Support for Saddam Hussein?

Ben Courtice benj at
Mon Nov 4 14:43:53 MST 2002

> If you ask me if I think that the Iraqi regime should be "positively
> supported," my response will be to say that it is in the interest of the
> workers and oppressed in the U.S. to defend and support Iraq and its
> government, unconditionally, against U.S. imperialism.  (To be clear: I
> don't think there is a difference between "supporting" Iraq against U.S.
> imperialism and "defending" Iraq against U.S. imperialism.")

> If you then say that "that isn't exactly the question I asked," my answer is
> going to have to be "Yes, that's true, because all of my training as a
> Leninist tells me that the question you asked is, no offense intended,
> meaningless."

Well, no it's not. there is a difference (for example) between supporting Cuba, which I would hold up as an example of socialism (as I'm led to believe you support DPRK), and Iraq, which I would merely say has the right to live free of imperialist interference, without actually praising the Baath regime. I suppose this could be seen as "critical support". Although the criticism is fairly irrelevant right now since the main point is stopping the war, which even the Iraqi socialist opposition agree on.

> I don't believe that there is ever such a thing as "positive support",
> standing alone, out of context, and I believe that it's a fundamentally
> misleading mistake to try to think in those terms.  I think that support and
> defense can be meaningfully discussed only in terms of concrete actions (to
> be clear: propaganda is a concrete action), by someone, to support
> something, against something else, in a given situation.  By the way, this
> is why I personally believe that the whole philosophical matter of
> "dialectics" is not given nearly sufficient attention in the Marxist left.

OK, if we dispense with the semantics I think we agree on "unconditional defense" against imperialism. I'm not sure that dialectical materialism in its entirety is necessary here although I certainly agree it isn't studied as much as it ought to be on the left.

The Worker-Communist Party of Iraq has a website at
I don't know exactly how strong they are in Iraq, but in Australia they have a couple of dozen (or maybe more) members and sympathisers. One of the campaigns they have locally (in Melbourne) been involved in is the Committee in Defence of Iraqi Women. This group campaigns particularly against "honour killings" which are common in Iraq. Their party runs a women's shelter in the Kurdish enclave in the north of Iraq.

> I believe that the duties of socialists in the U.S. have to be very clearly
> distinguished from the duties of socialists in the oppressed countries which
> are under attack by the U.S., and also, for that matter, from the duties of
> socialists in other imperialist countries.  There is not, so far as I have
> seen, a strong Iraqi socialist presence in the U.S., as you say there is in
> Australia.  I would be very interested in reading their own analysis of the
> situation; do they have a website?  My own belief, however, is that the best
> help that we can possibly give to Iraqi socialists is to do the utmost to
> stop the U.S. war on Iraq, by whatever means are possible.  Among the other
> devastating and genocidal features of this war, it must also be completely
> distorting the class struggle within Iraq and preventing the natural
> development of Iraq's own economic and social forces.  Turning back the war
> drive would, I imagine, do immeasurably more for the prospects of socialism
> in Iraq than anything else we might do.

> This is too brief, perhaps, but I must go and sell some labour-power now :-(
I wish someone would buy mine. |-(

Ben Courtice

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list