Support for Saddam Hussein: response to Ben Courtice

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Mon Nov 4 17:41:28 MST 2002

Lou Paulsen wrote:

>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Ben Courtice" <benj at>
>To: "marxism" <marxism at>
>>  Armand Diego alleges that to be aligned with ANSWER you have to give
>>  support to Saddam Hussein. I didn't get that impression from Lou
>>  Paulsen, who as I recall mainly pointed out that it's wrong to support
>>  imperialist intervention into Iraq's sovereign affairs. I would have
>>  thought that supporting the socialist opposition in Iraq would be a
>>  different kettle of fish. I think supporting Hussein would be wrong --
>>  he is, like bin Laden, a creature of the CIA and US foreign policy that
>>  they have sought to use as an example, not any sort of principled
>>  anti-imperialist, much less a socialist. Does ANSWER, or IAC, or WWP,
>>  think that the Iraqi regime should be positively supported?
>Greetings, Ben :-) speaking as a member of WWP I'll answer that as well as I
>can, though it's not a straight yes-or-no answer.
>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,
>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.
>The Iraqi state is a bourgeois nationalist state, not a socialist state, and
>I don't believe that anything short of a socialist state can be
>"consistently anti-imperialist" in the long run and in the internationalist
>sense.  But I believe that the Iraqi government is defending itself against
>U.S. imperialism at the present time, and we have to side with it in that
>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.

Can ANSWER prominently include groups and individuals such as the
following and feature them at its rallies?

American Kurdish Information Network: <>

The Iraqi Communist Party: <>

Worker Communist Party of Iraq: <>

Speakers from the EPIC Iraq Speakers Bureau -- especially Wafaa Bilal
and Issam Shukri: <>

In other words, can ANSWER include Iraqi and Kurdish voices who
oppose the war and sanctions while harshly criticizing the Hussein

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