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Daniel Campione © 2003

 

 
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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 suspended.

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 order.

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 term.

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.

IV. ARGENTINA

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.

   
   
   

 

 
   
         

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