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Friday, Feb. 14, 2003 at 7:53 AM
This is the text from an San Francisco Bay Area anarchist anti-war flyer.
IF THEY WANT A WAR, LET’S GIVE THEM ONE
Over and over again we hear on television and radio, in newspapers and magazines the cry that SADDAM MUST BE DISARMED! He is a crazed dictator who has used chemical weapons against Iran and the Kurds and is developing more dangerous WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. The debate then goes back and forth as to whether the U.S. should bomb the hell out of Iraq or whether time should be given to let the United Nations weapons inspectors do the job.
This is a false debate.
On the one side, a faction of rich politicians with ties to the oil companies and the weapons industry want a war. They repeat over and over again how Saddam has used CHEMICAL WEAPONS AGAINST HIS OWN PEOPLE, and how he is building nuclear weapons that will inevitably fall into the hands of AL-QAIDA. Of course they don’t mention that the US government built up Saddam as a military power in the region, giving him much of the equipment he needed to manufacture nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The US government continued to do this even while Saddam was using the weapons against Iran and against the Kurds. All these petro-connected politicians really care about is keeping control of the oil in the middle-east, getting more Pentagon contracts for their pet weapons corporations, and sending another terrorizing message to people across the world: DON’T MESS WITH THE U.S. GOVERNMENT.
The other side of the debate represents other factions of rich people. There are those, like the French, German and Russian governments, who fear that their investments will be hurt by a war in Iraq, and that their influence on international affairs will be diminished if the US decides to GO IT ALONE WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL. There are those who think that THE SANCTIONS NEED TO BE GIVEN TIME TO WORK, not mentioning that, to date, the sanctions have led to the deaths of over a million Iraqis, mainly children. Then there are the Bay Area liberals who stress that PEACE IS PATRIOTIC and that WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER. The question, of course, is still how best to disarm Saddam. All these responses are wholly inadequate. They represent a debate between rich people about what is best for rich people.
The claim of the US government that they support the Iraqi people against Saddam is blatantly false. The US government supported Saddam against his people for years when it was in their interests. After expelling Iraqi troops from Kuwait in 1991, US forces stood back and let Iraqi ground troops crush a rebellion in southern Iraq against Saddam’s regime. Most importantly, when a new government is put in place in Iraq after a REGIME CHANGE, it will be made up of the same class of people who rule today in Iraq (indeed who make up all governments): businessmen, bureaucrats, politicians and generals.
For poor and working people in the Bay Area, the threat is not from ANTHRAX or NUCLEAR TERRORISM. Our immediate enemies are not SADDAM or NORTH KOREA. We are threatened by the police and imprisonment, by la migra, detention and deportation. Our enemies are our bosses and landlords, and the slimy politicians who represent them. Our lives are a struggle to survive made up of shit jobs and unemployment, of insane rents and homelessness. For us, capitalism does not just cause wars, it is war—every day of our lives.
The question is not whether or not to go to war. We are already at war. The question is whether or not to fight back.
Of course we fight back all the time. We steal from our shit jobs, leave early, cover for each other and sometimes even use strike or sabotage tactics to put pressure on the boss. We refuse to pay rent to our cheating landlords or to vote for our greedy politicians. We hide our friends from the immigration authorities or protect them by lying to the law. When the police attack our parties after the superbowl we respond by trashing their cars and driving them away with volleys of rocks and bottles. Sometimes we even organize ourselves for armed self-defense against the cops. Sometimes thousands of us in different workplaces go on strike at once. Sometimes whole neighborhoods refuse to pay the rent or whole regions refuse to recognize the government.
It is at these moments of intense struggle that we see the lines being drawn very clearly. We are getting out of control, and they need to keep us under control. The police, the bosses, the rich liberals, the media—they all side with government and it’s attempts to impose LAW AND ORDER. They spend a tremendous amount of energy trying to do that. The police attack us outright. The politicians and media try to distort the situation. The rich liberals try to convince us to accept a more democratic or greener life of exploitation under their leadership. In these periods of intense struggle we also see the seeds of the kind of world we want. A world without governments, without politicians and police, without bureaucrats and borders. We want a world where we control our own work and resources collectively and equally. This is exactly the kind of world that rich people don’t want. The bosses, investors, management, landlords and politicians need the police to protect their property from us, to keep us in line, to keep us working and consuming. They will do everything in their power to stop us from achieving a world without private property and without government, to keep us working for them. So it is a struggle between us, class war.
By escalating the class war here at home, by self-organization and by militant actions against the institutions of the rich, we hope to bring about a situation in which the government simply cannot fight wars abroad, because they will be spending all their time and energy trying to keep us under control here at home. This is the only firm basis we see from which to oppose the war, and the only position which does not see the role of the anti-war movement as trying to show how mass-murder is bad for investment. It is not.
We will not be the conscience of capitalism.
We are the living force that will destroy it.
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