Iraq: bloody occupation and Revolutionary resistance
The US President continues to be in denial. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly during the second half of September, he declared: “We gather at a time of tremendous opportunity for the UN and for all peaceful nations. Today, the Iraqi and Afghan people are on the path to democracy and freedom. … These two nations will be a model for the broader Middle East”. While acknowledging the “difficult conditions” prevailing in these two countries and the possibility of increased “terrorist attacks [read resistance]”, he expressed his conviction that “freedom [i.e. imperialist occupation]” would triumph. And he called on the member states of the UN to help the US in ensuring the success of its mission to bring ‘freedom and democracy’ to the Middle East.
Disengagement from reality
To anyone who has even a passing knowledge of the reality of Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush’s speech would be proof enough that the chief executive of US imperialism was thoroughly deranged and had taken leave of his senses. No wonder then that the Financial Times (FT), commenting upon Bush’s speech, was obliged to admit that “… the extent of the president’s disengagement from reality is alarming” (leading article, 22 Sep 04).
What, then, is the reality in the two countries referred to by Bush in his UN speech? As for Afghanistan, after three years of the US-led imperialist war against Afghanistan, the occupying forces are unable to impose their control on this impoverished and devastated country. Despite the backing of 30,000 US and NATO troops, equipped with massive firepower and the most up-to-date killing machines, the writ of the puppet Kaizai government does not run beyond the presidential palace in Kabul. The US, NATO and puppet forces are under constant attack from the Afghan resistance, which is bound to wear down the will of the imperialist occupation forces and oblige them to leave Afghanistan to the Afghan people.
As for Iraq, the veritable guerrilla warfare waged by the resistance has seen to it that the country’s roads are impassable and littered with thousands of landmines and explosive devices aimed at annihilating the imperialist soldiery. On average, the resistance attacks the occupation forces 90 times a day. According to US figures, across Iraq there are 650 clashes a day between the resistance, on the one hand, and the occupation forces and their puppets, on the other. More than 20 cities and half of the country has become a ‘no-go zone’, where the writ of the imperialist occupiers and their puppet Allawi government does not run. These areas are out of bounds even for foreign journalists, who live in conditions of virtual house arrest, fearing to travel in any vehicle other than a full armoured car, and spending most of their time trying to stay alive rather than reaching news-breaking scenes.
The US troops are terrified of leaving their fortified bases. “Today”, writes Quentin Peel in the FT of 23 Sep 04, “the majority of US troops in Iraq are virtually confined to their fortified bases, making only token patrols to mark their presence and leaving the fighting to helicopters and aerial bombardment. It is only making matters worse. Much of the country has become a no-go area for civilian contractors and aid agencies seeking help in the reconstruction effort” (‘The impossible dilemma confronting Iraq’).
“The rising death toll … and the impotence of an American military increasingly confined to its fortified bases”, writes Philip Stephens in the FT of 24 Sep 04, bears “witness to the gathering catastrophe in Iraq”. This, he says, is so because the occupation lacks “legitimacy in the eyes of ordinary Iraqis”. No matter how hard Bush may try to defy reality through “loud determination”, the truth is that by “… any objective measure America stands on the brink of strategic failure in Iraq”. This is the considered judgement of a bourgeois, but sober, political analyst.
Owing to attacks by the resistance all reconstruction work has ground to a halt. Two years after the US Congress appropriated $18 billion for the Iraqi reconstruction, only about $1 billion has been spent on such work, and a large portion of the sum originally set aside for reconstruction has now been reallocated for the improvement of security in a sign of desperation for the occupation forces. Oil production (almost the only source of Iraq’s foreign earnings), pipelines and other infrastructure are routinely attacked by the resistance, resulting in a near-halving of oil production and export.
Iraqi police trained by the US are of not much use to the Americans, partly because they are themselves the target of the resistance (more than 800 have been killed so far) and partly because their loyalty is suspect. In addition they have been heavily infiltrated by the resistance. The ambush and annihilation of 48 army recruits by the resistance on a road north-east of Baghdad on 24 October serves to substantiate this, for by all accounts there was collusion among the soldiers for an incident like this to have happened. The seriousness of the situation may be gauged from the fact that the US military has made available $6 million to pay off 30,000 Iraqi policemen they had only recently trained, simply to get rid of them on the quiet.
This being the case, the US attempt at “Vietnamisation” of the Iraqi war – whereby the imperialist soldiery confine themselves to holding actions and surgical strikes, while Iraqi forces take over most missions from them – are foredoomed to be a complete failure.
Let alone the rest of the country, the US army and the puppet Allawi regime do not even control Baghdad. Two million strong Sadr City, constituting 10 per cent of Iraq’s population, a poor sprawling suburb of Baghdad, and subjected to daily bombardment by the US military, stands as defiant a symbol to the occupation regime as do tens of other towns and cities. On Friday 17 September, US officials admitted that the fighters for national liberation in Iraq were operating close to government headquarters in Baghdad. The admission coincided with a bomb attack on a police checkpoint in Rashid Street, at the heart of the old commercial centre of the Iraqi capital, which killed at least 8 people. It is the widely-held view that Baghdad is a city under siege by the resistance determined to spread the revolt that grips many other towns and cities of Iraq, especially in northern and western parts of the country.
On Sunday, 12 September, 110 people died in clashes across the country – 37 of these in Baghdad and 51 in Tel Afar, close to the Syrian border. The resistance used Haifa Street, west of the Tigris river, as a launch pad for a heavy bombardment of the Green Zone, which houses the US and British embassies, as well as offices of the puppet Iraqi interim government. By way of revenge, the US forces subsequently murdered 13 people, including a journalist for the Dubai-based al-Arabiya television network, in this district after a US armoured vehicle had been blown up. The victims were part of a crowd celebrating around the disabled personnel carriers – not taking part in any attack.
On 14 September, the resistance hit back with a car bomb attack on a nearby police station, in which 50 Iraqis, most of them potential police recruits, were killed. Two days later (16 Sep), in impotent rage the US military launched two air raids on Fallujah, killing 60 Iraqis. The pretext for these raids was the alleged presence of foreign fighters, but neither the Iraqi government nor its US masters were able to provide any substantiating evidence of it.
Only the day before (15 Sep), US warplanes bombed Fallujah, killing 15 people, many of them women and children. The raid also destroyed an ambulance as it carried the wounded from the wreckage of a destroyed building. According to Arab broadcasters, the list of those killed included medical personnel. As a matter of fact, Fallujah is the victim of daily US bombardment, which claims the lives of dozens of its civilians almost every day.
On Thursday, 30 September, the resistance hit back, killing 46 people and wounding 210 in three near-simultaneous bomb blasts in south Baghdad. The target of the triple explosions was a convoy of US military vehicles. The second and third explosions were timed to coincide with the arrival of US troops who had rushed out to investigate the first car bomb blast. These well-coordinated strikes came within hours of a suicide car bombing near the Abu Ghraib prison in western Baghdad, in which two Iraqi policemen and a US soldier were killed and 60 other persons injured. On the same day a mortar attack on a US military base near Baghdad killed a US soldier.
On Monday, 4 October, the resistance bombed the CIA headquarters in Baghdad, where 3,000 US and Iraqi puppets work in the centre of the Iraqi capital. The façade of the building was completely destroyed when a lorry packed with explosives rammed into it, killing at least a dozen CIA agents and their Iraqi quislings. For several hours all telecommunication facilities were put out of action. The US forces are powerless in the face of daily attacks on the Green zone, the international airport and the road-blocks set up by the resistance on the roads leading to the city.
Elections and increased fighting
The increase in the frequency and ferocity of the attacks by the resistance is aimed at frustrating the US-planned farce of an election in January 2005. Equally the US attacks are calculated to subdue the resistance, wrest control of towns from the latter, and establish a semblance of order in order to be able to enact the mockery of an election. As a part of this plan, the US launched a pre-dawn attack on 1st October against the rebel-led town of Samarra, killing at least 100 people. Samarra has changed hands twice over the last few months. In July, US forces retreated from the city under heavy mortar fire but re-entered on 9 September under a negotiated deal, which unravelled two weeks later consequent upon US violations and the resumption of mortar attacks by the resistance. In a show of defiance by the resistance, on 28 September, dozens of gunmen, carrying flags, automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades drove through the streets of Samarra. Following a two-hour drive through the city, the convoy dispersed with not a gunman to be seen in the streets.
The US now claims to be in control of Samarra, although according to reliable sources the resistance continues with fierce guerrilla attacks on the occupation. Besides, Samarra was much more lightly defended than many other towns and cities under the control of the resistance. The partial success of the US military in Samarra is therefore no indicator of possible American success elsewhere. In addition the Iraqi unit which is supposed to have done much of the heavy fighting in Samarra, the 36th Iraqi National Guard Battalion, has been recruited mainly from the Kurdish Peshmerga militia. It is extremely unlikely that more conventional Iraqi units could be relied upon to do the fighting. Only last April, during the battle of Fallujah, most Iraqi security forces refused to take part in assaulting one of their own cities, leaving US marines to fight on their own. In the end the US forces had to beat a humiliating retreat after cutting a face-saving deal with the resistance.
Subsequently, the Fallujah Brigade, set up under the face-saving deal and provided with money, transport and ammunition by the US, went over completely to the resistance. This was yet another example of the Iraqi resistance securing weapons from its deadly enemies.
The US military are under pressure to crush the resistance and wrest control of approximately 20 cities from the latter. However, they will find it no easier this time than they did last April. Undoubtedly the US have the overwhelming firepower to flatten these cities, but such a course, bound as it is to cause massive civilian casualties, will only serve to strengthen the resistance and resolve of the Iraqi people to get rid of the occupation. The political costs of such a brutal action would be incalculable – in Iraq as well as in Washington and London. The likelihood of such an imperialist assault causing deep division among the Iraqi puppets and giving a spurt to the anti-war movement in the centres of imperialism is considerable, to say the least.
Occupation in trouble
The truth is that the Anglo-American imperialist occupation is in deep trouble. If the imperialist forces do not attempt to bring under control the towns and areas lost to them, this state of affairs merely confirms the weakness of the occupation and acts as a daily humiliating reminder of its impotence in the face of the fierce resistance of the Iraqi people. If, on the other hand, the occupation attempts to regain control through the deployment of massive aerial bombardment and tank fire, the barbarity of such an operation would merely serve to spread and strengthen the resistance to unprecedented heights. Although the Iraqi people are paying a terrible price in lives and material destruction, the bloody  and brutal occupation is evoking vigorous revolutionary resistance, which is slowly but surely bleeding US imperialism of its strength. By answering imperialist terror with revolutionary terror, the heroic Iraqi people are sapping the morale and will of the occupying powers to continue the occupation.
Respectable journalists with impeccable bourgeois credentials, as well as the US military’s leading strategists and prominent generals, are of the view that the Anglo-American war against Iraq is already lost; that there is “no ray of light on the horizon” for the occupation; that the situation in Iraq “is far graver [for the US] than [in] Vietnam”; that most Iraqis regard the US-led forces in Iraq as “occupiers, not liberators”, that the resistance cannot be crushed , for it is self-sustaining, growing, maturing and becoming more capable of launching sophisticated and coordinated military attacks; that any sustained US military offensive against the areas under the control of the resistance would destroy the slightest remnants of political legitimacy for the occupiers. According to an article which appeared in the Guardian of 16 September 04 under the title ‘Far graver than Vietnam’, and from which the remarks in quotation marks immediately above have been reproduced, “a significant majority” of the senior US military officers believe the Anglo-American imperialist war against Iraq to be a “disaster” and liken it to the Nazi defeat at Stalingrad.
“The coalition forces have become part of the problem, not the solution,” says Mr Quentin Peel, adding that “the sooner they go, the better…” (FT, op cit).
Bush’s rosy assessments notwithstanding, Iraq remains a disaster. Before the launch of the predatory and criminal war, Anglo-American imperialism portrayed Iraq as a ‘potential’ threat. Since the invasion it has been transformed into an imminent and active threat – a catastrophe which is certain to haunt US and British imperialism for a long time.
Mother reality is a sobering mistress. Cutting through the rhetoric and spin, the stonewalling and subterfuge, the tedious half-truths and plain lies, practised by the political leaders of Anglo-American imperialism, the Iraq reality, like the flow of a lava, has begun to seep into the political debate and highly placed members of the two governments, so immune till lately, are beginning to get singed. One by one all the pretexts for the Iraq war have been shown to be the lies they always were, which the governments of both countries knew to be so. A steady stream of reports from the US Congress – the Commission on September 11 (which found no “collaborative relationship” between the government of president Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda), the ‘Iraq Survey Group’ (ISG) – have with methodical devastation kicked away each excuse and pretext for the Iraq war.
In October 2002, Bush asserted that “Iraq possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons [and] is seeking nuclear weapons” – as if this was a crime on Iraq’s part. On 6 October 2004, the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), headed by the American Charles Duelfer, reported that the Saddam Hussein regime possessed no WMD, adding that there was no evidence that it had sought to purchase uranium from abroad. Faced with the ISG’s report, Bush has moved on to assert that Saddam Hussein was clearly a threat because of what he INTENDED to do. On the basis of such novel juridical principles, the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of our planet could be tried, and convicted, for the clear threat they present to the lives of Messrs Bush, Blair and such like perpetrators of predatory imperialist wars. Bush’s own secretary of state, Colin Powell, who made a melodramatic presentation full of lies and fabrications, to the UN Security Council prior to the war, about the danger presented by Iraq’s non-existent WMD, now admits that WMD will probably never be found in Iraq.
While Bush continues to assert that the alleged presence in Iraq of the Jordanian Islamist Abu Musab al-Zarkawi was “the best evidence of connection” between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, a new CIA assessment, made public on 5 October found no evidence that the government of President Saddam Hussein had harboured al-Zarkawi. While the same lie is repeated by his vice-president, Dick Cheney, his secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld now admits (beginning of October) that he knew of no “strong, hard evidence” linking the Saddam Hussein regime with al-Qaeda. It is the same Rumsfeld who had not that long earlier spoken of the “bullet-proof” evidence of al-Qaeda operating in Iraq.
The Whitehouse, with characteristic obstinacy is still peddling the discredited story and ludicrously insisting on it on the flimsy ground that “there were disturbing similarities between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda”, for both were “sworn enemies” of the US, “both share the same ideology”, and there were “senior level contacts between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda”.
Even Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the UN, and a faithful servant of US imperialism, has belatedly declared that the US-led war against Iraq was illegal.
In the face of the overwhelming evidence, all exposing the assertions of the US administration for the lies and hoaxes they were, the insistence of Messrs Bush and Cheney on reiterating these bare-faced lies, obliged the FT to state that the president and his deputy remain in a state of “pristine denial” (7 Oct 04). What is true is that, while there was no such connection between the Ba’athist regime and al-Qaeda, the war itself has brought forth the crystallisation of a nationwide alliance (between all forces – nationalist, Jihadi and communist) which is at the heart of the insurgency and deadly serious.
In Britain’s case, it isn’t that the Cabinet was misled by poor intelligence into the Iraq war. As is clear from the evidence to the Butler Inquiry, the intelligence services did not make the case for war, for their information was “patchy” and “sporadic”. It was Blair who told Parliament that the evidence concerning Iraq’s WMD was “extensive, detailed and authoritative”; it was he who authorised the dodgy dossier and inserted the bogus claim that Iraq could deploy its weapons in 45 minutes and continued to insist until only recently that WMDs would be found. And, in the words of the Daily Mail of 9 October “… he allowed his liar-in-chief, Alastair Campbell, to launch a vendetta against the BBC for reporting – truthfully – that the case for war had been ‘sexed up'”. Such have been the bare-faced lies that the government told in order to justify an unjustifiable imperialist predatory war that there is near-complete collapse of trust in bourgeois politics among an electorate “… sickened by war and disillusioned by lies, excuses and bare-faced attempts to rewrite history” (Daily Mail, 9 Oct 04).
The Mail adds that “… Blair is now the hollow man of British politics … he will never be believed again”.
None of this, however, stops him from carrying on remorselessly along the path of lies, deception and cynical hypocrisy, which are the hallmark of imperialist politicians in general, and which characterise him in particular. The consummate liar and hypocrite that he is, Blair has shifted to a completely new plane to defend the imperialist carnage in Iraq. There might have been perfectly legitimate disagreements, but that was in the past. Now, he says, Iraq has become “the crucible in which the future of global terrorism will be determined”. There is now a new Iraqi conflict and “there is only one side for the sensible and decent people to be on”.
For our part, we too believe that Iraq has become “the crucible” in which the future of imperialist terrorism is being determined. We too believe that there is “only one side for decent people to be on” – that is the side of the Iraqi national resistance against imperialist aggression, brigandage and occupation, the side of the Iraqi people’s revolutionary terror against the terror unleashed by Anglo-American imperialism.
The Iraqi resistance has made it perfectly clear that it regards the occupation armies and all those working to support and stabilise the occupation – from the UN to aid agencies and construction firms – as their enemies and therefore as legitimate targets. Since the beginning of the Iraq war, approximately 150 hostages have been taken by the resistance, of which just over 50 have been killed. Recently the kidnapping, and subsequent killing, of the two Americans, Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley, and the British engineer Kenneth Bigley, have received disproportionate publicity, with the media and bourgeois politicians tripping over each other in the race to shed crocodile tears over the fate of these victims of imperialist war and to condemn their deaths at the hands of the resistance as acts of ‘barbarism’. After the killings of the two Americans and when the fate of Ken Bigley hung precariously in the balance, the FT of 25 Sep 04 wrote: “The prolonged agony of Kenneth Bigley, the British engineer still under threat of death after the bestial beheadings of his two American colleagues this week, is a particularly macabre piece of carefully manipulated political theatre”.
No matter how gruesome and sickening may the beheadings of the hostages be to ordinary human feelings, it is the duty of the proletariat to understand that these horrifying acts are taking place in the context of an imperialist war and occupation by Anglo-American imperialism, which has made hostages of the entire Iraqi population of 22 million and turned the whole country into a concentration camp, where the occupiers shoot, kill and torture tens of thousands of Iraqi people at will. None of the papers care to interview the families of those Iraqis done to death by the imperialist soldiery and ask them about their wonderful fathers, husbands or sons sacrificed at the altar of finance capital’s war for maximum profit, markets, sources of raw materials, avenues of investment and world domination. They die unknown and uncounted in their own towns and villages at the hands of the hired thugs of imperialism who have travelled thousands of miles to invade Iraq and terrorise its population.
This is so patently obvious that by way of an exception even some bourgeois journalists and newspapers are beginning to acknowledge that the actions of what they call “fanatics”, “extremists” and “terrorists” in Iraq are directly in response to the occupation. The Daily Mail editorial already cited above, while blaming the kidnappers of Ken Bigley for his death, nevertheless says that Tony Blair is “… certainly culpable for a wretchedly misconceived invasion and a bungled occupation”.
In the FT article already cited, Quentin Peel, while condemning, as behoves a respectable bourgeois journalist, the actions of these “fanatics”, adds that “… they would never have been given such a good opportunity if we had not blundered [!] into this Iraq war in the first place”.
One cannot expect a respectable bourgeois scribbler to understand that war is inseparable from imperialism; that imperialism is driven to war by its own inherent contradictions; that modern war is a product of imperialism (finance capital) and is inseparably connected with the striving of the imperialist powers “… to enslave other nations … as sources of raw material and places for the export of capital” (Lenin, 1915) – their striving for world domination through redivision of an already completely divided world at each other’s expense; and that, therefore, there can be no question of peace on earth while imperialism continues to exist. Those who want peace must be prepared to take up the fight against imperialism in earnest.
In fact, imperialism does not give a damn about Ken Bigley or the likes of him, which are no more than canon fodder and readily expendable. Had the British government been genuinely sincere in wanting the release of Mr Bigley, it could have easily done so by securing the release of the Iraqi women prisoners (hostages in fact) who have for no reason whatsoever been languishing in the notorious concentration camps set up in Iraq by the imperialist occupation. What is more, there is reliable evidence that, while continuing the charade of negotiations through intermediaries with the kidnappers, the occupation forces attempted to rescue Ken Bigley – a bungled operation during which Mr Bigley was killed by his captors. No wonder, then, that immediately following the news of Mr Bigley’s killing, his brother, Paul Bigley, accused Tony Blair of having “blood on his hands”. Ordinary people are, slowly but surely beginning to understand the true cause, and perpetrator, of the carnage taking place in Iraq, to wit, Anglo-American imperialism.
Increasing isolation of war-mongers
While Anglo-American imperialism is busy laying waste whole cities and massacring tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, its political representatives, Bush and Blair, these monsters in human garb, cynically assert that they are in Iraq to “reaffirm the equal value and dignity of every human life” and to bring liberty and democracy to Iraq. But progressive humanity everywhere has seen through the hypocritical cant and cynical rhetoric of the spokesmen of imperialism and rejects it. Today US imperialism is hated everywhere as the number one enemy of the people of the world, especially in the Middle East, whose masses loath US imperialism, as much as they hate the corrupt stooge regimes and the fascist state of Israel, none of whom could survive without US support.
Increasingly even members of the imperialist establishment in Washington and London are dissociating themselves from the Iraq war. Writing a whole five months ago in the FT, Gerard Baker, who supports the Iraq war and moronically sees it in “heroic light” and “… a great moment in history when a tide turned decisively towards freedom”, nevertheless correctly remarks that it “… is hard to find anyone who admits to having supported the war at all. If success has many fathers and failure is an orphan, Washington is now running the largest and most desperate orphanage in modern intellectual history. It is like trying to find someone who will admit to having thought it was a good idea to launch the Titanic in an Atlantic winter” (27 May 04).
Quite so! Because most people correctly perceive that the Anglo-American venture in Iraq is doomed to failure, thanks to the heroic resistance of the Iraqi people, whom the imperialist aggressors had arrogantly not factored into the equation.
The US proposes to hold elections in Iraq in the coming January, in a desperate bid to endow its hand-picked Iraqi puppet regime with a semblance of legitimacy through some form of electoral fraud. Considering the circumstances and the unfolding events in Iraq, it is most unlikely that these elections will go ahead.
First, because more than 20 cities and half the country are no longer under the control of the occupation armies.
Second, because large sections of the Iraqi population are bound to boycott them. Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric, declared through his representative, Sheikh Abdul Hadi al-Daraji on 27 September that “We as Sadr’s movement will not take part in the elections held under the shadow of occupation”, adding that there “is no democracy under the occupation. What we want, and our number one priority, is a free Iraq, so when Iraq is free and occupation is out then Sadr’s movement will take part in the political life in Iraq”.
Third, those who take part in an election designed to confer legitimacy on the occupation, risk being targeted by the resistance.
US Election and Iraq
The radical and petty bourgeois left is pinning its hopes on a Kerry victory in the US presidential election to bring peace on earth and end the Iraq war. In doing so, it is not only deluding itself, but also spreading illusion and confusion among the masses. Democrats are no less the representatives of US monopoly capital than are the Republicans. They have been, as the historical record shows, as willing to wage imperialist predatory wars as have been the Republicans. The carnages in Korea and Vietnam were committed during Democratic administrations.
As to the personal credentials of Senator Kerry, while he waffles about the Iraqi invasion as being “a colossal error”, he nonetheless support the war and has no intention of withdrawing US forces from Iraq should he win the presidency. On the contrary, he hopes to strengthen US imperialism’s occupation through better coordination with the European imperialist powers, who he says have been offended and alienated by the Bush administration. He promises to give full backing to the fascist Zionist thugs who are busy terrorising the Palestinian people and waging a genocidal war against them. If all this is not enough, he hopes to take an even more tough stance towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Iran than Bush, whom he accuses of not paying sufficient attention to the danger constituted by these countries’ nuclear programmes. A change of guard at the White House is no alternative to the consistent and thoroughgoing struggle against imperialism. What will make the US-led forces leave Iraq and other countries is not the kindness or sensibleness of the Democratic representatives of US imperialism, but the hard-fought, and hard-won, victories of the Iraqi and other national liberation movements, and the consequent impact they produce on the working-class and anti-war movement in the centres of imperialism.
It is the duty of the proletariat in the imperialist countries to give full support to the liberation struggle of the Iraqi, Afghan, Palestinian and many other peoples. It is our duty to do everything in our power to make it impossible for our ruling class to continue to conduct wholesale slaughter abroad. The ruling classes of the US and Britain are only able to wage predatory imperialist wars abroad because the American and British working class are far too passive and docile, thanks to the vice-like grip exerted by opportunism and the opportunist leadership.
In his opening address to the National Convention to establish the Communist Party of Great Britain on 31st July 1920, Chairman Arthur Macmanus had this to say:
“We ought by now to have made it so uncomfortable for these people (Lloyd George, Churchill, etc.) that, instead of standing on a pedestal and dictating to the rest of the world as to how it should conduct itself, they would have enough to do looking after us here to prevent them having any time to worry about other countries”.
Eighty-four years on, this sadly still is the case. Blairs and Bushes continue to wage predatory wars abroad in an effort to dictate to the oppressed peoples as to how they should conduct themselves because we have not made it so uncomfortable enough for them that they would have their work cut out looking after us here and be left with no time to engage in slaughters in foreign lands. It is time to wipe away this shame from the face of the working class.
This, however, cannot be done without exposing, and defeating, opportunism in the working-class movement, especially in that part of it which uses Marxist rhetoric, but in reality is an appendage of social democracy – the most deadly enemy of the working class and a faithful servant and defender of imperialism. While social democracy, by its attacks on the working class at home and imperialist predatory wars abroad, has fully exposed its putrescent self, the Trotskyites and revisionists continue in their disgusting role as the defenders of social democracy, presenting the latter as the true representative of the proletariat.
In Britain, both the factions in the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) have expressed the need to remove what they call the “New Labour clique” for the sole purpose of presenting “… a credible Labour Party electoral alternative to Howard’s Tories” on the basis, of course, of “progressive policies” (see John Haylett, Morning Star (MS), 31 Dec 03). Ten days earlier, the same gentleman, advocating an anti-Labour electoral alliance in the then impending European parliamentary and Greater London Assembly elections, argued that the purpose of this alliance was to turn these elections into a referendum “on the misdeeds of the New Labour clan and of precipitating its demise through an electoral setback” without however affecting Labour’s majority in parliament (MS, 20 Dec 03).
In answer to Haylett, the CPB leadership re-asserted its traditional revisionist position of “… winning the majority of the Labour Party for socialist policies” and its commitment to “… the return of a Labour Government … and to winning the Labour Party for socialism” and reclaiming it “for its original objectives as a democratically organised party representing the labour movement” (MS, 22 Jan 04).
The New Communist Party (NCP), while nominally swearing by Marxism-Leninism and the dictatorship of the proletariat, is alarmed at the harm Tony Blair and his cronies are doing to the imperialist Labour Party; is crying out for him to go for if he does not, the danger, horror of horrors, is that “… Labour voters simply will not turn out at the next election and we could end up with a hung parliament” (Daphne Liddle, New Worker, 8 Oct 04).
Ms Liddle, with touching concern for the health of social democracy – this betrayer of the working class, hangman of proletarian revolution and the instrument of predatory imperialist wars – adds: “He [Blair] must go now, for the sake of the Labour Party and the whole country”.
Being fully aware of the fact that Blair, if forced out, would be replaced by a Blair clone, and that none of Blair’s possible successors “look very edifying”, she throws in the towel in sheer desperation and declares in utter panic that “… virtually anyone of them would be marginally preferable and have more credibility than the man who took Britain into a bloody colonial war on a lie and refuses to apologise for it”.
Perhaps Ms Liddle would like to inform the readers of the New Worker (NW) as to which Labour prime minister, beginning with MacDonald all the way up to Blair, did not lead Britain into a colonial war on a lie? Clement Attlee, that ‘left’-wing darling of the ‘left’ Labour and Troto-revisionist fraternity, was a hangman of the Greek liberation struggle, who played a leading role after the Second World War in restoring Dutch rule in Indonesia and French rule in Indo-China; who took the British into the US-led imperialist war against the Korean people – a war which claimed the lives of 4 million Koreans; and who played a leading role in initiating the Cold War and in the establishment of the war-mongering imperialist military alliance – NATO.
Labour has a long history. And, this history is anti-working class, imperialist and particularly soaked with the blood of millions of oppressed people around the world. Nothing else should be expected from the Labour Party, which was at its inception, has been up to now, and always will be, an imperialist party. Labour cannot be reclaimed for socialism, assertions to the contrary by the mummies of the NCP and the CPB not withstanding. What could the Tories do that Labour has not done, at home and abroad. After all, during the past 6 years the Labour government has dropped bombs on oppressed people far in excess of those dropped by the Tories during their 19 years in office.
The leading article
It would appear, however, that the NCP would like more of the same for another 4/5 years. Precisely for this reason, the NW, in its leading article of 8 Oct 04, warns that the Labour Party leadership ignores “… the Liberal Democrats at their peril”. The way out, says the NW, is to “… dump the architects of the disastrous policy” so as not to sink “… Labour’s hopes of a third consecutive term of office. Blair and Brown must go”.
Why should the working class be horrified by Liberal gains at the expense of Labour, and with it the prospect of a hung parliament? Liberals are no worse than Labour. In fact, their policies on a raft of issues, including the Iraq war, are slightly to the left of Labour. While the majority of the Labour MPs went through the division lobbies in support of the war, the Liberals voted against it. Of course, the respectable bourgeois party that it is, once the war started the Liberals were fully “backing our boys”. Had there been a hung parliament at the beginning of 2003, would it not have been at least marginally more difficult to get a resolution through the House of Commons in support of the war? Would a hung parliament not have exercised a somewhat paralysing influence on the government’s war-mongering? These questions have merely to be posed to elicit affirmative answers.
Trots – SWP variety
The Trotskyites back the Labour Party no less than their revisionist cousins. Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the largest Trotskyist party in Britain, has run the Stop the War Coalition (STWC), which it dominates, in such a way as to bring succour to the Labour Party. It has kept away all those elements who favour a consistent struggle against imperialism and believe in developing the anti-war movement along anti-imperialist lines.
One of the pretexts used by the leadership of STWC, in which the SWP and the CPB work in close collaboration, is that it does not want to disrupt the unity of the labour movement, that it does not want to alienate the trade-union leadership and those Labour MPs who nominally oppose the Iraq war. But fast-moving events in Iraq and the Iraqi resistance to imperialist occupation are beginning to disrupt the pre-imperialist cosy alliance between the Troto-revisionist fraternity, on the one hand, and the union bosses and the Labour MPs, on the other hand.
Stop the War Coalition
and its TU / Labour friends
In the debate on Iraq at the Labour Party Annual Conference at the end of September, the truly imperialist affiliation and credentials of the cynical and cowardly bunch that go in the name of the “awkward squad” – Messrs Curran (GMB), Woodley (TGWU), Prentice (Unison) and Hays (CWU) – was there on display in all its glaring obscenity. Fresh from the TUC Conference, where this hypocritical gentry only 2 weeks earlier passed a motion against the war, and wearing their Labour Party hats, they rallied round Blair and helped defeat, by a majority of six to one, a constituency motion calling for an “early date” for the withdrawal of British occupation forces from Iraq. In fact, they stage managed, as if to show hero worship of a war criminal, a standing ovation for Blair.
More than that. They fully backed an Iraqi quisling, Abdullah Mushin of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, which was set up under the protection of US guns in May 2003, is led by the Iraqi Communist Party, and supports the occupation. Invited to the Labour Party Conference by the British state, through the Labour Party and Unison, this disgraceful Iraqi traitor, who, condemning the Iraqi resistance as “shadowy sectarian forces”, canvassed the delegates and begged them not to vote against Blair on Iraq. That is the sole reason why he was invited by the TU bigwigs. After all the TUC is busy raising cash for the IFTU, for it supports the latter’s view that the occupation forces must stay in Iraq to prevent the break-up of Iraq and forestall the establishment of a fundamentalist state – a danger which has only arisen because of the imperialist invasion and occupation, we hasten to add.
It would be surprising if the TU leadership did not support the occupation of Iraq, for this leadership, representing as it does the interests of the privileged section of the working class – the labour aristocracy – is obliged to come to the defence of imperialism, as without defending imperialist loot the interests of the labour aristocracy cannot be defended.
For once, STWC was in a fix. It had to choose between its TU and Labour friends, on the one hand, and the rank and rile opponents of the war, on the other hand. In the end, it was forced to condemn the IFTU for the latter’s “… political collaboration with the British government, exemplified at the Labour Party conference and its view that genuinely independent trade unionism in Iraq can develop under a regime of military occupation – including the daily bombardment of major Iraqi cities – by the US and Britain” (MS, 11 Oct 04).
The above statement, along with a sentence in a previous draft of the STWC, which recognised the legitimacy of the resistance in Iraq by “whatever means … necessary” to end the occupation, upset all the carefully laid plans of the STWC.
This stance of the STWC infuriated the TU leaders and supporters of Labour Friends of Iraq (LFIQ), which is closely connected with the trade unions and, though comprised of both anti-war and pro-war elements, enjoys a cosy relationship with several ministers. Mick Rix, former general secretary of the train drivers’ union, ASLEF, an organiser of the ‘anti-Blair’ so-called awkward squad, who only recently was trying to resurrect the Labour Representation Committee, resigned from the steering committee of STWC, revealing his imperialist prejudices and convictions for all to see. Other TU leaders have threatened to do likewise. Harry Barnes, the allegedly anti-war Labour MP, who is a key member of the LFIQ, was so incensed that he put down an early day motion in the House of Commons, which condemned as “scurrilous” the statement put out by STWC backing “the legitimacy of the struggle of the Iraqi people, by whatever means they find it necessary” to end the occupation, adding that it implied acquiescence in the murders of people such as Ken Bigley, as well as that of ordinary Iraqis.
The SWP and its junior partner in the STWC, the CPB, have come to this sorry pass because they tried to build an anti-war coalition in a thoroughly opportunist way through enlisting the support of the very elements who are the driving force behind the war – the so-called Labour left and the labour aristocracy. This opportunist alliance is beginning to break up and making the likes of Robert Griffiths, general secretary of the CPB, spinelessly whine that, “however well-intentioned their motives, the unions and the Labour Party now uphold … a military occupation …which involves the daily bombardment of civilian areas and the illegal imprisonment and mistreatment of thousands of Iraqis” (MS, 8 Oct 04).
From this, instead of reaching the only conclusion, namely, that the imperialist Labour Party and its trade union stooges must be exposed, opposed and defeated, Griffiths delivers the cretinous homily that “… there has to be clarity over the need for a Labour victory as the least worst outcome of the forthcoming general election ” (ibid).
Every friend of Iraq, every enemy of imperialism, every class conscious worker and every proletarian revolutionary, cannot fail to be repulsed by such nauseatingly opportunist capitulation to imperialism – all in the name of alleged working-class advance. Scoundrels such as these, posing as communists, must be exposed for what they really are, namely, the agents of the bourgeoisie and the purveyors of the latter’s influence in the working-class movement. Only on the basis of such an exposure is it possible to build a truly anti-imperialist movement against war and for the social emancipation of the working class.
 Since these lines were written, the US military has launched a full-scale attack on Fallujah. While putting up resistance in Fallujah, the Iraqi guerrilla fighters have opened new fronts in other cities and parts of Iraq. Further, the main Sunni party has withdrawn from the puppet Iraqi interim government and the powerful Sunni scholars’ association has called for a boycott of the ‘election’