movement of its class.

A mass working class party does not have to start through running candidates for office, but sooner or later it will have to make a decision on that issue: It will have to decide between running its own candidates or supporting some Democrats. If it supports any Democrats, such a working class party will be sucked into the orbit of that big business party and die.

These are the points that should be clearly raised in the anti-war movement.

  • Oppose US imperialism!
  • Solidarity with the workers and the oppressed of Iran, Iraq and the entire region; support their struggles against all imperialisms and against their own governments!
  • Independence at home from both capitalist parties, including the Democratic Party and their liberal wing!
  • Build the movement in the streets towards a mass working class party!
  • For working class unity and for socialism!

Oaklandsocialist leaflet at antiwar protest

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