Why Being Anti-War Means Being Anti-Imperialist

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Revolutionary Worker #1219, November 16, 2003, posted at rwor.org

Wednesday, 22 October 2003 --What everybody knows, after the mass protests that were held in cities around the earth over a year ago, is that the forces of the U.S. government could care less about the popular protests that shook the planet.

They could care less because they do not serve the interests of the people, but the privileged; they do not serve the many; they serve the few. They serve Wall Street; Petroleum Row; Haarken Oil and Halli- burton. In their heart of hearts, "democracy" is a dirty word.

They don't really care about the latest round of protests that are being waged against the war; they have their hands on the levers of power, and they don't want to let go. Those who dared to lie to the American people to start a needless war, could care less that there are millions of people who oppose it. That's why they chose the vehicle of fear, the spectre of "terrorism," to justify the Iraq attack, when every schoolchild now knows that the Baghdad government had nothing to do with the events of 9/11.

But the Bush Regime has used that fear; that anxiety; that sense of being under attack, to stoke the fires of war, and now the U.S. is involved in building and protecting a colony in the heart of the Middle East. That's why it isn't enough to simply say, "Bring the Troops Home," as some have said. For to do so only means, "bring them home today, to unleash them on some other unsuspecting people tomorrow."

That is a recipe for postponing war, not ending it.

War is indeed, big business, but it is more than that; it is a social tool by which governments have always mobilized larger social forces for their political ends. The ends of government? What it has always been--power.

Why do you think the Bushites have unleashed the somber Ashcroft upon the American people? A man who lost a senate election to a dead man is now the ultimate arbiter of who may exercise civil rights in this "new era"? Students are being thrown out of school because politicians don't like their T- shirts. Thousands are locked in dark gulags in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They are denied lawyers, are being held incommunicado, and face torture. When some have dared to file suits against these fundamental violations of human rights, they are told that because this site is in Cuba, the U.S. suddenly lacks "jurisdication." What legalized drivel!

If the U.S. doesn't have jurisdiction, who does? Cuba? The UN? Clearly, the solution to the egregious human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay will not be found in U.S. courts, just as the solution to these wars for empire will not be found in anti-war marches.

This is but a beginning; not an end.

To be truly anti-imperialist means to oppose the "soft" imperialism of the Democrats, and the "hard" imperialism of the Republicans. Both imperialisms are fundamentally wrong, for they begin with the false premise that Americans know best, how other peoples should live their lives, and organize their societies.

One cannot believe in self-determination and imperialism; those two views are incompatible.

To be truly anti-imperialist means organizing, not demonstrations, but mass movements that pose an alternative to the deadly status quo.

It means believing, and fighting for, the idea that another world is possible.

It means thinking of the peoples of this world as the same as us; not "them."

It means the renunciation of white supremacy. It means a foreign policy truly based upon simple humility; instead of domination.

It means a real transformation of the way things are done here; and that means change; revolution. It means this, or it means nothing.

For, if these steps aren't taken, generations will be plunged into bloody and needless wars; wars fought for wealthy elites based on lies, and fear, and greed.

It means the surrender of your children and grandchildren to wars of ignorance. It means, in fact, endless war!

No to Imperial War!

Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal. All rights reserved.