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   Vol. 67/No. 5           February 10, 2003  
Why antiwar protests don’t stop wars
(Reply to a reader)
In his letter, Joe Lombardo asks about the Militant coverage of the antiwar protests. Along with "international pressure," such mobilizations, he says, are "all that is stopping the launching of war" by the U.S. government.

Last week’s Militant included a news article about the January 18 protests in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and elsewhere. It also carried reports on the interested and often eager response by many marchers to revolutionary literature. The Young Socialists and Socialist Workers Party literature tables were busy scenes of discussions about the war drive at home and abroad and its linkage to the economic crisis of imperialism.

An account of a Young Socialists event in D.C., organized around the title of "The Young Socialists and the Fight against Imperialism and its Wars," was also featured.

The socialists explained that the drive to war is not an optional but a necessary course by the imperialists, with those in the United States to the fore, as they act to defend their interests. They are pressing to gain a bigger share of the resources of the semicolonial world--including the massive oil wealth of the Middle East. War and military occupation are the accompaniments to this drive.

Wars and depression are the outlook provided by this system. Such developments go hand in hand with a push against workers’ rights, as the bosses and their government seek to carve more profits from working people and to curtail our ability to fight back.

On the face of it, it’s clearly not true that the protests have thus far stopped the launching of war. Washington has moved steadily and ruthlessly to put together the troops and equipment for an invasion. Now that most of what they need is in place, U.S. officials are beating the drums more loudly.

We also shouldn’t forget that the air war has already begun: U.S. and British planes have stepped up their bombing of Iraq’s so-called "no-fly" zones. They are deliberately targeting the country’s air defenses.

Antiwar protests have never by themselves stopped the imperialists’ march to war. We shouldn’t draw the wrong lessons from the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. Washington was defeated by the workers and peasants of Indochina, who waged a heroic and increasingly large-scale war against the most brutal and heavily armed power the world has ever seen. The antiwar protests and the defeatist moods that penetrated the armed forces were important allies in that revolutionary fight.

At present the large antiwar protests have a pacifist stamp characteristic of a pre-war period. Alongside the capitalist politicians and liberal forces, who will fall in behind the war effort when the shooting starts, are many young people looking for a way to respond effectively to the brutality of capitalism. The Militant aims to provide factual coverage of the war buildup and to explain scientifically the foundations of the war drive. We also explain that out of the struggles of today and tomorrow, including the fight against imperialist war, working people will go through the defeats and victories necessary to forge a revolutionary movement. Only by overthrowing their rule can the capitalists be disarmed and the drive to war be stopped.
Related articles:
U.S. threatens Iraq with war in ‘weeks not months’
London: 40,000 troops for Iraq war
U.S. prepares bloody assault  
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