The REDSTAR2000 Papers

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth. - Leftist Discussion

Iraq...Once More July 21, 2005 by RedStar2000

I confess considerable pessimism at the present time in my efforts to convince American "leftists" to support the Iraqi resistance "even though it's not perfect".

Here is a long and rather frustrating collection of posts that illustrate what American anti-imperialists are "up against".



Again, I'm German. My opinion is that every citizen of a western nation should primarily care about the imperialism of its own nation with a strong anti-national attitude. If I would be American, I would eventually have another stance.

I agree with this position. Lefties in Germany, France, etc. who oppose their own country's imperialism first have their priorities straight.

Naturally, I always hope that they will bear down especially hard in those cases where their own ruling classes collaborate with American imperial ventures...but they must decide those things for themselves.

Matters are very different for lefties in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia. We are "in the shit" up to our eyebrows.

If we do not betray our countries, then we will have betrayed ourselves.

The best thing that can happen for us is the massive and catastrophic defeat of our own ruling matter who does it.

The Iraqis, Afghans, Colombians, etc., etc., can always fight their own civil wars after imperialism has departed...and victory will eventually come to bourgeois or bourgeois-like domestic forces -- pre-capitalist forces (like Islamic fundamentalism) are bound to lose in the long run.

People who argue that a U.S. puppet regime would be "better", "more humane", etc. than one or another resistance movement are just kidding themselves...possibly due to the fact that bombs are noisier than malnutrition/starvation/disease, etc.

Look at any one of the "peaceful and orderly" regimes set up by U.S. imperialism...the "silent violence" of exploitation is far deadlier than any resistance movement ever was.*

Or ever will be.

*The only historical exception is the Cambodian Khmer Rouge...and even there it must be remembered that many of the deaths attributed to Pol Pot were, in fact, victims of the massive U.S. bombings of that defenseless country.
First posted at RevLeft on June 17, 2005


I see. Then his position is correct, if he lives in one of those countries? You haven't said anything about the recent evolution of his declared political beliefs, but it seems quite logical from your perspective.

Quit those do-nothing peaceful leftist groups, he argues, and join something that's really dealing physical blows to Uncle Sam -- essentially, al-Qaeda. Do you agree, and if not, why not?

Unlike yourself, I will actually answer your question.

He is a young fellow who could not decide (probably for some time) whether he was a "leftist" or a Muslim -- I believe I've made that point to you before...that, sooner or later, people must choose between communism and superstition.

Lately, he's decided (evidently) to hook up with some Muslim sect -- I suspect in the U.K. -- while, at the same time, working on setting up his own business that "could be worth millions".

This is a kind of tragedy...but not an uncommon one.

In spite of his harsh critique of the "do-nothing left", I don't think he's going to do anything of any consequence himself...most certainly not go off to Iraq to "fight U.S. imperialism" -- he probably thinks that McDonald's is an example of "U.S. imperialism".

If, at most, he tries to send money to Iraq, it will almost certainly be stolen...probably several times. *laughs*

Now, we could certainly talk about more realistic scenarios than that involving a confused and depressed young man.

Say a seriously devout Muslim in the U.K., fluent in Arabic, wants to go to Iraq (and has the money to get there) and enlist in one of the religious sects involved in the resistance.

Would you tell him not to do that? Would you tell him that he'd be better off demonstrating in England? That anti-war demonstrations in England are more effective than the resistance? Could you keep a straight face while you were doing that?

If someone is mired in the muck of superstition, I think it's better that they do something that is objectively progressive than nothing. If our hypothetical Muslim guerrilla manages to kill one U.S. or U.K. soldier, that's one less murdering bastard in Iraq, right?

Me? I'd tell him to go right ahead and wish him a good trip.

In the context of western capitalism, Islam is, like all religions, inherently reactionary. But in a place like Iraq (or Afghanistan), the Muslims are confronting U.S. imperialism by armed struggle.

Why do you have such a problem with that?

Even you admit that most of the resistance is secular -- though you don't like their politics either. I believe "fascist" was the nicest thing you had to say about them.

Very well. You don't like anyone who is resisting U.S. power in Iraq...except some small working class groups who are doing it "peacefully".

I conclude that, at the very least, you will not be bothered at all by an American triumph in Iraq and the reduction of that wretched country to the status of Ecuador.

At least no explosions will disturb your slumbers. In Ecuador, the oppressed die quietly.
First posted at RevLeft on June 19, 2005


Which wasn't about advice to reactionaries, but what advice you would give some of these young leftists who seem to regard you as a guru.

I don't think anyone here regards me as a "guru"'s not the sort of thing that I have ever encouraged. Nor has any young westerner consulted me about going to Iraq and joining the resistance.

If they did, I would tell them not to do that...on practical grounds.

All westerners in Iraq are presumed, at this point, to be part of the occupation and legitimate targets of the resistance. Westerners who nevertheless insist on going there are either real dumbasses or lackeys of U.S.-U.K. imperialism.

The fates of either are of no concern to me...whatever happens to them, they have brought it on themselves.

One of the Trotskyists who used to hang out here a lot once suggested that western Trotskyists should go to Iraq and organize a real Trotskyist party there.

Does that option appeal to you?

Then I sincerely urge you and your co-thinkers to leave for Baghdad right away.

I think you have to change planes in Amman (Jordan). I hear the highway from the Baghdad airport is the most dangerous stretch of road in the world carefully. *laughs*
First posted at RevLeft on June 20, 2005


But never mind. You've had ample opportunity, and have utterly failed to give any political reason why he would be wrong to go over to the "Islamic" right. IMO there is none from your standpoint.


I don't even understand what you are talking about now.

First you asked me about one particular young man...and I answered that.

Then you asked me about young people...and I answered that.

And now?

Well, I think that young man should abandon all Islamic superstition in favor of Marxism. Isn't that understood?

Ok, he doesn't want to do that; he prefers to flop on his belly five times a day and pray to the holy meteorite. That's a damn shame...but what do you want me to do about it?

If he is an Arab and is fluent in the language and wants to go to Iraq and join one of the Muslim currents in the resistance, why shouldn't he?

Better that than he should stay in the U.K. and spread Islamic superstition where it is much more harmful.

And if he is a western convert to Islam and tries to go to Iraq, he'll probably get his ass killed...and what do you expect me to say about that?

That he should go to Iraq and "build a real Trotskyist party"? *laughs*
First posted at RevLeft on June 20, 2005


The only thing I don't get with the Iraqi resistance is why they keep on fighting. The quickest way of getting rid of the US presence is fairly simple. Make sure those elections are held and get enough votes to influence the Iraqi government (by being elected into it) to kindly request the US to go home.


As if the United States would permit any party genuinely opposed to its presence to run for office!

As if there could be such a thing as an honest election in any country run by the U.S. -- which cannot even run honest elections at home any longer.

As if U.S. imperialism always withdraws when politely requested to do so.


The working class in Iraq will be no better off when the Americans have left.

Nope. They were better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now -- that's widely admitted. They will be better off under any genuinely independent Iraqi matter who it is.

Many westerners make the assumption that a "neo-Liberal" puppet regime is preferable to an independent variant of Islamic fundamentalism...on the grounds, presumably, that it's, well, liberal. It pays homage to western "values" least on paper.

That assumption is not historically justified. All of the available evidence I know of points to the conclusion that an American quisling regime is just about the worse thing that can happen to a country...and the longer it lasts, the worse things get!

Iran is a shithole...but "Saudi" Arabia is an even bigger shithole!

Moreover, there is resistance to the Islamic shitstorm in Iran...after a generation of "holy rule", more and more Iranians are thoroughly sick of the mullahs. The people there will, if left unmolested by U.S. imperialism, transform (slowly or quickly) Iran into a modern bourgeois republic and send the mullahs back to their "holy books".

There's no hope for that in Iraq until the Americans and their lackeys are expelled. (The same is true for the Arabian peninsula, Jordan, Egypt, etc.)

It's all well and good to wish for a resistance that would embrace the principles of communism or anarchism...but this is not going to happen for many generations in a part of the world that is much closer to the 11th century than to the 21st.

It's just completely a-historical to insist that people at earlier stages of political development must either appropriate the most advanced political ideas or else be condemned to imperial servitude in perpetuity.


Any resistance against the Americans must be a resistance against capitalism.

That won't happen. Now what?

Modern capitalism would actually be a "great leap forward" for Iraq...provided it was done by Iraqis and for Iraqis.

But that won't happen either until after the Americans and their lackeys are driven out.

In Marx's day, it was thought that imperialism had a "progressive" smashed the old traditional societies and shocked the people in the colonized countries onto the road of development towards capitalism and beyond.

That has not proven to be the case. In most countries, imperialism has modernized only small islands of development in an untouched ocean of backwardness. It rules those countries through a small westernized elite...leaving everyone else to eat shit and die.

This is the dismal fate that faces Iraq as a province of the American Empire.

Unless the resistance wins!
First posted at RevLeft on June 21, 2005


How can they not allow such a party?

Really, guy, are you completely new to all this stuff? Have you read anything about how imperialism works?

They can disallow political parties that they don't like by (1) bribery; (2) rigging the election; (3) assassination of leaders and organizers; (4) formal suppression involving mass murder.

They've done all of those things; it's indisputable history!

Good grief!


Just like they left Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Italy, North Africa, the Philippines, Japan and all the other territories conquered during WW2.

They didn't leave!

What the fuck do you think NATO is? Are you aware that there are still large American military bases in Germany and Japan?

And Italy. And England. And Greece. Hell, the U.S. occupied fucking Iceland during World War II and they're still there!

I'm glad you mentioned the Philippines,'s a perfect example of the kind of quisling regime that America loves best -- its only drawback is that there is so little wealth to extract from it.

The vastness of your naivety boggles the mind!


In organizing, the only thing we should be demanding is immediate, unconditional withdrawal, summed up in the slogan: "Troops Out Now." It's a slogan that's already resonating among broad sections of the population as the war costs more in blood and treasure each day.

The purpose of any movement is to force demands on one's own government. "Support the Iraqi resistance" isn't a good slogan at all. It's cheerleading, not politics.

Now this is a rather "delicate" point on several levels.

There is heated debate in anti-war organizations in the U.S. right now over the slogans "Troops Out Now!" and "Victory to the Iraqi Resistance!"...and it reflects, I think, the difference between liberal opposition to this particular war and radical opposition to U.S. imperialism as a system.

There's no question but that "Troops Out Now!" has a broader popular appeal than its more radical alternative. It is a "safer" slogan and arouses less hostility from people still suffering from patriotic superstition.

And the success of such a slogan would have the same effect as a victory by the resistance in would get the Americans and their lackeys out and allow the Iraqis to determine their own fate. It would be perceived by the world as a stunning defeat for U.S. imperialism no matter what "spin" the American politicians tried to put on it.

So why go "the extra mile"? Why take on the burden of explicit opposition to U.S. imperialism? The slogan "Victory to the Iraqi Resistance!" is one that says, in effect, that the U.S. has been guilty of criminal aggression and deserves to lose this war and any future such war.

We use this slogan because we want to maximize American alienation from the existing system! We want to create a climate of public opinion where Americans don't jump with patriotic joy every time another president starts another war; where even the attempt by the politicians to "talk up a new war" is met with explosive outrage!

As things stand now, first we have the war and then afterwards the outrage...if any. That's got to change.

Now, does that reduce us to "cheerleaders"?

That is a real danger. I saw with my own eyes during the 60s that many people created a mythological "National Liberation Front" that was very distant from Vietnamese realities. The mythical "NLF" was a massive group of "superhuman communists" building a "brave new world".

The real NLF were peasant nationalists...who just wanted an independent capitalist country.

If we were to start saying that the Iraqi resistance was made up of "really wonderful people" who are "an inspiration to humanity", blah, blah, blah, then I think that would be "cheerleading"...and stupid cheerleading at that -- since it's pretty obvious that the Iraqi resistance is not made up of "really wonderful people".

We don't say "Victory to the Iraqi Resistance" because the resistance consists of a bunch of sweethearts; we say it because we want U.S. imperialism defeated in the most humiliating possible way. We want the American architects of the war publicly disgraced...and, if possible, even sent to prison!

Should this outcome materialize, I think it would have a substantial radicalizing effect on American workers and brighten the prospects for winning them (or at least a fair number of them) to a communist perspective.

An "orderly, negotiated withdrawal" wouldn't have that effect.

I don't think the people in the anti-war movement who support the slogan "Troops Out Now" are "villains" or "pro-imperialists".

But I do think their horizons are too limited...they don't see all the possibilities in the present struggle that actually exist or that potentially might come to exist.

That's what communists are supposed to do.
First posted at RevLeft on June 21, 2005

quote (Iraqi):

The resistance? Well all those Iraqis who are communists that I know of do support the resistance. And the resistance is not what you see on tv. Maybe 5-10 percent of the resistance are former Saddam supporters, Al Qaida (or other terrorist organisations) or criminal gangs. The rest, those who fight with their AK's and RPG's, are just simply poor people who do not want the U.S. there, and want to rule and own their own country. In other words, they are workers that have not yet learned about socialism.

Thank you for your sensible contribution to this thread.

Maybe your words will get through to some of the members of this board who want to demonize the Iraqi resistance to justify their own support of (or at least indifference towards) the crimes of U.S. imperialism.

Not to mention those for whom the very idea of U.S. imperialism is seemingly "incomprehensible".

Who presumably "think" that the sprawling world-wide network of U.S. military bases is some sort of "accident of history".

Or that the motives of U.S. aggression are to "spread democracy".
First posted at RevLeft on June 21, 2005


I understand the peaceful departure of US troops will only occur after a certain level of stability has been achieved. As redstar2000 would put it, after colonization is completed. I totally agree the situation where US troops withdraw and an Iraqi elected government is in place will be seriously influenced by US funding of political parties and more stuff like that. It's not a desirable situation. But that is if you'd consider that to be the final situation.

If you'd consider it a possible point of departure for a next step, I think it is a better alternative than what the resistance is doing now.

Once the United States really gets its hooks into another country, it is extraordinarily difficult to get them out and keep them out. What you are really suggesting is that the Iraqis accept American hegemony for at least another three decades or more...only to go through again what they are already going through now.

Only then, the Americans will have permanent military bases there as well as in surrounding countries.

And what will those next 30 or more years be like? Look at Iraq's history under the British (1920-1958). Or look at some of the American neo-colonies in Central or South America now.

Or look at "Saudi" Arabia!!!

(Note that the Trotskyist evidently thinks that trade unions will flourish under the American quisling regime in Iraq...that's his excuse for supporting it. We've all seen how well trade unions have done in other American-sponsored regimes, haven't we?)


The low level violence is pointless and hurts Iraqi interests more than US interests.

Not if the primary interest at this point is driving the United States and its lackeys out of Iraq before they have a chance to "settle in for the long haul".


From a military perspective it's all completely harmless, not even scratching the paint on the US warmachine.

The resistance has, in my view, heavily damaged the morale of American mercenaries. Many of those soldiers did not sign up out of a belief in the "glorious Empire"...they did it for the money.

Historically, mercenaries are prone to "giving up on a bad job" much more quickly than those motivated by patriotism.


Politically it provides the US with an excuse not to hand down power or leave. The place is a mess with carbombs and all and the US cannot leave it like that.

Why not? The U.S. left Somalia "like that" and even worse.

Of course, there is the oil...


The terror attacks actually do destabilize the country. There is no positive effect to be discovered in acts like blowing up lines of people applying for jobs with the local police.

Have a soft spot for cops, do you?

I don't.

Neither does the resistance.


...the US isn't going to roll over due to some leftwing-peaceloving-treehugging-hippies.

Starting to reveal your real politics now?

First posted at RevLeft on June 22, 2005


What annoys me, is when everyone else starts fawning over somebody, oh he's from the country, he must speak for its whole population, or Iraqi communists or something...

A while back we had some guy from Saudi Arabia post claiming to be from Nepal - and in Nepal...Redstar slobbered all over him too. Some people never learn.

What annoys me about the Trotskyist is that he is chronically unable to stick to the topic thread...whenever the implications of his position become uncomfortable (or difficult to plausibly defend), he decides a poke at me is in order.

Early in this thread he accused me of being a "guru". Now I am accused of "slobbering on people".

What next?

And why?

Perhaps as a distraction from this...


In any case, it would be politically difficult to stay if the Baghdad government asked 'em to leave, given all of Washington's rhetoric about democracy and restoring sovereignty to the Iraqi people and so forth.

Which isn't solely rhetoric...

Of course Washington hopes that they will be able to retain military bases in Iraq; gain economic control by U.S. capital; and use Iraq as the beginning of the reorganization of its domination of the region. But it is committed to doing all this within at least the outward forms of bourgeois democracy...

And here ya go again: anybody legal in Iraq must be collaborators. Including the whole workers' movement, and all significant parties calling themselves communist.

Otherwise, Redstar would have to admit the occupation is allowing its opponents to be legal, and to oppose it using legal means. He might have to admit the obvious fact that there is more space for workers to organize under the occupation than under the old regime.

You see, kids, the occupation isn't "really so bad", now is it?

According to the Trotskyist, it's a step towards "democracy". And opponents of the occupation are actually "allowed" to oppose it "legally".

Think about that one for a moment! On the one side, "legality". On the other side, somewhere around 200,000 heavily armed soldiers already guilty of documented atrocities.

What makes this especially amusing to contemplate is that the Iraqi quisling government is physically located in the "Green Zone" -- the heavily fortified U.S. base in downtown Baghdad.

This "sovereign government" wouldn't last 10 minutes after an American withdrawal...and some imagine that they are ever going to "politely request the Americans to leave"?

And then we have the matter of what Washington "hopes" to do -- make Iraq a permanent neo-colony. But "only" in the context of the "outward forms" of "bourgeois democracy".

Like, um, Ecuador or Colombia.

A "bright future" that every Iraqi eagerly anticipates...well, every Iraqi quisling, anyway.

The Trotskyist's last fortress is the "new space" for workers "to organize". The quisling regime and its American masters are currently preoccupied with "other matters" (a.k.a. the resistance), so we have a bunch of new trade unions in Iraq.

While they all say that they "oppose the occupation"...yet they are sending representatives to meetings in England and the United States asking working people not to support the resistance or demand U.S.-U.K. withdrawal from Iraq. Even more "curious", these tours are actually held under the auspices of the British "Labour" Party leadership and the U.S. State Department.

What interesting "workers' leaders" these people are. Perhaps things would be clearer if they just called themselves the International Brotherhood of Lackeys, Quislings, and Bootlickers.

With a name like that, they'd certainly get a warm welcome at the next AFL-CIO convention.
First posted at RevLeft on June 22, 2005

quote (redstar2000):

The resistance has, in my view, heavily damaged the morale of American mercenaries.

Since my statement was disputed, it was nice to come across some confirmation...


Yesterday I talked with a 2nd Lt and West Point grad who has just come back from Iraq. He says flat out that the war is lost, that "we" only control territory when the troops are there in massive numbers and that "they" take over as soon as the troops leave, that the army is over-extended and morale is terrible -- drug use is escalating -- that there still isn't enough armor, that the Iraqi army and police are worse than useless, and that senior officers are convinced that it is Vietnam redux. One of his classmates a 23-year old was killed last week -- for nothing. There are signs that this story is belatedly beginning to sink in across the country, but he, and I, fear that it is too late.

Another angle just occurred to me. If the resistance wins and the Americans are compelled to withdraw, the outcome of "civil war" would be enormously beneficial to the Kurds. A weak or nonexistent government in Baghdad would be unable to exert any authority at all in northern Iraq...making the Kurds independent in fact if not in law.

It would therefore be advantageous for the Kurds to covertly support the resistance even while publicly reassuring the Americans of their "eternal friendship".

Damn, this stuff is tricky!
First posted at RevLeft on June 24, 2005


As Rumsfeld accurately put it recently, "They have no Ho Chi Minh, no Mao Tse Tung. They have no vision."

*laughs* We all know that the Trotskyist and other "leftists" who support the occupation would immediately switch sides and support the resistance if only the resistance would come up with a suitable icon and a revolutionary-sounding ideology.

This is why the Trotskyist supports the Maoists in Nepal...

Oh wait, he doesn't support the Maoists in Nepal.

If Mao climbed out of his grave, learned Arabic, and traveled to Iraq to "lead the resistance", I somehow think that the Trotskyist,, would still oppose the resistance and counsel the Iraqis to submit to the occupation...or use "peaceful methods" to struggle against it, at best.

Shooting and blowing up imperialists and their lackeys is just not nice.
First posted at RevLeft on July 8, 2005

quote:'re a middle-class radical who's constantly blowing in the wind.



What's up with your proclamation that armed struggle is the only way? Why don't you practice what you preach?

Do you imagine the Iraqis first asked my opinion before they launched an armed struggle?

I approve of that decision, of course...but it's not as if they did it "because" I told them it was the right thing to do.

Conditions in the United States are obviously unsuitable for armed insurrection at this time. Therefore, I don't tell people here to "get out there and do that" nor do I "do it myself".

But if I were to live long enough, I would expect the time for armed insurrection to emerge...and then, if I were physically able to do so, I would advocate it and participate in it.

And, in the meantime, I will continually remind people that armed struggle is "the only road" to genuine revolution -- both in terms of liberation from imperialism and in terms of a proletarian revolution in the advanced capitalist countries.

Your acceptance of "peaceful means" to attain these ends simply reflects your own lack of seriousness about either.

Now go run for office.
First posted at RevLeft on July 9, 2005


Actually, you do tell people that.

Actually, I don't.

I observe that armed struggle is the only way that imperialism will be driven out of the "third world" and support the people who "pick up the gun" and struggle to do that.

If people in a particular colony/neo-colony are not ready to do that, regardless of their reasoning, then I predict they will accomplish nothing in the way of driving out imperialism until they are ready to do that. There is no "peaceful road" to defeating imperialism.

Conditions in "first world" countries are not presently favorable to armed insurrection and therefore, HERE I do not advocate armed struggle or "do it myself".

But I also observe that nothing will be accomplished in the way of abolishing wage-slavery until a successful armed insurrection takes place.

It's becoming more and more difficult to avoid the conclusion that you have simply succumbed to reformism. You may still pay "lip service" to socialism but it increasingly appears that some sort of legal trade-unionism is sufficient to satisfy your "progressive" aspirations.

It's one thing to say that people in another country must decide their own paths of struggle -- no one would disagree with such a banal platitude. It's quite another to advocate "peaceful methods" when an armed struggle against imperialism has already begun!

That is just collaborating with imperialism.
First posted at RevLeft on July 9, 2005

I think we (communists/anarchists) have to make a careful distinction between people with whom we share the same or similar ideas and people who are accidental allies...who may be fighting the same enemy as we are but for entirely different reasons.

Muslim fundamentalists are engaging in armed struggle to drive western imperialists -- particularly the Americans and the British -- out of the Muslim world.

That is a useful service to us. If they are successful, they will have greatly weakened our own enemies -- the capitalist ruling classes of "our own" respective countries.

To the extent that we are capable of organizing a dynamic and vigorous anti-imperialist movement at home, we likewise are providing a "useful service" to them...helping to sap the morale of the soldiers they are fighting against.

But this "alliance" is a historical accident and won't last.

The time will come when communists/anarchists in the Muslim world will have to fight and smash Islam itself. People in those countries will never be really free until they get rid of that medieval superstition altogether.

I see nothing to be gained by temporarily pretending that this is not the case...and much to lose. If the Iraqi resistance, the Afghan Taleban, or even Al_Qaida inflict humiliating defeats on U.S. and British imperialism...I think that's great!

Without forgetting for a second that the day will come when real communists and anarchists will emerge in the Middle East...and will (with our help) inflict humiliating defeats on the defenders of Islam.

The enemy of my enemy is, as often as not, just the next enemy.
First posted at RevLeft on July 11, 2005


Western imperialists are engaging in armed struggle to drive Muslim fundamentalists -- particularly the Taliban and the Sunni -- out of the Muslim world.

That is a useful service to us. If they are successful, they will have greatly weakened our own enemies -- the fascist ruling classes of "their own" respective countries.

This is an example of classical "Marxism"...with dust and cobwebs no less.

Marx and Engels, in common with many Europeans of their time, thought that backward societies in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, etc. "needed" western imperialism to "break their stagnation" and "shock them into historical motion".

However, I think it's now generally recognized among western revolutionaries that the imposition of imperialist domination radically distorts the "development" of the colonized economy.

Instead of a "normal" path of capitalist development, the imperialists "hyper-develop" that portion of the economy that is directly useful to imperialism while forcibly maintaining underdevelopment in the vast remainder.

The client regimes established by imperialists in the colonized/neo-colonized countries are generally composed of the most reactionary elements in those countries that are willing to serve imperialism.

It was common in late 19th and early 20th century imperialist circles to speak of "civilizing" the natives of colonized countries and "preparing them for self-rule in a modern world", etc. That was largely bullshit then...and is now completely so.

A figure like Osama Bin Laden would be perfectly acceptable to the U.S.-U.K. imperialists as a dictator in any Muslim country...provided he was willing to carry out the orders of the imperialists.

It is not the Islamic variant of clerical fascism that the American-British imperialists find distasteful; it's Islamic clerical fascists who won't submit to American-British domination.

The obvious evidence for this is the long-standing alliance of American-British imperialists with a whole panoply of reactionary regimes in the Arabian peninsula. They are all, in one fashion or another, just as bad as the Taleban...but they know their place and obey their masters.


Realistically speaking religion itself as a belief cannot be abolished and any attempt to do so will bring opposition from the people themselves.

Of course it can be "abolished". Possibly what you mean here is that it can't be abolished "by decree"...and if that's what you mean, then I would agree with you.

You see, religion needs "public life" in order to thrive. It needs to be "respectable". It needs "public demonstration" of its "importance". Deprived of those things, it "withers away" into insignificant cults and small groups of nutballs.

Had the USSR done something as simple as demolish all the Eastern Orthodox cathedrals, there would probably be almost nothing left of religion in the USSR today (as it is, there isn't all that much left anyway).

The way to "impose atheism" in any country is to remove all forms of superstition from public life -- no churches (or mosques), no recognition of "holy days", no public demonstrations of "faith", teach atheism in the schools, exile the clergy, and so forth. If religion is mentioned in public life at all, it should be spoken of with contempt -- a barbarous superstition that is beneath the dignity of civilized people (which it is, of course).

It might take a century to "get the job done"...but it is quite do-able.

And it's a job that needs doing!
First posted at RevLeft on July 12, 2005


Might I add that the case of Palestine is instructive for how a "national unity" resistance should be run...

This is the intelligent way to run a principled, intelligent, nationalist resistance to a colonizer, occupier or invader. Why? Because by fracturing and fighting amongst themselves, the resistance serves the needs of the occupier. Divide and conquer is the age-old colonial game and the smartest resistance movements try not to fall for it. The Iraqi Resistance has done exactly the opposite of the Palestinian resistance. Instead of uniting for national unity like the Palestinians, they are presently pursuing one of the most reactionary, backwards, barbaric, sectarian, fascistic, oppressive, domineering, racist, tribalistic, and downright stupid agendas imaginable.
-- emphasis added.


I don't know, of course, if the Palestinians are as "good" as you say they are or if the Iraqis are as "bad"...but that was a very impressive post.

There is one thing though...I get the impression that the Palestinians are constantly on the "defensive" -- while the Iraqis seem to be constantly attacking the imperialists.

If the Iraqis are such "gross fuckups", how is it that they are able to "carry the battle to the enemy" so consistently?

And, likewise, if the Palestinians are a "model" of how to do it right, how is it that they always seem to be on the receiving end of the crap while only rarely being on the attacking end of things?
First posted at RevLeft on July 12, 2005


The resistance is now mostly Sunni Arab, and are becoming more and more extreme, with a movement towards Salafism or Wahhabism, the most extreme Sunni Islam with roots in the Arabian Gulf.

I was very puzzled by this. Though it may or may not be true (I certainly hope it isn't), yet it seems unlikely that Salafists are directly involved in the resistance...


And it can be said that the Salafi/"Wahhabi" scholars have spoken about Iraq, and they have advised the Muslims to supplicate to their Lord to relieve from the Iraqis the afflictions of being ruled by the socialist Ba'thist oppressor Saddam Hussein, and to relieve them of the sufferings of being unjustly occupied by foreign forces. More specifically, they have made the important clarification that these hardships are a result of what the Muslim masses have brought about by their own hands, in disobedience to the Creator, and that these afflictions will only be removed from them as the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) said, "…Allah will send upon you humiliation and will not remove it from you until you return to (practicing) your religion (correctly)," not by entering into blind jihads led by the misguided that only increase the tribulations of the entire Muslim community.

The Salafist "line" appears to be one of piety and submission to imperialism...something that would certainly go a long way to "justifying" the 50+ years of submission of "Saudi" Arabia to U.S. imperialism.

From what I can tell from this site, the sympathizers of Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda -- who are a very small part of the resistance -- have no use for Salafism at all and regard it as no different than heathenism.


In the areas they control, the Sunni fanatics have imposed an insane, brutal and stupid version of Islamic law. Even Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Sudan are not as harsh as them with some of the things they've done (shutting down schools, threatening/shooting women for wearing blue jeans, beating drivers who were listening to music that's not religious music, threatening women who refuse to wear hijab, flogging alcohol sellers or bombing stores that sell alcohol, et cetera).

Again, this sounds more like Basra than like Baghdad...more Shia than Sunni. Of course that doesn't mean that Salafism doesn't have a following in some Sunni communities who may well attempt to impose their medieval values on their neighbors -- but I question whether any Salafists are participants in the resistance at all.

It's "not like them" to do that.
First posted at RevLeft on July 13, 2005


Redstar should look up any of the information available on how the mujahedeen ruled Fallujah.

I do not think Fallujah was "typical" of Iraq as a this article it was described as "Alabama in Arabic"...


And the al-Qaeda-ists, the people westerners call "Wahhabi", and many other Sunni fundamentalists all consider themselves Salafists. It's a fairly broad, even catchall term.

Perhaps that is true; I do not know. But surely the "Wahhabi-ists" are the "major league" Salafists in that part of the world...and their "line" does seem to be one of "piety and submission".

As to "home-grown" Iraqi Sunni fundamentalists, I suppose it's possible they might use the word "Salafists" to describe the risk of being confused with the much wider known "Saudi" Arabian variant.
First posted at RevLeft on July 14, 2005


Those who have no confidence in the working class anyway, will dismiss this as less glamorous than guns or car-bombs.

There is nothing "glamorous" about guns or car-bombs...where'd you get a funny idea like that?

There is nothing "glorious" about the Iraqi is hard and dirty work to drive imperialism out of Iraq.

I am glad to see that the trade unions have "opened another front" of resistance to the occupation. But I don't expect much to come of it unless they are also prepared to use "guns and car-bombs".

No "peaceful method" will ever defeat U.S. imperialism in Iraq or anyplace else.
First posted at RevLeft on July 18, 2005

Won't happen.

The U.S. is not about to permit any kind of serious alliance between its puppet regime and the Iranian mullahs unless the mullahs agree to subordinate themselves to U.S. interests...a most unlikely development.

Of course, the Iraqi quislings may be permitted to verbally exercise their "independence"...and the U.S. certainly won't object to an additional source of funds to support its quislings -- if the Iranian mullahs are so foolish as to come up with any serious money.

The idea of Iranians "training" Iraq's "new army" is something of a joke in itself...Iranians (except for a small Arab minority) do not speak Arabic and Iraqis do not speak Farsi at all.
First posted at RevLeft on July 18, 2005

quote (BBC):

25,000 civilians 'killed in Iraq'

Nearly 25,000 civilians have died violently in Iraq since the US-led invasion in March 2003, a report says.

Based on more than 10,000 media reports, the dossier is the first detailed account of such deaths.

"The ever-mounting Iraqi death toll is the forgotten cost of the decision to go to war in Iraq," said John Sloboda, one of the report authors.

The Iraq Body Count and Oxford Research Group, made up of academics and peace activists, carried out the survey.

The Dossier on Civilian Casualties in Iraq 2003-2005 says 37% of all non-combatant deaths were caused by US-led forces.

Insurgents are said to have caused 9% of the deaths,
while post-invasion criminal violence was responsible for another 36%.
-- emphasis added.
First posted at RevLeft on July 19, 2005


You seem to think that sectarian tactics are superior to the working class organising and taking power itself?

Come now. Do you really expect us to believe that the Iraqi working class, as obviously backward as it must be, is going to "take power" in this century?

Do you really think that Iraq is "ready" to make the transition to communism...or even Leninist socialism?

Do you imagine that a working class that still believes in family, clan, and Allah is fit to rule itself?

Most ordinary people in Iraq have mind-sets that are closer to the 11th century than to the 21st. They have an incredibly long period of development to go through before communism is "on the agenda" there.

Don't get me wrong...a despotism of labor aristocrats would be preferable to the occupation. Anything will be better than the occupation.

But to speak of workers' power in Iraq is just fantasy at this point.

By the way, if the strike is prolonged and oil exports grind to a complete halt, look for the occupation and its quislings to import scabs from Kuwait, "Saudi" Arabia, and perhaps even the United States itself.

If the oil workers use "guns and car-bombs" against the scabs, will they be "guilty" of "sectarian tactics"? *laughs*
First posted at RevLeft on July 19, 2005


"Armed struggle" is exciting and glamorous...if you're sitting safe behind your computer, telling workers on the other side of the world what tactics to use.

Based on ABC-of-Marxism truisms.

I think that's the real source of your enmity towards my views. That "ABC-of-Marxism" stuff is like a pebble in your shoe...and every time you try to get rid of it, I'm the one who puts it right back in there.

I have, in fact, never characterized armed struggle as "exciting" or "glamorous" in any fashion.

All I have said is that armed struggle has a chance to work...and "peaceful methods" don't!

Your inference that I can say these things because "I'm safe behind my computer" (that is, that I'm a "coward") is utterly contemptible!

You are just as "safe" as I am -- and yet you fear to admit the truth about "peaceful methods" of wretchedly inadequate they have always been. And always will be.

Neither of us are being consulted by the Iraqis -- it is not a matter of either of us "telling them what to do". That's just another Trotskyist fantasy.

But what about telling the people on this board the simple truth?

That's pretty basic, isn't it?

How much "courage" does that take?


Really, there's no way even someone knowledgeable can accurately know what tactics are correct for a struggle they're not actively involved in.

No shit. And even people who are "involved in the struggle" often fuck up and get it wrong.

Do you actually even have something besides platitudes to offer on this question? Or is it your position that "whatever a trade union (or its leadership?) decides to do, that's ok with me."???

They're workers, ain't they?


Yes. Governments of workers and farmers have taken power in countries far more economically backward than Iraq, and carried out profound revolutionary-democratic measures, begun the fight for socialism, and most importantly aided the world revolution....while in contrast you'd have a hard time finding examples of thoroughgoing bourgeois-led revolutions in the past century.

What those "governments of workers and farmers" (they were neither) have done is "clear the way" for modern bourgeois regimes in those countries -- Cuba is the only remaining arrow in your quiver at this point...and, at least to my eyes, it's starting to look rather crooked.

To speak of any of those other regimes as "beginning the fight for socialism" is just more fantasy.

And yes, they have advanced the cause of proletarian weakening our own imperialists. Unfortunately, the effect so far has also been weak...workers in the imperialist countries still think they're backing a winner.

Until that changes, nothing will change!


That defeat was, incidentally, made possible by the treacherous role of Stalinism...which is thankfully much weakened now.

Yeah, blame Joe...or his followers. The movement of history is due to...villains.


I think these comments betray a real ignorance of the situation in Iraq, RedStar. You are letting the bourgeoisie think for you, whether you know it or not.

Of course I am ignorant of "the situation in Iraq" are we all. I don't live there; I don't speak Arabic; the only even half-way reliable sources available to any of us are Iraqis who live in exile in the "west" and tell us what their families still in Iraq think about what's happening there.

And, of course, "manifestos"...endless manifestos. Pages and pages (or screens and screens) full of...promises.

Are any of them true? How would I (or you) know?

I'm willing to give "the benefit of the doubt" to any Iraqi group not collaborating with the occupation. I've already said that I'm glad to see the oil workers strike. I hope they stay out "until hell freezes over".

I hope they join the resistance! And if they capture a leading role in it, so much the better.

That's not what the Trotskyist (and some others here) want -- they want the resistance to surrender and accept the power of the quisling regime...and then use "peaceful methods" to struggle against it and the permanent U.S. occupation that will support it.

If anyone is "tailing the bourgeoisie" in this controversy, I think it is pretty clearly not me.


This is nonsense. Iraq , with the exception of the Kurdish north, is a largely urban country. urban country where nearly everyone believes in family, clan, and Allah.

Bet your rent money on Leninist socialism in Iraq -- and then start looking for a comfortable sidewalk to sleep on.
First posted at RevLeft on July 20, 2005


As for joining the "resistance", I would rather see these brothers and sisters join the developing armed workers' self-defense that already exists in Baghdad and Kirkuk...But these incidents are secondary to the task of these bodies: securing working-class areas of Iraq from intervention by the occupation forces.

This is interesting information...but it suggests a crucial difference between the resistance and these workers' "self-defense" units.

What do self-defense groups do? They defend themselves, right? In the event of an attack by the occupation forces on a particular workplace or on a particular neighborhood, they presumably offer some kind of armed resistance. (Do they do likewise against quisling forces?)

Very good.

Now, what does the resistance do? It does not wait for the enemy to attack, but rather it attacks the enemy...even inside the "Green Zone".

See the difference?

You know, going all the way back to the Paris Commune, there has been a world-wide tradition in the working class of "self-defense"...and a corresponding marked reluctance to take the initiative and carry the war to the class enemy. From the time that Engels bemoaned the failure of the Commune to march on Versailles to the present day, there must have been dozens or even hundreds of incidents where workers have seized some city or some part of a city and attempted to "defend themselves" against overwhelming force.

What followed was usually characterized as a massacre. It usually was.

Consequently, I look with a jaundiced eye on "workers' self-defense committees" in Iraq...because I know from the history of working class struggles that it's not enough to win.

It's good that they have them and I hope they have more of them...but until they take the offensive against the occupation/quisling forces, they are not going to really "make a difference".


That's still a lot more than the bourgeoisie has done, anyplace, in the last century.

So what? The effect is the same. In one form or another, it's "1789" for all of those places.


The two-stage theory of revolution, where the "national bourgeoisie" is supposed to lead the first revolution, to be followed by a prolonged period of capitalist development.

Call it a modified "two-stage theory". Dissident elements from the middle and upper classes lead peasant insurrections. Following victory, they introduce a long period of (state capitalist) economic development which generates a modern bourgeoisie (and a modern proletariat).

That is what has demonstrably happened, Trotsky's self-serving fantasies of "permanent revolution" notwithstanding. Those countries did not and will not "press on" to socialism because they cannot do it...the objective material conditions were not and are not developed enough to permit that.


Bubba, I don't want the Ba'athist-Islamist resistance, or any other mass-murdering enemies of the working class, to do anything but eat shit and die.

My view precisely...but of the occupation/quisling forces instead.

One can tell a lot from the enemies that people choose.


What? These are massive generalisations. How did you make them? You see a few Iraqis on the TV and you think that they are all the same?

I don't own a dummyvision set...but it's true that my impressions are gathered from "western" observers in Iraq -- and it's certainly possible that they could be full of shit.

What are your sources...and what do they say? Are the people in Iraq sitting around reading Arabic translations of Marx and Engels by candlelight?

What's the equivalent of RevLeft on the Baghdad internet?

Are kids tagging the walls of Basra or Kirkuk with "ALLAH SUCKS!" graffiti?


Just because they (like most people) don't see left-wing politics in the way you do, you are prepared to completely abandon them and let them suffer because you want to see imperialism defeated at any cost?

I'm afraid that there's nothing I (or you) can do to alleviate their suffering...except build a powerful anti-imperialist movement in the U.S. and the U.K. that would help force the imperialists to withdraw.

Expressions of sympathy have no effect on the situation whatsoever.


The fact that a working class exists in Iraq allows them to take over, regardless of how 'developed' they are.

Sure, in a technical sense that's possible, after the imperialists are driven out.

But if they did "seize power", I doubt that they could hold onto it for more than a few weeks -- the clans would squabble over the spoils and a despot would emerge...and put them back on the path to modern capitalism.

Material reality prevails!
First posted at RevLeft on July 20, 2005
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