- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Michael Novick
Monday, Mar. 24, 2003 at 9:36 PM
email@example.com 310-495-0299 POB 1055, Culver City 90232
The war is not the responsibility of Bush alone, but deeply rooted in the capitalist-colonial nature of the US system.
The Velvet Glove Comes Off the Iron Fist:
ENDLESS WAR COMES OUT INTO THE LIGHT OF DAY
Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action-LA (ARA)/People Against Racist Terror (PART)
Editorial from the spring 2003 issue of "Turning the Tide" Vol 16 #1
It is possible that by the time you read this, George Bush has already
launched a war of aggression against Iraq, with a campaign called "Shock
and Awe." It is designed to break the will of the Iraqi people to resist
through massive bombing of Baghdad, a city of 5 million. This despite the
opposition of tens of millions of people in protests in the U.S. and every
corner of the globe, despite the opposition of many of his imperialist
allies, despite the opposition in the UN Security Council to authorizing
the attack. On the other hand, it may be that this unprecedented, concerted
opposition will deter Bush a while longer. Either way, we must fathom how
to strengthen and intensify our movement, how to build on our new-found
strengths, how to overcome our long-standing weaknesses, and how to deepen
the contradictions facing Bush and the Empire.
Bush has made it very clear that none of the current factors is capable of
deterring him for long. Despite some lip service to opposition,
Congressional and Senatorial Republicans and Democrats have fallen into
line with Bush's "endless war" strategy, and with its associated police
state powers. Most of the media lapdogs are cheerleaders for the war. Yet
Bush and his cabinet clearly under-estimated the strength and breadth of
the opposition. They have suffered real setbacks in Turkey's refusal to
allow US troops to use their territory for the invasion; in the refusal by
the Philippines to allow US troops to enter their country for
counter-insurgency warfare; in their repeated failures in efforts to
overthrow Chavez in Venezuela; and even in a possible inability of Britain
to commit troops to the invasion. Bush has been trapped in snares of his
own making because of the lies he has had to tell.
Why are the forces of the U.S. government and the corporate interests they
represent so dead set on waging this war -- and further wars simultaneously
with and subsequent to it? More important, given that dictatorial resolve,
what can we do to stop them, either before the war takes full form, or
after it has been launched?
Day by day, it becomes more obvious that this is not simply a policy
dispute. Unprovoked war against Iraq is immoral, costly in human lives, and
wastes resources better devoted to education, health care and retooling the
economy away from oil. It is risky in the way that imperial ventures always
are, of unifying and intensifying indigenous opposition to US domination of
the Middle East. It has also proven to be a school for a new generation, a
radicalizing exposure of the true nature of the system.
Arguments about the morality, the costs, the risks, the unpopularity or
even the efficacy of war against Iraq are important to make and discuss in
educating and organizing ourselves, but they carry no weight with our rulers.
That's because they ARE our rulers, and they base their calculations on a
set of interests which are not merely different from, but inherently
contradictory to those of the rest of us. They believe that war in Iraq
and beyond is vital to maintaining their power and their wealth. That has
always been so. They came to power and stay in power by waging class and
What is surprising is their current openness about using brutal aggression
and naked dictatorship to achieve their ends. Only the barest fig leaf of
pretense about "liberating the Iraqis" and "fighting terror" hides their
They cannot acknowledge the real reasons for the war on Iraq, because to do
so would exposes their own true nature. So Bush spouts nonsense about
weapons of mass destruction while reserving the "right" to use nuclear
weapons on a first-strike basis. He declares his intention to bring
democracy and peace to the Middle East, and enforce UN resolutions, while
shredding international and domestic law and human rights. The rulers have
been forced into demonstrating their bloodthirsty, repressive nature in
We must understand that this is a measure of their desperation, and of the
unsolvable contradictions and crisis that plague them. They understand that
their power and wealth come from the people and lands they exploit and
oppress. They believe they must seize the moment provided by "sole
superpower" status to impose their will on the world, to gain control of
strategically vital resources and territories, and to plant their military
might in every region where a future threat might arise. They fear that if
they do not do so, their reign will come to a rapid and ignominious end.
Our job is to use the contradictions that thereby emerge in order to hasten
the political, social and economic upheaval they are trying to deter. If we
want to stop them, we must become the enemies of the state they see us as.
WHAT'S AT STAKE, AND WHY NOW?
The simplest answer to the question everyone is asking about the war, "Why
now?" is: "Now's our chance." Bush and his strategists see an opportunity
to act decisively to capture control of resources and re-colonize large
sectors of the globe because nobody seems strong enough to stop them. They
think they will kill two birds with one stone, by forcing the Palestinians
to accept US/Israeli terms while simultaneously sending an object lesson to
any restive client states in the Arab or Muslim world about the price the
US is willing to impose to work its will.
Several risk factors coincide with this tempting imperial opportunity, also
driving them towards war.
First, petroleum production seems to have peaked, making control of Iraq's
reserves, and those in the rest of the Middle East, more important than ever.
Second, the old Soviet/Czarist empire is no more, creating a dangerous
power vacuum from the U.S. empire's point of view, one in which Iran or
China could emerge as major regional or even global powers.
Third, the US and Israel have found the very sword they used to fight
social revolutionary forces, Muslim fundamentalism, has turned in their
hands, and they seek to redraw boundaries in the Middle East to regain the
Fourth, although it needed a united Europe in its earlier strategic moves,
the US now sees the emerging EU and its euro-currency as a threat. Taking
Iraq for itself thus serves the dual purpose of taking it out of a European
sphere of influence.
Finally, and perhaps most important, capitalism is suffering through a
protracted and deepening crisis of falling profits and over-production.
Globalization has only made this worse! This intensifies US rivalry with
other capitalist powers for control of the loot.
Blowing up lots of capital (whether as weapons or as targets) looks very
attractive to the corporate elite. So does a prolonged occupation of Iraq's
resource rich, centrally-located territory. And this endless war serves as
the perfect rationale for the police state apparatus they feel is necessary
to crush dissent and resistance to their extraction of profits and "upward
redistribution of wealth" within the US itself.
HOW CAN WE STOP THE WAR -- BEFORE OR AFTER IT STARTS?
Since power is the only thing our rulers care about or understand, and
since profits are all that matter to them, if we want to stop the war, we
must develop the power of the people. We must raise the costs of war until
they fear the consequences of continuing to wage the war more than those of
abandoning it. This means far more than threatening their re-election, or
even proposing their impeachment.
We must stop collaborating in our own oppression and exploitation. And we
must not be satisfied with stopping this war, but must once and for all
uproot the system of permanent class and colonial war of which war on Iraq
is only the latest and ugliest manifestation.
This means we must take what has been an unusually broad and widespread
global anti-war movement and transform it into something more -- deeper,
more intense, more challenging, more radical, more aware of reality and
what's at stake.
It means the movement must address not only the war in Iraq, but the war in
the Philippines, the war in Colombia, the war in Afghanistan, the so-called
"war against terror," and the war inside the borders of the U.S. The Bush
regime is teaching some important lessons, and we must take them to heart.
First and foremost, we must recognize that we are not dealing with "foreign
policy" and "domestic policy," but a single seamless empire. The CIA
operates inside the US, and the FBI outside. The army now has a command
directed internally. The "homeland" is simply one more battleground for
them. The police are being integrated not merely into Justice Department
operations but the military strategy.
The USA PATRIOT act and its proposed successors start by targeting
immigrants, but surely make clear that in an empire, there are no citizens,
only subjects. If the movement against the war is going to build a base
that will not back down, give up or cave in, it must be as class-conscious
and as aware of the empire as our rulers are. This means opposing the
militarization of the police along with opposing the use of the military as
"cops of the world." It means opposing mass incarceration, and mass
detentions of immigrants, along with opposing the use of the military to
turn millions in other countries into refugees. It means linking the demand
of "No Blood for Oil" to a vision of weaning the economy off oil and ending
the environmental and economic devastation of global warming.
It means opposing the racism and colonialism of war and military
occupation, not only in Iraq, but also in Puerto Rico and inside the
borders of the US itself, against indigenous people, Hawaiians, Africans,
Mexicans and other oppressed people. It means organizing the anti-war
struggle inside the military and the communities from which the military
recruits. It means organizing anti-war struggle on welfare lines, inside
the prisons, in workplaces and among the growing ranks of the unemployed
(as well as in the schools and colleges). Because it is poor and working
people, particularly people of color, who will pay the price in blood and
blighted opportunities for the war, just as they have paid for the "peace."
'US' AND 'THEM'
Right from the start, Bush has attempted to draw a line that says you're
with him or with "the terrorists." We need to define a different 'us' and
'them,' to draw a different line. This is not between good and evil, not
between Muslims and Christians or Jews, not between "America" and the
world, but between the exploiter and the exploited, between the oppressor
and the oppressed. The self-identified anti-war movement that has been
clogging up the Internet, and even spilling into the streets, has been
predominantly a white and middle class movement, although that is changing.
The illusions and organizing style rooted in that social base mean that the
peace movement as currently constituted may keep out the very people who
can make the movement capable of doing what it takes to stop the war.
Historically, white supremacy, settler colonialism and neo-colonialism in
the US have meant that the imperial rulers have a large population from
which to draw supporters and soldiers. Yet they are still trying to
overcome the so-called "Vietnam Syndrome." As they step up their military
efforts, their recruitment needs mean that the military is penetrating the
high schools and colleges, relying more than ever on people of color,
touching the lives of hundreds of thousands of reservists in unanticipated
ways. This opens up new arenas of struggle, and new possibilities of alliances.
To transcend the self-imposed limits created by racism and settlerism,
peace activists must self-critically transform ourselves, to break down our
identification with the rulers and oppressors, to build up our unity and
solidarity with the rest of the oppressed and exploited. Certain elements
within the peace movement, for example, still hope that the rulers can
"come to their senses." Jim Wallis and "Sojourners" are pushing a "third
way" plan that they have taken to Bush's poodle, Tony Blair; and there are
various other forces that seek mainly to convince some of the rulers that
they have a less costly, less risky strategy for winning the same goals or
Those of us who see the self-defeating error of such approaches should
probably not waste our breath on those who pursue them. They will only be
moved by the development of a more militant, more deeply-rooted, more
uncompromising and anti-imperialist wing in the anti-war movement. By this
I do not mean forming a group of people who split off from large, peaceful
anti-war marches to "fuck shit up." In the main, this is as rooted in class,
male and national privilege and romantic illusions, and as self-defeating as
the "loyal opposition" groups.
What I'm talking about is ORGANIZING among and with the poor and oppressed
-- the foot soldiers, welfare mothers, high schoolers Bush wants to dragoon
into JROTC and the infantry; immigrants, gang peace activists, prisoners;
veterans, GIs, the homeless, and unemployed; the organized and unorganized,
permanent and temporary workers who are a paycheck or two away from the
Because we need to understand that sectors of the US population identify
with and will fight for the empire, particularly the Christian right and
those they influence. Polls that show support for Bush are not all phony;
there are people who uphold Bush's imperial standard for material and
ideological reasons, and who will support or engage in repression of
dissidents. This includes people from many strata of US society, including
some people of color, poor and working people.
A crushing weight of cynicism and defeatism has held the people's
movement down since COINTELPRO and internal weaknesses of racism, sexism
and elitism devastated the movements of the 60s and 70s. But if we begin to
fight for a vision of a different world, to fight for social and economic
justice as well as peace, we have the opportunity of lifting it. People
will begin to hope again, and to struggle ever harder.
As we withdraw our consent and participation from this system, it will
begin to materially change the balance of power between the oppressor and
oppressed -- to weaken the oppressor and strengthen the efforts of the
oppressed to liberate themselves.
This editorial from the latest issue of "Turning the Tide: Journal of
Anti-Racist Action, Research & Education," Spring 2003, Volume 16 number 1,
is "copy-left:" permission to reprint in any not-for-profit medium is
hereby granted, so long as a credit line includes contact information for
Turning The Tide: ARA/PART, PO Box 1055, Culver City 90232, 310-495-0299;
For a free sample copy of the whole issue, contact us at the above
addresses, or call 310-495-0299, and give us your mailing address.
Subscriptions to "Turning the Tide" are a year for individuals in the
US, payable to Anti-Racist Action at the above address; US for
subscriptions in other countries or by libraries and other institutions.
Report this post as:
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video
Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights
What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It
Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down
Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29
Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf
Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development
Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine
Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents
Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters
City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre
Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling
Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present
Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police
LA Times Homicide Report
More Local News...
Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats
What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress??
Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée
The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion
Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service
The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally!
The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder
Paraphysique de la dictature étatique
Book Review: "The New Bonapartists"
The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia
Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine
The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally!
“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize!
The World Dependent on Central Banks
Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine
March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update
Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel
ICE contract with license plate reader company
Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes
Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges
Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes
Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety
Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man
Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes
Paraphysique de l'autorité
More Breaking News...