National Sections of the L5I:

No to US military bases! No to imperialism!

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Leaflet to the International Conference Against US Bases, taking place on the 5th May in Prague, Czech Republic

The greatest power in the world, the USA, has already has military bases in nearly 20 countries. Amongst the countries with US military bases on their territory are, for example, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, several island states etc. And that is if we don’t count the countries attacked and occupied by United States forces.

But the existing bases are apparently not enough for the US. In recent years they have sought to increase their quantity and size. The Czech Republic and Poland were asked for permission to build bases. The US plans to expand its air force base in Vicenza in Italy.

They are trying to persuade us about necessity for new bases with old, absolutely transparent, pretexts such as defence against terror and against unnamed “rogue states“. As in the case of its wars of occupation and the so-called war on terror there is no truth whatsoever in the argument that US military bases will give us more security. Building them is only one of the many ways by which USA strengthens its position. The area where new bases are planned to be - Central Europe - corresponds to this purpose. Military bases in this area would simultaneously help USA against two rivals. Because they would be in new member states of the EU, they would weaken the influence of Germany and France in these states and make the accomplishment of their plan for unified European bloc capable of competition with the US more difficult. That the military base is aimed against Russia, still militarily the strongest rival of the US, can be clearly seen.

Both in states where US military bases have already existed for some time and states where their building is only planned, they meet with the resistance from the people. On a smaller scale this applies also to NATO military bases, which sound better to people - however the NATO label only means that USA agreed their existence with other powers. In Hungary four years ago there was popular opposition to the siting of three radar stations which was successful in stopping it. In Poland and here in Czech Republic, people have been protesting against US military bases from the moment plans leaked out to the public. In Vicenza a truly mass movement against the expansion of US airforce base developed.

Resistance against the bases is totally justified. They represent US policy of conquest hated by the whole world, their imperialist wars and exploitation of people and natural resources of the Third World by giant US corporations. Neither does the vast majority of the inhabitants of the USA - workers, youth, the poor - gain anything from a success for the policy of their rulers. On the contrary - if they are strengthened internationally, they will be the more confident at home and that means more cuts in social services and further slashing of democratic rights.

The only beneficiaries of the wars of conquest and the hegemonic position of the US are the big shareholders in US corporations, especially in armament, oil, the banks etc. Also the owners of big companies within the states where USA wants to build its bases expect to benefit from providing military bases for the world hegemon. Good relations with the US could bring them some breadcrumbs - for example lucrative commissions in a country, that was recently bombed (or, according to current “Newspeak”, to which „democracy was brought“). That is why governments, obedient to them, support building of the bases.

By halting US plans y to build a new military base in central Europe we could make unstable their position, already shattered by failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, and will encourage all forces in the world fighting against imperialism. The alternatives to American imperialism aren’t its seemingly more peaceful rivals. Although for example major states of the EU - Germany and France - opposed the war in Iraq, it wasn’t because they would be more peaceful than USA. In case of Iraq the interests of their corporations were secured before the war and the American invasion has seriously threatened them. Smaller imperialist states aren’t yet strong enough to start a war without the consent of other powers, particularly the present world hegemon. But in various international “peace“ missions it is plain that even if they replaced US supremacy over the world, their actions would not be any better.

So how do we prevent the creation of new bases or force the closure of existing ones? The government will not surrender voluntarily. These demands can be pushed through only by a mass movement able not only to demonstrate but as well to take direct action - strikes, blockades etc. And this is why the working class has a fundamental role - because of its ability to shut down production and communications.

That was seen in Italian city of Vicenza. The 200,000 strong demonstration shook the pro-imperialist Prodi government. To keep his position he has to be grateful to his coalition partner, reformist party Rifondazione Comunista. RC was once active in movements against war and neoliberalism and was one of the main forces in the European Social Forum. Now in exchange for seats in cabinet it is supporting Prodi’s government and its cuts and its participation in US wars and occupations. In the second vote of confidence all RC MPs supported his government.

This and other betrayals of the reformist leaderships of the working class movement stand in a sharp contrast to the preparedness and will of the masses to fight. It cannot be our goal to contribute to an election victory for a left party only to see it support neo-liberal policies. On the contrary - as revolutionary Marxists we fight to resolve this “crises of working class leadership” - to unite the working class under the banner of the fight to take power. Such working class power should be based on democratic councils o rooted in the workplaces and it is possible to win it only by smashing the capitalist state.

Hated US military bases (or those of any other imperialist state) are just one of consequences of the social system in which we live - capitalism in its final stage, imperialism. If we want to get rid not only of military bases but of the rest as well - imperialist wars, exploitation, poverty and destruction of the environment - we have to overthrow it. For this we need a new world party of social revolution, equipped with a clear revolutionary programme for taking the power - the Fifth international.