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 feared. 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 — regimes; * 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 mania. 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 http://www.pww.org