[pdf http://126.96.36.199/cpgb-ml/wp-content/mediairaq_20050924.pdf 700 800]Today, when the war for cheap oil has only made oil more expensive, and resistance in Iraq is inspiring resistance all over the globe, even the friends of imperialism are forced to acknowledge the truth of the Mao’s famous dictum that “imperialism lifts a rock only to drop it on its own feet”. The imperialists’ dreams for a pliant and plundered Iraq are lying in tatters.
The Basra incident (Sep 05) has exposed the occupiers’ murky tactics and totally undermined the myth that the Iraqi puppet government has any real power. Two British soldiers, disguised as Arabs were stopped by an Iraqi police officer who discovered their cargo of explosives. They shot him, were arrested and then ‘rescued’ by British troops, who knocked down the prison walls.
This readiness to ride roughshod over their local allies proves that, for all their talk of democratic, independent Iraq, the inva-ders have no respect for the new ‘administration’. Their ‘Multi-National Force’ is actually an army of imperialist occupation.
All real power actually rests with the US ’embassy’, which, with a staff of 3,000, is the US’s colonial office in Iraq. The ‘ambassador’ is the de facto Governor, with 165,000 troops, five offices around the country and an $18.4bn budget for ‘reconstruction’ (most of which is actually being spent on the military).
A third world country
It is almost universally admitted that conditions for the people of Iraq are now much worse than they were before the invasion, even bearing in mind the 12 years of crippling sanctions imposed before the war. Clean drinking water is a rarity; a quarter of children are suffering from malnutrition; hundreds of thousands are chronically ill; infant mortality rate has soared; the education and healthcare systems have collapsed and unemployment levels are astronomical. All this in a country that was formerly considered by Unicef as having one of the highest living standards in the Middle East, and was credited with having achieved total literacy. In their quest for oil profits, the occupiers are turning Iraq into a third world country.
The truth about the resistance
If they had been less blinded by the promise of fabulous profits, or less desperate to control Iraqi oil and find a way out of imperialism’s ever-worsening crisis of overproduction, the invaders might have been better placed to learn from their own history that “the people’s will for liberation is stronger than atom bombs”. (Robeson)
Hitting the invaders where it hurts, the resistance has targeted oil refineries and pipelines and so robbed the occupation of the means to pay its huge overheads. Thanks to the popularity of this resistance, the US is having trouble finding willing collaborators: whole sections of Iraqi police regularly change sides and dozens of cities have become no-go areas for the occupation.
While western media churn out lies about ‘Islamic extremists’ and ‘terrorists’, imperialist agents provocateurs are attempting to incite civil war along religious and ethnic lines by blowing up mosques and churches. Now that British officers have been discovered in the act, there can be no room left for doubt about this deliberate policy of the occupation. Anti-imperialists in Britain, meanwhile, must not fall into the trap of believing that the Iraqi resistance is, or can be, divided upon religious lines.
The Iraqi people are refusing to fall for this poisonous bait, and continue to give full support to the resistance, which is very well organised and well equipped. Its stated aim is to liberate Iraq from occupation and build an independent, secular, democratic republic for all Iraqis – as opposed to the pliant, ethnically-cleansed statelets that the imperialists are trying to carve out.
The CPGB-ML’s position is clear. Imperialism does not care for liberty or democracy – if it did, it would give support to countries such as Cuba and north Korea (DPRK), countries where democracy and freedom are living laws rather than dead letters. The real problem for people all over the Middle East is continued imperialist interference, which has subjected them to a century of war in its quest to control the region’s ‘black gold’.
There was never any justification for the war in Iraq, which is an imperialist war for plunder and domination. Such wars of aggression were condemned at the Nuremberg Tribunal after WWII as the highest of all crimes against humanity and, if we do not wish to be implicated in these crimes, we must do everything in our power to stop Britain’s participation.
This means refusing to cooperate in any way with the war effort – be it serving in the forces, making weapons, transporting equipment or putting out propaganda. Individually, we may be powerless, but collectively, the British working class has the ultimate veto over the war – they cannot fight it without us.
Marx wrote long ago that “no nation that oppresses another can itself be free”. British workers will never achieve anything for themselves while they continue to allow the British ruling class to plunder and pillage the rest of the world.
That is because the fabulous wealth gained from looting abroad enables the bourgeoisie to bribe a section of the working class with better wages and conditions, converting them into what Lenin called a “labour aristocracy”, a better off section of workers that will fight tooth and nail to preserve its privilege, which it can only do by preserving imperialism.
These ‘leaders’ do from within what the capitalists could never do from without. That is why Lenin called them the “labour lieutenants” of the capitalist class, “real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working class movement”.
This labour aristocracy has succeeded in monopolising the leadership of the working class and in neutralising it. It is these ‘leaders’ who are so keen to channel the anti-war movement into harmless, respectable activity such as lobbies and demonstrations. Not one of them ever tries to harness the real power of working people against the war – their ability to work itself.
In this context, we should learn from Chairman Arthur Mac-Manus who, in his opening address to the National Convention to establish the CPGB in 1920, said: “We ought by now to have made it so uncomfortable for these people [Lloyd George, Churchill etc] that, instead of standing on a pedestal and dictating to the rest of the world as to how it should conduct itself, they would have enough to do looking after us here to prevent them having any time to worry about other countries.”
If the profits from imperialist plunder were to dry up, then so would the privileges of these labour aristocrats – and the British working class would be one step closer to throwing off the chains of imperialist slavery for good.
Solidarity with the Iraqi people is not a question of altruism but a matter of the greatest importance and urgency for British workers. The Iraqi resistance is fighting on the front line against our common enemy – and every defeat inflicted makes our enemy a little weaker and our task a little easier.
Let us therefore work wholeheartedly for the defeat of British imperialism in Iraq.
Victory to the Iraqi resistance!