Oppose US Imperialist War against Iraq!
US and British imperialism have been waging a ceaseless war of aggression against Iraq even though the Gulf war ended over eleven years ago. Iraq has been subjected to the illegal no-fly zones over its northern and southern territory; cruel UN-sponsored sanctions which have claimed the lives of 1.5 million innocent Iraqi men, women and children; and almost daily barbaric bombardment, which continues to cause considerable civilian casualties and further damage to its already fragile infrastructure. Now US and British imperialism are threatening Iraq with a full-scale invasion aimed at toppling the Iraqi regime and replacing it with a puppet government which does the imperialist bidding. 200,000 US troops are already in the Gulf, a build-up which took place as part of the preparations for US imperialism’s war against Afghanistan. This build-up is being reinforced in preparation for its planned war against Iraq.
The pretext of Weapons of Mass Destruction
What, it may be asked, is the US’s justification for its outrageous, not to say Nazi, stance? For public consumption, the US attempts to justify its aggressive and bullying stance with the assertion that the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction (WMD), that it already has access to chemical and biological weapons and is very close to acquiring nuclear weapons; and that unless urgent action is taken to put a stop to this development, the Iraqi regime will present a danger to its neighbouring countries as well as every other country. Condoleeza Rice, the Bush administration’s national security advisor, recently put it thus: “This [Saddam Hussein] is an evil man who, left to his own devices, will wreak havoc against his own population, his neighbours and, if he gets weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, all of us”.
In view of the long history of the maltreatment of its own population by US imperialism, its wars of aggression against its neighbours in Latin America, and against countries in the far-flung regions of Europe, Asia and Africa, its use of chemical and biological weapons during its wars of aggression against the Korean and Vietnamese people, and the use of nuclear weapons (the only time nuclear weapons have been used) against Japan towards the end of the Second World War, one may be forgiven for thinking that, perhaps, Ms Rice, in uttering the words cited above, had in mind no one other than her boss, George W.Bush, and his various predecessors. The truth is that for over 100 years every occupant of the White House has been an “evil man who, left to his own devices, will [and actually does] wreak havoc against his own populations, his neighbours and, … all of us”.
If the charge against the Iraqi regime is that it harbours ambitions to go nuclear, then this is a hypocritical charge. Several other countries, including the US, have long possessed nuclear weapons. The US possesses more nuclear weapons than all other nuclear powers put together; its military budget, standing presently at $400 billion, accounts for 45 per cent of global military spending. If we confine ourselves to the Middle East alone, Israel is in possession of WMD, including nuclear weapons in excess of 200 and the means to deliver them. If the possession of such weapons called for a regime change, then Israel and the US, among others, would be candidates for a regime change. Why, then, make a target of the Iraqi regime?
The truth is that Iraq, like Iran and the DPRK, the other two countries included in Bush’s “axis of evil” speech, present no threat to the US. Even if they actually did acquire WMD they would be no danger to the US, for the latter is possessed of such an arsenal of nuclear armoury as to deter anyone who might entertain any mad idea of attacking the US. What is true is that if any of these countries had nuclear weapons, the US could not attack them with impunity, anymore that it could have attacked Yugoslavia with impunity if the latter had access to nuclear weapons.
Grab for oil
Thus the question of Iraqi WMD is a total irrelevance. The US is seeking to grab control of the Middle East’s fabulous oil resources under the pretext of a pre-emptive strike to remove the fear of an alleged nuclear threat from Iraq – all this in total violation of international law and in the teeth of universal hostility. The planned invasion of Iraq by the US is part of an attempt “to reorder the Middle East in America’s interest …using control of Baghdad as the lever” (leading article, Financial Times, 8 August 2002). Underlining the importance of a successful US attack on Iraq, the Financial Times continues: “Control of Iraq would lessen US dependence on Saudi oil, continue the encirclement of Iran, put enormous pressure on Syria, and even marginalise Egypt, another US ally”. Almost as an afterthought, the Financial Times has this observation to make in regard to the US’s mad war plans against Iraq: “To say that it [the US] relies on wishful thinking is to understate the breathtaking audacity of this speculation. Sober strategy it is not”.
Iraq is presently the second largest (after Saudi Arabia) repository of proven oil reserves in the world with 115 billion barrels. Reliable estimates of its possible reserves are such that Iraq could end up ahead of Saudi Arabia. The following figures concerning current Iraqi oil production and its full potential go a long way in explaining the mad strategy of US imperialism’s war against Iraq.
Oil exploration in Iraq
– Second largest oil province in the world
– Some 115 bn barrels of proven reserves and up to 300 bn barrels of possible reserves
– Current production of 3m barrels a day could rise to 9m within a decade
– Iraq has a total of nine blocks for exploration, averaging 10,000 sq. kms in size
– Operating costs in Iraq are less than $1 a barrel
[Source: Thomson datastream; company]
Although presently Iraq accounts for 15 per cent of global proven reserves, more than 90 per cent of its territory is unexplored. A mere 2,000 wells have been drilled in Iraq, as against one million in Texas. Further, of every 10 wells drilled in Iraq, eight have hit oil, compared with less than half in Saudi Arabia. To cap it all, with costs below $1 a barrel, Iraq is the world’s lowest cost producer of oil. With world consumption of oil rising in excess of the replacement through new discoveries, Middle East oil is assuming increasing importance. According to some calculations, by 2006 Opec could account for half the global production. Mr.Teeling, an oil executive from Ireland, recently made the case for Iraqi oil in these compelling terms:
“It makes no sense in the long term for western companies to be spending vast sums in locations like offshore Angola, working in thousands of feet of water, and 11,000ft into the seabed when there is a 40bn barrel oilfield on the surface in Iraq” (the above quotation, as well as the figures, are taken from the Financial Times, 15 August 2002).
This being the case, the US would dearly love to overthrow the Iraqi regime, for an operation against Iraq, if (a big if) successful, would produce a nice friendly government in Baghdad, give it control over almost all the Middle East oil, to the detriment of the peoples of the Middle East and the US’s rival imperialist countries alike, reduce US dependence for oil on the Saudi Kingdom (whose relations with the US are much strained these days, of which further anon), and play Iraq against Saudi Arabia and thus ensure a steady and reliable supply at prices of its own choosing. The planned attack on Iraq is equally directed at Saudi Arabia. Although presently Iraq produces only 3m barrels of oil a day, in comparison with Saudi Arabia’s 7-9 million, a US-friendly regime in Baghdad would be able to increase oil production very quickly and “tip the scales of the US/Saudi relationship steeply in Washington’s favour” (Financial Times, 8 August 2002). That is the plan anyhow. But, as the saying goes, there is many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip.
Opposition to US war plans
The problem with the US planned war against Iraq is that it is opposed not only by the overwhelming majority of humanity but also by all the governments, with the exception of Britain and the Zionist colonialist regime of Israel. All other major European countries oppose the US war plans. Whereas some heads of government maintain that any new war against Iraq must be backed by a new UN Security Council (SC) resolution, Chancellor Schröeder of Germany, the largest country in the EU accounting for a third of the EU’s economy, has said that Germany will have nothing to do with such a war – even if sanctioned by a SC resolution. Russia opposes this war. More than that, Russia is in the process of signing a 5-year trade agreement with Iraq to the tune of $40bn (£36bn), covering projects in the fields of energy, transport and agriculture. This comes a month after Russia proposed a 10-year economic programme with Iran that would include the supply of five further nuclear reactors in addition to the one already under discussion. If that is not enough, the Russian president, Putin, has just played host to Kim Jong-il, leader of the DPRK, which has the honour of being part of Bush’s “axis of evil” states, and proposed cooperation in restoring the trans-Siberian railway line. China, another SC member, too, opposes this war.
In Britain, the only European country whose government is inclined to support the US war against Iraq, there is fierce opposition to this war from all sections of religious and political opinion, including the Church of England and some high-ranking Conservatives. The Church of England’s Board for Social Responsibility, in its report for Bishops, has cogently argued that an attack on Iraq would be immoral and seen as the “cruel thirst for revenge”, adding that such military action against Iraq would NOT meet the criteria of being a just war. In an implicit criticism of the Blair government’s support for the US war against Iraq, the Church’s report says that calls for such action “reflect the priorities of American foreign policy” and would end up causing immense damage to inter-faith relations in Britain.
Lord Hurd, the former Foreign Secretary, and John Gummer, another former Conservative minister, have broken ranks with the Conservative Party and expressed concern publicly about the prospect of war on Iraq. In a letter to his constituency party, Mr.Gummer said: “The invasion of Iraq can only be justified if it is shown incontrovertibly that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, that he has means to deliver them, and that he has the intention to use them”.
Lord Wright of Richmond, who as Sir Patrick Wright was head of the diplomatic service during the Gulf war, speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, said that there was no case for an attack on Iraq, adding that “it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a strong body of opinion here, both in parliament and more widely, that an attack against Iraq would be a costly mistake”.
Another erstwhile mandarin, Sir Michael Quinlan, a former permanent under-secretary at the Ministry of Defence, 1988-92, and a visiting professor at the Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College, London, has said: “Starting a war against Iraq” would be worse than a blunder, it would be “a crime”, for there is no military or political justification in seeking to topple the Iraqi regime. An attack on Iraq would not satisfy the criteria for a just war, namely, those of a just cause, proportionality and right authority. Sir Michael warned that a decision by the British government to participate in a US-led attack on Iraq could provoke domestic division in Britain the like of which has not been seen since the Suez crisis of 1956.
70% of the British people oppose the war on Iraq. It is a sign of the times that the government faces humiliation at the hands of its supporters at Labour’s annual conference which is likely to vote against Britain’s participation in any new war against Iraq. If passed, such a motion would be a devastating blow to the Blair government and a major propaganda coup for Iraq.
Likewise, the Trades Union Congress annual conference in Blackpool this month (September) is likely to pass a resolution asking Britain not to support the US war against Iraq. General Secretaries of nine trade unions have signed a letter claiming that there was no evidence that Baghdad had acquired WMD or that it was a threat to the US. The letter, drawn up by Bill Morris of the TGWU, rejects Bush’s “push for military action against Iraq”, for such a war “would be outside international law and bring further instability to the entire region”.
In its motion for the conference, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, which represents white-collar railway workers, urges the TUC “to withhold support for such an attack, which it considers is contrary to international law, and would inevitably destabilise the Middle East”.
If the newspaper reports are to be believed, opposition to fresh military action is thought to include a majority of Labour backbenchers in parliament and a number of ministers.
And, according to opinion polls, the majority of the British people oppose the war on Iraq.
Reasons for European and UK stance
If the European governments oppose this war, it is not that they are motivated by considerations of humanitarism and justice; it is just that they see nothing in this war which serves their own imperialist interests. Why should they entertain with equanimity the thought of watching, let alone helping, the US grab the richest oil region for itself to the detriment of its rivals? It is a sure sign of the heightening inter-imperialist contradictions which have been building up since the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War. If the British government, on the other hand, is inclined, albeit reluctantly, to support the Bush’s administration’s push for a military assault against Iraq, that is to be explained by the fact that of the three largest oil companies two are British or Anglo-Dutch, and British imperialism is inclined to believe that its interests are better served by an alliance with the US. If despite such considerations, there are influential figures opposing the war, including such nasty characters as former Conservative ministers and former high-ranking civil servants, who have been part of the government machinery of British imperialism, which has waged countless genocidal wars against a number of countries, that is partly a reflection of the divisions within the British ruling class between the pro-American and the pro-European wings, and partly a reflection of the realisation by the less rabid bourgeois sections of the sheer unpopularity of the proposed war which could blow up in their face. The same explanation goes for the opposition to this war emanating from the Labour backbenchers and trade-union bigwigs, who have up to only the other day given explicit or implicit (through their studied silence) support to every imperialist carnage abroad and every single assault on the working class at home. Be that as it may, such dissent is extremely useful in achieving the total isolation of US imperialism’s war plans (and the support of the British government for such plans) by building a huge anti-war movement and injecting the philosophy of anti-imperialism into it.
Opposition in the Middle East
No country in the Middle East, except Israel, is prepared to give any backing to US war. Even the governments of such client states as Egypt, Jordan, the tiny Gulf Sultanate of Qatar and Saudi Arabia are compelled to oppose this war, while Israel, which possesses a considerable arsenal of WMD, including nuclear weapons, continues to wage a ceaseless genocidal war against the Palestinian people, committing daily outrages and regular massacres, with the full material, financial, military, diplomatic and political support of the US – and in complete violation of international law and a raft of UN resolutions, it would be madness for any of the Middle Eastern regimes to support an attack on Iraq, without even the shred of legal or moral justification. Not surprisingly the rulers of the Middle East fear the wrath of their populations.
Relations between the US and Saudi Arabia have become extremely strained in the aftermath of the Sept 11 attacks on the twin towers and the Pentagon. Significantly, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Saudi Arabia, which is home to thousands of US troops and key military facilities has let it be known that it will not allow the use of those facilities by the US as launch pads for an assault on Iraq. White House spokesmen utter polite banalities about Saudi Arabia as a “stalwart all in the war against terrorism” and refer to the special US-Saudi relationship whereby the former provides security to the latter in return for the latter’s steady and cheap supply of oil. Yet if at a private Pentagon briefing an analyst from the right-wing Rand Corporation characterised Saudi Arabia as a “kernel of evil” and America’s “most dangerous opponent”. Lauren Murawiec called upon the US to treat Saudi Arabia as an enemy rather than a friend, for, he went on, “The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader”. If Saudi Arabia is America’s “most dangerous opponent”, clearly, with the solitary exception of the racist Zionist state of Israel, US imperialism has not got a single friend in the Middle East – such is the measure of its isolation, thanks to its bullying and brigandage.
Although OPEC has 6 million barrels a day in idle capacity, half of it in Saudi Arabia, in view of the deteriorating US-Saudi relations, Riyadh’s reliability as a supplier of last resort in a crisis caused by a US attack on another Arab state must be in serious doubt. In the latest indication of a deepening rift, Saudi investors have been pulling tens of billions of dollars out of the US – although the plunging US equity markets have played their part too in these withdrawals.
The Saudis have been further alienated and outraged by the trillion-dollar lawsuit which accuses Saudi institutions and the ruling family of financing terrorism. The Saudis have responded by pulling investment out of the US, by a boycott of American goods and by avoiding the US as a tourist destination. A serious, though discreet, debate is under way among Saudi Arabia’s elite about punishing the US by pricing oil in euros instead of dollars. Influential circles in Riyadh are increasingly calling for a complete review of its long-standing relationship with the US. Sept 11, and the continuing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, have seen to it that the old relationship can continue no more. As the US’s so-called war on terrorism has, inter alia, merged with the unconditional support for Israel’s total war on the Palestinian people, it is no longer possible for Saudi Arabia to reconcile its pro-American foreign policy with rising popular hatred towards the US. The question of Palestine is at the centre of the US-Saudi rift over Iraq.
Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, has further infuriated Arab opinion by stating in a public meeting with Pentagon employees that “There is no question but that the Palestinian Authority have been involved with terrorist activities, so that makes it a difficult interlocutor”. He then sent on to cast doubt on the right of the Palestinians to the territory conquered by Israel in 1967 in the following words: “My feeling about the so-called occupied territories are that there was a war, Israel urged neighbouring countries not to get involved in it once it started, they all jumped in, and they lost a lot of real estate to Israel because Israel prevailed in that conflict”. With views like this, members of the Bush team still think they can build an Arab coalition for an attack on Iraq. One begins to get the feeling that the US administration is being run by a bunch of raving lunatics.
Hardly surprising then, that the Saudis are believed to have bluntly informed the US that they would not even discuss the Iraqi question without first seeing progress on settling the Palestinian question. Well informed political analysts are of the view that, whether or not the US attacks Iraq, the US and the Saudis are headed for a separation. According to Youssef Ibrahim, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, “the momentum is too strong. The policies of American anger are colliding with Arab counter-anger and no one is stopping the collision” (Quoted in ‘A troubled friendship’ by Foula Khalaf, Financial Times, 22 August 2002).
No wonder, then, that Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia should make the following observation: “For a long time both sides have been drifting to a reconsideration of the fundamental relationship – political forces in both countries, under the impact of September 11 and the carnage in the Holy Land, are driving the two apart,” adding that “The irony is that those in the US most adamantly against bin Laden are doing his work for him by trying to estrange the US from Saudi Arabia” (ibid.).
In view of Saudi opposition to the use of military bases in Saudi Arabia for an attack on Iraq, the US was hoping to use Qatar, which is home to three bases, including the Al-Udaid (being built at a cost of $1.4billion and to be completed by next December), currently used to support US operations in its war against the people of Afghanistan. However, Qatar has now openly declared itself against an attack on Iraq. Speaking in Baghdad on 26 August, just before his meeting with Naji Sabri, his Iraqi counterpart, the visiting Qatari foreign minister stated: “We are against military action. … We do not need this again in the region. We prefer that this situation be solved within the framework of the United Nations” (quoted in Financial Times, 27 August 2002).
It is thus clear that the US would be forced to rely on Kuwait for an attack on Iraq and that the Kuwaiti regime would have its arm successfully twisted to allow the use of its territory by US forces. If that happens, Kuwait will be storing up huge trouble for itself in the future.
Most African countries have expressed their opposition to a US attack on Iraq. Former South African President Nelson Mandela launched a strong attack on the US policy on Iraq. Speaking on a day of hectic diplomatic activity on the fringes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, he said: “What they [the US] are introducing is chaos in international affairs and we condemn that in the strongest terms. We are really appalled by any country, whether it is a superpower or a poor country, that goes outside of the United Nations and attacks independent countries” (quoted in Financial Times, 3 September).
Divisions with the US
Even in the US, there is much alarm at the isolation of the US and the dangers involved in the Bush administration’s intended war against Iraq. Such warmongers, not to say war criminals, as James Baker, former secretary of state, and Brent Scowcrof, former national security advisor, both of whom served in the administration of Bush senior, have expressed serious doubt about the Iraq adventure. So have Laurence Eagleburger, another former secretary of state; Dick Arney, number two Republican Congressman in the House of Representatives; Chuck Hagel, the Nebraska Senator; and Carl Levin, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate armed services committee. The opposition publicly expressed by the above influential figures has punched a big hole in the wall of unanimity which had hitherto protected the Bush administration’s most loud warmongers – Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice. What is more, it has forced different members of the Bush team to send contradictory messages. While Rumsfeld and Cheney beat the war drum against Iraq, secretary of state Colin Powell speaks of a solution through UN weapons inspectors. These divisions reflect the confusion and near paralysis which afflicts the ruling imperialist bourgeoisie as it searches for a solution to its incurable crises. If it wages war, the consequences may turn out to be pretty horrendous; if it does not, it loses all the same. In the event of war, the likelihood of some of the US client regimes in the region being swept away in the aftermath of such a war is only too great. In waging this war, US imperialism will be lifting the proverbial rock to drop it on its own feet.
Only last November, the US insisted that Iraq must let inspectors into the country as proof that she was not developing WMD. Now the US believes that nothing short of regime change will do. Rumsfeld’s remarks that no-fly zones and weapons inspections were a waste of time, provoked Robert Wright, an academic from the University of Pennsylvania, to observe that the US was bent upon “turning war into a routine form of data gathering” (Financial Times, 20 August 2002).
Alarmingly for the US administration, the US public has swung against the war. Just as Tony Blair was busy making a speech in strong support of Bush’s war, an ABC opinion poll brought the news that, whereas less than four weeks ago 69% of Americans gave unconditional backing to an invasion of Iraq, today a mere 39% did so. Even if the US secured the support of her allies, a bare majority of 56% would back the war. The shocks of a prospective war found their reflection on the stock market, with the Dow Jones falling a precipitous 355 points on 3rd September, and into the bargain weakening the dollar against other major currencies.
Iraq was subjected to a regime of weapons inspection of the most intrusive type for eight long years. The inspectors destroyed whatever they deemed necessary to do so under their terms of reference. There was nothing left for them to do. They should have left having certified that Iraq had complied with her obligations under the UN resolutions. That in turn would have led to the ending of the cruel sanctions against Iraq. Instead, the US, with Britain’s support, used the inspections as a means of intelligence gathering, placed its own agents in the inspections team, put pressure on the inspectors to inspect sensitive areas, such as the Iraqi ministry of defence, so as to create a crisis as a pretext for military strikes against Iraq, and to find information concerning the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein – all with a view to toppling the Iraqi regime.
There is not a shred of evidence that Iraq is close to developing a nuclear capability. At a recent meeting of NATO heads of government, when asked to produce evidence of it, Rumsfeld made an amazing statement which could only have been made by a congenital liar of his ilk: “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”, he said, leaving his audience gasping.
All this has now been confirmed by a most authoritative source – Rolf Ekeus, head of UN weapons inspections in Iraq from 1991-97, and one of the most respected Swedish diplomats, has accused the US and some other members of the Security Council (SC) of manipulating the UN inspectors for their own political ends. Speaking to the Swedish radio, he said that without doubt the US attempted to increase its influence over the inspections, and that it “wanted to learn more about other parts of Iraq’s capacity”. More damningly, he said that the US and some other members of the SC “… pressed the inspection leadership to carry out inspections which were controversial from the Iraqis’ point of view, and thereby created a blockage that could be used as a justification for a direct military action” (see Financial Times, 30 July 2002).
In view of this, it is not to be surprised at that the Iraqi authorities have had enough of this weapons inspection charade, which is only a pretext for maintaining sanctions and the continued efforts of intelligence gathering for the sole purpose of overthrowing the present Iraqi regime and replacing it with an American-friendly administration in Baghdad which permits unhindered looting of Iraqi oil in the interests principally of US imperialism.
We have always maintained that the demand for destruction of any WMD that Iraq may have had was unjust and hypocritical, for as long as other countries, including the US and Israel, possess those weapons in abundance, why can’t Iraq have them too? Equally we have always denounced as being unjust and cruel the sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people in the name of the UN, which since the collapse of the former USSR has become the colonial office of imperialism in general, and US imperialism in particular. Be that as it may, being under extreme pressure, the Iraqis are prepared to allow the resumption of inspections in the context of an overall settlement and subject to certain strict conditions, which will address the fate of sanctions, an end to the no-fly exclusion zones over Iraq, regional disarmament, compensation for the damage inflicted by Anglo-American bombing of the no-fly zones and an end to US attempts to effect a regime change in Iraq through a combination of inspections, sanctions and military forces. In an interview with the Financial Times, Naji Sabri, the Iraqi foreign minister, stated:
“We are willing to consider a comprehensive settlement which looks at the return of inspectors and monitoring as part of a package”.
“We’re opposed to the return of inspectors as part of the US agenda because inspectors will come just to update information and provide it to the US military and intelligence bodies to use in bombing Iraq” (Financial Times, 30 July 2002).
Duty of the revolutionaries
In view of its near total isolation, it looks as though the US administration would make an insincere attempt to get the inspectors back into Iraq, with intolerable conditions attached, which Iraq is bound to reject, thus providing the US and Britain with a pretext for getting on with renewed aggression against Iraq. It is even possible that the US manages to coerce, cajole and bribe other members of the Security Council into voting for a new resolution authorising the use of force. Such a resolution would doubtless let the Labour ‘left’, their Trotskyite and revisionist hangers-on, the trade union barons, and the middle class liberals, off the hook. Their consciences solved by the legitimisation of brute and naked imperialist force through the trick of a SC resolution, they will retire to the comfort of their living rooms to view the destruction of Iraq from their television screens.
This being the case, it is the duty of genuine revolutionaries and their organisations to oppose such a war even if it is anointed with UN holy oil. Such a war would be solely concerned with oil – whether the Arab people own their oil or imperialism owns it – it would be in line with the “accepted idea” in former times according to which “… the world has been divided from immemorial times into inferior and superior races, into black peoples and white peoples, the former of which are unfit for civilisation and are doomed to be objects of exploitation, while the latter are the sole vehicles of civilisation, whose mission it is to exploit the former” (J.V.Stalin, The International character of the October Revolution).
The October Revolution shattered this legend, by “… showing in practice that the liberated non-European nations, once having been drawn into the channel of Soviet development, are no less capable than the European nations of promoting a TRULY progressive culture and truly progressive civilisation” (ibid.).
In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, thanks to the treachery of Khrushchevite revisionism, which gained ascendance at the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956 and culminated with the counter-revolution under Gorbachev’s loving, tender care, imperialism has been doing its best to revive the old “accepted idea” of the “civilising” mission of the imperialist countries through enslavement and exploitation of the “inferior” races. In doing so, it will achieve just the opposite results to those intended to be brought about by its brutal treatment of the oppressed peoples; it will end up recruiting tens and hundreds of millions of valiant anti-imperialist fighters for national liberation, who making a firm alliance with the proletariat of the imperialist countries, will give imperialism its long-overdue burial.
Meanwhile it is the duty of the revolutionaries to inject into the peace movement the ideas that it is the exploiting classes which are the chief organisers of strife between nations; that it is the system of exploitation which is the source of mistrust and nationalist passions; that only when power passes into the hands of the proletariat, which is the enemy of all enslavement and the true bearer of internationalism, will there be peace between and within nations; that the proletariat in the imperialist countries cannot emancipate itself without giving vigorous, sincere and unstinting support to the struggle of the oppressed nations for their emancipation from imperialist enslavement and plunder; that the question of emancipation of the oppressed nations is a component, an inseparable, part of the struggle in the centres of imperialism for its own social emancipation; that the war-mongering all around us is a reflection of the incurable crisis of imperialism, of the shortage of avenues of profitable investment opportunities for the gargantuan amounts of surplus capital sloshing around; that there can be no peace, and war cannot be ended, without the successful overthrow of imperialism; that, therefore, the proletariat must attend to its enemy within – the imperialist bourgeoisie – rather than be led by the nose by it into supporting, or worse still, into being recruited to fighting, a war against the people of Iraq or any other oppressed nation.