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(en) South Africa: End the wars, fight the system!

From Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation <zabfed@zabalaza.net>
Date Mon, 29 Mar 2004 13:23:12 +0200 (CEST)

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Across the world, ordinary people are taking a stand against the evils
of war, of armed occupation, and of corporate greed. People are
fighting back against this world, and aspiring to something better. As
revolutionary anarchists we immerse ourselves in these struggles,
knowing that only direct action can make a difference.
The question that must be answered, though, is where are we going? What
changes are we trying to make? What sort of world do we want? To known
what we want, we must know what we are fighting.

We are fighting a system that generates war: the capitalist system.
Here, profit and power are the order of the day. Every country in the
world is ruled by a minority - a ruling class. The ruling class is
organised in corporations and defended
through the State - its own private military machine.

It is this elite club of the super-rich, the big businessmen, big
politicians, and top officials, who really decide what happens in the
world. Elections cannot shackle them; appeals to conscience cannot sway
them; only popular struggle can stop them; only direct action by the
workers and the poor ourselves can stop them.

Everybody else is just cannon fodder for this group. Workers work, and
create wealth for the wealthy; soldiers fight and die, and create power
for the generals who dictate death from safe offices. Poor people
working the land grow food that they don’t eat, so that they can feed
those who own the land.

Each country has a ruling class. And, of course, the ruling classes of
different countries don’t all see eye-to-eye. This causes wars. Each
ruling class mobilises its workers and poor farmers and soldiers under
anyone of a number of weapons of mass deception: the need to "defend
democracy", "fight terrorism", "eliminate weapons of mass destruction"
(USA), the need to "defend independence", "resist imperialism", "resist
Zionism" (Iraq). The soldiers do the dying, the workers do the
suffering, the poor farmers do the starving. After the war, things go
back to the normal state of "peacetime": the rulers rule, the masses
suffer. Deals are made. Money changes hands. The system continues.

One group of rulers - for example, the tiny elite who rules in the USA
- falls out with another group - the old Iraqi ruling class that was
headed by Saddam Hussein (who was once strongly supported by the USA -
at a time when he actually had and was using weapons of mass
destruction). When the Iraqi regime stopped doing what the US elite
wanted, and attacked the people they didn’t want attacked (Kuwait)
instead of those they did (Iran), Saddam became more useful as an enemy
than as a friend.

To keep workers and farmers obeying their own bosses, it helps to fill
them with fear and hate for some monstrous enemy - imperialists,
‘communists’, Americans, Russians, Germans, Iraqis or some mysterious
‘terrorists’. Throughout the 1990s Saddam was one such ‘enemy’ to the
United States, someone for ordinary Americans to dread - while the
Iraqi people were starved with ‘sanctions’ and bombed whenever the US
rulers felt like it.

Patriotism was used to confuse ordinary people in the US. They were
told to blame all their problems on the "evil" Iraqis never mind the
fact that Bill Gates personally has more wealth than the bottom 45% of
US households and that in 1999, top executives earned 419 times the
wage of a blue-collar worker, up from a difference of 42 to 1 in 1980.
This is directly due to the vicious implementation of neo-liberal /
privatisation policies within the US itself.

The fundamental interests of the ruling class are not affected by
elections: the broad lines of State policy continue regardless of the
party in power. The US ruling class has been intensely interested in
projecting and maintaining its power in key areas of the world,
including the Middle East.

With the implosion of the rival ruling class of the Soviet Union - not
a "socialist" country but a state capitalist dictatorship - the US
turned its attention to projecting its power into "Third World" trouble
spots. This rethink was driven by the need to prevent instability in a
key oil producing region, and the need to structure the world economy
around the interests of the US ruling class. A "new world order" with
the ruling classes of the world disciplined under US leadership.

Iraq was one target. A former US ally against the Islamic regime in
Iran - a dictatorship that was openly anti-US - Iraq broke ranks by
pursuing its own sub-imperial interests in the region by invading
Kuwait. The US invaded in 1991 and then imposed sanctions throughout
the 1990s, leading to possibly a million deaths through lack of food,
medicines and so on.

In 2003, the US settled accounts with a full-scale invasion and
occupation. With the rise of George Bush II - the plan for Iraq
switched from starvation and occasional terror to invasion and
conquest. The crime of September 11 2001 was used to whip many ordinary
Americans into a frenzy of fear and hatred, opening the way for an
attack based on all kinds of excuses ("weapons of mass destruction" and
so on), now clearly exposed as lies for all to see.

Of course, part of the interest in occupying Iraq is to establish a
friendly regime in the county that has the world’s second largest oil
reserves. But the US was able to survive without Iraqi oil in the 1990s
- this was one of the sanctions - and the US is not in fact directly
involved in oil production itself in most Middle eastern countries:
there is no need, it can simply buy the oil on the world market.

The war is thus more than just oil. It is, in part, ALSO about
disciplining the region - the US wishes to prevent oil profits going to
ruling classes that it doesn’t trust: Ecuador, Iran, Libya, Saudi
Arabia, Venezuela, Pakistan etc. Iran has extremist Islamic clerics,
Saudi Arabia a ruling class divided between neo-liberalism and Islamic
fundamentalism, Venezuela an unreliable "populist" regime, Libya has
Gaddhafi, etc.

As the world’s largest buyer of oil, the US ruling class wants to be
sure its money goes into reliable hands, not into unpredictable and
unstable regimes. Equally, it aims to secure outlets for its
military-industrial machine, a vast sector of the US economy that could
not operate without ongoing wars and the government contracts. "Rogue"
regimes like Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iraq help keep the complex
running; if there were no "rogues", some would have to be found.

It is for exactly the same reason that the US supports Israel: a
reliable, well-armed ally. Israel can be counted on to stand by the US
in a way that the Saudi royal family simply cannot. This is why the US
supports Israel with billions of dollars in aid, weapons and other
support every year, and turns a deaf ear to the suffering and cries of
the Palestinians.

For its part, the Israeli ruling class - not all the same thing as
ordinary Israeli workers and farmers - is keen on projecting its power
in the region - and within its own borders, where it practices racial
segregation and the most brutal forms of national oppression against
the Palestinians.

With the rise of the European Union (EU), the unipolar world created by
the Soviet collapse has come into question. The old situation - two
main power blocs challenging each other for world domination - is
re-emerging, centred this time on the US and the EU.

The real reason why the main players in the EU - the ruling classes in
Germany and France - were opposed to the war is that they don’t want
the US to be too powerful. They too want to project their power into
the Middle East. They also believe that US war mongering is a dangerous
approach that could fuel the very instability it supposedly prevents.
That is also why they favour a more progressive settlement in Israel.
Not because they are moral, and "nicer" than Bush, but because their
own interests differ.

However, the EU was not able to stop the US from going to war. First,
the US is still far more powerful economically and militarily than the
EU. Secondly, the EU is still a state in the process of formation. It
is an attempt to merge the oldest and most powerful ruling classes in
Europe into a single elite. But the process is slow and not working too
well, Spain, Italy and Britain went with the US; France and Germany did
not. Without internal unity, the EU was proved itself too weak to
effectively challenge the US. For now!

Clearly, the ruling classes often clash with each other, with the
workers and poor caught in the crossfire. But there is one issue on
which every ruling class agrees - the need to keep the social system of
class inequality going, the need to maintain a "normal" situation, that
is, the need to keep the rulers on top, and everyone else underneath,
that is, the need to keep capitalism going. Morals and principles don’t

So, how do we go about stopping the rich on their march to global
warfare? We start by realising that working and poor people, no matter
where we live or come from, our skin colour, our gender, our sexual
preference, whatever, we all have the same things in common - like
decent housing, good food and clean water - and we should let this
unite us instead of letting the bosses lies divide us. Another thing
that we need to do is to deprive them of their power (money) by
striking them where it hurts most - their wallets. We can only do this
by taking over the workplaces - we, the workers, built them after all -
and start running them in our own, the workers and poor’s, interests
and not in the interests of the bosses. Not only will this put an end
to the problems that we face here but will also give those facing the
invading armies a break because the bosses will have no profits with
which to carry on their wars and will have to deal with us causing too
much trouble for them. We obviously need to do this on a worldwide
scale across all artificial divides, like the borders they have created
around "their" turf.

So what is needed is a radical mass movement of all the working and
poor exploited and oppressed people who are ready to take back their
lives by taking over their workplaces and communities and putting them
under self-management; who are committed to grassroots direct democracy
against all forms of hierarchy, who are willing to drop their
each-against-all attitude and work together for radical social change
and to put an end to the crazy power system of dog-eat-dog capitalism.

Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation


[text of a leaflet handed out at the anti-war demonstrations in
Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa on 20th March]

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