March against imperialism on January 20!
A leaflet written and being distributed in Seattle, but which also may be useful in the other major political center of the Northwest: Portland! (Your anti-war demonstrations are often larger than ours!)--W.
March against the imperialist occupation!
Jan. 20: from Westlake at 4:00 pm, from the Federal Bldg. at 6:30 pm (Rallies: Westlake, 2:00, Fed. Bldg., 5:00)
U.S. out of Iraq now!
On May 1, 2003 Bush proclaimed "victory!" in his infamous photo-op speech aboard an aircraft carrier. The Saddam Hussein regime had just been smashed by overwhelming military firepower. But since then 100,000 more Iraqis have been killed by the policy of the U.S. government, 1,300 more U.S. military personnel have been killed (many times the number killed in the two wars against the Hussein regime), and still more U.S. troops are being sent! They're bogged down in a war of a different type, a quagmire with no light at the end of the tunnel.
The Hussein tyranny was widely hated by the masses of Iraqi people. With its fall all the long-suppressed social forces of the country came into the open to organize their struggles to shape its future. But the U.S. was only concerned with replacing Hussein's dictatorship with its own. U.S. soldiers were used to break into homes, fire into crowds of anti-occupation demonstrators, impose a new censorship, and arrest leaders of the unemployed movement and many others. The U.S. opposed national elections and replaced officials elected at the local levels when it didn't like them---including with officials from the Hussein regime. A "shock" privatization program written in Washington was implemented that threw hundreds of thousands of workers out of jobs while the doors of the country were thrown open to U.S. businessmen and investors. The promised reconstruction became another name for grabbing $billions while doing next to nothing to help the Iraqi people. An interim "Iraqi government" was eventually appointed.
The Bush administration justifies all this with the monstrous lie that it's fighting for freedom and democracy in Iraq. But last year's revelations of the Abu Ghraib and other torture chambers exposed to the world what this kind of democracy looks like, as has the treatment of the people of Falluja. There orders were given as to who had to leave their homes and city, and who had to stay. A bloody assault and massive destruction was carried out. People trying to escape were shot. Medical relief teams were barred. And the U.S. released a plan that would require residents to be retina-scanned and wear I.D. tags in order to live there. Falluja shows that behind Bush's honeyed talk of freedom and democracy is collective punishment and plans to set up Nazi-style ghettos.
The Iraqi resistance
The masses of Iraqi people hate and resist this new tyranny that is being imposed upon them. They've waged strikes against U.S.-dictated privatizations, developed a movement of the unemployed demanding relief, organized local reconstruction efforts, and mounted demonstrations demanding that the U.S. get out now. An armed resistance has also developed that gains increased mass support with each new act of barbarism organized from Washington. Yet the military victories of this resistance cannot resolve the difficult political situation among the masses, and their need to advance their independent struggles. Many are being drawn behind the dominant anti-occupation groupings, while the others have been unable to organize a popular alternative. But the dominant groupings have sectarian and reactionary-nationalist agendas that may inveigle the people in a bloody civil war. And if this is avoided their agendas remain aimed at a victory over U.S. imperialism that leaves the masses divided among themselves, enslaved, and subject to being used as cannon fodder for suppressing the Kurdish people or others. Part struggle under the banner of Islam for reactionary theocracy, part favor a secular but likewise anti-democratic regime (the Ba'athist remnants), but all represent factions of a dictatorial Iraqi bourgeoisie struggling among themselves for prerogatives in exploitation and oppression.
Beneath these groupings' opposition to U.S. imperialism is the strivings of the Iraqi bourgeoisie to be regional imperialists (as it was with Hussein). In fact this class nature leads those that dominate the armed part of the resistance to act no different than the U.S., i.e., actions that disregard the number of Iraqi working and poor people who are killed (their version of "collateral" damage), or blowing up vital economic targets in order to "drive" the masses to their side (their version of the U.S./U.N. sanctions regime). They also brand people forced by poverty to work at menial jobs on U.S. military bases as collaborators and kill them.
Thus a class force needs to be created that represents the interests of the working masses, a force independent from the various clerical, Ba'athist, and other bourgeois forces. We can't say whether this will arise from the working-class forces now in the overall resistance finding a common voice, or in some other way. But the social basis for building such a force exists in Iraqi society right now, i.e., the Iraqi working class and poor (the majority of the population). Although not at a high level, their economic struggles are invariably bringing them up against the Iraqi bourgeoisie (whether pro or anti U.S. occupation) which brings out police, troops or fundamentalist thugs to suppress them. Their struggles for democratic rights, including for equality of women, also bring them up against both the pro and anti-occupation bourgeois factions. And many have sacrificed everything for noble and democratic ideals in these struggles. These tendencies that have arisen from the masses provide a basis for creating the kind of force that can overcome the divisions being fostered by the fundamentalists and reactionary nationalists that are holding back these struggles themselves---and a basis for bringing into being a revolutionary-democratic resistance current. We should support every effort of the working masses to further these tendencies, put their stamp on the resistance, and thereby, on the future of Iraq.
The January 30 elections
The U.S. government initially opposed the just demands of the people for elections because it feared fundamentalist Shiite parties would come to power that would cause problems for its imperialist agenda. But it was caught between the pressure of these parties themselves (including threats of rebellion), pressure from the democratic masses of Iraq and everywhere, and growing armed resistance. It therefore teamed up with its puppet Iraqi politicians plus the two largest Shia parties, Kurdish parties, some Sunni-dominated parties, and others to write and oversee election rules; and through threats, bribery and arbitrary rule changes they worked to co-opt more parties to field candidates so as to give the election legitimacy. Nevertheless, large sections of the Sunni elite have called for an election boycott as they maneuver to save privileges they enjoyed under the Hussein tyranny. For different reasons several smaller Shia-parties, secular parties (including some leftist parties), and others also call for boycott.
Thus the attempt to hold elections is not quieting things, as imperialism had hoped, but is bringing various contradictions to a head both with US imperialism, and among the internal Iraqi forces. The latter contradictions could trigger civil war. Meanwhile the people face intimidation and death from both government and anti-government forces, and various forms of censorship continue.
So, although elections are an important and just demand of the Iraqi people, the present elections may result in tragedy. Moreover, the result of this election, if held, will only reflect the relative strengths of the various dominant bourgeois groupings that have not been excluded by the election rules or have not boycotted. If the Shiite leaders dominate the new assembly, as expected, they may present new problems for U.S. imperialism, but it will continue to pursue its imperialist agenda, allying with the groupings it can, and clashing with those it can not. The need for building up a revolutionary-democratic alternative will continue to press.
Imperialism is the issue
Behind it all, this is an imperialist war of occupation aimed at crushing opposition to U.S. monopolization of the Iraqi oil resources, and at politically dominating the entire oil-rich region by establishing permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. It's a war being fought on behalf the U.S. monopoly capitalist class, the class that not only stands to reap immense profits from further monopolization of oil resources, from war contracts, and from privatization of the Iraqi state sectors, but also a class that is striving to enrich itself as the result of the economic and political leverage that more U.S. domination of the world's oil resources plus demonstrated willingness to use military force against rivals will give it everywhere. This barbarism is driven by the underlying economic laws of the modern capitalist system of production itself, i.e., dominate markets, sources of raw materials and labor or be ruined by the competitors!
The Democratic Party is part of the problem
Bush's imperialism is in fact the imperialism of the monopoly capitalist class, a class that is united behind the imperial objectives just outlined. The fact that the Democrats, who compete with the Republicans to lead this class, ran a campaign that tried to out-do Bush in militarism reflects this unity. Nevertheless, the ruling class is worried about Bush's unilateralism. Its old alliances may be turned into troublesome rivalries, and it's costly in terms of troops and money. Kerry's talk of bringing more imperialist allies into the Iraqi occupation reflected this worry, as did Kucinich's slogan of "U.S. out, U.N. in". Today, the Democrats' idea that "we broke it, therefore we have to fix it" masks U.S. monopoly capital's continuing bloody drive to dominate oil resources and build empire. Thus, for the anti-war movement to become a truly powerful force it must not only expose and fight against the ideas of Bush and Co., but it must also expose and fight against the ideas of the liberal Democrats. This is connected to targeting the imperialist system itself as causing the war, and to opposing the non-class approach to politics that presently dominates the movement.
Organizing the working class around its own interests is the solution
The other side of the truth about the bloody imperialist project in Iraq is that it's flatly against the interest of the largest and potentially most powerful class in U.S. society, the working class. The sons and daughters of this class are being used as cannon fodder for the imperial enrichment of the very same exploiting corporations and financiers that are constantly attacking the wages and working conditions of the workers here at home. Moreover, the working class and poorer people in general are being squeezed by the capitalist government to pay for war and occupation through budget cuts in programs that in any way serve them while tax-money is shoveled to mega-corporations like Halliburton/Brown Kellog Root. Also, the ideological attacks on the working class cannot be underestimated. The "support our troops", anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, patriotic hoopla fostered by the imperialist establishment attacks class consciousness. Instead of giving sympathy and support to the just struggles of the working people of Iraq against the imperialist dictate of "our" government we're told to do the opposite! Instead of supporting the growing resistance by U.S. soldiers (most of whom are from the working class) to being used as cannon fodder for the rich we're told to do the opposite! But if workers stand aloof when their more oppressed sisters and brothers are being viciously attacked (whether abroad or at home) they're undermining their own cause.
Today the U.S. working class (like that in Iraq) is very disorganized, and like the rest of society it's dominated by bourgeois politics. But of all classes, the bourgeoisie most recognizes the danger this class poses to its entire imperialist agenda. Hence its almost hysterical cries to "support our troops!", its constant flag-waving, fear-mongering and lying. The task of anti-imperialists is therefore to further enlighten the working class above all others on how the occupation of Iraq is against its interests, and draw it into organized anti-war activity. Mobilizing for the January 20 antiwar demonstrations provides an opportunity to take up this task.
U.S. imperialism get out of Iraq!
Support the struggles of the Iraqi workers and poor!
Seattle Communist Study Group, January 8, 2005
(Read Communist Voice, http://www.communistvoice.org)
add a comment on this article
add a comment on this article