The real battle is against U.S. imperialism

U.S. embassies and military bases in majority Muslim countries around the Middle East and North Africa have been the site of violent protests over a racist film, produced in the U.S. and distributed in various forms on the Internet, that slanders Islam.

The U.S. media reaction to the demonstrations--which claimed the lives of four U.S. diplomats in the Libyan city of Benghazi and which led to bloody clashes with police in other cities and countries--has been to depict protesters as "anti-American" fanatics bent on bloodshed and destruction.

There has been little coverage of the fact that the racist film, called Innocence of Muslims, is the product of a shadowy right-wing network of U.S. Islamophobes who want to stoke more hate. And there has been almost no discussion of the context for these protests--decades of U.S. imperialist intervention in the Muslim region. In reality, the film has become a symbol of the contempt with which the U.S. government holds the people of the Middle East and North Africa.

Many of the protests have been supported and organized by Islamist forces in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere--including parties that are represented in various ways in the new governments that followed the fall of dictators during the uprisings of the Arab Spring. These Islamist forces are associated with the revolts for democracy over the past year and a half, but they have also taken very conservative positions in different national circumstances.

In this statement, the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt look at the protests over the racist film--and what it will take to confront U.S. imperialism in the Middle East and North Africa.

Demonstrators gather in Egypt to protest an anti-Muslism filmDemonstrators gather in Egypt to protest an anti-Muslism film

THE REVOLUTIONARY Socialists Movement affirms its complete rejection of all attacks on religious sites and symbols, whether Muslim or Christian. They strengthen sectarian tendencies and polarization, breaking the ranks of the majority of the masses of workers and peasants, the poor and the oppressed. Such attacks weaken the masses' struggles, their unity and the development of their consciousness and self-organization in the battle against the gang of exploiters and investors which govern and control the livelihoods and fates of millions.

We also emphasize that the real battle of the Arab revolutions is a battle against U.S. imperialism, and not against other cultures or against freedom of expression. This battle will not be won except through the continuation and growth of the radical struggles of working people and the oppressed of all peoples against their exploiters and tormentors at home and abroad.

This battle against U.S. imperialism cannot be reduced to a question of "the clash of civilizations." Nor can the violence of a small group against embassies and U.S. bases in Libya, Egypt and Yemen be a substitute for the mass struggle from below for independence and national liberation.

At the same time as they ignite anger against America, the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists insist on the maintenance of diplomatic, economic and military relations with the U.S. Nor are they taking any genuine steps to stop cooperation with this imperialist regime, or making any serious effort to cancel the shameful peace treaty with the Zionist entity, which squanders national independence.

No sooner had the authorities washed their hands of the massacres they perpetrated in the Sinai than they destroyed the tunnels going into the besieged Gaza Strip, in an operation which gained the direct political support of the American and Israeli governments, and strengthened links of cooperation with them.

This incident represents an attempt to strike at the Arab revolutions at the level of collective and democratic values. It is a blow against the model of solidarity between peoples across the world in the struggle for freedom from tyranny, which was beginning to take shape with these revolutions, inspiring global movements of protest.

The Revolutionary Socialists
September 16, 2012