Even Bernie Wants to Bomb Syria: Challenges to Anti-Imperialist, Anti-War Organizing Today

Panel/Workshop Organizer Last Name: 
Steffin
Panel/Workshop Organizer First Name: 
John
Panel/Workshop Organizer Affiliation: 
Workers World Party
Host/Sponsor: 
Workers World Newspaper
Abstract: 
On April 6, the US military launched 59 tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase. It was an event that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross described as “after-dinner entertainment” for those gathered at Mar-a-Lago that night. Nevertheless, politicians of every stripe applauded the action, including Bernie Sanders. Why is this? What is missing in your politics—especially your “socialist” politics—that allows you to justify war, even its “after-dinner” varieties? From “humanitarian interventions” to theories of “self-defense,” the US capitalists, their political representatives, and the bourgeois media have saturated the discourse with justification for war. In this panel, we will examine why these and other theories are distractions. To understand war, you must understand the underlying economy of war, why wars are waged and who they are waged against. This panel will analyze war from a Leninist perspective, grounded in anti-imperialist politics. We will spend the first half of the presentation outlining Lenin’s definition of imperialism, applying this to contemporary states today, and distinguishing an imperialist state (the US) from a mere capitalist state (Russia) and a socialist state (China). The second half will provide a materialist analysis of why anti-war news is virtually extinct in professional journalism today and how we choose a side in imperialist war and take our position to the streets.
Pan-African News Wire and Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice