April 10, 2004

Iraq, Vietnam and Politics of War

by Li'l Joe

Iraqi Working-class militias have liberated over three southern Iraqi cities, which are predominately Shiite. Meanwhile, worker's militias are intensifying their resistance to occupation in the predominately Sunni city of Fallujah. In escalating revolt against the occupation, Iraqi working-class and poor, both Shiite and Sunni militias are working together, improving and coordinating military operations against U.S. occupation forces, and their allies and Iraqi Lackeys.

The present and spreading uprising of the Iraqi people, specifically the urban workers and the masses of the unemployed in Baghdad, Sadr City, Mosul, Rashad, Fallujah, Najaf, Karbala, Youssifiya, Kufa and Kut.

Although the news medias, and American politicians present it as a religious uprising, Shiite and Sunni Muslims against Christian occupation forces, the anti-occupation insurrection is empirically at its core working-class resistance to Anglo-American imperialism. This same struggle of workers against capital and the state is taking place throughout Middle Asia.

global phenomenon

Two Muslim students hold the Communist flag while resisting police attacks with water cannons to disperse them during an anti-government demonstration in Beirut, Lebanon on Wednesday, April 7, 2004. Around 1,000 people took part in the demonstration organized by the unions of public drivers to protest government polices and a ban on diesel-operated vehicles. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

A protester wearing a communist flag around his neck throws stones at police during a demonstration against King Gyanendra in Katmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 10, 2004. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)

The fact is that Iraq has already become another Vietnam, and workers are rising up in all the surrounding countries -- from Pakistan to Egypt, Palestine, and Lebanon.

What Che Guevara called for in the '60s -- "three, four, many Vietnams!" -- is steam rolling the path of historical inevitability: It is not accidental that this week Kennedy, Byrd, and even Al-Sadr in Iraq, are referring to the present and spreading uprising in Iraq as "another Vietnam".

Al-Sad said Iraq will become "another Vietnam" for the United States unless it transfers power to Iraqis who are not connected with the U.S.-led occupation authority.

The fact is that Iraq has already become another Vietnam. The important difference is logistics on one hand, and the lack of a class-conscious communist cadre at the core, as had the Vietnamese Workers Party, on the other. Consequently, in Iraq the dominant ideological resistance to the occupation is expressed in the language of religious rather than the politics of class war. Yet, it is not a matter of what this or that Iraqi workers think at a particular moment. It is a matter of what they are, and will become clear of their objectives as class objectives: the economical emancipation of the working-class by winning state power along with driving the U.S./British invaders from their country.

In 1968 Vietnamese in what is historically referred to as the Tet Offensive, the tens of thousands tens of thousands of Vietnamese workers in numerous cities throughout South Vietnam rose against the U.S. military occupation forces and their political Lackeys. These workers in the cities rising signalized the workers in Saigon, Huy and other major cities were in solidarity with the peasant based Vietcong, and that America had not only had failed to break the spirit of the Vietnamese people but could not possibly win that war.

Prior to the Tet uprising taking control of numerous cities the American people believed the lie that the U.S. colonial occupation in South Vietnam was popularly supported and that those occupations were there to protect the "south" Vietnamese from "north" Vietnam and the Vietcong. The uprising demonstrated to the American public that the Vietnam War was not to "protect" South Vietnamese from "communist aggression" but was a war against the Vietnamese as a people. It also demonstrated that Vietnamese as a people were resisting the U.S. military occupation.

"The Tet offensive is seen as the great turning point: from then on the war, costing £30 billion a year, was widely acknowledged as unwinnable by the Americans. It was only a matter of time before mighty US imperialism was humiliatingly forced to withdraw." http://www.marxist.com/1968/vietnam.html

The current uprising is having the same political significance.

Military historian and theorist Karl von Clausewitz recognized the War is a "continuation of politics by other means" http://www.clausewitz.com/CWZHOME/On_War/ONWARTOC.html

Lenin clarified what is meant by "politics by 'other' means: "War is the continuation of politics by other -- i.e. violent -- means. Lenin adds: "This famous aphorism was uttered by one of the profoundest writers on the problems of war, Clausewitz. Marxists have always rightly regarded this thesis as the theoretical basis of views concerning the significance of every given war. It was precisely from this viewpoint that Marx and Engels always regarded different wars." http://www.marx2mao.org/Lenin/SW15.html#ci

Clausewitz's metaphysical approach to the phenomena of War focused on the State, the army and wars between states from an Idealist or Sociological perspective whereas Marx, Engels and Lenin were analyzing was the economic objectives of political rivalries and open hostilities: wars between capitalist countries (imperialist wars) on one hand, which must include bourgeois national liberation wars for independence against political colonization, and the economic objectives of revolutionary wars waged by exploited and oppressed classes on the other.

Mao tse-Tung, participating in the Chinese War of National Liberation, that was carried out by the proletarian-peasant based People's Liberation Army was primarily class war against imperialism and Chinese capitalists and landlords represented by the Kuomintang

"War is the highest form of struggle for resolving contradictions, when they have developed to a certain stage, between classes, nations, states, or political groups, and it has existed ever since the emergence of private property and of classes". (Mao: "Problems of Strategy in China's Revolutionary War". Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 180.) "It can therefore be said that politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed. "
On Protracted War"(Mao: Selected Works, Vol. II, pp. 152-53) http://art-bin.com/art/omao5.html

The current uprising in Iraq is a working-class uprising, the religious ideologies notwithstanding. Trotsky showed, in his analysis of the forces in the English Parliamentary-democratic revolution how religious ideologies were in actuality, in the revolutionary political realities, political ideologies articulated as religious dogma and dogmatic conflicts.

Trotsky wrote:

"The Lower House represented the nation in that it represented the bourgeoisie and thereby national wealth. In the reign of Charles I it was found, and not without amazement, that the House of Commons was three times richer than the House of Lords.


Parliament created an army for its defense. The army gradually concentrated in its ranks all the most active, courageous and resolute elements. As a direct consequence of this, Parliament capitulated to this army. We say: as a direct consequence of this. By this we mean that Parliament capitulated not simply to armed force (it had not capitulated to the king's army) but to Cromwell's puritan which expressed the requirements of the revolution more boldly, more resolutely and more consistently than did parliament.


The adherents of the Episcopal or Anglican, semi-Catholic Church were the party of the court, the nobility and of course the higher clergy.


*The Presbyterians were the party of the bourgeoisie, the party of wealth and enlightenment.


*The Independents, and the Puritans especially, were the party of the petty bourgeoisie, the plebeians. Wrapped up in ecclesiastical controversies, in the form of a struggle over the religious structure of the church, there took place a social self-determination of classes and their re-grouping along new, bourgeois lines.


*Politically the Presbyterian party stood for a limited monarchy; the Independents, who then were called root and branch men or in the language of our day, radicals, stood for a republic. The half-way position of the Presbyterians fully, corresponded to the contradictory interests of the bourgeoisie -- between the nobility and the plebeians.


*The Independents' party which dared to carry its ideas and slogans through to their conclusion naturally displaced the Presbyterians among the awakening petty-bourgeois masses in the towns and the countryside that formed the main force of the revolution."
(Leon Trotsky's Writings On Britain Chapter VI Two traditions: the seventeenth-century revolution and Chartism) http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/britain/ch06.htm

The socioeconomic-sociopolitical situation in Iraq is that the overwhelming majority of Shiites are impoverished workers. The Sunni are also working-class. The U.S. and British invaders has tried to make Shiite workers think of Sunni workers as "religious", and even "tribal" enemies. But, what the current and spreading insurrection in which workers both Shiite as well as Sunnis have joined forces to fight a common enemy -- Anglo-American imperialist occupation. The past several days has shown that the Iraqi Shiite workers have not been manipulated into an opposition to Sunni workers, fellow Iraqis.

The British attempted to set Shiites against Sunnis in Iraq the way they set Muslims and Hindus against each other in India, and then argue that their presence is needed to prevent religious war.

The Americans have great experience in setting White, Black and Brown workers at each others throats, and so the news media has been presenting the Shiites and Sunnis as tribes in ethnic hostilities, so the American politicians have had an ideological platform to tell Americans that U.S. forces are needed to prevent an "ethnic civil war". But, the open solidarity of Sunni and Shiite workers in Baghdad, and throughout Iraq, has put to lie this racist propaganda strategy. Even race and ethnic conscious American citizens should be clever enough to see that the U.S. motivation for occupation of Iraq has no more to do with "preventing race war" than it did with "finding weapons of mass destruction".

British and American politicians, military PR officers and "retired experts" and ideological professional propagandists in the British and American medias are presenting the Iraqi armed resistance to the occupation as from one to six thousand "Saddam Loyalist" and "Al Qiada terrorists".

These PR propagandists have to say this to maintain the lie that the overwhelming majority of Iraqis support the Anglo-American colonization and military occupation. If that were true then a few thousand "Saddam loyalists", &C are defeating hundreds of thousands of British, American and other armies.

Smoke billows from the occupation headquarters in Baghdad ...

Yet --- if the actual is rational and the rational is actual it is completely irrational and not reality that one to six thousand men representing a supposed hated "Saddam regime", together with outside "terrorists" are defeating hundreds of thousand professional troops and liberating entire cities!

Certainly there are armed cadres at the core of the military assaults upon occupation forces by neighborhood militias. But, the actual liberation of neighborhoods and even entire cities is rationally explicated only by recognition of these as popular insurrections against the occupation. These neighborhood and city militias are not fighting on behalf of Saddam, Osama bin Laden nor even Al-Sadr. Rather, they are Iraqi workers both Sunni and Shiite who are fighting on their own behalf in response to both their oppressed conditions of life, an oppressed condition resulting from both the Saddam regime and the US/UN sanctions and U.S./British years of bombings and finally their invasion and occupation.

The present and spreading uprising has been called "anti-American", as if the Iraqis were in the United States killing Americans rather than the other way around: it is Americans in Iraq killing and maiming Iraqi men, women and children, bombing their homes and mosques. Then the American new media gets into this, by referring to the Iraqis as "the enemy", calling working-class poor neighborhoods "slums" as though it was the Bronx, New York. But, more importantly, they call the bombed Muslim mosque a "compound", thus intimating it was a legitimate military target. The Iraqis are not "anti-American" they are anti-occupation, it is the Americans who are Anti-Iraqi and anti-Islam.

Monday night in Baghdad, Shiite workers went to a mainly Sunni neighborhood to join with insurgents there in firing on U.S. Humvees — the first undeniable collaboration of Sunni and Shiite workers in a joint operation. Portraits of al-Sadr and graffiti praising his "valiant uprising" are appearing on mosque and government building walls in the Sunni city of Ramadi and in the northern cities of Mosul and Rashad Sunni workers have been holding militant protests in support of al-Sadr and the Shiite working-class uprisings.

This has another significance. The al-Sadr family had resisted the American backed Saddam regime, and several were imprisoned and killed. The American myth of "operation Iraqi freedom" was based in the supposed hatred of Sunni and Shiite tribes, and hence posed as Shia "liberators". This myth is refuted, exploded into hot air as the Sunni and Shiite workers coordinate their attacks on the occupation forces. Al-Sadr said today that the lackey members of the Iraqi governing council, not the Sunnis, are the enemy of the Shiites and Sunni alike.

Ethnic fanaticism, racialism, nationalism, and religious sectarianism are so many forms of sociopolitical ideologies in bourgeois society that serve bourgeois class interests, as the bourgeoisie of one ethnic group, race, nation or religious sect compete with others. Proletarian praxis: practical-critical, revolutionizing activities of workers fighting against each other exposes the fallacy of ideological divisions. The various combatants are each being manipulated by their respective ethnic, racial, national or religious ideologies of their respective bourgeoisie.

Workers have got to stop killing one another. This is not to say that the workers in revolt should cease killing those of occupation armies.

The truck was part of a US military convoy when attacked ...

The Iraqis have the same right to rise against U.S. occupation forces invaders and occupation forces in their country as did the French workers in opposition to German Gestapo occupation in France; the workers and peasants in Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in World War II rising against the German military occupation in Yugoslavia; the Vietnamese workers and peasants fighting the occupation armies of Japan, France and America respectively; the Angolan workers and peasants against the U.S. backed Portuguese; the Jewish rebellion against the Gestapo in Warsaw, Poland; and the Palestinian intifada against Israeli occupation in Palestine.

But the imperialist armies are also composed of workers and peasants. The proletariat is cosmopolitan and multiethnic although they are the grunts in the imperialist armies who are killing workers in other countries when the ruling class officer corps orders them to do so. This is what must stop. The workers in imperialist armies, and for those matter workers in standing armies in capitalist nation states including Third World nation-states, must develop the class-consciousness to refuse to participate in wars against workers and peasants of other countries. Workers and peasants when ordered to kill other workers and peasants must tell their commanding officers: "fuck you!" -- and kill the officers instead.

In Iraq, there are already "police", trained and armed by the Anglo-American armies that are going over to the Iraqi insurrection -- taking their training and arms with ttthem! As in Vieetnam during the Tet Offensive tens of thousands of Vietnamese in the "Saigon government's" army mutinies and went over to the side of insurrection. The grunts in the American army began refusing orders and even killing officers, which was in part -- along with the valiant Vietnamese resistance and the anti-war movements in America and Europe that brought the Vietnamese war to a victorious conclusion. The same is inevitable

Patriotism in America manipulated by politicians, religious leaders and the omnipresent electronic media 24-7 present the Iraqi freedom fighters as "terrorists" and "Islamic fanatics", and the vicious American troops as bringers of peace. The realities of war and occupation has an ugly reality not seen in American media:

U.S. working class hired killer soldier.

Iraqi victims of U.S. imperialist aggression.

U.S. invader - killer of Iraqi worker families.

Yet, these documented realities notwithstanding Donald Rumsfield, today in a press conference referred to the Iraqi resistance as from one thousand to six thousand "former regime elements", and as "thugs", "gangs", "terrorists" and The Enemy of Iraqi Freedom!

The reality is that the invading armies and Gestapo-like occupation forces are brutal butchers fighting to "pacify" the Iraqi people into slavery and submission because submission is slavery. It is complete absurdity that Americans believe the colonizers claim that they are fighting for Iraqi freedom, and when those who resist colonization fight and kill colonizers and their Iraqi lackeys that the resisters are in the wrong.

The same Americans that has supports the U.S. government arming and funding the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians, and supported the genocidal sanctions against the most vulnerable of the Iraqis, are the same Americans that then had the gall to play the innocent victim when on 9-11-1001 there was a retaliatory strike against economic and military targets in America - the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon."

These same Americans, instead of doing a nationally self-critical analysis of the U.S. government's foreign policies to understand the desperation that manifested in suicide attacks, both in Israel and in the U.S. on 9/11, they instead were manipulated by the American government, political parties, religious and the corporate media to support the U.S. mass bombings, invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq killing hundreds of thousands and continuing.

April 08, 2004 Bush said: "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam" http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=310788&contrassID=2&subContrassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y

In Baghdad today, U.S. aircraft bombed the Abdel-Aziz al-Samarrai mosque at mid-noon. The military knew there would be a regular noon gathering of Muslim worshippers for prayers for peace. The News media characterize the Iraqi workers intifida as a "Sunni", and "Shiite" uprising then shouldn't the American born-again Christian presidential order to invade Iraq, and today's deliberate targeting of an Islamic prayer gathering be called a Christian bombing of Muslim worshippers?

Iraqi witnesses estimated 40 people were killed as they gathered for afternoon prayers. In America there are no Christian preachers or Jewish rabbis in the streets demonstrating against this deliberate attack on people There are no Senate speeches denouncing the bombing of this Muslim Mosque as the "bestial" murdering of some 40 worshippers including aged, women and children and babies. There is no anti-abortionist "life is sacred" fanatics in streets across America denouncing the murder of women including pregnant women in this bombing.

Yet, the Iraqi Muslims distinguish between the American people and the government. Al-Sadr, presently being demonized by the American politicians and media as a "thug", "firebrand", "anti-American' fanatic", and so on today, following the deliberated laser guided 4 ton bomb on an Islamic mosque Al-Sadr, an imam in Islam appealed to the American people:

"I call upon the American people to stand beside their brethren, the Iraqi people, who are suffering an injustice by your rulers and the occupying army, to help them in the transfer of power to honest Iraqis," al-Sadr said in a statement issued from his office in the southern city of Najaf. This appeal will not be played and replayed on the media with any regularity, if at all. It will not be read over Church and Synagogue pulpits during Easter and Passover services to Christian or Jewish audiences.

But, Al-Sadr also said: "Otherwise, Iraq will be another Vietnam for America and the occupiers." You know this because it is already repeated on "news" broadcasts and quoted by politicians, and will be thundered in politically oriented Churches and Synagogues by political preachers and rabbis.

The news media has been using this same language to describe the Iraqi workers in revolt and branding the Iraqi freedom fighters as enemies of freedom. The American populations are lapping up this ideological shit and piss propaganda with an insatiable appetite, and hating the Iraqis for fighting in their own country to expel the aggressors and end foreign occupation.

This war is not the same war fought last year, when the workers and farmers in the military refused to fight to the death in support of the bourgeois state led by the Saddam government. Saddam is a coward, pupe but and a punk the way he ordered others to their deaths and then ran for his own life, and surrendered. But, the Anglo-Americans miss-judged the Iraqi people by equating them to the lack of resistance of the Saddam army. Today, the Iraqis are not in an army defending a corrupt regime but are workers in their own neighborhoods, referred to by the U.S. media as "Shiite slums". Yet, this is where the workmen and yes, working-class women that are fighting a war to protect themselves and their families, and to free themselves of the iron boot of Nazi-like occupation by U.S. troops.

An Iraqi woman, covered in a hejab, lifts a Kalashnikov rifle in front of the offices of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the impoverished Baghdad suburb of Al Sadr City April 7, 2004. U.S.-led forces battled Sunni guerrillas in two cities on Wednesday and grappled with a r Shi'ite uprising in a two-front war that has killed at least 33 soldiers and 170 Iraqis in three days. The U.S. military confirmed on Wednesday that 12 Marines had been killed the previous day in a seven-hour battle in the Sunni Muslim city of Ramadi, 68 miles west of Baghdad.

Also see critique of Iraqi Governing Council and their proposed "Constitution": http://laborpartypraxis.org/iraqconstitution.html

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