Monday, March 18, 2013

ANSWER statement on the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq

Confronting the lies about the Iraq invasion

Statement by Brian Becker, ANSWER national coordinator

March 18, 2013

Ten years ago, the United States and Britain invaded Iraq. The history of how this invasion came about has been largely falsified by both the right-wing supporters of the invasion and the liberal commentators who opposed the war.

The core argument of the professional liberal commentators and historians is that Bush hoodwinked the country and the general public, with the help of a supplicant media, by scaring people into thinking that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and the Bush administration had to invade to defend America and its people.

The fallacious handwringing liberal position was typified in the recent 10th-anniversary account of the war by Micah Sifry, published by the National Memo.

"But 10 years ago, it was not a good time to be a war skeptic in America. It rarely is. The vast majority of 'smart' and 'serious' people had convinced themselves that in the face of Saddam Hussein's alleged stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction, the prudent thing to do was to go to war to remove him from power," writes Sifry.

This is a fanciful and false account.

The "country" was not hoodwinked. There was no general feeling that the U.S. must strike first or be engulfed by Saddam Hussein's military.

The opposite was true. The people of this country—and the world—mobilized in unprecedented numbers prior to a military conflict under the banner: "Stop the War Before it Starts."

An unprecedented, massive anti-war movement

In the months prior to the invasion, I was the central organizer of the mass anti-war actions in Washington, D.C., that brought many hundreds of thousands of people into the streets of the capital in repeated demonstrations—on Oct. 26, 2002; Jan. 18, 2003; and March 15, 2003.

The Jan. 18, 2003, demonstration filled up a vast expanse of the Mall west of the Capitol building, which houses the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The Washington Post described the Jan. 18 demonstration as the largest anti-war protest since the end of the Vietnam War.

In addition to the Washington demonstrations, there were mass anti-war protests in cities throughout the United States, on both the east and west coasts and nearly everywhere in between.

Thousands of organizations and millions of individuals were participants and organizers in this grassroots global movement.

On Feb. 15, 2003, there were coinciding demonstrations in more than 1,000 cities in almost every country—including many hundreds of cities and towns in the United States.

The rise of a global anti-war movement of such magnitude—before the actual start of military hostilities—was without precedent in human history. Mass anti-war movements and even revolutions have occurred inside one or more of the warring countries at the time of their defeat or perceived defeat, but the Iraq anti-war movement of 2002-2003 was in anticipation of a war and before the gruesome impact of the slaughter could be seen and felt.

The depth of the movement was breathtaking for the organizers and the participants. Millions went into the streets over and over and over again. They knew that they were in a race against time. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were likewise racing to go to war, not because Iraq was getting stronger or closer to having weapons of mass destruction but because this global grassroots anti-war movement had the potential to shake the political status quo to its very foundations

In February 2003, The New York Times described the global anti-war movement as the world's "second super-power."

Why the race toward war

It was under these circumstances that the "mass media" went into overdrive to promote the war. Anti-war voices on television were booted off the air. The airwaves were filled up with the obviously bogus imagery that Iraq in league with unspecified "Muslim terrorists" was about to engulf the United States in a nuclear mushroom cloud. The message was that war was inevitable and that protests were futile.

Bush rushed hundreds of thousands of troops to Kuwait in a race to launch the invasion that they knew was likely to destroy the Iraqi military in a few weeks.

The Democratic Party leaders in Congress had already acquiesced to Bush and Cheney's war demands. Even though the calls and letters to Congress against the war were running 200 to 1, both the Senate and the House of Representatives, by lopsided margins, passed resolutions on Oct. 11, 2002, authorizing Bush to use the armed forces of the United States against Iraq.

The Iraq invasion was a criminal enterprise. Millions of Iraqis died, more than five million were forced into the miserable life of refugees, thousands of U.S. troops were killed and tens of thousands of others suffered life-changing physical and mental injuries.

Today, Bush and Cheney are writing books and collecting huge speaking fees. They are shielded from prosecution by the current Democratic-led government.

The war in Iraq was not simply a "mistake" nor was it the consequence of a hoodwinked public. It was rather a symptom of the primary reality of the modern-day political system in the U.S. This system is addicted to war. It relies on organized violence, or the threat of violence, to maintain the dominant position of the United States all over the world. The U.S. has invaded or bombed one country after another since the end of the so-called Cold War. It has military bases in 130 countries and spends more on lethal violence than all other countries combined. Yes, in the United States the adult population is encouraged to vote every two or four years for one of two ruling-class parties that enforce the global projection of U.S. empire with equal vigor when they take turns at the helm. And this is labeled the exercise of "democracy" and proof that the United States is indeed the land of the free.

The invasion of Iraq succeeded in creating mass human suffering and death. What Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld failed to anticipate was that the Iraqi people, like all people everywhere, would never willingly accept life under occupation. It was the unanticipated resistance of the Iraqi people that eventually forced the withdrawal of the occupation forces nine long years later.

Brian Becker was the lead organizer of the largest anti-war demonstrations in Washington, D.C., between Oct. 26, 2002, and the start of the Iraq invasion on March 19, 2003. The October demonstration drew 200,000 people. Less than two months later, on Jan. 18, 2003, approximately 500,000 demonstrated again in what the Washington Post called the "largest anti-war demonstration" in Washington, D.C., since the end of the Vietnam War. On Feb. 15, 2003, millions of people demonstrated in nearly 1,000 cities around the world, including several hundred cities and towns in the United States. On March 15, just four days before the start of the invasion, 100,000 demonstrated once gain in Washington, D.C.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Celeberate Durham Creek Week 2013

Durham's annual Creek Week ( is coming up, March 16th - 23rd, with many different kinds of events for all ages throughout the County.  There will be trash cleanups along Sandy, Third Fork, and Northeast creeks in the New Hope River basin and Ellerbe and Warren creeks, Eno River, and Lake Michie in the Neuse River basin.  People will be able to see trout lilies, bloodroot, and other spring ephemeral wildflowers, amphibians, dragonflies, butterflies, beavers, and the importance of wetlands at hikes and presentations at Eno River State Park, Penny's Bend, the Museum of Life and Science, 17 Acre Wood, Sandy Creek Park, and elsewhere.  Kids can participate in intersession camps such as the Schoolhouse of Wonder's camp that will create art from junk otherwise marring the Eno River.  No dumping storm drain labels can be requested from Durham Stormwater Services at City Hall and March 21st dog owners can pledge not to leave waste out to pollute our waterways. 
For those in the Winston-Salem area, Durham Creek Week is inspiring a similar celeberation in Forsyth County (watch this space: ).          

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Two Communist Parties on the Passing of Hugo Chavez

Statement of the PCMLV on the death of Commandante Chavez

The Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Venezuela, PCMLV, expresses its grief and solidarity at the physical loss of Commandante President Hugo Chavez Frias to all the workers, peasants, students, women's organizations, revolutionary, anti-imperialist, socialist and Bolivarian parties and organizations of the masses.

We also express our condolences to all his family, friends and to the national government for the loss of a great humanist, a patriotic, progressive and consistent revolutionary statesman, as President Hugo Chavez proved to be until the last days of his existence.

We call on the working class, which knows how to rise to the challenge in the revolutionary struggle in the most pressing moments of history, to prepare to resist and defeat the reactionaries who will not hesitate to take advantage of this difficult time to thwart through violent means the gains and demands that we have achieved under the leadership of President Chavez. Imperialism will set stronger traps at this sorrowful moment that the national revolutionary movement is going through.

The call is to not renounce the struggle to build socialism, the banner that President Hugo Chavez raised in all circumstances; this banner needs to be taken up rigorously and courageously by all the workers of this nation in this difficult moment in history. We, as Party of the working class in Venezuela, make the call for the struggle and building of socialism and communism from the scientific conception of Marxism-Leninism.

The acts of sabotage, of hired killers, the terrorism, food shortages, the propaganda of disinformation, anxiety and manipulation will intensify. The national and international reactionaries feel victorious at this time, but the national and world working class will go forward with the necessary and strategic battles to continue the path of victory and the accumulation of forces to confront the fascists and imperialists.

The death of the President of the Republic must not mean the decline in popular organization, but rather it must serve as an impetus for future struggles against the class enemy. We must not believe in the phony condolences local right wing, which on dozens of occasions tried to assassinate the commandante. These sectors are moved by a single impulse: profit at any cost whatever.

The right wing is evaluating what actions to take in the coming days. It is no coincidence that the Venezuelan government expelled two U.S. military attaches for conspiratorial work.

We strongly call on all the revolutionary elements to close ranks against the capitalist and imperialist enemy. The working class must be prepared for a possible difficult situation; it must not trust the bourgeois enemy that has historically proven to be traitorous. If the pro-imperialist bourgeoisie tries to take advantage of this hard time of grief of the humble and exploited masses, the masses should respond forcefully and applying revolutionary violence.

Socialism can only be built with the worker-peasant alliance in Power and the people in arms!


Caracas, March 5, 2013.
Communist Part of India (ML) Liberation Mourns the Death of Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez, and Salutes His Legacy of Struggles Against Neo-liberal
Polices and US Imperialism!

New Delhi, 6 Mar. 2013

After two years of battling cancer, Venezuela's
President Hugo Chavez passed away today. CPI(ML) Liberation deeply mourns the
death of this architect of the Bolivarian Revolution; an iconic crusader against
US imperialism and neo-liberal policies. His loss will be deeply felt, not just
in Venezuela and other parts of Latin America, but all over the world. Whether
it is in Palestine and Lebanon in the Middle East or India, Chavez was and will
always continue to be a symbol of hope and resistance to millions of people
struggling for their rights.

During his long tenure as Venezuela's President from
1999 onwards, he continued to dream of and champion his vision of 21st century
socialism, successfully battling right-wing sponsored military coups, strikes
and recall referendums. He used his Presidency to try and bring in several
fundamental changes in Venezuela's polity: he introduced a new constitution
which increased rights for marginalized groups and altered the structure of
Venezuelan government, he put in place a remarkable system of public referendums
with mass participation to decide major public policies, he introduced
participatory democratic councils, he ensured nationalization of several key
industries including oil, increased government funding of health care and
education which led to significant reductions in poverty.

Moreover, Chavez emerged as a symbol of Latin American
resistance to US imperialism, and as a strong pole for a united Latin American
response to US domination. He tried his level best to unite Venezuela, Bolivia,
Cuba, Argentina, Brazil and other Latin American countries in an attempt to
isolate US in Latin American politics. This unity, initiated by Chavez, posed a
huge challenge to the long history of US plunder, corporate loot, state
repression and CIA-backed coups in Latin America. Chavez also stood against
US-Israel sponsored genocide in Palestine; after the most recent Israeli attack
in Gaza, Venezuela was one of the few governments which showed the courage to
dismiss the Israeli ambassador to Venezuela and support the struggling
Palestinian people.

CPI(ML) Liberation stands in solidarity with the
mourning, struggling people of Venezuela, who have pledged to keep alive
Chavez's legacy and his dreams. Struggling people and movements across the world
join hands in mourning this great architect of the Bolivarian revolution. This
fight will continue in the universities, factories and mines across the world.
(Kavita Krishnan)
Member, Central

Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation