Global Crisis, Occupation and Iraq


Editor's note: The following is a slightly edited and excerpted version of the original.

Contribution of the Iraqi Communist Party
12th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties
Johannesburg, South Africa
December 2010, Political Bureau – Central Committee of Iraqi Communist Party

We take this opportunity to express, from this international forum, our gratitude for the international solidarity extended to our Iraqi people, democratic forces and Communist Party in the ongoing struggle, under extremely difficult and complex conditions, to end the occupation, restore full national sovereignty and independence and build a unified democratic and federal Iraq.

The destructive consequences of the ongoing global financial crisis of capitalist economies give the main theme of this International Meeting renewed dimensions with greater relevance. This situation makes it more essential for our movement, with its communist and workers’ parties, in addition to the broad range of social forces and strata on the international level, that have been harmed by the hegemony of globalized capitalism with its neo-liberal model, to develop effective forms of organization and action for their struggle on the international level against this globalized capitalist onslaught.

As already pointed out in the 11th International Meeting, held in New Delhi late last year, there is a consensus that the current crisis is an expression of the internal contradictions of globalized capitalism. One of its main features is the dominance of the financial character (financialization) of capitalist economy, the free movement of capital across borders and the removal of all national regulations controlling it. This has led to an enormous expansion of speculative activities, at the expense of productive activities, and the diminished relative weight of real economy and reduced national sovereignty. All this has been associated with high levels of unemployment, sharp polarization in wealth and income distribution, and the fragmentation of the social fabric of society. This fragmentation will intensify with the failure of economies of capitalist countries to sustain their social welfare system, coupled with the vicious attack on this system, and transferring the burden of the crisis onto the tax-payers who have been forced to pay hundreds of billions of dollars to save bankrupt financial institutions. The latest such example is Ireland, with more economies in Europe threatened with a similar fate.

It is important to note that on the level of consciousness and ideas, the crisis has provided a fertile ground for the revival of extreme reactionary ideas (racism, chauvinism, extreme religious ideologies). All this has led to intensified contradictions and conflicts, with dominant capitalist forces resorting to blatant violence and local wars to suppress the forces opposed to them.

The contradictions of globalized capitalism have driven a broad and expanding spectrum of social forces to oppose it. Not only the working class and middle strata are involved, but also some capitalist strata are drawn into this opposition. The “cultural” dimension has also acquired a growing importance, as many social and political forces get involved in the struggle driven by the need to defend their ethnic or religious identity.

This complex scene opens up a big potential for developing protest movements that acquire an anti-capitalist content. But there are also ideological and political challenges that face the efforts to achieve the necessary alliances and unite the diverse demands in a coherent current that is opposed to imperialism and, at the same time, advocates a progressive political, economic and social project.

One of the biggest among these challenges and difficulties is to combine between the fight for national liberation, independence and getting rid of the hegemony of globalized capitalism and the struggle for democracy; both social and political. Disregarding any of these two closely interconnected aspects of struggle will lead to a serious imbalance and contradictory alignments. The struggle against imperialism must therefore be closely combined with the fight for democracy and peace.

It is also important to note the diverse nature of the forces and strata whose interests clash with those of globalized monopoly capitalism and its political power, and the relative weakness of social solidarity as a result of the changes brought about by modern technologies of production, make it necessary to create a variety of flexible forms of alliances and a variety of causes for which joint struggles are waged.

One other issue which also need to be addressed in analysis is the relationship between the class struggle and other struggles. The progressive dimension of these other struggles should be determined by their social content.

It is not be possible here go into more detail about these important issues. But it is important to stress that the global financial crisis has marked the failure of the extreme neo-liberal model of capitalism which had been dominant over more than two decades. This has opened up new prospects with promising potential for the resurgence and expansion of the struggles waged by forces that are not only opposed to globalism but to capitalism itself.

The most important conclusion to be drawn from the current global crisis is that the world will never be the same as it was before it blew up. A new balance of forces is expected to emerge despite all the obstacles and resistance put up by globalized capitalism, thus opening up new opportunities and providing possibilities for change and building a better world.

The current international climate has put forward, more than ever before, the need to develop Left alternatives and united action of progressive forces against war, neo-liberalism and imperialism, as well as combating far right and reactionary tendencies on the international level, and promoting socialist ideas and goals. This is closely interconnected with strengthening international solidarity against the warmongering policies of imperialism and the onslaught of capitalist globalization, and providing genuine support for ongoing struggles all over the world for peace, freedom, democracy and social progress.

The recent Meeting of Arab Left, held in Beirut (22-23 October 2010), stressed the need for the Left forces in the region to regain their role and develop a realistic program of national-social liberation, based on struggle for democratic change, employing legitimate means of struggle and taking into consideration the specifics of each country. Tackling the deep crises that are caused by the policies of Arab regimes and their subservience to global neo-liberal capitalism, especially poverty and unemployment, requires developing concrete proposals for a program of economic revival and social development, including comprehensive development as an alternative to the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Achieving these objectives requires activating the role of the Left in the social movement and developing a critical political vision towards the existing regimes. The principal aim of a distinguished program for change to be adopted by the Left should be the setting up of a national democratic regime, with a socialist perspective, that constitutes an alternative to subservient regimes. In this context, the forces of the Left need to mobilize the workers, peasants and progressive intellectuals into a mass movement to achieve real democratic change. Major tasks for such a movement include the fight for both, closely interconnected, aspects of democracy: political and social. Democracy, and building a state of law and institutions, based on the principles of citizenship, is a firm guarantee against sectarian divisions.  In this respect, it is of utmost importance for the Left to uphold and defend human rights and fundamental democratic and trade union rights, especially women’s rights, as part and parcel of the big national issues.

In addition to the destructive consequences of the deepening systemic crisis of globalized capitalism, there are also grave dangers to world peace. Over the past two decades, the unipolar world order led by the US that has resulted in grave violations of international legitimacy and resorting to war and aggression (as was the case in the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003). As part of its attempts to impose its hegemony on the world, it has not hesitated to ignite the flames of “local” wars. Here again, the fight for peace and against the warmongering policies of imperialism is closely interconnected with the struggle for political democracy and social progress.

In this context, I would like to say a few words about the situation in Iraq.

Seven and a half years after the US war on Iraq, the collapse of the dictatorial regime, and occupation, the struggle to end the foreign military presence continues to be closely interconnected with the struggle to rebuild the new Iraqi state and determine both its content and character.

Under these complex and difficult conditions, a ferocious battle is continuing, not only over power and wealth, but also over formulating the political, economic, social and cultural orientation, that will determine the features of the new Iraqi state that will emerge. It can be said that national, democratic and social tasks combine and interact. Therefore, along with the task of ending the occupation and its legacy, restoring full national sovereignty and independence, we have the tasks of eliminating the legacy of decades of fascist-type dictatorship, restructuring Iraqi economy and rebuilding the state on a democratic federal basis. International and regional factors interfere, making the struggle even more complex and intensified. Our party has put forward its own vision, encapsulated in the Patriotic Democratic Project, that aims at building a modern democratic state; a state based on law and institutions and the principles of citizenship, ensuring democracy and social justice, as opposed to sectarian projects and a return to dictatorship, whether nationalist or religious.

The political vacuum that followed the Iraqi elections in March 2010, and continued for 8 months, helped anti-people forces to escalate criminal terrorist acts. Such heinous acts took place on 10th May 2010 in Baghdad, Hilla and Basra with at least 110 people killed in a series of bombings and armed attacks. In the city of Hilla, south of the capital, 40 workers were killed and 250 others were wounded when three car bombs exploded outside a textile factory, targeting workers as they were leaving the factory. These atrocities and their perpetrators must be strongly and unequivocally condemned by fraternal communist and workers parties, as well as all progressive and peace-loving forces.

Those barbaric attacks that targeted Iraqi workers exposed once again the true anti-people nature of the so-called "resistance" that claims to be fighting the occupation. It is made up of the most reactionary Islamists, remnants of Saddam's Baathist fascist-type regime and gangs of organized crime. Among their principal objectives is stirring up sectarian sedition, destroying national unity, and sabotaging the country's infrastructure. They have rendered, and continue to render, a free service to the American occupation by providing pretexts for its continuation and impeding the speedy eviction of foreign forces, achieving their complete withdrawal and eliminating the consequences of occupation.

Our Party, the leading force of the Left in Iraq, is currently engaged in relentless efforts to achieve unity in action of the democratic forces, and to transform the Democratic Current into an effective principal force in the ongoing intensified struggle over the future of Iraq. This vision requires greater efforts to involve the trade union movement and democratic organizations, especially those of women, youth, students and other civil society organizations, in mass struggles to defend human and democratic rights of workers and people. During recent weeks, conferences of democratic forces have been held in several provinces, as part of a process that will be culminated in a national conference to be held in Baghdad.

Iraqi Communists are determined to strengthen their links to the broadest popular masses, including workers, peasants, students and intellectuals, and all popular strata that aspire for freedom and democracy; taking up their demands, and defending their role in deciding our country’s destiny.

In the difficult struggle that lies ahead, we look forward to active and concrete solidarity from fraternal parties. This will acquire greater significance in the coming months, as Iraq prepares to end the US military presence by the end of 2011, continue the struggle to eliminate the legacy of occupation, restore its national sovereignty and independence, defeat sectarianism and anti-people forces, and build a unified democratic and federal Iraq.

Our Party has unlimited confidence in the Iraqi people and their ability to continue their struggle, despite all difficulties and obstacles, to defeat terrorism and sectarianism, eliminate the legacy of dictatorship and American occupation, restore full national sovereignty, lay the foundations for a state based on institutions, justice and law, and build a unified federal democratic Iraq.

Photo by FibonaccieBlue, courtesy Flickr, cc by 2.0

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