The WSWS and the exposure of US imperialism’s crimes
Bill Van Auken
30 October 2020
The politically vital transformations that have been carried out on the World Socialist Web Site are based on the powerful foundations laid over the past 22 years of continuous daily publication of the WSWS. Throughout that period, the World Socialist Web Site established an unrivaled record in its analysis and exposure of the crimes of US imperialism and in the fight to build a global antiwar movement based upon the working class.
This record and the invaluable political lessons of our response to three decades of imperialist war are now made far more accessible on the relaunched WSWS to an international audience of workers and youth. I would urge every listener to review this record through the fascinating and comprehensive exhibits of the new WSWS presented under the topics “War and Militarism” and “Anti-imperialism”.
In this struggle, we have stood on the shoulders of the great Marxists of the 20th century, first and foremost Lenin and Trotsky, who established that both war and revolution were the inevitable outcomes, in the words of Trotsky, of “a revolt of the forces of production against the political form of nation and state.” This fundamental Marxist conception was further developed by the International Committee of the Fourth International in response to capitalist globalization and the unprecedented integration of international production and the immense sharpening of antagonisms between the major imperialist powers.
The World Socialist Web Site was launched in February 1998 in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and amid the triumphalist proclamations of the end of history, yet another American century and a “unipolar moment” concretized in the first one-sided war of US aggression against Iraq.
The WSWS began online publication during the buildup of US imperialism to another war of aggression, this time in the Balkans with the 1999 US-led NATO bombing of Serbia.
The war against Serbia was launched under the banner of humanitarian intervention in supposed response to the highly exaggerated claims of “ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo carried out by the regime headed by the demonized Slobodan Milosevic.
The WSWS, however, exposed the far deeper objective sources of this war. Its analysis was summed up in the essay written by David North, “After the Slaughter: Political Lessons of the Balkan War”.
It stated: “Far from representing a humanitarian break with the past, the Balkan War of 1999 signals the virulent resurgence of its most malignant characteristics: the legitimization of the naked use of overwhelming military power against small countries in pursuit of strategic ‘Big Power’ interests, the cynical violation of the principle of national sovereignty and the de facto reestablishment of colonialist forms of subjugation and the revival of inter-imperialist antagonisms that carry within them the seeds of a new world war.” This prescient analysis has stood the test of time.
In the course of the US intervention in the Balkans, the World Socialist Web Site identified a new constituency for imperialism among layers of the upper middle class, whose wealth had risen with the financial boom. This included elements that had participated in the protest movement against the Vietnam War who now rallied to the filthy banner of humanitarian interventionism. Their interests would find political expression over the entire succeeding period in pseudo left tendencies that support imperialism, oppose socialism and are hostile to the struggles of the working class. The WSWS has waged a relentless struggle against this international socio-political layer and its support for US imperialist war, from Serbia to Syria.
The World Socialist Web Site established an unparalleled record of articles and commentary on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 their origins and political consequences. In the nearly two decades since, the perspective advanced by the WSWS since the very day of the attacks has been entirely confirmed—a vindication of the power of Marxist analysis and principled politics.
The day after the 9/11 attacks, the World Socialist Web Site warned: “It is the policies pursued by the United States, driven by the strategic and financial interests of the ruling elite, which laid the foundations for the nightmare that unfolded on Tuesday. The actions now being contemplated by the Bush administration ... will only set the stage for further catastrophes.” It further explained that “From the standpoint of the American government, the crusade against terrorism has been far more a campaign of propaganda to justify US military violence around the world than a conscientious effort to protect the American people.”
Subsequent events have thoroughly vindicated this analysis. The “war on terror” became the pretext for a renewal of imperialist neocolonialism on a massive scale, including the launching of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
They were followed by wars for regime-change in Libya and Syria—in which Washington under the Democratic administration of Barack Obama employed as proxies the very same Al Qaeda forces it was supposedly combating. US clandestine murder and torture operations have been carried out in dozens of countries around the world, while the supposed “terror” threat has been the pretext for wholesale attacks on democratic rights and spying on the people of the United States and the entire planet.
The WSWS has worked tirelessly to expose the crimes of US imperialism, which have killed and maimed millions and destroyed entire societies, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya, Syria, Yemen and beyond in its quest for global domination.
It has also fought intransigently for the antiwar program of the International Committee of the Fourth International, elaborated in its 2016 statement “Socialism and the fight against war”. The ICFI advanced the indispensable principles for building a genuine anti-war movement, insisting that it must be founded on the politically independent struggle of the working class, unified across national boundaries in an international struggle for the abolition of the capitalist nation state system and the creation of a world socialist federation. “The permanent war of the bourgeoisie must be answered with the perspective of permanent revolution by the working class,” it stated.
We hold this rally under conditions of growing threats of world war. The US military apparatus has announced that the “war on terror” has been supplanted by “great power” conflicts, and it is preparing accordingly. Within the past week, the US and its NATO allies have held dress rehearsals for the nuclear bombing of Russia as well as for war in the Pacific with China.
At the same time, there is a powerful resurgence of the struggles of the international working class, in the mass protests from Nigeria to Chile and Thailand, to the resistance of teachers, health care workers and others throughout the Americas and Europe and beyond, to the homicidal response of the bourgeoisie to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I would urge all of the supporters of the WSWS to utilize this priceless resource to educate yourselves as Marxists and to join the Socialist Equality Party, or to build new sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International in countries where such parties do not yet exist.
In the coming days, the relaunch of the World Socialist Web Site will prove its worth as the most powerful weapon in the revolutionary war against war that must be waged by the international working class for its own survival.
The author also recommends:
The Dissolution of the USSR and the Unipolar Moment of US Imperialism
[13 September 2019]