Workers Vanguard No. 870
12 May 2006
ISO, RCP to Bush: Disarm Iran, "Lead the Way to Peace"
The latest foray into bourgeois peace politics by the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) marks a low point even for these shameless reformists. The ISO, the Campus Antiwar Network (CAN —an ISO project) and World Cant Wait (WCW—an RCP vehicle) have signed on to a petition addressed to Dear President Bush and Vice President Cheney, appealing to these certified war criminals—who are currently threatening Iran, including possibly with nuclear weapons—to effectively disarm Iran and, along the way, inaugurate world peace!
The petition states:
The most effective way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons would be to closely monitor its nuclear energy program, and to improve diplomatic relations—two tasks made much more difficult by threatening to bomb Iranian territory. We urge you to lead the way to peace, not war, and to begin by making clear that you will not commit the highest international crime by aggressively attacking Iran.
Of course, Bush/Cheney have already repeatedly committed international crimes by aggressively attacking both Afghanistan and Iraq. This petition is like appealing to Jack the Ripper to take up social work—while simultaneously demanding that his potential victims walk the streets defenseless.
In signing the petition, which is sponsored by the After Downing Street coalition (of which the ISO and World Cant Wait are members, along with Progressive Democrats of America), the ISO and RCP join bourgeois liberals in advising U.S. imperialism on improving its foreign policy. (Yeah, it probably wouldnt help diplomatic relations much if the U.S. nuked Iran.)
The ISOs Socialist Worker (5 May) writes that the antiwar movement has to take the Bush administrations threats against Iran seriously—and unconditionally oppose U.S. there and throughout the Middle East, while the RCP calls in Revolution (23 April) on people in the U.S. to oppose U.S. war plans against Iran with all their energy. For these sniveling reformists, such opposition consists of building class-collaborationist coalitions with Democratic Party liberals, as they did in opposing Bushs war in Iraq. Democrats commonly complained that the Iraq war was diverting attention from real threats, like Iran and North Korea. And now that the liberals are chiming in on how to deal with Iran, the ISO and RCP are swept right along.
While these bleating lambs were appealing to the proprietor of the worlds biggest slaughterhouse in the latest round of antiwar protests, the Spartacist League and Spartacus Youth Clubs highlighted the need for the international working class to defend Iran in the event of imperialist attack. At the national protest in New York City on April 29, our comrades sold hundreds of copies of WV No. 869 (28 April) with its article Imperialists Threaten Iran, which stated straight out: In the context of threats by the nuclear-armed imperialists, Iran clearly needs nukes to defend itself and deter U.S. attack. In todays world, possession of nuclear arms has become the only real measure of national sovereignty.
At a CAN conference at Borough of Manhattan Community College following the demonstration, a Spartacus Youth Club member tore into the ISO for signing the petition: This is protest politics, this is we can change the world through appealing to capitalists who wage wars in their interests, not in ours. Our fight is not simply to end the occupation of Iraq, to end this war, but to end all war and abolish the system of imperialism through socialist revolution.
SYCers challenged the ISOs panel speaker, Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, on why the ISO signed the obscene appeal to Bush. She replied by saying that she disagreed with some of the petitions wording, but continued, I also agree with signing it because I thought that the point of that petition was to come together against the idea of attacking Iran. No, the point of that petition was to advise U.S. imperialism on how best to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Sometimes words just mean what they say.
As gross as the petition is, its nothing new for the ISO to appeal to the imperialists to take action against their enemies. In the lead-up to the 1991 Gulf War, the ISO endorsed a peace demonstration that called for United Nations sanctions against Saddam Husseins Iraq as an alternative to war. UN-imposed sanctions killed some one and a half million Iraqis, more than have been killed by the two brutal wars and the current occupation. ISO honcho Todd Chretien is running for the capitalist Green Partys nomination for the U.S. Senate race in California on a stock liberal program to reduce the budget of the armed forces—what level of imperialist firepower would he be satisfied with?—and to bring our troops home from Iraq. Chretiens electoral pipe dream notwithstanding, the Greens have more than amply demonstrated their support for imperialist slaughter. In Germany Green Party foreign minister Joschka Fischer helped implement the 1999 imperialist bombing of Serbia (which among other horrors left the Balkans riddled with depleted uranium shells).
Back in 1979, the ISO promoted Khomeinis reactionary mullah-led movement in Iran, even cheering, in a January 1979 headline: The Form—Religious, the Spirit —Revolution! Today we find the social-patriots of the ISO advising the U.S. Great Satan on how to cripple Iran. As Trotskyists, we are politically hostile to the reactionary mullah regime in Iran and call for proletarian revolution to liberate the oppressed masses. But in the event of attack by the U.S. imperialist colossus, we stand foursquare in defense of Iran, a dependent semicolonial capitalist country.
In regard to North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba and China—bureaucratically deformed workers states, where the overthrow of capitalist rule was a historic gain for the world working class—we stand for unconditional military defense against imperialism and capitalist counterrevolution. We fight for proletarian political revolution to oust the Stalinist bureaucracies and replace them with regimes based on workers democracy and revolutionary internationalism.
If North Korea has developed nuclear capacity, as Pyongyang claims, then that is a good thing. But you wont hear this from the anti-Communist ISO. The ISOs political godfather, the late Tony Cliff of Britain, broke from the Trotskyist movement during the 1950-53 Korean War when he refused to defend the Soviet Union, China and North Korea against the counterrevolutionary war led by the democratic U.S. and British imperialists. The ISO hailed every CIA-backed movement arrayed against the Soviet Union, from Polish Solidarność to the Islamic fundamentalist mujahedin who fought the Red Army in Afghanistan to Yeltsins capitalist-restorationist forces inside the Soviet degenerated workers state. The counterrevolutionary destruction of the USSR in 1991-92 was a massive defeat for the world working class. At home, the ISOs embrace of capitalist democracy extends to its treacherous support of trade-union dissidents who haul the unions into the bosses courts.
The RCP was also part of the imperialist anti-Soviet chorus, following the Great Helmsman Mao Zedong who denounced Soviet social-imperialism as the greatest enemy of the worlds peoples while forging a counterrevolutionary alliance with Washington. Today, these eccentric Maoists have made World Cant Wait, which is based on calls for Bush to step down, their favored means of cozying up to liberal capitalist politicians and celebrities. What the RCP cant wait for is the November Congressional elections, as shown by the fact that the next big WCW mobilization is October 5. For anyone doubting the RCPs commitment to Democratic Party lesser-evilism, Revolution (29 January) trumpets that ruling class figures like [Al] Gore will inevitably be part of the whole swirl and ferment that will go into driving out the Bush regime.
In time-honored Stalinist fashion, the RCP justifies this groveling before the Democrats by claiming that the other capitalist party, the Republicans, are running a fascist regime. No, theyre just the right-side profile of the ugly face of capitalist-imperialist democracy. Our commitment is to building a revolutionary workers party that will lead the multiracial working class in socialist revolution—the only road to ridding the world of imperialism and its wars and depredations. U.S. hands off Iran! Out of Afghanistan, Iraq now!