Translated from the original Spanish by Peter Rosset
I. THE WAR
1. The U.S. is carrying out a war that began in Afghanistan, not
Iraq, in which it is fully taking on the role of being the only world
superpower. From this position the U.S. chooses its enemy and
determines-by itself, consulting with nobody else -- the procedures and
means of its intervention. A new world order is being consolidated
in which international institutions wilt before the only superpower,
in which the U.S. is the only truly sovereign territory on the planet.
2. This conflict signals that the U.S. is now beginning to fully
exploit the advantages of the now unipolar world. This began with
the declaration of the "war on terrorism" after 9-11, but in fact was
planned long before. "Terrorism", that labile and malleable word,
is coming to replace the global enemy that the U.S. has been missing
since the end of the Cold War. (Drug trafficking was never really
threatening enough to play that role, and has now been relegated to a
subordinate role, as in "narco-terrorism".)
3. The fundamental objective of the war on Iraq is to affirm U.S.
world dominance or hegemony, and serves as a demonstration of the
ability to destroy any opposing force that can be defined as a
threat, whether it is a nation or not, and to destroy it by the means
that the U.S. alone deems adequate. This is not just a question of
force, but of manufacturing consent toward absolute U.S. hegemony.
We are being presented with but two alternatives: (a) Consent based on
a real belief in the U.S. role as unimpeachable global policeman, and
guardian of liberty and order, or (b) Consent based on resignation in
the face of a political-military force so powerful and unstoppable
that it would make no sense to oppose it.
4. This is played out as the affirmation of the power of the U.S.
state apparatus and U.S. corporations -- already woven together in a
single conglomerate - a power which is not subordinate to any higher
authority, not the United Nations, not NATO, not foreign governments,
nothing. It is also played out in the general deterioration of all
forms of political, institutional and juridical mediation when
confronted with the new "decisiveness" of the U.S. in declaring a
state of exception in which all normal checks and balances are
5. Of course there are economic objectives behind the war, ranging
from control over petroleum to profiteering in reconstruction
contracts, but they do not fully explain the decision to go to war.
The strategic interest of Capital (with a capital "C") is to colonize
every last corner of the world, and to 're-design' our social and
political relations, to remove all obstacles to, and grant all
facilities to, ever more mobile and globalized capital. Not just the
invasion of Iraq, but rather the entire construct of a perpetual
"war on terror" is functional in terms of the strategic medium and
long term interests of large corporations (U.S. or not).
6. We should remember that the U.S. had previously encountered many
obstacles and difficulties in fully taking advantage of being the
only post-Cold War superpower. These ranged from the trade deficit,
the weak dollar, the fiscal crisis, economic stagnation and the
instability of world markets, to more political cultural challenges,
like the more or less anti-capitalist uprising in Seattle and the
growing critiques of the "single model" and its application. Facing
the risk of reaching an "inflection point" in the long-term U.S.
counter-offensive that began as a response to the oil crisis and the
disaster in Vietnam, the most radicalized sectors in the U.S. have
decided go on the attack. [These radicalized sectors are vast and
diverse, and cannot simply be reduced to Bush and the personalities
that surround him.] The World Trade Center incident played a
dialectic role in this situation, both generating real concern about
vulnerability, and providing a propagandistic pretext for going on a
new offensive. To a certain extent we are seeing a repetition of the
Reagan era success of going on the offensive just when the U.S.
appeared to be surrounded by national liberation and socialist
movements, an offensive which ended with the collapse of the USSR.
[Although this time there doesn't appear to be much expectation that
the situation could become critical for the imperial power.]
II. OPPOSING THE WAR
1. This new kind of war necessitates a renovation of anti-war
thinking. It is not enough to speak out against war in general
terns, nor to dust off traditional condemnations of U.S.
interventionism. We need to denounce and build global opposition to
the "war on terrorism" and its global projections.
2. The goal is not just to stop the invasion of Iraq, but also to
stop the next invasions and interventions that will certainly follow,
beyond any doubt (in fact if we look carefully we can see that they
have already been announced). Their pretext will be a notion of
"terrorism" that goes beyond the Middle East, beyond Islam and beyond
those nations and organizations that might have any connection to
terrorist practices, to include anything or anybody contrary to, or
even reticent about U.S. power. Therefore we must build a
far-reaching consciousness and mobilization.
3. The current conflict is not just a product of the reckless
adventurism of a small group of mediocre and corrupt politicians
linked to multinational corporations. We are talking about a much
broader system of power that can mobilize the war machinery and
logistics, but which uses as front men a series of personalities who
are more like publicity agents and symbols of leadership then they
are the people who really design the policies. Therefore the
anti-war movement must work more to expose the system of power than
to just pick on its personalities.
4. This undeclared war is just the most openly destructive component
of corporate globalization in all areas of life. Our anti-war
tactics must be part of a general global strategy to oppose this
imposed form of globalization, and in favor of a different kind of
globalism. The destruction of war must be linked to the ecological
devastation, generalized impoverishment, creation of new forms of
exploitation, and alienation produced by globalization. The
"structural reforms" so many countries have suffered are part of the
same set of global policies as the war.
5. The point then, we think, is to not put all our eggs in the
basket that this will be "another Vietnam". We need an anti-war
strategy that doesn't just work when the intervention forces get
bogged down in a quagmire that lasts months or even years, but that
also works when they achieve more less rapid victories. Every
successful "blitzkrieg" will rapidly lead to another, and even a
military setback, unless it is accompanied by a worldwide
mobilization, -- not just antiwar but also anti-capitalist--, will
only produce a momentary pause while military tactics are adjusted,
and not the end of the "war on terrorism".
6. The war in Iraq is but a chapter in a operation which is planned
to go on for a long time and in many places. Our first challenge is
to make this chapter into the last chapter, regardless of its
military outcome. We must make it too politically costly to carry
out future operations of this kind. These bellicose operations will
not just run out of steam of their own accord, nor because the U.S.
suddenly becomes truly "humanitarian". They can only be stopped by
an active, global and growing opposition. In this light we have
been helped by the quick and massive peace mobilizations already
generated by images of U.S. brutality.
7. All of the justifications for the war trotted out by Bush have
been exposed and have fallen by the wayside, and the only one left is
that of turning Iraq into a "democracy" under U.S. tutelage. We
must denounce this idea of "freedom at bayonet point" along with the
erosion of civil liberties on a global scale produced by this
American war (even the Internet is facing censorship like the
blocking of web sites).
8. U.S. power is trying to turn its particular form of barbarism
into the model for "civilization". With that as the starting point,
it attacks any and all opposition or even reticence. It wants to
destroy those nation-states that lack pro-U.S. policies, to destroy
OPEC, to destroy any remaining countries that retain non-capitalist
systems, and to destroy non-governmental organizations and movements
that struggle against local or regional manifestations of power. We
must make it clear that future targets of "pre-emptive anti-terrorist
wars" might include -- and probably will include, if not stopped by
global mobilizations and more creative forms of boycott and sabotage
-- a range running from Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, China, and
Syria, to the Zapatistas in Mexico and the FARC in Colombia.
III. AFTER THE WAR
1. There will be no post-war period, but rather the prelude to the
next operation, to the next attack on another member of the "axis of
evil", or on anyone defined as a threat to free trade, the interests
of U.S. corporations, or democracy. It might not be a nation, it
might be an organization, or even a geographic location like the
Triple Frontier region of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. In reality
the issue is not the existence of a real or fake "threat", the issue
is the attempt to homogenize the world under the 'market economy'
(read monopoly capitalism) and parliamentary democracy (of a model
more and more based on apathy and demobilization). In fact this is
explicit in Bush's discourse, and even appears in writings (see "U.S.
Security Strategy," by Raul Kollman).
2. There is no room for "humanitarian aid" to the victims of military
escalation, because this ends up facilitating further military
action. What we need is on-going denunciation of the new imperial
3. We must integrate the anti-war message with a broader critique of
capitalism in its current form. The war is just one "front" in the
imposition of a world order based on capital accumulation and the
threat of force.
4. In the era of globalization we cannot just struggle at the
national or regional level. The powers that be try to convince the
subalterns that "beautiful" means small, dispersed and individual,
even as they mount a gigantic process of concentration and
centralization of power and of economic, social and cultural capital
on a global scale. The way to fight these tendencies is to forge a
new "internationalism" out of the rebellion of the exploited, the
alienated and the disfavored. This cannot be based on centralization
and forced unification, but rather on the identification of common
objectives and the articulation of collective actions over the long
5. A world without war is a world without the power of capitalism.
It is not enough to be a "pacifist", nor to be "anti-American". A
truly effective anti-war movement must at its core be
anti-capitalist. The old phrase of Rosa Luxemburg, "socialism or
barbarism", takes on new importance in today's world.
1. Ensconced in the State, the greater part of the establishment is
"in bed with, but not too in bed with", the U.S., via policies based
on the same general lines as those of Menem, minus his worst
excesses. Thus they refuse to condemn the war, and they offer
humanitarian aid for reconstruction, but they don't send troops or
adhere explicitly to imperial policy.
2. Discussion of the war and the anti-war movement are strong in
Argentina, but not strong enough. We need to do a better job of
exposing the virtually global character of U.S. actions. Iraq may be
far away, but Colombia is much closer, and the Triple Frontier is
around the corner, and encompasses part of our national territory.
3. Raising consciousness that the bombs in Baghdad are but a chapter
in a much longer book, a book which will not be willingly erased by
its authors but only by those who struggle against it, is the
fundamental task. This is more true in societies like ours that are
not directly involved in the war, either by geographic proximity or
by official participation in the U.S. coalition.
Buenos Aires, 8 April 2003.