Ray O. Light
Special Edition #12
The US Sponsored Election in Iraq and the
Iraqi National Liberation Movement
" …the national movement of the oppressed countries should be appraised not from the point of view of formal democracy, but from the point of view of the actual results, as shown by the general balance sheet of the struggle against imperialism, that is to say, ‘not in isolation, but on a world scale.’" (Stalin, Foundations of Leninism)
As proletarian internationalists based in the USA, the belly of the beast, we are privileged as well as duty bound to print for our readers, an outstanding anti-imperialist declaration from the "Iraqi Patriotic Alliance". It should serve to alert all of us to our revolutionary duty not only to oppose the US imperialist occupation of Iraq but also to support the Iraqi national liberation struggle. In addition, this timely declaration, issued on December 4th, 2004, thoroughly exposes the Bush Regime’s current "big lie" propaganda.
On January 30, 2005, 60% of some unknown portion of the Iraqi people reportedly went to the polls and voted in an election held under the military occupation authority of US imperialism. The Bush Administration and the Republican and Democratic Party apologists for US imperialism are trumpeting this election turnout as a justification for the unprovoked US military invasion and occupation of Iraq and indeed for Bush’s Nazi-like strategic policy of "pre-emptive war".
This election (and the Iraqi government in formation "blessed" by it) is a key component in the Bush Regime’s desperate effort to consolidate the increasingly tenuous position of US imperialism in Iraq and in the entire oil-rich region of the Middle East. As part of this same propaganda campaign, US imperialism continues to promote, through the monopolist-controlled mass media, the idea that the Iraqi Resistance is nothing but a bunch of "terrorists" with no legitimate grievances and no popular base among the Iraqi peoples.
In recent weeks, as has been the case throughout the period of Bush’s "unending war against terrorism" beginning with the unprovoked war against the people of Afghanistan, important social props of US imperialism within US society have come to the aid of the Bushites with regard to both the Iraqi election and the slander of the Iraqi national liberation fighters struggling to liberate their country from the US imperialist military-political-economic occupation.
This Newsletter is our attempt to help counter the current US imperialist ideological offensive against the Iraqi people as they continue their heroic struggle to throw out the imperialist occupier. Following our publication of the declaration from the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance below, we highlight some of the excellent points found in the document (as well as make a few critical comments) in the course of our polemic against social democratic apologists for US imperialism within the US anti-war movement.
Letter from Iraqi Patriotic Alliance
addressed to our brothers* all around the world
4th December 2004
*Addressing the Letter to "our brothers" without addressing "our sisters" could reflect the influence on the Patriotic Alliance of Islam and/or other fundamentalist religious influences or other reactionary influences that are male supremacist; or perhaps it merely reflects their influence on the translator. Either way this serious political weakness is also reflected in the fact that the role and the stake of Iraqi women in the liberation struggle is nowhere mentioned. In addition, the rights of the Iraqi Kurds (and their relationship to the entire Kurdish Nation) as well as other minority nationalities and the important relationship between the Sunnis and Shi’ites, and the stake of all these national groupings in the Iraqi liberation movement are likewise omitted. (US imperialism is masterful at taking advantage of nationality differences to divide and conquer.) Finally, there are obvious shortcomings in the translation into English which we have attempted to clarify. We indicate by brackets where there were different words in the original translation. -ROL
The Iraqi resistance is confronting the illegitimate and brutal Zionist Imperialist occupation of Iraq. Our resistance is legitimate according to international law and the UN Charter, including the right to resort to armed means. We are claiming our right to national self-determination and a real sovereignty.
The different resisting groups in Iraq have developed a network between each other in order to achieve their ultimate goal. This goal was clearly addressed in their political program released after the liberation of Fallujah in April this year (2004). The program of the Iraqi resistance is as follows:
End the occupation and liberate the country
Transition period of 2 years
Iraqi united-National government for all
Iraqi constitution written by Iraqis themselves
Free election and full participation of the different political parties
To implement the strategy of liberation, the Iraqi resistance is attacking occupying forces and their institutions and those who serve them with food, oil and other supplies. On the other hand, the Iraqi resistance is preventing the occupiers from using Oil as a political means.
Schools, churches, mosques and other civilian places have never been the target of the Iraqi resistance. Besides, we have to be very critical and careful about any kidnapping or killing process of a foreigner-worker in Iraq. The resistance has no benefit in attacking people like Margaret Hassan, two Simona’s or others. These actions are meant to discredit the legal [legitimate] resistance of our people.
Here, we would like to share with you some of the heroic achievements of the Iraqi resistance:
The Iraqi resistance was able to cause a high number of casualties in material and soldiers among the occupying forces.
The resistance fighters were able to liberate 30 cities: creating a suitable environment for the resistan[ce] fighters by forming a death-zone for the occupying forces and their agents.
The Iraqi resistance has defeated the Spanish imperialism and has forced 9 out of the occupying/allying countries to leave Iraq. The Netherlands, Hungary and Poland are leaving Iraq next year.
The Iraqi resistance was able to pull plunder companies out of Iraq: the so-called contractors "rebuilding companies".
The Iraqi resistance has renewed the spirit of resistance in the whole world by defeating the US imperialism in Fallujah, AlSamawa, Najaf and other Iraqi cities.
The heroic resistance in Iraq has isolated UK and US in Iraq, preventing temporary the go-on [temporarily preventing the expansion] of the "war on terror" against: Syria, Cuba and North Korea.
The resistance in Iraq is the resistance of the Iraqi people and it is mainly represented by the major political groups; the Patriotic, Islamic and the Pan-Arab groups.
By this, we want to [put] emphasis on the fact that our resistance has an anti-imperialist profile with Islamic and patriotic elements. Adding on that, the effective participation of members of the dismantled Iraqi army and the Ba’ath party.
We could expect some objections about the participation of the Ba’ath party in the resistance. There are more than three million active Ba’ath party members in Iraq. So, when we mention members of this party we do not mean only those who were in the former Iraqi government. But those who believe in the Ba’ath ideology expressed in their slogan: Unity, Liberty and Socialism.
The fear of the Islamic character of the Iraqi resistance could be answered by the fact that after the liberation of Iraq, the Iraqi resistance will then be the only legitimized representative of the Iraqi people. A transition period will then give the Iraqi people the chance to choose their representatives to form a united national government with full participation of all parties including the Islamic forces. We have then to accept the choice of the Iraqi people.
As to the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, we are proud [of him and also distressed to have] to inform you that our secretary general in Iraq, Mr. Abduljabbar al-Kubaysi was arrested on 3rd of September in Baghdad. The house he had temporarily stayed in was surrounded and stormed by about 50 US occupation soldiers employing helicopters and tanks. Mr. Al-Kubaysi was leading the IPA since the 90’s against the economic sanctions and the Zionistic and imperialistic plans of the US in Iraq. During his latest activities building a united political front of the resistance against the occupation, he was arrested without any charges. At this moment we know nothing about his situation. Even his family is unable to contact him. We hold the occupying forces responsible for the health and life of Mr. Al-Kubaysi and all other prisoners in Iraq.
We hope for further coordination between you and us in our shared struggle against occupation and imperialism.
Long Live the Iraqi Resistance
Nada Al-Rubaiee, [on behalf of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA)]
The Wisdom of Solomon: US "Left" Slander of the Iraqi Resistance and Support for the Bush-Sponsored Iraqi Election
In late January, as the Iraqi election approached, an important political piece, entitled "The US Left and the Iraq Election" was issued by Mark Solomon, a national co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). CCDS is a countrywide social democratic organization that had split from the right revisionist (reformist) Communist Party USA some years ago, as a group even more right reformist than the CPUSA. It is an important part of the coalition of right revisionist and reformist forces which spearheads the United for Peace group. United for Peace has to some extent succeeded in usurping the leadership of the US anti-war movement from the more militant and somewhat anti-imperialist ANSWER coalition.*
*The political leadership of United for Peace is an unholy alliance of the aforementioned CCDS, the rightist split of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) (Both sides of the FRSO split have retained the name of the organization and "FRSO Left" does sound anti-imperialist political work), and the long-revisionist CPUSA --- all taking their ultimate political leadership from the Democratic Party of US monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
Solomon’s document can be understood as a political guide for these opportunists, seeking to keep the anti-war movement safe for US imperialism.
Solomon begins by attacking the Iraqi resistance forces opposing Bush’s occupation-sponsored election. Describing the "dark cloud" hovering over the election, Solomon enumerates several problems, leading to the conclusion that "An Iraqi electorate is called upon to face down terror and vote under the guns of foreign occupation---questionable conditions at best for free and fair elections." Lumping together the armed liberation movement with the imperialist occupiers, Solomon "graciously" shows "understanding" for leftists in the USA who might doubt the effectiveness of the election "as a vehicle for ending foreign military occupation."*
*Note Solomon’s use of "foreign occupation". Nowhere in the entire article does Solomon, a leading "leftist" in the USA, expose United States imperialism as the enemy of the Iraqi people! Bush and US imperialism are specifically mentioned only in the context of political positions that Solomon opposes!
Having demonstrated his "understanding" side, Solomon rolls his sleeves up and begins his dirty job. The first position that Solomon takes issue with is the anti-imperialist view that "the vote is little more than a thinly disguised scheme to provide a veneer of legitimacy to the continuation of U.S. control over Iraq".
Solomon counters that Iraqi politics are "complex". Counting on US leftists’ lack of knowledge about the Iraqi left, he asserts, without documentation, that many of the best Iraqi leftists are participating in the election. Later on, in a similarly amorphous and undocumented assertion, Solomon states that, "there is a long and honored history of socialist, radical, and left political forces choosing to fight in parliaments and on other political terrain controlled by their adversaries." To bolster his promotion of parliamentary to the exclusion of armed struggle against the US military occupation, Solomon namedrops the Iraqi Communist Party’s electoral participation as proof of the broad popular involvement in the election, while acknowledging that this party has been "reviled" for "selling out to the occupation and to US imperialism." Indeed! How else can such a party be described that has served in both US puppet councils formed since the first was created by the US military "proconsul" and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) on the heels of the US military invasion in 2003?! Evidently, though, such a Quisling stooge role does not bother Solomon at all.
Solomon is extremely bothered, however, by those Iraqis who have taken up arms against US imperialism and who oppose the Bush-sponsored election. He asserts that the majority are "former Ba’athists" and that they are responsible for the murders of trade union leader Hadi Salih** and Communist activist Waddah Hassan Abdul Amir and other "democratic" forces. He cites this as proof that "while their attacks today on foreign military forces snarl the occupation, their main thrust is against Iraqi civilians." The letter of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance makes clear that their "resistance has an anti-imperialist profile with Islamic and patriotic elements...adding on that, the effective participation of members of the dismantled Iraqi army and the Ba’ath party." In this latter group they include the three million "who believe in the Ba’ath ideology expressed in their slogan: Unity, Liberty and Socialism." Their Letter also makes clear that they have never targeted "schools, churches, mosques and other civilian places" and that acts of individual terrorism "discredit the legal [legitimate] resistance of our people."
**See Appendix: "The Assassination of Hadi Salih and the Continuing USLAW Campaign In Support of US Occupation"
The Iraqi Patriotic Alliance is straightforward in its statement that "to implement the strategy of liberation, the Iraqi resistance is attacking occupying forces and their institutions and those who serve them with food, oil and other supplies." Shockingly, Solomon includes among "the Iraqi civilians" attacked by the resistance the "heretofore jobless Iraqi workers seeking the only employment available to them in the police and the military." Thus, Solomon supports the domestic armed agents, the native puppet troops, of the US imperialist occupation and defends them from attack by the Iraqi Resistance, which he condemns!
Solomon’s defense of the US imperialist-sponsored "Iraqi police and the military", means that social pacifism cannot explain Solomon’s hostility to the resistance movement. It is outright social chauvinism, that is, socialism in words and chauvinism in deeds, that characterizes Solomon’s (and United for Peace’s?) position. They consistently stand behind the US imperialist occupation.
In 1924, in his seminal work, Foundations of Leninism, using the example of the situation in Egypt, comrade Stalin said, "the struggle that the Egyptian merchants and bourgeois intellectuals are waging for the independence of Egypt is objectively a revolutionary struggle, despite the bourgeois origin and bourgeois title of the leaders of the Egyptian national movement, despite the fact that they are opposed to socialism; whereas the struggle that the British "Labour" government is waging to preserve Egypt’s dependent position is for the same reasons a reactionary struggle, despite the proletarian origin and the proletarian title of the members of that government, despite the fact that they are ‘for’ socialism." (Italics in original)
So, even if the Iraqi resistance forces struggling against US imperialist occupation were all political reactionaries, it would be the duty of any US socialist, of any anti-imperialist, (like Solomon?!) to support the struggle for Iraqi independence against US imperialism.
But Solomon had to have been aware of the Iraqi Resistance declaration published above, which makes his treachery even more outrageous. And his arguments become more outrageous as he writes. Solomon asserts that the Iraqi Resistance has "nothing in common with Vietnam and other liberation struggles which openly sought and won the support of the people by clearly proclaiming their objectives." The Letter, in fact, presents a step-by-step program for national independence and governance following liberation from the imperialist occupation. With regard to Vietnam, US imperialism had actually used the same election propaganda ploy there that Bush is using in Iraq now--- with the blessings of the Democrats and the opportunists like Solomon! The title of a New York Times report, in September 1967, by Peter Grose says it all--"U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote: Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror".
Solomon claims that, "the Iraq resistance lives mainly in the shadows without a publicly declared program". The program of the Iraqi Resistance reprinted here was published at least six weeks before Solomon wrote these words. Perhaps an indication of his prior knowledge of the declaration is that he is dismissive of those who are "bereft of an agenda except to liberate their country from occupation." What more does he want from them?!
Yet there is more. Similar to the Vietnamese leadership, the Patriotic Alliance lays out a plan for national unity and reconstruction. Further, it recognizes that the heroic Iraqi resistance is making an important contribution to the worldwide struggle against imperialism. While the Patriotic Alliance seems to have some confusion about the relationship between the Israeli Zionist subordinates and their US imperialist superiors, their letter correctly points out that "the heroic resistance in Iraq has isolated the US and UK in Iraq", thereby preventing or forestalling the expansion of the Bush-led "war on terror" "against: Syria, Cuba and North Korea." Finally, the Letter points out that, "The Iraqi resistance has renewed the spirit of resistance in the whole world by defeating US imperialism in Fallujah, AlSamawa, Najaf and other Iraqi cities."
The internationalist spirit of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance reflected in its Letter, underscores two important facts:
1. "The interests of the proletarian movement in the developed countries and of the national liberation movement in the colonies call for the union of these two forms of the revolutionary movement into a common front against the common enemy, against imperialism…[and] the formation of a common revolutionary front is impossible unless the proletariat of the oppressor nations renders direct and determined support to the liberation movement of the oppressed peoples against the imperialism of its ‘own country’, for ‘no nation can be free if it oppresses other nations.’(Engels.)" (Stalin, ibid)
2. Proletarian revolutionaries, communists, socialists, and anti-imperialists of all stripes and in all countries today have an internationalist obligation to demonstrate their solidarity with the Iraqi national liberation movement as a priority of their own struggles. For progressive and revolutionary forces in the USA, this anti-imperialist obligation must be their primary duty.
Solidarity with the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance! Victory to the Iraqi Resistance!!
Stop the Bush-Led Imperialist War of Terror Against the Toiling Peoples of the World!
Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples Unite!
The Assassination of Hadi Salih and the Continuing USLAW Campaign in Support of US Occupation
On January 4, 2005 Hadi Salih, the International Secretary of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), was assassinated. The very next day, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney issued a statement praising Salih and especially his belief in "peaceful solutions to working people’s problems". Sweeney’s statement on the murder of Salih was as prompt as his declaration the day after the September 11th attacks in support of President Bush.
There is one big difference, however. On September 12, 2001, Sweeney had expressed the "AFL-CIO’s full support", stating that "no sacrifice is too great for Americans to defend those [American] values." By November 8th of that year, as the US led war against the people of Afghanistan wore on, the AFL-CIO Executive Council, led by Sweeney, specifically declared: "We support the president in his decision to use military force…" Sweeney had no trouble supporting non peaceful solutions provided by US imperialist chieftain Bush, but he appreciated the Iraqi trade unionist for being "against the use of violence and terror in Iraq", i.e., in a country under US imperialist military occupation!! Could the social-chauvinism of the number one spokesman of the US labor movement be any more blatantly expressed?!
In September 2003, we had written about the creation of US Labor Against the War (USLAW) as follows: "While the United for Peace forces were unable to disperse NYCLAW [New York City Labor Against the War] and its anti-imperialist allies throughout the US labor movement, their intrigues resulted in the creation of US Labor Against the War (USLAW), a compromise between the anti-imperialist forces within the US labor movement who had courageously opposed Bush’s War from Afghanistan onward and the newly emerged, well connected, United for Peace forces, many of whom had supported the AFL-CIO bureaucracy and George W. Bush in Afghanistan and wished only to oppose the Iraqi invasion threat or for US imperialism to obtain UN blessing for its invasion of Iraq. Unfortunately, it was these latter ‘well-connected’ opportunist forces who became the spokesmen for USLAW." (p.3 footnote "Revolutionary Workers Organization is Key", Ray O. Light Newsletter, Special Edition #8)
On the night of January 5th, 2005, only hours after Sweeney’s AFL-CIO condemnation of the murder of Hadi Salih, the USLAW five person leadership (led by Co-Conveners Gene Bruskin and Bob Muehlenkamp), once again faithfully following their AFL-CIO master, issued an official USLAW condemnation of Salih’s murder. Cleverly carrying out their role as Social Democrats to the "left" of Sweeney, the USLAW statement pays lip service in a dry factual statement to the idea that the "occupation must end" and "bring the troops home now" but these statements have no real connection to the purpose of the US LAW declaration, that is, the condemnation of the murderers of Hadi Salih. The implication is clear that resistance fighters were the murderers of Salih. This, somehow, despite the fact that the USLAW spokespeople claimed that Salih and the IFTU called "for the end of the occupation and the US war"!
Michael Letwin, NYCLAW Co-Convener and USLAW Steering Committee member, sent a brief email to Michael Eisenscher (of the five person USLAW leadership) asking why the USLAW statement included the assertion that the IFTU called for an end to the occupation and the US war when there had been open controversy over this issue within USLAW. Letwin also questioned why the statement on Hadi Salih was issued at all without prior discussion and authorization by the entire Steering Committee. Eisenscher, who is closely associated with the CCDS, attacked Letwin, accusing him of wanting to remain silent on the murder of trade unionists, etc. Meanwhile, Eisenscher expressed strong support for those in Iraq (like Salih) who want to "resist the occupation" "without arms". (Our Italics) At the same time, Eisenscher attacked those resisting US imperialism "with arms" as follows: "That Ba’athist elements and religious fascists do so with arms does not mean that we ought to embrace them as legitimate fighters for the autonomy, self-determination and national integrity of the Iraqi people."
As Letwin pointed out in response to Eisenscher’s attack – "NYCLAW co-sponsored (and I co-chaired) the main USLAW Iraq labor tour forum in New York City, at which 250 people donated $800, some of it for the IFTU. I would certainly not have objected to USLAW’s statement on Hadi Salih, had it simply condemned his assassination, pointed out that "the ultimate source of violence in Iraq is the US occupation" and demanded "bring the troops home now". What I did object to was the attempt to whitewash the IFTU’s collaboration with the very war and occupation that USLAW was created to oppose."
Letwin’s principled response fails on only one point. Actually, USLAW was created precisely in order to take the leadership of the antiwar pole within the US labor movement away from NYCLAW (including Letwin) and other anti-imperialists. In the same September 2003 piece, we warned about USLAW as follows: "Trade union ‘leftists’, including USLAW’s Muehlenkamp and Bruskin, who refused to oppose Bush on Afghanistan, have admitted (during the time they opposed Bush on Iraq) that AFL-CIO support for Bush on Afghanistan had set up US workers for Bush’s attack on the US working class and labor movement at home. Yet they are prepared to carry out this same betrayal again and again. They attempt to get different sections of the international working class to fight only against the most specific, partial, and immediate manifestations of the imperialist system that they face rather than to fight the system itself with maximum unity of the international working class on the most militant basis of struggle." (ibid, pp. 14 and 15)
Indeed, the praise by USLAW’s top leadership for the trade unionist, Salih, "peaceful" in the face of the US military occupation, and their condemnation of "violent Iraqis" who they assert are the murderers of Salih, precisely conforms to their role that we have exposed from the time of the creation of USLAW. This USLAW declaration, on the eve of the Bush-sponsored Iraqi election, on the coattails of AFL-CIO chief John Sweeney and in conjunction with the article by CCDS co-chair Mark Solomon, only serves to strengthen the US military occupation of Iraq.
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