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The Left Shouldn't Uncritically Support the Iraq Resistance [View All]

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AmericanErrorist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 02:48 PM
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The Left Shouldn't Uncritically Support the Iraq Resistance
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From the Socialist Alternative: (Not Necessarily AE's opinion, but in this case it is)

The Iraqi resistance is composed of many different political forces. Undoubtedly, many fighters are drawn from the ranks of workers and the poor, especially from youth. But many resistance forces are led by distinctly reactionary, anti-working class groups. According to some reports, the resistance includes up to forty Ba'athist organizations and right-wing Islamic groups like "Al Qaeda Organization for Holy War," led by the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and "Ansar al-Sunna."

These Islamic Fundamentalist groups want to impose a theocratic dictatorship and are already carrying out brutal repression of women in an attempt to impose a system of sexual apartheid. Some groups even carry out bombings directed at ordinary Shi'as in an effort to foment a religious civil war.

While the anti-war movement should stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people, this does not mean we should support the aims and methods of those resistance groups that stand in complete contradiction to the interests of the Iraqi people and act as a barrier for them to advance their struggle to end the occupation.

However, some leading forces in the anti-war movement, like the Workers World Party (the main group behind the ANSWER coalition), and the International Socialist Organization (ISO), which plays an important role in the student anti-war movement, argue against such an approach, urging the anti-war movement to uncritically support the Iraqi resistance.

In an editorial, the ISO argued: "Even if it were true that the resistance was dominated by Baathists and hard-line Islamists, this wouldn't be the central issue. Whatever the religious and political affiliations of the different resistance organizations and groupings, the main goal - the one that unites various forces of the Iraqi resistance - is 'to liberate their country from foreign occupation.' It is precisely this agenda of the resistance that requires our support." The article argues we should limit our program to simply "'Iraq for the Iraqis' - any other position is a capitulation to chauvinism." (Socialist Worker, 2/4/05)

Another editorial explained: "The antiwar movement must not lose sight of the fact that its main enemy is at home - and any resistance to that enemy deserves our unconditional support." (Socialist Worker, 1/21/05) In essence, this position reduces to "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

To follow this logic out to its ultimate conclusion would imply support for terrorist attacks on U.S. workers, like September 11, 2001. Indeed, there are right-wing Islamic organizations in the Iraqi resistance who openly aim to carry out similar attacks on U.S. civilians, and who continually target Iraqi civilians. In reality, these terrorist methods only end up strengthening U.S. imperialism. 9/11 allowed Bush to stir up nationalism, racism, and war frenzy, and go on the offensive with his war on working people in the U.S. and internationally.

Socialists cannot support sectarian bombings aimed at Shi'as, indiscriminate attacks which overwhelmingly hurt ordinary Iraqis, or brutal kidnappings and beheadings. Such tactics cast the Iraqi working class and poor in the role of onlookers, not participants, in the battle to rid their country of imperialist forces. Bloody incidents which these tactics create can be manipulated by reactionary forces to increase sectarian tensions between different Iraqi communities.

These incidents only make it easier for Bush to rally U.S. public support for the occupation. If the anti-war movement supports these methods, or fails to condemn them, it will create an obstacle to expanding our support among U.S. workers, military families, and rank-and-file soldiers who could otherwise be won to the anti-war movement. Instead, the anti-war movement should publicly separate itself from terrorist tactics, while explaining that the U.S. occupation is the root cause of the violence in Iraq and that the only solution is to immediately bring the troops home and let the Iraqi people determine their own fate.

Building the U.S. anti-war movement is not a secondary question. Alongside an enormous resistance movement in Iraq, ending the occupation will require a massive anti-war movement in the U.S. that reaches deep into the American working class, threatening the stability of U.S. capitalism, as the example of Vietnam shows.

But what right do U.S. anti-war activists have to offer advice or criticism to the Iraqi resistance? Of course, the anti-war movement first and foremost should stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people against U.S. imperialism. But genuine internationalism needs to go further. Because we support the Iraqi people, socialists have a duty to raise our ideas on what policies and strategy are necessary to end the U.S. war on Iraq. Iraqi activists should also raise their ideas on how we can most effectively build the anti-war and socialist movements in the U.S. These are not "foreign" or distant issues. The development of the Iraqi resistance will have a huge impact on our struggles in the U.S., and events in the U.S. can be decisive for Iraq and the whole world.
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