IN THIS ANTIWAR DOSSIER:
1) “The American People Don’t Want to Go to War with Iran!”: Interview with Nancy Wohlforth, Co-Convener of US Labor Against the War (USLAW) — reprinted from Issue No. 148 — Jan. 17, 2020 — of the IWC Newsletter)
2) Resolution to Support the Rising Anti-War and Pro-Peace Movement — adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO, on January 13, 2020
3) Statement by Labor Fightback Network: All Out Jan. 25 to Stop the U.S. War on Iran!
4) “NO U.S. War on Iran! End the Sanctions! Bring ALL U.S. Troops Home Now!”: Interview with Alan Benjamin, Editor of The Organizer newspaper, published by Socialist Organizer — reprinted from the Jan. 15, 2020, issue of Tribune des Travailleurs/Workers Tribune, France
5) Statement of the POID (France): “Trump, Macron: Hands off Iraq and Iran!” — January 6, 2020
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1) “The American People Don’t Want to Go to War with Iran!”:
Interview with Nancy Wohlforth, Co-Convener of US Labor Against the War (USLAW)
(reprinted from Issue No. 148 — Jan. 17, 2020 — of the IWC Newsletter)
Question: Donald Trump took the world to the brink of a major, frontal armed war with Iran. While the crisis situation appears to have died down, it could flare up again at any moment. What is your assessment of what has transpired over the past few weeks?
Nancy Wohlforth: Trump began the war escalation against Iran when he pulled out of the Iran nuclear weapons deal. It soon became clear that he wanted to rattle sabers.
The U.S. bombing of the activist camps in Northern Iraq on December 29 was a provocation that unleashed a terrible crisis which, as you pointed out, took us to the brink of a full-fledged war with Iran. The situation was terrifying, particularly as we have a madman in the White House who has control over the use of nuclear weapons.
I also should point out that the entire crisis over Iran these past three weeks was aimed at diverting attention away from Trump’s impeachment trial.
Having said this, Trump — at least for now — had to pull back. The American people don’t want to go to war. This has been expressed in poll after poll, but also in the rapid response of a unified antiwar movement, which on January 4 took to the streets in 90 cities across the United States — in the tens of thousands of people — to demand, “No War with Iran! Bring All the U.S. Troops Home Now!”
But the danger of a major war has not disappeared. Trump is so unstable that he could manufacture a new provocation at any moment.
We also have to oppose another dimension to the U.S. war against Iran, and by that I mean the economic sanctions that have targeted Iran’s sales of oil to countries in Europe and beyond. These sanctions, which have bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress, have devastated the country’s economy, targeting poor women and children in particular. An untold numbers of deaths have resulted directly from the sanctions.
Question: Many legislators are hoping that Congress should reclaim the authority to go to war as a way of reining in Trump. What do you think?
Nancy Wohlforth: Given the madman at the helm, it is understandable that legislators and activists should seek any and all means to rein in Trump. You should not have a situation, moreover, where just one person, whatever their party affiliation, has the sole power to launch a war against a country like Iran.
But returning the war powers to Congress won’t solve the problem. The United States launched its war against Iraq in 2003 with the overwhelming approval of the U.S. Congress. There were only a few dissident voices, namely, Rep. Barbara Lee and Senator Bernie Sanders. Millions of Iraqis died or were driven from their homes and communities by the U.S. war on Iraq, with a vote by the U.S. Congress.
The only way to stop these U.S. wars and interventions abroad is to shut down the U.S. military bases worldwide, bring ALL U.S. troops home now, slash the U.S. war budget, and return to a peace economy here at home — with a Just Transition away from the military-industrial complex.
Question: US Labor Against the War has become reactivated in the recent period. I see that you have endorsed and are actively building the January 25 Global Day of Action Against the War in Iran. Please tell us more.
Nancy Wohlforth: We have a new group of younger trade unionists in our USLAW leadership and on our staff. It’s very exciting.
Last week we participated in a conference-call teach-in that drew 1,200 callers. We have drafted a template resolution against the U.S. war in Iran to be used by unions affiliated with USLAW. I understand that our template resolution was adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council just a few days ago. [See resolution below.]
And we are now actively promoting the Global Day of Action on January 25, which is being built by a united antiwar movement, something that is very encouraging. Though the immediate danger of an all-out war has subsided, we expect a good turnout here in Washington, as people understand that the U.S. government could spark a new war on any continent at any time.
I hope that the International Workers Committee Against War and Exploitation, For a Workers’ International (IWC) will promote this Global Day of Action widely, with unions and antiwar coalitions the world over organizing actions and events that they deem appropriate.
Question: You, Nancy, are a supporter of the IWC and an endorser of the World Conference Against War and Exploitation that will take place in Paris next November. Could you tell us about this effort?
Nancy Wohlforth: The Appeal for this World Conference has been endorsed by unionists and political organizations of diverse backgrounds in more than 50 countries. It will be a gathering place to organize a united fightback against war, exploitation, precarious labor, and “free trade” on all continents.
More than ever we need unity to beat back the warmakers and exploiters. It is not too early to begin making plans to get your unions and organizations to endorse the World Conference and raise the funds needed to send broad-based delegations.
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2) Resolution to Support the Rising Anti-War and Pro-Peace Movement
(adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO, on January 13, 2020)
Whereas, President Trump has placed the whole world on alert and brought the United States closer to war due to the irresponsible assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani; and,
Whereas, President Trump has threatened Iranian cultural sites with attack, a threat which, if carried out, is a war crime; and,
Whereas, the Trump administration recently approved a defense budget that, at $738 billion dollars is higher than all the countries of the world combined despite the continued struggle of workers for health care, housing, and good-paying jobs; and,
Whereas, according to the Wall Street Journal, the United States, governed by both Democratic and Republican administrations, has spent more than $5.6 trillion in involvement in post-9/11 conflicts; and,
Whereas, incalculable harm has been done to the region through the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, the vast majority of them innocent Iraqi citizens; and,
Whereas, unions, the voice of the organized working class, continue to fight for a more just and dignified economy, civil rights, social justice, racial equity and a genuine democracy here at home; and,
Whereas, the AFL-CIO has twice passed anti-war resolutions at its national conventions and made the connection between the cost of war and the need to fund the needs of working people; and,
Whereas, US Labor Against the War, a national organization of unions and other labor organizations founded in January of 2003 to oppose President George Bush’s then threatened war on Iraq, was instrumental in passing the historic 2005 resolution at the national AFL-CIO convention; and,
Whereas, thousands of people in over 90 cities in the United States took to the streets on January 4, 2020, demanding “no war with Iran,” and creating the stirrings of a new anti-war movement; and,
Therefore, be it resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council restates the AFL-CIO’s Resolution 50 passed during its 2017 National Convention, promoting and advocating for a foreign policy based on the international solidarity of all workers, mutual respect of all nations and national sovereignty, and calls upon the president and Congress to make war truly the last resort in our country’s foreign relations, and that we seek peace and reconciliation wherever possible; and,
Be it finally resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council endorses the call for Global Day of Protest– No War on Iran! – on Saturday, January 25, 2020 and will send notification to its delegates inviting them to the actions.
Originally authored by Frank Lara, UESF 61, and USLAW, and adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council on January 13, 2020
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3) Statement by Labor Fightback Network: All Out Jan. 25 to Stop the U.S. War on Iran!
The Labor Fightback Network adds its voice to the global demand to stop the march toward war with Iran!
– Bring all the troops home now!
– End drone, missile and bomber attacks on other countries!
– End sanctions against the peoples of Iran and all other countries!
– Take to the streets on Saturday, January 25th to win these demands!
As our country moves dangerously close to war with Iran, let’s stop this march to war in its tracks! The Trump administration has been ramping up threats of war against Iran ever since Trump departed from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated during the Obama administration.
Secretary of State Pompeo has fabricated and pushed charges against Iran, just like George W. Bush, Mike Cheney and Colin Powell did in 2003 to wage an unjust war on Iraq. Pompeo claimed that the U.S. has shown restraint with Iran, referring to false flag incidents in the Gulf of Oman and an attack on a Japanese tanker in the Straits of Hormuz in May and June 2019, respectively.
Following Trump’s illegal and unconstitutional acts of war, including military attacks in Iraq and Syria on December 30, 2019 and mimicking Obama’s signature policy of assassination by drone of Iran’s top military officer Major General Qassim Suleimani, in Iraq on a diplomatic mission, Trump ordered an additional 3,500 troops to the region.
In a tweet and off-the-cuff response, Trump promised retaliation against any Iranian attack, threatening to target 52 Iranian locations, including cultural sites. This would endanger civilians and constitute a war crime according to international law.
Now that Iran has retaliated with missile attacks on January 6, 2020, on two U.S. military bases in Iraq with no serious casualties, there’s no telling what the Trump administration will do. Despite a recent national address saying there will be no further strike against Iran, Trump offered no strategy, called for further isolation of Iran and rejected any plans for troop withdrawal, as the Iraqi parliament has recently demanded.
Anti-war actions are planned around the nation and the world. Around 200 organizations, including the United National Antiwar Coalition-(UNAC), ANSWER Coalition, Code Pink, Popular Resistance, US Labor Against the War, the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE) and others are calling for a Global Day of Protest – No War on Iran for January 25th, 2020 in Washington DC and across the nation.
The Labor Fightback Network endorses this call for the January 25th Global Protest – No War on Iran. We further call for the U.S. to pull out all troops from Iraq, Syria and the region. End drone strikes and missile assaults on these and all countries. End all acts of war, economic as well as military. We also call for an end to collaboration with Israel and Saudi Arabia in further war designs.
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4) “NO U.S. War on Iran! End the Sanctions! Bring ALL U.S. Troops Home Now!”
Interview with Alan Benjamin, Editor of The Organizer newspaper, published by Socialist Organizer
(reprinted from the Jan. 15, 2020, issue of Tribune des Travailleurs / Workers Tribune, France)
Question: What were the reactions to the Trump aggression against Iran?
Alan Benjamin: The reaction to Trump’s provocation on December 29, when U.S. warplanes bombed a pro-Iranian outpost of Iraqi militias, killing 25 people, and a few days later, to Trump’s order to assassinate Iranian General Qassim Soleimani provoked outrage among huge numbers of people across the United States.
On less than two days’ notice, antiwar demonstrations took place in more than 80 cities across the country on Saturday, January 4, gathering tens of thousands of people in the streets to demand: “No War on Iran! Bring ALL U.S. Troops Home from the Middle East Now! and Money for Jobs and Human Needs, Not War!”
One of the sponsoring organizations of the demonstrations, U.S. Labor Against the War, issued a call to action under the heading, “USLAW: We Say: No War with Iran! U.S. Out of Iraq!” The statement ended as follows: “The working class is the only force powerful enough to bring permanent peace, eradicate white supremacy, and end militarism.”
The main antiwar coalitions — United National Antiwar Coalition, ANSWER coalition, Code Pink, United for Peace and Justice, and Veterans for Peace, among others — issued a joint appeal (the first joint appeal in years) for this day of protest. They were joined by numerous Black organizations, including the Black Alliance for Peace.
The renewed and growing antiwar movement— together with the concern among a wing of the U.S. ruling class that Trump’s action could further destabilize U.S. hegemonic interests in the Middle East — compelled all Democratic Party presidential contenders, even military hawk Joe Biden, to distance themselves from Trump’s acts of war against Iran.
Question: What is the relationship between Trump’s military policy and his overall anti-worker policy?
Alan Benjamin: Trump’s January 8 speech extolling his “perfect” role in assassinating General Soleimani will only embolden Trump’s war at home and abroad, pushing the bipartisan anti-worker drive even further to the right. Take the recent vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, with the full endorsement of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of the NAFTA 2.0 agreement.
Democrat Pelosi handed Trump a victory on this rotten trade deal to show how the Democrats could work closely across the aisle with Republicans on matters in which both ruling-class parties agree. If the Democrats pushed an impeachment process, it’s because they were forced into it by the massive support for both impeachment and removal of Trump.
There is clearly a major crisis in the summits of U.S. imperialism, but this does not negate a joint agreement by the twin parties of the bosses to deepen the war at home against the working class and oppressed people.
Question: What is your assessment of the legislative initiative by Bernie Sanders concerning a war on Iran?
Alan Benjamin: On January 8, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the No War Against Iran Act, which “denies the Pentagon of any funds for unauthorized use of military force against Iran.” Sanders’ speech denouncing Trump and touting his antiwar credentials was fiery. “The American people are sick and tired of endless wars,” he said. “Nonetheless, the Trump administration has impulsively brought us to the brink of a disastrous and unnecessary war with Iran.”
But here’s the catch: The U.S. war on Iraq — which has taken the lives of more than 1 million Iraqis and thousands of U.S. soldiers, and which has funneled trillions of dollars to the military-industrial complex, away from social programs and human needs — was authorized by the U.S. Congress. Only a few members of Congress voted against the war.
To insist that the task at hand is to “ensure that Congress reassert its Constitutional Authority and rein in Trump’s war on Iran” is to legitimize a war on Iran that is approved by the U.S. Congress — that is, by the very same Congress that last year voted to give Trump $700 billion in military appropriations (even more funds than Trump had requested) and that approved sanctions on Iran, another form of warfare, which have created untold hardships for the workers and poor in Iran. Congressional approval for Trump’s war on Iran, though unlikely at this stage, could very well be just one provocation away.
Question: What is the position of Socialist Organizer?
Alan Benjamin: Socialist Organizer sinks its roots in the best traditions of the Socialist Workers Party of the 1960s in building a mass-based, broad “Out Now!” Vietnam antiwar movement.
We endorsed and participated in the January 4 actions and in all subsequent antiwar demonstrations. Our supporters are drafting antiwar resolutions to be submitted to their unions and community organizations.
We seek to widen the rifts in the U.S. ruling class in opposition to war, but we believe that the call for only “authorized” funding for use of military force against Iran is an obstacle to building an independent, united-front antiwar movement focused solely on NO U.S. War in the Middle East! End the Sanctions! Bring ALL U.S. Troops Home Now! These demands must be the central axis for building an antiwar movement that can stay the hands of the warmakers.
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5) STATEMENT of the POID (France) — January 6, 2020: Trump, Macron: Hands off Iraq and Iran!
Following the US attacks on Iranian targets in Iraq, the deliberate assassination of an Iranian general and Trump’s threat that “52 Iranian sites (…), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, (…) will be hit very fast and very hard”, the workers and peoples are terror-stricken by the sight of the world teetering on the brink of war with incalculable consequences.
The Democratic Independent Workers Party (POID) condemns the military aggression by the Trump administration, which bears the responsibility for this move towards another war on Iraq and Iran.
The POID stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the workers and peoples of Iraq and Iran, who do not want another war.
It stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the workers and the labour and Black organisations of the United States that rallied on 4 January in Washington, New York, Chicago and 70 other cities to say: “No War On Iran!”, “U.S. Troops Out of Iraq!”, “We will not allow our country to be dragged into another war!”
The POID strongly condemns the statements by Macron on 5 January, declaring his “full support” for Trump and his acts of provocation.
Not only is Macron “showing solidarity” with Trump, he is also daring to demand that Iran “puts and end” to its “destabilising” activities and “abstains from any measure of military escalation”. As if it were not the Trump administration that bears responsibility for the “destabilisation” and “military escalation”!
Should we be surprised at Macron lining up with Trump, when he is engaged in a war on the workers in France with his pensions counter-reform, and does not hide his subordination to the big US pension funds, recently even awarding the title of Officer of the Legion of Honour to the boss of the French subsidiary of the US investment fund BlackRock?
The POID is not fooled by Trump and Macron talking up “terrorist threats” by Iran; it remembers the fact that in 2003, Bush and Blair cooked up the lie about “weapons of mass destruction” in order to invade Iraq. The POID is not fooled by Trump and Macron making allegations about the nature of the Iranian regime, when they are arming and financing the Saudi feudal monarchy and applauded the military coup in Bolivia.
Both Macron and Trump, who are threatening Iran and Iraq with a deluge of fire and steel, are at the same time pretending to protest against “foreign interference” in Libya, when the chaos that reigns in that country is precisely the result of the interference in 2011 by the governments of the United States and France, both NATO members!
A participant in the International Workers Committee Against War and Exploitation, For a Workers’ International (IWC), and a participant in the International Conference Against War and Exploitation on 5 and 6 November 2020 in Paris, the Democratic Independent Workers Party affirms, more than ever:
Down with war! Down with exploitation!
Trump, Macron: Hands off Iraq and Iran!
French and US troops out of Iraq now!
— 6 January 2020