Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Iraq quagmire: support the workers!

All of us here at Shiraz Socialist opposed the Iraq war. But not all of us support the "troops out now" call of the 'Stop the War Coalition' (STWC) - a rotten bloc lead by the (British) Socialist Workers Party, the Muslim Association of Britain and Mr George Galloway MP: this unprincipled alliance gives not a damn about then peoples of Iraq, and certainly not about its trade union movement (whose British representative, Abdullah Muhsin - a communist-, was denounced as a "Quisling" by that piece of pro-fascist scum Galloway).

The STWC is only concerned the British and Ud domestic domestic implications of the Iraq war - they give not a fig about the peoples of Iraq, and not a fig about the courageous trades unionists and democrats of Iraq. In fact ther STWC, who officially don't have any programme whatsoever for Iraq, actually support the fascists and nihilists of the so-called "resistance" / "insurgency": the Ba'athists and the Shi'ite Islamists, and gloat, sickeningly, over the descent of Iraq into chaos and anarchy. They are also led by a creature (George Galloway) who danced like a grovelling supplicant at the feet of Saddam Hussein.

The Iraq Study Group's attempt find a way out of the quagmire is almost certainly doomed to failure. It's also merely an alternative strategy that has long been advocated by that section of the US ruling class who never bought the neo-cons' Bolshevism.

The "Stop the War Coalition"'s ignoring of, and then, Galloway-led attacks upon, the Iraqi trade union movement, lead me and the AWL to break with these people, and to concentrate our support upon the only force that can end the chaos and disaster that the invasion brought about: the Iraqi working class: a group who are not a consideration for either the "anti-imperialists" of the STWC, or the little-Englanders and racists who phone in to "Any Answers".

I think the following (by a comrade who I have not yet consulted about this, so I won't name him/her), is pretty much on the mark:

"It seems to me ...if the result of withdrawal is a three-way partition of Iraq (is) terrible communal slaughter, and a Shi'ite state connected to Iraq, (then) the main point (is):

"We (socialists/internationalists) can't say 'Get out of Iraq and hand over power to national liberation movement X', or even 'get out via negotiations with national liberation movements X,Y and Z.

"Normally, that is what troops out and self-determination means: that there is an obvious alternative to colonial or colonial-style rule, and whatever we think of that alternative politically, we recognise the democratic justice , on one level at least of (their) taking power.

"It's (sometimes) not quite so straightforward, and there are some grey areas. Who did we think would take power in Afghanistan when the USSR withdrew? The difference (between Iraq and) Afghanistan (is) that there was no workers' movement to worry about... this is why we're so concerned about ...Iraq: there is a workers' movement and it's the only thing of its kind in the Arab east since the last time the Iraqi workers' movement was crushed in 1963, before most of our organisation was born.

"But I think this is the gist of the problem: normally (ie: in 'classical' Trotskyist analysis) , the approach to national (liberation) movements and anti-colonial struggles, would (be), we would say, positively, that the workers' movement should fight for the leadership of the national (liberation) movement, aiming for workers' power. That however doesn't have much grip on the current situation in Iraq. You could say 'troops out now and fight for workers' power' - I assume that is what the 57 varieties of would-be Trots say. But only a twit would think it was actually an answer to the problem.

"This is because the movement against the occuspation is not, or not mainly, an anti-colonial-type (movement). It is inexorably mixed up with a communalist, sectarian civil war. It's not just that the national liberation movement which might take power when the occupiers leave, is vile, undemocratic, etc; but that there isn't one.

"'Troops out now' means: 'and actually fuck knows what will fill the void'. You can build a movement for solidarity with the Iraqi (working class and democratic) movement; you can build a movement for for troops out, regardless of what happens afterwards. You can't actaually build a movement for both simultaneously: one or the other is purelya propaganda gesture."

Update: Further pertinent to this debate, here's a clip of prominent IFTU figure Abdullah Muhsin, speaking about the historic and contemporary situation of Trades Unions in Iraq.


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