The International Action Center’s first two decades: A beacon of struggle for the world’s anti-imperialists
January 9, 2013
Since the International Action Center originated in 1992 out of two small
rooms in former Attorney General Ramsey Clark’s law office, this
organization has played a unique and vital role by combating the U.S.
imperialist offensive aimed at reconquering those parts of the world that had
won some independence and sovereignty between 1945 and 1991.
Reclaiming May Day in the U.S. 2005-2012.
photo: Greg Butterfield
From the beginning, the IAC stood up against the juggernaut of
pro-imperialist propaganda to mobilize resistance to this series of wars where
possible. Its activists always worked to confront Washington and educate the
people around the most difficult issues. By showing the world that right in the
belly of the beast there were people who fought against the imperialist
offensive, the IAC was a beacon to the world’s anti-war forces. The
alliance of a prestigious former U.S. attorney general and anti-imperialist
militants enabled this effort.
The group’s actions consistently showed how the struggles against
aggressive war and plunder abroad required solidarity with the anti-racist,
pro-worker and anti-bigotry struggles at home. The IAC has been especially
active in struggles defending the rights of the Muslim communities against
frame-up trials and bigoted attacks. Throughout its 20 years, it has supported
all anti-racist and workers’ struggles against the ruling-class offensive
International war crime tribunals
Justice for Trayvon Martin, Baltimore 2012.
photo: Sharon Black
The Pentagon and its NATO allies had the advantage of destructive military
power and a near-monopoly on the media. The IAC made sure that the imperialists
would not be the only ones to write the history of these wars and thus cover up
their crimes. Whether the pretext for aggression was “self defense”
or an alleged need for “humanitarian” action, these were mere
excuses for the worst war crime: launching a war of aggression.
Key activists who opposed the 1991 Gulf War formed the IAC. That war ended
in a military victory for the imperialist “coalition” and a
slaughter of Iraqis.
Ramsey Clark’s legal arguments, based on the Nuremberg Tribunal and
the Geneva Conventions, set the framework for a public prosecution of the U.S.
for its atrocities. His indictments became the basis for international hearings
and tribunals in 25 U.S. cities and 19 countries around the world.
These mass events helped form the IAC’s network, which went on to
oppose the murderous sanctions that killed 1.5 million Iraqis, including
500,000 children. A series of international tribunals in 2004 also exposed the
2003 U.S.-British aggression against and occupation of Iraq.
The IAC also condemned U.S. and NATO leaders in a series of international
tribunals and hearings on NATO war crimes against Yugoslavia during the 78-day
bombing attacks in 1999. The IAC also helped organize the Korea International
War Crimes Tribunal in June 2001, with sessions in Seoul, Pyongyang and New
The IAC sent delegations to Yugoslavia during the bombings and solidarity
shipments of material aid to Iraq during the murderous sanctions. IAC activists
went to the Central African Republic to interview kidnapped President Bertrand
Aristide after the U.S. enabled the second coup in Haiti in 2004.
The above investigations led to books that not only exposed U.S. war crimes
but also the hidden U.S. corporate interests in the wars — a view almost
entirely absent in the political debate. They also produced a book condemning
the U.S. use of depleted uranium weapons in Iraq and Yugoslavia, and, with the
Peoples Video Network, a full-length documentary video, “Poison
The IAC also protested the 1993 U.S. intervention in Somalia, carried out
under the guise of “famine relief,” and more recently mobilized
against the drone attacks currently killing people in Afghanistan and
The IAC has been a major organizing force in demonstrations, rallies and
meetings in support of Palestine, while sending support delegations to the 2000
uprising, the second “intifada,” and on a Viva Palestina caravan to
Gaza in 2010 in defiance of Israeli terror. It sent eyewitnesses on a
fact-finding delegation days after the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006 to
report on the Lebanese population’s resistance.
The IAC sent solidarity delegations to Chiapas following the 1994 uprising
of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Mexico, went to Colombia
in solidarity with its embattled labor unionists, and to Honduras to support
the popular resistance to the regime that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya.
The IAC sent delegations to socialist Cuba and Bolivarian Venezuela and helped
organize mass meetings in the U.S. in solidarity with those revolutions and to
free the Cuban Five political prisoners.
In 2006, as the U.S. government and corporate media intensified their war
propaganda against Iran, the IAC helped form Stop War on Iran, which has held
marches, rallies, vigils, teach-ins, honk-for-peace picket lines and leaflet
distributions to protest U.S.-Israeli war threats against Iran. The IAC equally
participated in campaigns against U.S. bases in the Philippines.
Since its inception, the IAC has sought to work in coalition with other
organizations in an attempt to build united mass actions against U.S. war and
repression, both at home and abroad.
In the days immediately following 9/11, the IAC sprang into action, knowing
that Washington would use the attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon as a pretext for more imperialist war. The IAC helped form the Answer
Coalition, which within weeks brought thousands to Washington to denounce the
bogus “war on terror” against Afghanistan as well as Muslim
communities in the U.S. It later organized demonstrations of hundreds of
thousands trying to stop the invasion of Iraq.
As new U.S. wars appeared on the horizon, the IAC helped initiate the United
National Antiwar Coalition in 2010. UNAC held protests to denounce the
imperialist war in Libya and rallied forces from around the country to
challenge the 2012 summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which was
held in Chicago, and UNAC has consistently denounced U.S.-NATO intervention
Source: IAC document on its history