Ray O. Light
September 2005

The Iraqi National Liberation Movement and the World Proletarian Revolution

Formerly, the proletarian revolution was regarded exclusively as the result of the internal development of a given country. Now, this point of view is no longer adequate. Now the proletarian revolution must be regarded primarily as the result of the development of the contradictions within the world system of imperialism, as the result of the breaking of the chain of the world imperialist front in one country or another.

(Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, 1924)

The heroic national liberation struggle of the Iraqi people against the US imperialist led occupiers of their country is today on the frontline of the worldwide struggle of the international proletariat against international capital. The Iraqi Resistance has not only exposed the bestial, aggressive character of US imperialism militarily, but it has also exposed the economic greed, the drive to maintain and extend economic hegemony and US Empire that motivated the unprovoked invasion and occupation. Furthermore, the Iraqi Resistance has revealed the murderous oil politics of US imperialism that include efforts to create warfare between and among the Sunni and Shiite Muslim and the Kurdish populations that make up the overwhelming majority of the people of Iraq. (For this nefarious purpose US imperialism even resorts to fake "suicide bombers" to incite these peoples to fight each other instead of uniting to fight US imperialism.) Finally, this popular resistance movement is daily inflicting mortal blows on the military machine of the main enemy of humanity, imperialism, headed by US imperialism.

The heroic Iraqi Resistance has provided the rest of the oppressed nations and peoples of the world and the international working class with new opportunities to fight for national democratic and socialist revolution, for state power, against a weakened and preoccupied imperialist superpower; likewise, it has emboldened the imperialist and powerful bourgeois rival/partners of US imperialism to challenge US hegemony economically, politically, socially, and ultimately to also challenge militarily.

In the context of the growing world capitalist economic crisis, Bush-led US imperialism continues to expand its already overextended military commitments in the cause of expansion of its global economic empire. Under the same impetus, its imperialist rival/partners use every sign of weakness of US imperialism to challenge its hegemony.

Nowhere are all these phenomena more clearly at work than in Latin America. On the one hand are the bold initiatives of Hugo Chavez and the masses of people in Venezuela, anchored by the support of Fidel Castro and the Cuban people. These economic and political initiatives have resonated with the peoples throughout the continent. Especially in the Andean Region --- from Argentina, to Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia --- with the increasing militancy of the Brazilian people, Latin America is standing up to beleaguered US imperialism. This uprising has been conditioned by the heroic liberation movement of the Iraqi people. On the other hand, US imperialism has kidnapped Aristide in Haiti and toppled his government. It is now sending US troops to Paraguay for "joint military exercises", trying desperately to maintain its control of this continent, its vast resources and its people. At the same time, taking advantage of this intensification of the contradiction between US imperialism and the oppressed Latin American peoples, imperialist Germany, Spain and other European imperialist powers have accelerated their penetration of Latin America.

In Asia, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is on the verge of being driven from office amidst all kinds of corruption charges. No doubt the successes of the Iraqi resistance movement and her role as George W. Bush’s most loyal Asian supporter on Iraq (which has been exposed well by the mass organizations led by the Communist Party of the Philippines) have exacerbated the political crisis that she faces. And because of the success of the Iraqi Resistance, US imperialism is in a very weak position to come to her political-military rescue.

China and India, the two most populous countries on earth, are rapidly asserting themselves economically while US imperialism is limited in its ability to counter the challenge to its hegemony. And the one-third of humanity that lives in these two countries are also rising against their own bourgeois rulers.

In Nepal, the Peoples Liberation Army of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which has been waging People’s War since 1996, might actually soon seize power, according to a February 2005 CounterPunch article by Gary Leupp. And, thanks to the Iraqi Resistance, US imperialism is in no position to concentrate its military forces there. Its junior partner and rival, the powerful Indian federal government, is facing armed struggle, in parts of South India including Andhra Pradesh as well as throughout most of the northeast Indian states near Nepal (Nagaland, Assam, etc.), inspired by the successes of the Nepalese comrades; and Indian intervention there could lead to the national liberation of these states from India.

In Uzbekistan, there is a new effort to oust US troops from a key military base. And in Afghanistan, the people have never accepted the US-led military occupation that preceded the invasion of Iraq. The US puppet regime there is confined to a small perimeter around Kabul. The Afghani people, encouraged by the Iraqi Resistance, are waging a national liberation struggle against US imperialism and its NATO allies occupying their country; though not yet on the scale of the revolt in Iraq and evidently not yet coordinated with it. US military planner Rand Corporation projects that the current eight thousand US troops in Afghanistan will have to be augmented there to eighteen thousand for the foreseeable future.

Even in African countries that have remained under the domination of French imperialism, US weakness in Iraq emboldens French imperialism to take more aggressive positions while the Iraqi example of heroic national liberation struggle provides an inspiring example for the revolutionary movements in these countries.

In Europe, two of George W. Bush’s most loyal and openly reactionary supporters, Aznar in Spain and Berlusconi in Italy have lost whatever mass appeal they previously possessed, under the pressure of the Iraqi Resistance. In Italy, there is massive popular pressure for Berlusconi to break with Bush and bring the Italian troops home from Iraq in the aftermath of the murder of an Italian intelligence officer by US soldiers in Iraq. In Spain, the Madrid train bombings just before the 2004 presidential election not only failed to rally support for the reactionary Aznar but his Social Democratic opponent was elected on the promise to withdraw Spain from the US-led coalition occupying Iraq. And the Spanish people held him to his promise. Both the Italian and Spanish revolutionary working class movements have been strengthened in this process.

In Britain, as in the USA, the principal candidate for both major parties was blatantly pro-war. Thus, Blair was reinstalled as British Prime Minister, despite his criminal collaboration with the criminal Bush Regime. Nevertheless, the Downing Street Memo and other scandals around the Iraq war, brought to light under the pressure of the successful Iraqi Resistance, have weakened Blair’s position and strengthened the anti-globalization movement that protested so strongly the G-8 Summit until the "mysterious" London bombings occurred.

In the USA itself, under the pressure of the growing Iraqi popular Resistance, a much-heralded BET/CBS News poll before the 2004 presidential election found that 90% of Afro-Americans answered "no" when asked whether they felt "the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq." By late March of 2005, a Boston Globe column by Boston University professor and author, Andrew Bacevich, described how the all-volunteer US military was unraveling "under the stress of a protracted war." The key, according to Bacevich, is that "African-Americans have begun to opt out." He cited the following: "Whereas in fiscal year 2000, 23.5 percent of Army first-term enlistees were black, by 2004 that figure had dropped to 15.6 percent. Over the first four months of the current fiscal year, it stands at 13.9 percent. … Since 2001 black enrollment in ROTC has dropped by 36 percent." ("Uncle Sam Wants You", 3-28-05) And this has occurred despite the unprecedented use of Black individuals (Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice) in the highest US foreign policy ranks!

Within the past two weeks, the AFL-CIO held its National Convention in Chicago. Only 8% of private-sector workers are union members now as compared with three times as many 25 years ago. Moreover, the strategy of funding and backing bourgeois politicians (mostly Democrats) has helped to place the AFL-CIO in this precarious position. With its back to the wall, two of the largest unions in the AFL-CIO (the SEIU and the Teamsters) announced their exit from the union federation even before the Convention began and at least two more large unions were expected to closely follow. The division of the main organization of workers in the USA into two federations in the face of the anti-labor Bush Regime on the surface appears to weaken the position of the US working class. However, the shake-up of this reliable social prop of US imperialism has within it the possibility for new opportunities for working class organization of a more militant character to emerge. Indeed, among the exiting organizations, especially Stern’s SEIU, some small amount of real organizing of the unorganized has taken place over the past decade.

Neither the John Sweeney-led AFL-CIO nor the Andrew Stern-led Change to Win (CTW) Coalition made the position on the Iraqi War a line of demarcation between them. Nevertheless, the fact that Sweeney had led the AFL-CIO in giving all-out support to Bush’s "War on Terror" helped to keep Bush in the Presidency and bring this crisis in leadership to a head. Now, in the wake of the massive defections by CTW unions, the AFL-CIO Convention for the first time in its fifty year history passed a resolution somewhat opposing a current foreign policy of US imperialism when it resolved that the US military should "rapidly" withdraw from Iraq.*

* Since the Bush Regime is now floating the idea of early withdrawal from Iraq, the AFL-CIO Resolution is not in direct opposition to Bush and US imperialism. Recent articles in Newsweek and other bourgeois publications point up growing US government recognition that they cannot defeat the Iraqi Resistance militarily and are therefore looking for other means to keep their control over Iraq.

Because it is the working class and the oppressed youth of US society which join the US military and fight its wars, the half-hearted resolution by the labor federation (which has previously been referred to deservedly as the AFL-CIA) calling for the rapid withdrawal of the US military from Iraq has much political significance. This is in conformity with the organization of US Military Families against the war, the challenge to Bush by Gold Star parents (who have lost a child in the US military service in Iraq), the difficulties in meeting US military recruitment goals, and the growing numbers of US military deserters.

It is true that Bush, Cheney et al., with the aid and collaboration of the Democrats in Congress who have barely even whispered the word "impeachment", have weathered all the scandals that have tarnished this criminal regime. Nevertheless, the developments among the Afro-American people in relation to the US military and the increasing opposition of the US working class in general, and specifically within the AFL-CIO and within the US military community itself, represent a sharpening political crisis in the USA that has already aggravated the strategic military overreach of US imperialism in the world and has great potential for the emergence of a serious social revolution in the USA in the long run.

There is probably no arena of class struggle in the world that has been untouched by the Iraqi Resistance to US imperialism. All of the above indicates that the international communist and workers movement is not doing the Iraqis a favor by supporting their Resistance movement. On the contrary, they have been and are doing us the favor --- being in the front ranks of the global struggle against the main enemy, imperialism, headed by US imperialism.

Given this fact, we drew the following conclusion in our March 2005 newsletter, "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." ("The US Sponsored Election in Iraq and the Iraq National Liberation Movement")

Yet, we have encountered great opposition to placing such real emphasis on the Iraqi national liberation movement among many genuine and not so genuine non-Iraqi revolutionaries. First and foremost, this is a manifestation of bourgeois nationalism and reformism. It is a throwback to the period before the emergence of imperialism, before the development of Leninism, when, as Stalin expressed it, "the proletarian revolution was regarded exclusively as the result of the internal development of a given country." As Stalin added over eighty years ago, "now, this point of view is no longer adequate."

Veteran Bengali Communist, Moni Guha, observed the following:

"… the post-Stalin developments took a different turn. The proletarian movement fragmented badly and could present no anti-imperialist front. Anti-imperialist wars were indeed fought and fought valiantly and covered themselves with glory and triumph. But alas there was no single front to oppose imperialism. The link between the world proletarian revolution and national liberation struggles was lost. They were not seen as reserves, as parts of a whole, part of a single world front of socialism. The whole question was posed abstractly, from the point of view of formal democracy, as one of abstract rights. No wonder then that the national liberation movements stopped short in their tracks and did not go over to socialism for there was no world front of socialism, no effort to build a world dictatorship of the proletariat. Victories turned into defeats and advantages into disadvantages. If today imperialism gloats over its triumph of being smuggled back into formerly liberated countries it is in no small measure due to the failure of the various communist contingents in their internationalist duties." ("The National Liberation Movements and the World Proletarian Revolution", Proletarian Path, New Series Volume I, Number 5, September 1994)

Elsewhere, comrade Guha, stated, "One thought that the fight of the proletariat was a world-historic one. That is, a fight that wasn’t discrete and local. … Today, we behave like the despicable leaders of the Second International, like Titos; for us the national communist movements are supposed to have platonic relations with the world socialist revolution." (Proletarian Path, New Series, Volume II, Number 1, December 1995)

We and other internationalist-minded comrades have, for years, counter posed the concept of mutual support (earlier for Vietnam, currently for Iraq and Afghanistan) to the bourgeois nationalist, "self-reliant" concept of waging the class struggle that has dominated the world communist movement. But comrade Guha reminds us how low so-called "communist" standards have become. He reminds us that, "Our internationalism is not for ‘mutual benefit’ but the very pre-condition of our movement --- communism is a world-historical goal."

On the Path to a Communist Future for Humanity:

For Victory for the Iraqi Resistance Over US Led Imperialism!

Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples Unite!

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