Labor Party Interim
National Council Statement Against War in Iraq
The Labor Party believes in the American Dream of opportunity, fairness
and justice. We stand for a world that values working people, their
families and communities. That vision includes the right of all people
to live in peace and security.
We and our children are the first to be sent to war.
We are the first to die on the battlefield.
Always, working people have risen to the defense of our country and
the principles of freedom and justice.
We have earned the right to speak out on questions of war and peace.
We have fought for the freedom to have our voices heard.
And today we exercise those rights:
We oppose the war in Iraq.
We oppose it because it will kill thousands of innocent people.
We oppose it because it will hurt, not bolster our security.
We oppose it because it will undercut our liberties and squander our
We oppose it because it will strengthen the hand of those who seek
to impose their corporate agenda at our expense.
The brutal and senseless attack on 9/11 horrified our nation and the
people of the world. The slaughter moved billions of people to open
their hearts in sympathy and support for our people. Our grief was
theirs as they urged their governments to bring to justice those who
attacked us. The attacks reminded us all that our collective security
required cooperation. And cooperation among our nations and peoples
began to grow.
In one short year, the Bush Administration has squandered this good
will with its push for war in Iraq. In the court of world opinion,
our nation stands virtually alone. The cooperation needed to protect
our shores from terrorists grows weaker. We are becoming less, not
We are alone because the Bush Administration's war is unjust.
Let there be no mistake about it. The Labor Party supports the legitimate
use of security to protect our country and its people from terrorist
attacks from domestic and international sources. But this war is being
carried out under the Bush Administration's new doctrine of preemption.
They claim the right to attack, invade and occupy any country that
is perceived as a threat. This violates our sense of fairness and
Certainly, Saddam Hussein and his regime are brutal and violent. He
is not alone. The world is full of leaders who crush their own people.
Many punish and torture their own citizens for speaking out. Many
condone and profit from sweatshops that use young children as disposable
labor. Many have weapons of mass destruction.
Does our security require that we go to war with each of them? Who
makes that decision? Do we no longer support the concept of an international
community bound by mutual rights, duties and obligations? Or are the
interests of the international community trumped when access to valuable
resources—such as oil—is at stake?
The Bush doctrine of preemption will not make the world safer for
our children. It will not protect us from real threats to our security.
Preemption means permanent war.
And with permanent war comes the loss of civil liberties and economic
well-being. Already, the rights of citizens, innocent immigrants,
and unions are being violated as the war in Iraq is cynically used
to divert attention from the one-sided class war against us at home.
Already, the disgraceful "Homeland Security" bill has been used to
attack the meager collective bargaining rights of federal workers.
Already, the smokescreen of "national security" has been used to invoke
the hated Taft-Hartley law against the International Longshore and
Warehouse Union (ILWU) in an effort to tip the balance of power in
favor of the waterfront bosses.
In the name of national security, we face more surveillance, more
suspicion, and more rules to prevent unionization. Immigrant workers
are scapegoated and coerced into silence while those who grow rich
from their labor are rewarded with tax breaks and government contracts.
In the name of preemption, economic resources will be squandered to
fight endless wars. Plant closings and layoffs accelerate as the recession
is worsened by enormous war expenditures and the steadily rising price
of oil. Our healthcare system continues to melt down while millions
of health care workers are ordered to submit to a potentially deadly
vaccination program in the name of national security.
Meanwhile, our children and co-workers are increasingly becoming "economic
conscripts". They are forced into the armed services in order to obtain
what should be theirs by right—a steady job, access to higher education,
healthcare for themselves and their family.
Labor must lead.
Working people, both here and abroad, reject the path of preemption
and war. War, terror and the destruction that they visit on working
people must be repudiated as substitutes for negotiations and diplomacy.
The drive to war and the attack on workers at home has produced willing
accomplices in both political parties. We reaffirm our call for independent
working class politics. Both political parties are beholden to the
same corporate interests that drive the global policies of the Bush
Administration. With this war, they are prepared to sacrifice not
only our economic well-being but also our very lives—and the lives
of thousands of innocents around the world—to the global corporations
who are this policy's only beneficiaries.
The Labor Party opposes the launching of military force against Iraq.
We re-affirm our stand against appeals to "homeland security" as pretext
for attacks on the rights of immigrants, working people and their
unions. We endorse U.S. Labor Against the War and urge all Labor Party
members, affiliates and endorsers to support and participate in this
national union coalition opposing the Iraqi war.
We call upon our brothers and sisters to rise up in defense of our
country by opposing the pernicious doctrine of preemption and this
war without end.