Chicago Committee Against War & Racism
Statement of Principles
Our effectiveness as progressive activists in the United States has long been compromised by two totems: the allegiance of many of us to the national state and our adherence to the Democratic Party. No movement has been more plagued by these twin impediments than the anti-war movement.
Nationalism is an incredibly divisive and dangerous ideology that our masters use to appeal to all strata of society. It is the absurd notion that people who live on one patch of the earth are inherently better and more deserving of rights and resources than people living on other patches. The racism implicit in this notion is a direct impediment to the international solidarity that we need to defeat war and injustice. That white, colonial settler states such as the United States and Israel, with long, inglorious histories of oppression against their indigenous peoples, demand for the sake of self-assurance frequent displays of patriotism from its citizens must gall the rest of the world.
Furthermore, the support most leading anti-war activists gave to the Democratic Party during the Obama years played a pivotal role in destroying the massive anti-war movement that grew up in response to President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. The leading politicians of both parties are firmly united in their promotion of U.S. control over most of the world – the largest empire in history even though most of its constituent parts have formal independence. An anti-war movement worthy of the name must not fall prey to the rhetoric of Democratic politicians who say some of the right things but betray us in practice.
Our goal is to organize and sustain a committee of individuals who recognize the U.S. government, regardless of which major party dominates, as the principal purveyor of violence and perpetrator of war and injustice in the world, and to rebuild—on a new, more solid strategic footing—a large anti-war, anti-racist movement in the Chicago area and beyond.
We share the following points of analysis.
CAPITAL CREATES WAR.
No matter which major political party heads the U.S. government, the latter serves the interests of corporate and financial capital, including, most obviously, the war and weapons industry. These interests involve domination of peoples, resources, and markets across the world. They are the cause of conflict and misery. The wars fought to secure these interests come in many forms and with many names. We oppose them all: ‘proxy wars’; ‘drone wars’; ‘cyberwars’; ‘occupations’; ‘blockades’; ‘sanctions’; ‘covert activities’; ‘no-fly zones.’ We also oppose their alleged rationales: ‘national interest’; ‘national defense’; ‘national security’; ‘nation-building’; ‘regime-change’; and ‘humanitarian interventions.’ Because the major owners of capital benefit from wars while working people do the suffering and dying, it is working people like us who must join workers worldwide to demand an end to war.
END THE WARFARE STATE.
Therefore, we call for an end to U.S. arms sales abroad; the elimination of all nuclear weapons; and the closing of U.S. military bases on foreign soil. We demand that the trillions of tax dollars used to pay for present wars and to fund future ones go, instead, to finance the domestic needs of the people here and pay reparations to the peoples of countries where the U.S. military, directly or through proxies, has wreaked havoc and misery.
OPPRESSED PEOPLES’ RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION.
We support oppressed peoples’ right to self-determination. At a minimum, this means that peoples the world over, including Native Americans within our own borders and peoples in U.S. island colonies, should be free from the threat of U.S. military (or police) interference, covert or otherwise. We resist all efforts to change peoples’ political leaders or revamp their social and economic institutions to conform to what U.S. military and corporate elites—including media elites—think proper. On the other hand, to oppose U.S. aggression against a targeted country does not imply that we agree with that country’s leadership or its political institutions. Furthermore, we support the right of refugees made homeless in the course of U.S. support for brutal dictatorships and other U.S. aggression, including aggression by proxies like Israel, to immediate and unconditional sanctuary and their right to safe return if they so choose.
THE PENTAGON AND THE THREAT TO LIFE ON EARTH.
The earth is endangered by the twin evils of nuclear annihilation and human-caused climate catastrophe. The U.S. government, the only one in history to use nuclear weapons, possesses by far the world’s largest and most sophisticated arsenal; it also, therefore, poses the greatest risk of using them again. In addition, the Pentagon is the single largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world. Its past and current use, as well as its need to guarantee future access to energy resources of this type, is a cause of war and a major contributor to pollution and climate change. War and climate change have displaced millions from their homes. Increasing global warming will make this crisis worse, and the panic response by U.S. politicians to continent-wide mass migration will be to contain and police it with an expanded U.S. military presence. Avoiding these twin evils requires an end to U.S. military aggression, major de-funding of the military-industrial complex, and a full transition to renewable energy.
WAR ABROAD, WAR AT HOME. There is a connection between endless predatory wars and violence abroad and increasing militarization and racism at home:
- Domestic police forces now look like occupying armies.
- “Wars” against drugs and crime result in mass incarceration of people of color.
- Deportations and detentions are at record levels as immigrants and refugees are scapegoated as dangerous criminals and stigmatized as ‘illegals.’
- There is a nativist demand to build an impenetrable wall across the U.S’s southern border.
- Muslims are likewise scapegoated as potential terrorists
- Police brutality and murder are the new normal and go largely unpunished.
- There is an insane call to arm school teachers with guns.
- Neo-fascist groups are emboldened by the present political climate.
- Income inequality continues to mushroom while the very right of unions to exist is under attack.
- We live under massive state surveillance that has bipartisan support in Washington; whistleblowers are branded as traitors.
- There is a movement to criminalize political speech by making illegal the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel.
- Republicans and Democrats alike routinely approve military budgets requested by the president—in the case of the 2018-2019 military budget, seventy billion dollars in excess of what the president requested—while doing the bidding of billionaires who buy political outcomes by financing political campaigns.
We call on working people to unite across the boundaries that divide us—color, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and religion—in a common struggle to transform a society that produces endless war to one that uplifts all peoples and promotes global peace and justice.
The task is daunting. But the opportunities for mobilizing the young and old, students and workers, whites and people of color, the employed and the unemployed, men and women, people of all faiths (and those with none), have never been brighter.
If you agree with the truth and urgency expressed in the above principles above, please join us to help end savage U.S. wars and oppression abroad and relentless suppression of people on so many fronts here at home.