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(en) Ireland, Working Class Resistance #10 - Liberating Iraq and Other Lies

Date Fri, 16 Dec 2005 18:13:19 +0200


"¦whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament,
or a communist dictatorship "¦ the people can always be brought to
the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them
they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of
patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.
--- Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg Trials
For centuries, pillage by invading armies was a normal part of warfare
"¦ Nowadays, at least in more civilised countries, we do not let
armies rampage for booty. We leave the pillaging to the men in suits,
and we don't call it pillaging anymore. We call it economic
development.
--- Brian Whitaker, the Guardian

Those who don't remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
--- George Santayana, 'Life of Reason'

Our 'elected' leaders are liars and hypocrites. We rolled our
eyes in superior disbelief last year when George Bush jr. was
'legitimately' elected emperor of the world for the first time
(Gore won in 2000). Last May only 27% of the British electorate
(apparently possessing goldfish-like memories) elected an insidious
liar and war criminal to be prime minister for another five years.
Despite the desperate myths spread recently from the bowels of the
neo-Labour party machine, Tony Blair and his morally degenerate
cabal have the blood of many innocents on their hands. Last October
the highly-regarded Lancet medical journal published its
comprehensive survey of Iraqi households to put a figure on civilian
casualties since the invasion began of 100, 000, a shocking and
disgusting total, immediately dismissed by the government as flawed
research (can't trust those damn towel-heads, eh?), and a
toothless and consent-manufacturing mass media generally ignored or
quickly buried the story.
The last few weeks have seen momentous events threaten to unravel
the Blair administration's neatly packaged web of deceit. Covered
properly elsewhere in this publication, the London bombings on 7 July
brought the oxymoronical 'war on terror' and its
consequences starkly and brutally home. These particular evil-doers
were British citizens, so with no foreign country to carpet bomb into
oblivion the only response the government can come up with is to
lurch ever more to the Right, murdering innocent people and eroding
civil liberties as they go.
An increasingly ridiculous Blair denies that the illegal invasion of Iraq
and its turbulent aftermath has anything to do with the attacks on
Britain, despite the Royal Institute of International Affairs warning to
the contrary. And the small matter, again relatively suppressed by the
media, of Al-Qaida's second in command appearing on television
to state explicitly that the prime minister's "policies brought
you destruction in central London and will bring you more
destruction."?
It is a blindingly obvious fact that the terror wrought on the Iraqi
people by the British/US war machine has enraged many potential
Islamist militants and has engendered terror (on a much smaller scale)
in return. The authoritative report published 20 July by Iraq Body
Count and Oxford Research Group details non-combatant civilian
casualties since the invasion began, with a grand total of almost 25,
000 dead. A far cry from liberation - the authors warn the country is
descending into chaos with an average of 34 Iraqi civilians dying each
day.
This study should be more embarrassing to Blair and more difficult to
ignore, since the analysis is based on media reports, and official
figures from the Iraqi ministry of health and mortuaries (the coalition,
of course, "don't do body counts"?).
The coalition invaded Iraq allegedly to advance freedom and
democracy (and conveniently forgotten lies like non-existent WMDs)
but we now know the real truth behind the propaganda machine - the
occupation (and the US and UK foreign policy that underscores and
predates it) is the root cause of the 'terror' problem. It has
bred more violence, resistance and instability, replacing one formerly
compliant dictatorship with a fresh new puppet administration
ensuring US and British economic, political and military interests are
served.
Though vehemently denouncing the ordinary working class Iraqis who
raided banks and businesses in the initial chaos after Baghdad's
'liberation', September 2003 saw the large scale looting of
Iraq become official Bush administration policy. Juicy $500 billion Iraq
reconstruction contracts were handed out to American firms without
being put to tender, like awards for loyalty, amongst Bush and
Cheney's favourite campaign-contributing cronies such as the
Halliburton and Bechtel corporations.
Whilst Iraqi oil is the most prized asset and the first thing they
secured, it is only part of the spoils of war and the
neo-conservatives' occupation agenda. Iraqi public services
devastated during a decade of war and sanctions have been privatised
by colonial decree. Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) pro-consul
Paul Bremer immediately permitted 100% ownership of businesses by
foreign companies, who then expatriate their profits.
It is worth noting 'Defence' secretary Donald Rumsfeld and
Bremer made sure the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the
'liberated' country themselves. A UN Security Council
Resolution passed on the eve of invasion declared all confiscated Iraqi
assets, leftover Oil for Food Programme billions, and resumed Iraq oil
export revenues, were to be used "in a transparent manner, for the
benefit of the Iraqi people."? But the CPA promptly began its US
crony cash-out, and are now under investigation for disgraceful
'financial impropriety' (false accounting "“ remember
Enron?) and 'misappropriating' tens of billions of dollars.
Around the same time, the CPA lowered the wage base for Iraqi
public sector employees (the majority of the Iraqi workforce) from
rates set when the US troops first arrived in Iraq. Since then housing
and food subsidies have also been abolished, and numerous
anti-Trade Union laws have been retained. In December 2003 the
occupiers and their lackeys attacked and closed down the headquarters
of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions in Baghdad, which has
remained non-operational ever since. Current unemployment is as
high as 70%, which condemns the majority to a life of misery, hunger
and isolation, especially since there are no welfare benefits.
The poor wages and safety conditions have led to an upsurge in class
struggle labour activity such as strikes and occupations. In Nassiriyah
last year, the workers of the aluminium factory saw off the Mahdi
Army which had attempted to occupy and turn it into a military base,
not to mention numerous wildcat strikes in cities across Iraq, mainly
in electricity generating stations. The CPA was forced to back down in
their insistence on wage reductions. In Um Qasr and other ports
workers' committees have been set up. Women have joined the
Organisation for the Freedom of Women in Iraq in their thousands,
raising the slogan 'No to Occupation and the veil'. These
groups, especially the militant and vibrant unemployed movement,
were often the first to confront the occupation utilising all forms of
collective direct action. This is consistent with an Iraqi tradition of
class struggle, from the widespread popular unrest of 1958 to the mass
rebellion to overthrow Saddam in 1991 in which conscripted soldiers,
Kurdish rebels and Iraqi civilians participated (whom the US deserted).
Rebels seized Basra, Kabala, Najaf, Kurkuk and other major cities.
Mosques and symbols of the Ba'athist regime were destroyed as
riots, insurrection and demonstrations rocked the Iraqi elite. In some
areas self-organised workers councils (shoras) were set up to run
things.
In calling for the end of the occupation of Iraq, we must not hide our
principled opposition to tactics such as indiscriminate car bombings
carried out by groups within the so-called Iraqi resistance, including
all Islamist groups who despite their
differences over tactics have the same basic aims: to establish a regime
founded on Sharai law, with strict sexual apartheid. They hate
atheists, secularists, other religious groups, feminists, organised
workers, socialists and communists and they devote columns to
denouncing them in their papers. In Basra, Islamist parties have set up
an "emirate"? where women are rarely seen in the street and
where alcohol and nightclubs and even picnics are forbidden. Where
local Islamic groups such as the al-Sadr army have gained power the
offices of the Unemployed Union of Iraq, the Workers Communist
Party and Women's Movement have frequently been targeted and
attacked.
In the short term, we must provide what solidarity and assistance we
can to those who are struggling for a genuinely free and equal Iraq.
The best solution to the crisis is for the Iraqi working class to destroy
the power structures that have oppressed them for so long, to resist
not just the military occupation but the local fundamentalists,
nationalists, Ba'athists and demagogues who wish to carve up
Iraq for their own ends. We have watched and participated in the mass
demonstrations across the world against this war to no avail and yet
the war rages on with devastating consequences for all of us.
Instead of grovelling to unresponsive politicians and Trade Union
bureaucrats, we need to build an aggressive campaign based on
self-managed collective direct action, civil-disobedience and
international solidarity. One that brings the campaign to the doorsteps
of those gangsters and profiteers that have benefited from the plunder
of Iraq's resources, and an incompetent or compliant media that
has helped legitimise the war. In the Republic, Shannon War port has
actively assisted the US death machine with the re-fuelling of
war-planes carrying weapons of mass destruction and transporting
troops and arms. We need to engage in general anti-militarist agitation
to encourage those serving in the occupation forces to resist and
disobey orders. Fundamentally, we need to learn from history that
marching from A to B (or wearing wristbands and listening to pop
concerts) never causes meaningful change and that the State never
concedes anything without some form of collective struggle.
Most importantly, a movement which does not seek to abolish the
existing power structures which create war is a sham! In struggling for
the end of the occupation of Iraq we must eradicate the very global
structures of capitalism and its protector the state which ensures the
dominance and exploitation of the majority by a privileged minority.
US General Smedley Butler who served in the US army was all too
familiar with this:
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a
member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine
Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to
Major General; I spent most of my time being a high class
muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In
short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. During those years,
I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking
back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The
best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated
on three continents.
The trumpeted 'handover of power', and the coalition and its
puppet media-lauded elections, rather than marking a shift towards
democracy, replaced a formerly compliant regime with a
representative body too afraid or impotent to deny the new rulers of the
world their plundered authority. And Bagdad is burning.

paul michael

From the Pages of Working Class Resistance, magazine of
Organise!

http://www.organiseireland.org
organiseireland@yahoo.ie

From:
Organise Ireland <organiseireland@yahoo.ie>
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