Hammer, Sickle and Four logo
The Internationalist
January 2020

From Obama to Trump: Down with U.S. Murder, Inc.

Defeat U.S. Imperialism – Defend Iran!

For International Workers Action –
Drive the Imperialists Out of the Middle East

The January 2 assassination of Qassim Suleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, by a U.S. drone strike was a blatant “act of war” – but more than that, it was the opening salvo of a U.S. imperialist war on Iran. In ordering the murder of the second most powerful leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, U.S. president Donald Trump left the regime no choice but to retaliate against the marauding superpower that threatens its very existence. In this war, class-conscious workers and revolutionaries everywhere have a side: the Internationalist Group and League for the Fourth International call to defeat U.S. imperialism and defend Iran. We call in particular for international workers action against Washington’s war.

Internationalist Group, Revolutionary Internationalist Youth and Class Struggle Education Workers at January 4 protest in New York's Times Square against U.S. assassination of Iranian leader. (Internationalist photo)

Saner minds among U.S. rulers question if Trump weighed the consequences his murderous strike entailed, suggesting that it was an “impulsive” act. The New York Times headlined that it was, “For Trump, a Risky Gamble to Deter Iran.” Nonsense. It was a brazen provocation to force Iran to escalate. Times analysts opine that “the possibility of an unintended slide to war is impossible to rule out.” Unintended? Slide to war?  The Pentagon brass who carried out this act of state terrorism knew full well that they were starting a war. They figure that the U.S.’ “overwhelming military might” will prevail. But for all Trump’s talk of pulling out of the region, the U.S. will be bogged down in the quicksands of the Middle East for years to come. Already he is dispatching thousands more troops to the region.

Trump’s claim that his action was a response to an attack by a pro-Iranian Iraqi militia that killed a U.S. mercenary is ludicrous. The U.S. president clearly intends to use this war to divert attention from the impeachment process against him now in high gear. He may succeed in that, not because people “rally ’round the flag” – a huge majority are sick of Mideast wars – but because the rhetoric in Washington about Trump “betraying U.S. interests” in Ukraine will be largely drowned out amidst a new bloodbath. Of course, the Republican in the White House isn’t the first to use this cynical ploy. When Democrat Bill Clinton was being impeached for an affair with an intern (“Monicagate”), he fired off missiles to hit targets in Iraq. Today, Trump’s action has far-reaching and ominous consequences.

Imperialist bully Trump also launched his war figuring it would put the Democratic Party over a barrel in the 2020 elections. The partner parties of U.S. imperialism have demonized the Iranian regime for years. “Moderate” Democrats like Biden are loath to stray too far from the Middle East policy of Zionist Israel, whose leaders have long wanted to “bomb, bomb Iran.” “Progressives” (Sanders, Warren) are warning of the dangers of war with Iran, even referring (accurately) to Trump’s drone strike as an “assassination.” But in the name of a “war on terror,” Democratic president Barack Obama carried out such terrorist murders on a far greater scale than Republican Trump, killing thousands of innocent civilians. And last July, Democratic votes greased the skids for giving the Pentagon its largest war budget ever. The U.S. Murder, Inc. is bipartisan.

The Democrats, one and all, hail Obama’s 2015 agreement with Iran (as well the European Union, Russia and China) limiting Iran’s nuclear program. Yet this pact subjects Iran to blackmail by U.S. imperialism and the militarist Zionist regime which has hundreds of nukes, and whose leaders are crazy enough to use them. The LFI defends Tehran’s right to develop nuclear arms for its defense against these kill-crazy warmongers. How vital this is can be seen in the difference between the attack on Iran and Trump’s negotiations with North Korea, a bureaucratically deformed workers state which despite diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions developed nuclear warheads and the long-range missiles to deliver them.

U.S. president George Bush declared Iran (along with North Korea) to be part of an “axis of evil.” Former CIA and Iran/Afghanistan war chief David Petraeus, who slaughtered thousands and built death squads enforcing colonial occupation, called Major General Suleimani “the personification of evil.” That label would be better applied to the U.S. murder machine that brought death and devastation from Central America to the Middle East. U.S. leaders accuse Iran of “destabilizing” the region. This takes a lot of chutzpah coming from the imperialists who invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, and whose troops are still there well over a decade and a half later; who have bombed Syria since 2014, and who are supplying the weapons for the Saudi war of extermination against Yemen. The LFI calls to drive the U.S. and its NATO imperialist allies out of the Middle East.

Various opportunist leftists carefully avoid calling for defense of Iran, instead saying “hands off” and “no war on Iran.” These pseudo-socialists advocate a more “peaceful” foreign policy for U.S. imperialism rather than calling for its defeat. They want to build a “peace movement,” a “popular front” chaining opponents of the war to the Democratic imperialists. The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and Socialist Alternative (SAlt) lambaste “corporate Democrats” like New York senator Schumer, while going all out for Bernie Sanders as he seeks the Democratic nomination. Yet Sanders voted for the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, called for Saudi Arabia to police the Middle East, and praised Trump for threatening North Korea.

Internationalist Group and Class Struggle Workers – Portland at January 3 PDX protest against U.S. act of war against Iran. (Photo: KOIN-TV)

Tailing the reformists and echoing their slogans on the U.S. attack (“hands off”/“no war”) is Left Voice, part of the international media project of the grouping (“Trotskyist Fraction”) led by the Argentine Partido de Trabajadores Socialistas. Other reformist leftists such as the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and its ANSWER antiwar front, as well as the Workers World Party (WWP) and its International Action Center, give political support to the Tehran regime. They pretend that bourgeois nationalists in neocolonial countries are “anti-imperialist.” But the mullahs’ regime was quite prepared to work with imperialism, and did so in the U.S. war against rival (Sunni) Islamists in Iraq and Syria. While the Pentagon bombed cities like Mosul from the air, Quds force chief Suleiman and pro-Iranian Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (also murdered in Trump’s drone strike) coordinated the ground assault.

The League for the Fourth International stands for defense of Iran against the U.S. attack, while giving no political support to its capitalist government. The Islamic Republic, or the Zionist state of Israel, or self-described Christian states such as Franco’s Spain or Pétain’s France – all such theocratic and religiously based states are inherently anti-democratic against those who do not belong to the particular “chosen people,” as exemplified by the brutal oppression of the Palestinian Arabs in the Occupied Territories and within Israel itself.

As George W. Bush’s sinister vice president Dick Cheney said in advocating preemptive war against Saddam Hussein over his mythical “weapons of mass destruction,” the U.S. is engaged in an endless war in the Middle East. Trump’s attack on Iran presages a regional war, and it may not stop there. Remember that World War I also started with an assassination (of Archduke Ferdinand, the presumptive heir to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, in Sarajevo in June 1914). Recall, also, how that imperialist slaughter that took millions of lives ended: with the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. But that required a revolutionary Marxist leadership with a program to defeat the imperialist war with socialist revolution.

As defenders of the proletarian internationalist program of Bolshevik leaders V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky, the LFI calls to bring out the power of the working class from Turkey and Egypt to Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Israel, to bring down the Islamist, monarchist, militarist and Zionist regimes, drive out the imperialists and establish a socialist federation of the Middle East. Here in the U.S., the May Day 2008 dock strike, that closed all West Coast ports in protest against the Iraq/Afghanistan war, pointed to the need for all-out workers struggle.  This requires above all the formation of Leninist-Trotskyist workers parties, part of a reforged Fourth International, to lead the fight for socialist revolution extending from this region that has been under the imperialist heel since the dawn of the 20th century to the heartland of imperialism, from Europe to the United States.

Washington and Wall Street, the enemy is at home. Defeat imperialist war, defend Iran and fight for international socialist revolution. ■