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(en) US, Open Letter to Anti-War/Anti-Occupation Movement from Monsoon Anarchist Collective

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 22 Mar 2004 11:45:28 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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Valley anarchists have actively opposed imperialist warmongering
since September 11th. Several months ago, when some anarchists
decided to plan a March 20th anti-occupation demo, we put out an
invitation beyond just anarchist channels to help us plan the
action, in order to include other points of view. The organization
meetings that followed disappointed and alienated us for several
reasons. As certain non-anarchists started attending planning
meetings, they rolled back and eventually eliminated original
points of unity that had already been agreed upon: namely,
solidarity with the Iraqi people who are resisting their new colonial
oppressors, as they resisted the brutal U.S. puppet, Saddam
Hussein; calling for an end to occupation; and organizing the
demonstration on a decentralized basis. They accomplished this by
refusing to respect the process of the meeting, interrupting and
talking over whoever was speaking, and not waiting their turn to
speak. This rude bullying behavior, so similar to U.S. foreign
policy, intimidated the quieter meeting attendees, and eventually
drove most of the anarchists away entirely. We would like to take
this opportunity to explain why we believe the original points of
unity represent not just anarchist opinion, but the only principled
way to confront the new American empire.

There are two reasons why we stand in solidarity with the Iraqi
people in their struggle to free themselves from the yoke of
occupation by whatever means necessary. The first is that we
believe, along with the vast majority of humanity, that every
people have an absolute right to self-determination. Any military
conquest, whether for economic exploitation, displacement for
settling, or mass extermination, is an inherently racist, colonialist,
and imperialist crime against humanity. This is not a radical
point-of-view in and of itself. It's been the consensus of
International Law for over fifty years. This global consensus
prevails whether or not the United Nations, hopelessly
compromised by reliance on U.S. support, can enforce
International Law. That's the second reason we stand in solidarity
with the Iraqi resistance: ONLY international grassroots solidarity
has the power to enforce respect for human rights for everyone,
everywhere. An injury to one is an injury to all! Although it might
seem politic or expedient to proclaim support for our troops, they
are, after all, just mercenaries. Everyone who enlisted in the
military knew that they could be commanded to kill other human
beings or even sacrifice their own lives. The only support we owe
U.S. troops is to inform them that International Law protects their
rights to refuse to carry out illegal orders, indeed, requires such
refusal; and to help them if they choose not to commit human
rights violations. Supporting U.S. troops and demonstrating
against war instead of against illegal occupation is an obvious
attempt at aligning with conservative Americans against the
majority of humans everywhere. The ten-year war against Iraq,
during most of which a Democrat was president, ended a year ago,
and Iraq lost. We should be supporting the Iraqis who are fighting
FOR their autonomy AGAINST the illegal occupation of their
country. In this context, marching for peace could be construed as
supporting the illegal and immoral conquest of Iraq. Celebrating
the anniversary of the U.S. invasion with a carnival, which was
suggested by certain non-anarchists at the planning meetings, is
the gravest of insults to the people who have died in this
occupation. Inviting Democratic Party politicians to speak at the
demo and marching to the Republican Party headquarters are just
weak political maneuvers to hide the fact that Republicans and
Democrats are virtually interchangeable. In fact, the Democrats
are poised to nominate one of the most reactionary candidates in
their party- they certainly don't deserve to be rewarded for their
shameless pandering to the military-industrial complex. We refuse
to have our principled opposition to imperialism be co-opted into
support for just another new emperor!

Lastly, we are disappointed that certain non-anarchists who took
over the organizing of this event discarded broad-based diversity of
tactics coalition building. It is only by allowing autonomy for each
individual and group to bring their own viewpoints, with their own
nuances, in their own way, to every demonstration that we can
build a movement strong enough to challenge the status quo.
Marching in the streets for a cause requires passion and
commitment. How many people can muster up any passion at all
for the watered down, lowest common denominator homogeneous
message that has been proffered as the official message of this
event? Instead of building common cause with other people and
groups who are committed to opposing U.S. military hegemony,
certain organizers of this event felt they had more in common with
the Phoenix Police Department. The police have historically only
been an enemy of peace, freedom, and the anti-war movement. To
collaborate with the police is a slap in the face to anyone who has
been brutalized or raped by the police, seen loved ones brutalized
or killed by the police, or has been arrested for being a person of
color and/or queer, or for standing in the streets at a protest. The
only fathomable reason to speak with the police would be to try to
convince them not to violently attack the protesters. This would
undoubtedly have to come with an agreement that the protesters
would remain docile and ineffective. You want peace, right? Then
why cooperate with the biggest gang in the country; the ones who
can legally commit violence against the people because they have
badges and guns? You want change, right? Then why cooperate
with an institution whose interest lies with the state and not with
change? To expand upon that briefly, it is our opinion that you
cannot have peace as long as the state exists, because those in
power will always have a monopoly on violence and will be able to
do much more damage than anyone without a state. Hierarchy
begets violence. Violence will always exist on some scale; it exists
in nature. But the power relations of nation-states are violent a

In addition to presenting our point of view to everyone who has
come out here today, there are several other steps we as anarchists
and as concerned human beings are taking to make our movement
more effective. First, we will be organizing to oppose the lies and
empty promises of military recruiters on high school and
community college campuses. Second, we will be strategizing to
encourage meaningful resistance amongst those who are already
in the military, and among civilians working for war-profiteering
corporations. Of course, we will continue in our work of making
sources of news and information that are viable alternatives to the
corporate media more available to everyone. If any of these
projects are of interest, please keep in contact with the Monsoon
Anarchist Collective via our website: phoenixanarchist.org.
Finally, we recommend that those who are as upset as we are
about the errors that have been made in the organization of this
event make an effort to become more involved in future
organizing, or organize their own events, like several of the
anarchists have. And if in fact they are interested in equalizing
power, we would suggest that some of the non-anarchist attendees
of the March 20th organizing meetings educate themselves about
consensus process and meeting facilitation. These are aspects of
organizing that many local anarchist groups utilize to ensure that
no one has power over others, and that everyone can be heard.
Hopefully, we can all learn from these mistakes and build a
movement that will eventually succeed in transforming the world.

Link: http://www.phoenixanarchist.org/

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