Resistance getting stronger by the day
The twentieth of March 2006 marks the third anniversary of the commencement of the Anglo-American imperialist predatory war against the people of Iraq. We were initially told that we would witness a display of "shock and awe", resulting in a speedy victory for the US and its partners in crime. Three years later, the position of the imperialists is getting worse by the day, in inverse proportion to the growing strength and audacity of the heroic Iraqi national resistance. 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' is costing the imperialists waging the war very dearly indeed. Thus far, the US has spent approximately $210 billion, while Britain has spent £4 billion. Close to 2,400 troops of the imperialist coalition, nearly 2,200 American and 101 British, have been killed, while more than 16,000 American soldiers have been wounded. Meanwhile, oil production - the very thing that brought the US and Britain to Iraq in the first place - is lower today than at any time since the invasion, and less than half the level before the invasion. The imperialists' dreams for a pliant and plundered Iraq are lying in tatters. Yet there is a section of them who are now contemplating war against another major oil producer of the region - Iran.
Meanwhile, the arbitrary destruction that has been rained on the Iraqi population by this despicable imperialist force is startling. Close to 200,000 Iraqis, overwhelmingly civilians, have been butchered. Dozens of cities and towns have been reduced to rubble, and the cost of reconstruction is estimated by the World Bank at $35,819 million. Torture methods are being practised on a massive scale. It's little wonder that the occupation is opposed by the huge majority of Iraqis and that the resistance is able to attract so many people to its side.
Civil war stories a diversion
Unable to overwhelm the resistance, Anglo-American imperialism is resorting to cynical attempts to incite a sectarian civil war in Iraq. This agenda is being pursued by the occupation forces and some of the Iraqi puppet police detonating massive deadly explosives in centres of Shia population and blaming it on the Iraqi resistance or the mythological hate figure of al-Zarqawi. All legitimate Iraqi resistance groups have unequivocally condemned sectarian violence. The events of 19 September in Basra, in which two British SAS men were caught red handed, their car packed with weapons, explosives and remote control detonators, furnish proof, if such proof were ever needed, of the depths that the occupation forces, and their masters in Washington and London, are prepared to plumb to save their doomed imperialist project from shipwreck. Anti-imperialists in Britain, meanwhile, must not fall into the trap of believing that the Iraqi resistance is, or can be, divided upon religious lines. The Iraqi people are refusing to fall for this poisonous bait, and continue to give full support to the resistance, which is very well organised and well equipped. Its stated aim is to liberate Iraq from occupation and build an independent, secular, democratic republic for all Iraqis - as opposed to the pliant, ethnically-cleansed statelets that the imperialists are trying to carve out.
It is almost universally admitted that conditions for the people of Iraq are now much worse than they were before the invasion, even bearing in mind the 12 years of crippling sanctions imposed before the war. Clean drinking water is a rarity; a quarter of children are suffering from malnutrition; hundreds of thousands are chronically ill; the infant mortality rate has soared; 47 percent of Iraqis do not get sufficient electricity, and those Iraqis whose sewage system does not work account for 70 percent of the population; the education and healthcare systems have collapsed and unemployment levels are astronomical. All this in a country that was formerly considered by Unicef as having one of the highest living standards in the Middle East, and was credited with having achieved total literacy. In their quest for oil profits, the occupiers are turning Iraq into a third world country.
The CPGB-ML's position is clear. Imperialism does not care for liberty or democracy - if it did, it would give support to countries such as Cuba and north Korea (DPRK), countries where democracy and freedom are living laws rather than dead letters. The real problem for people all over the Middle East is continued imperialist interference, which has subjected them to a century of war in its quest to control the region's 'black gold'. It is clear that there is no legitimate justification for the war in Iraq; consequently, we must do everything we can to oppose it.
This means refusing to cooperate in any way with the war effort - be it serving in the forces, making weapons, transporting equipment or putting out propaganda. Individually, we may be powerless, but collectively, the British working class has the ultimate veto over the war - they cannot fight it without us.
Marx wrote long ago that "no nation that oppresses another can itself be free". British workers will never achieve anything for themselves while they continue to allow the British ruling class to plunder and pillage the rest of the world.
That is because the fabulous wealth gained from looting abroad enables the bourgeoisie to bribe a section of the working class with better wages and conditions, converting them into what Lenin called a "labour aristocracy", a better off section of workers that will fight tooth and nail to preserve its privilege, which it can only do by preserving imperialism.
These 'leaders' do from within what the capitalists could never do from without. That is why Lenin called them the "labour lieutenants" of the capitalist class, "real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working class movement".
This labour aristocracy has succeeded in monopolising the leadership of the working class and in neutralising it. It is these 'leaders' who are so keen to channel the anti-war movement into harmless, respectable activity such as lobbies and demonstrations. Not one of them ever tries to harness the real power of working people against the war - their ability to work itself.
In this context, we should learn from Chairman Arthur MacManus who, in his opening address to the National Convention to establish the CPGB in 1920, said: "We ought by now to have made it so uncomfortable for these people [Lloyd George, Churchill etc] that, instead of standing on a pedestal and dictating to the rest of the world as to how it should conduct itself, they would have enough to do looking after us here to prevent them having any time to worry about other countries."
If the profits from imperialist plunder were to dry up, then so would the privileges of these labour aristocrats - and the British working class would be one step closer to throwing off the chains of imperialist slavery for good.
Solidarity with the Iraqi people is not a question of altruism but a matter of the greatest importance and urgency for British workers. The Iraqi resistance is fighting on the front line against our common enemy - and every defeat inflicted makes our enemy a little weaker and our task a little easier.
Let us therefore work wholeheartedly for the defeat of British imperialism in Iraq. Work to stop in their tracks all imperialist dreams of attacking Iran.
Victory to the Iraqi resistance!
Hands off Iran!