The Guardian June 6, 2001

The importance of the peace movement

by Ellen Perlo*

The most important issue facing mankind is the abolition of all instruments 
of mass destruction  including nuclear, chemical, biological and any 
other as yet undeveloped  on earth or in space. This has been the primary 
concern of peace movements ever since the US dropped the atom bomb on 
Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Since the end of World War II, the Soviet Union, then the only other 
country with a nuclear arsenal, repeatedly urged the destruction of these 
weapons and one-sidedly pledged that it would not make a first strike.

US policymakers refused to emulate this pledge and, instead, continued to 
develop ever more deadly weapons in greater quantities  forcing the USSR 
to do the same.

Since the fall of the European socialist countries a decade ago, the 
official US line has been that the "cold war" has ended. Of course, we 
dispute that assertion.

Destroying socialism and the absolute subjugation of humanity to the profit 
interests of transnational capitalism remains the highest priority on the 
agenda of US imperialism.

Since the diminution of the powerful influence formerly exerted by the 
socialist bloc, especially by the Soviet Union, the unbridled greed of US 
imperialism has wrought war and devastation, practically unopposed, 
throughout the world.

It is not necessary to detail the countries that have been bombed, invaded, 
subverted, pauperised, privatised, subjected to boycotts and sanctions, to 
internationally-banned chemical and nuclear carnage, to the imposition of 
US designated dictators, financial restrictions, military occupation and 
transnational corporate takeovers.

In other words, without the Soviet veto in the United Nations, and without 
the possibility of its intervention, without the socialist voice for 
peaceful solutions, the controlling financial/military/industrial rulers of 
America are determined to carry out their agenda, finally.

Of course, there has been and there is now resistance. All peace groups 
have not been disbanded and silenced; unions have made some positive 
declarations; there have been demonstrations  some even written up in the 
press and shown on TV. But too few. And for the most part, specific actions 
counter to US policy are either denigrated or ignored as the media attacks 
on China and Cuba "keep the pot boiling".

Seattle was a bright exception, and there have been others, here and 
abroad. The European Union has resisted some US attempts to dominate and, 
in fact, throughout the world, among peoples in the developing countries 
victimised by American diktats, the United States is hated, as well as 

But media manipulation has, to too great an extent, been successful in 
fragmenting groups of activists, diverting them away from "peace" actions 
into a variety of controversial problems, problems that would not be issues 
if a thunderous peace coalition formed a real end to military dominance so 
that most civilian and social issues could easily be financed and they 
would no longer be problems!

It is important to stress certain aspects of US policy:

* its publicised assertion that the US is now the sole superpower and, as 
such, claims to have hegemony over the world;

* its build-up of military forces and their dispersal all over the globe so 
as to ensure a safe "climate" for US globalisation of finance and industry; 
and to prevent any popular uprisings against US approved  or imposed  

* its determination to eliminate all vestiges of socialism/communism.

That has been the priority since the end of World War II when, with the 
defeat of the Axis, US officials were already speculating that the next 
major conflict would be with the USSR. And there is much documentation over 
the years to show that objective has never been relinquished.

The US military build-up, especially of high tech and nuclear weapons, was 
 and still is  directed at the vast resources-rich lands of Russia and 
its former republics.

Until its 1991 demise, the Soviet Union's retaliatory nuclear power 
prevented Armageddon. Russia's retaliatory ability still exists. Without 
that deterrent, American imperialism would be a horrendous threat to all 
mankind  especially with the current administration in control.

Thus, the primary thrust of US diplomacy at the present time is to try to 
subvert Russian leaders so they bow to Washington's demands to destroy 
their nuclear armaments, giving the US military nuclear superiority.

Let's consider the case of the USSR. Its ruination, its decline into a 
poverty-stricken, corrupt, privatised morass of downtrodden people has been 
painful to watch.

The American "experts" who flocked to Moscow and introduced "free 
enterprise democracy" so US corporations and brash Russian opportunists and 
criminals could appropriate the rich natural resources, the industry, the 
irreplaceable cultural treasures  and garner billions of dollars in the 
process  has been an example for all the world's people to decry. It 
could, and would  if not stopped  happen to them.

The bombing of Iraq, in February, foreshadows the unbridled arrogance of a 
commander-in-chief who can, with impunity, direct the murder of civilians.

In the long run, the course of US imperialism is dangerous to the very 
existence of life. In the short run, only the elite prosper, the rich and 
the powerful. It is clear that these policies, including military 
objectives, victimise the vast majority of people  the working class  
in the US and globally.

Hopefully, the forces opposed to the carefully orchestrated manoeuvrings of 
the imperialist conspiracy will unite and be strong enough to stop this 

There has never been a more crucial time for the peace forces everywhere to 
unite, to gather tens of millions of strong voices and to coordinate mass 
actions across the globe.

As Americans, it is imperative that we protest, that we do everything 
possible to halt and reverse this agenda. And it is more than timely for 
our party [Communist Party USA] to set up a peace commission that can be 
part of a united US peace movement, can be instrumental in inaugurating a 
global peace movement.

A CPUSA peace and solidarity commission can participate in organising 
ongoing actions and demonstrations; can coordinate activities; can keep us 
all informed of events; can communicate through our press and journal, 
telecommunications and the internet; can do all that is necessary to see to 
it that we are involved in such actions.

The CPUSA has much to contribute to a vital, mass peace action: a long and 
abiding anti-imperialist outlook; a clear perspective on the need for a 
broad coalition, for united action; understanding of the seriousness of the 
threat that we are facing and that it is essential to reverse the 
imperialist program before it is too late.

In the past, when the US peace movement was large enough and vocal enough 
to force an end to the Vietnam War, our members were leaders in many of the 
diverse local and regional peace groups engaged in the mass protests.

Our members have leadership abilities; they understand the motivations of 
the power elite and can analyse situations as they arise; they carry 
through on their assignments. We have been effective in the past, and we 
must be again. Never has the urgency been greater.

There is nothing more important than the fight for peace. Nothing!

* * *
* People's Weekly World, The Struggle for Democracy: A Discussion

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