The following statement is by Osborne Hart, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Philadelphia in 2015.
Following the bloody carnage inflicted on some 500 people in Paris Nov. 13 by Islamic State terrorists, French President Francois Hollande called for expanded war in Syria and Iraq.
Beating of the war drums for more “boots on the ground” in the Middle East is growing in Washington, including in President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party. More and more politicians and pundits are saying that U.S.-organized bombings, deployment of special forces units, and assassinations and drone attacks are not enough.
Hollande calls for a “grand coalition” to step up the war, based on Paris, Washington and Moscow. Washington and its allies have used terror to defend their class interests, from dropping the atomic bomb to incinerate Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to the leveling of city after city in North Korea during the 1950-53 war against workers and farmers there, to Iraq and Afghanistan. France’s capitalist rulers have a long and bloody record of imperialist intervention and exploitation, from Algeria to Vietnam, Syria to Mali.
The Socialist Workers Party calls on workers in the U.S. to oppose moves by Washington and Paris to expand their Mideast war. Demand they get their bombers and troops out of the region. Speak out against discrimination against Syrian refugees and against anti-Arab, anti-Muslim demagoguery.
The SWP opposes efforts by the capitalist rulers in Washington to seize the opportunity to step up assaults against political rights and to widen use of troops, informers, spies, “data mining” and more against working people. Capitalist politicians of all stripes are calling for barring Syrians from seeking refuge in the U.S. or to limit entrance to Syrian Christians. Anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry is being promoted to justify gutting workers’ rights.
This in the face of the fact that the biggest victims of imperialist policy, of Syria and other bourgeois regimes in the region, and of reactionary Islamic State terror are Arabs, Muslims, Kurds and others there.
The Socialist Workers Party calls on workers, farmers and all defenders of democratic rights to protest these attacks and defend constitutional rights to speak out and protest against government policy — from wars abroad to cop violence at home.
There is growing resistance today to attacks by the bosses and their government, like the large picket lines put up by members of the autoworkers union on strike at Kohler in Wisconsin; steelworkers and others fighting deep concession demands; Black youth leading protests against police killings; and activities in support of demands for an end to the criminal U.S. blockade of revolutionary Cuba. This resistance is Washington’s real target as it prepares for sharper battles to come.
The French rulers have imposed a far-reaching state of emergency, reinstituted French border controls, barred demonstrations, put army troops on the streets and stepped up spying in Arab and Muslim neighborhoods.
Islamic State, which has taken credit for the slaughter in Paris, as well as terror attacks against a Russian airliner in Egypt and dozens of workers and youth in Beirut over the last couple weeks, is a reactionary thug outfit.
Betrayals by Stalinist parties and bourgeois-minded nationalist misleaders have prevented toilers in the Middle East from developing a leadership like the July 26th Movement — which led workers and farmers in Cuba to power in 1959 — capable of organizing a revolutionary struggle against imperialist oppression and capitalists and landlords at home.
The U.S.-led decade-long imperialist war in Iraq propped up a brutal, factional regime that attacked and deepened suffering in Sunni areas.
The Bashar al-Assad dictatorship in Syria, backed by Moscow and Tehran, responded to mass mobilizations in 2011 calling for political rights and an end to the regime’s despotic rule with bombs, murder, torture and destruction, crushing the revolt.
In this political vacuum, the reactionary Islamic State emerged and seized territory, ruling by terror, beheadings and violence. The only force that has proved capable of pushing them back are the Kurds, motivated by decades-long aspirations for national rights and an independent Kurdish state. And their growing strength and confidence are viewed with fear and anger by the capitalist rulers in Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria, as well as by Washington.
The Socialist Workers Party demands Washington and Paris get out of the Middle East. We fight against the rulers’ attacks on our rights and political space to organize, challenge the assault of the bosses and take political action.