There are three forces that can end this war and bring the troops home. The first is the Iraqi people themselves, who can defeat the American army through a war of attrition and general resistance. The second is a movement of the American people that builds its own autonomous power and forces American elites to abandon their imperial project in Iraq. And a third movement could involve American soldier resistance and refusal. In all likelihood, it will be a combination of all three that will end the war.

Since we are against the war and located in the US, we should concentrate on what we can do and how we should build and orient our part of this movement.


The political parties represent the interests of the ruling class. Further, their top-down national structures make it impossible to persuade either party to our cause, regardless of what the grassroots in each party wants. Attempting to engage elites through participation in institutions they control is futile. And any solutions that would come from such a process would not represent the interests of common Americans or the Iraqi people. All political parties once in power make war, if not abroad, then at home.

We need to build a grassroots, direct action anti-war movement that is capable of forcing the elites to stop the war. Towards that end we need to take a firm position against allowing politicians, parties and their affiliated organizations into our movement. Organizations like helped destroy the anti-war movement in the early days of the war by turning it into an electoral movement for pro-war John Kerry. The leadership of both parties is pro-war and of no use to us. Building our own autonomous power in which leadership comes from the grassroots - independent of political parties - will end this war and help make sure there are no more like it in the future.


There is little doubt that wars both feed on and encourage racism at home. The American elite depends on white people’s allegiance to their skin privilege to maintain their systems of profit and war. Attacks on Muslims, Middle Eastern Americans and immigrants are not a side effect of the war – they reflect the centrality of racism to the war. We cannot end this war without putting the struggle against white supremacy right up front. Our movement needs to stand firmly with people of color and immigrants and defend their rights and participation within and outside of the movement. White, patriotic vigilante groups like the Minutemen and the American Legion must be vigorously opposed.


The war against Iraq reflects elite American and international interests. And not everyone fighting or organizing in Iraq has the interests of the Iraqi people at heart. However, choosing our movement’s allies in Iraq based on whether they engage in armed resistance is not a useful criterion. The Iraqi people have a right to resist foreign occupation with arms. However, we should not support fascist elements within the resistance, such as Zarqawi and Baathists, merely because they also oppose American intervention.

Fortunately, plenty of groups deserve our direct support, including material aid. The Union of Unemployed Iraqis, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq represent some possibilities. We need to help support the Iraqi people’s fight against fascist elements in Iraq, be they American, Iraqi or foreign Islamic.

While Iraq under Saddam was no paradise for women, their rights have come under major attack since the US invasion. International solidarity is an important tool for supporting the struggles of women in Iraq to preserve and expand their rights. Further, building genuine domestic support in America for anti-fascist Iraqis undermines the war effort abroad.


Many in the disproportionately white and middle class anti-war movement have cheered what they consider the mainstreaming of the anti-war movement with the recent Cindy Sheehan encampment. The influx into the movement of white, middle class people in this context is viewed as a major triumph for the re-emerging anti-war movement. Growing numbers are good.

But beyond the numbers, the tendency to put white, middle class people in charge of the movement or to treat them as the legitimate or legitimizing section of the movement represents a failure of analysis and a move towards recuperation by the war-making system. Those most affected by the war are not middle class whites. Their leadership is a step backward for the anti-war movement, as is the re-framing of the anti-war movement’s message toward this segment of the population. It is a false notion to believe that middle class elements are capable of ending this war in a way that prevents future wars.

The fact is the war is not an isolated phenomenon. It takes place within a specific domestic political context and it is aimed primarily at the working classes and poor of the world – particularly people of color. There is a war at home and that makes the war abroad possible. The two are linked. Both American troops in Iraq and cops in our neighborhoods are armies of occupation representing the domination of the rich and powerful. Abu Gharib cannot be separated from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's internationally condemned jails. The Phoenix PD cannot be separated from the 1st Infantry Division. Blackwater Security fights in Iraq and New Orleans. If our movement makes these links clear we can avoid the co-optation of the movement by mainstream elements and build a militant and radical grassroots power. In the end, that benefits everyone.


Our movement needs to stand firmly against both arguments being made by dissenting factions within the parties. Those who say the war in Iraq was a mistake or that it is merely being fought incorrectly are making arguments that in the end boost the American imperialist project by holding out the possibility of correcting American policy. It may prove that elite goals in Iraq were always unachievable, but we should be against those goals regardless. Engaging in an argument about how this war could have been won gives legitimacy to the goals of the elite class in Iraq. If we break free from the national security debate we can make it clear that it's American policies that make us unsafe. The military does not protect us - it is a tool for achieving elite policies. A debate about restructuring or redeploying the military does not advance the cause of human freedom. We must stand for self-determination for the world’s people and against imperialism.


It is correct to argue for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. However, we must not serve to merely correct elite policy. Any withdrawal of troops must not merely provide the opportunity for redeploying them into other wars or occupations. We must make sure that our call for withdrawal is tied inextricably to massive reductions or elimination of the state's war-making capability. We should stand against those on the left and the right who would expand the size of the army. Out of Iraq and out of the army should be our slogan. Support for soldier resistance, desertion, sabotage and conscientious objection is vital.


In the end our analysis must recognize that governments make wars for the profit of an elite class. The profits from those wars are then defended domestically by the same government. Any movement that doesn’t seek to destroy capitalism and the state promises us nothing but more wars. Our vision must include a radical re-organization of society, from the bottom up. The anarchist vision of a society based on participation, mutual aid, cooperation and free association offers the best jumping off point to a world free from wars, poverty, alienation and drudgery.