[Marxism] Never Again another Islamic Republic

mekchi at verizon.net mekchi at verizon.net
Sun Nov 30 22:13:43 MST 2003

Never Again another Islamic Republic
By Mahmood Ketabchi
mekchi at msn.com
August 20, 2003

Manufacturing Political Islam in Iraq

Once again the western journalists and capitalist media are distorting the truths and the realties about Iraq. At first, they repeated Bush’s lies and deception and followed the Pentagon’s warmongering lines, in an attempt to convince the world that war against Iraq was necessary and inevitable. Following the US army in lock step during the course of the war, journalists reported what they were told by the pentagon and army officials. They romanticized the war, told of heroic US soldiers, and spoke of an army of “liberation” and benevolent warriors hugging children, whose parents they had killed and homes and cities they had destroyed. They showed Iraqis thanking and applauding the US soldiers and handing them flowers to make people believe that the Iraqi people will receive US soldiers with open arms. Such is the cowardly history of official American journalism before and during the war. 

Now, they are busy selling political Islam and Islamic thugs in Iraq to the world public opinion, portraying Iraqi people as all devout Moslems. They report that the people of Iraq are flocking to Islamic groups in large numbers and joining the Islamist movement. We are told that people in Iraq want an Islamic State and the rule of Koran and the Sharia. They want us to believe that there is something intrinsic to the Iraqi people, that leads them to follow a reactionary Islamic movement. This is like saying that being an American makes one want to follow right-wing, racist, and misogynist criminals who bomb abortion clinic and murder physicians who perform abortions. They dig out the most reactionary elements from the trash can and present them to the Iraqi people and the world public opinion as potential future leaders in Iraq. They interview every fascist mullah who has a gang of armed thugs behind his back and seek their “expert ideas” about the future of Iraq. 

Moreover, the western media and intellectuals view Iraqis through a religious and ethnic lens, a racist attitude which is never employed for Americans and Europeans. Iraqis are defined as Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, etc, as though we were living in a medieval area where human beings were only known for their religious, ethnic, clan, or tribal affiliation. This amounts to denying that Iraqi society is a capitalist and modern society where there are classes and class struggle between workers and capitalists; that there are nationalists, bourgeoisie, and Islamist parties, as well as working class organizations; that there is struggle for socialism and freedom along side of nationalist and Islamist atrocities; that women are organizing and fighting for women’s rights and workers are building their own movement, etc. 

Defining the people of Iraq along ethnic and religious lines will only further push Iraqi society into chaos, destruction of civility, and barbarism. This is a grim and bloody scenario that the US has created for the Iraqi people, and it serves to justify Islamic atrocity, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. It is intended to tell the world that the people of Iraq deserve no better than their current suffering. It seeks to lower the expectations of the international community and prepare them to accept the brutality and suffering of people in the Islamic-stricken countries. They want us to accept that brutality and barbarism is a way life, a fact, and a reality preferred by the people of Iraq. These media demagogues want to create an atmosphere of intimidation and force civilized humanity into submission, with the intention of diminishing the standards of what is humane. Unfortunately, much of the American left, bourgeois radicals, and liberals have bought into this reactionary myth. They say that no one should protest and raise their voice to condemn brutalities committed by nationalist and Islamic forces, for it will be considered as “racist,” “colonialist,” and “imperialist.” 

The rise of Islamism has no intrinsic or natural quality that emanates from the Iraqi people. As an integral part of its policy towards Iraq, the US government pushed Political Islam to the center stage in Iraqi society as they did with Khomeini in Iran and the Taliban in Afghanistan. To topple Saddam Hussein, after the first gulf war, the US courted the Islamic groups, helped them get organized, provided them with financial support, gave them the opportunity for international publicity, promised them a piece of the pie in Iraq, promoted them as the “voice of Iraqi people,” and manufactured them into “leaders” in the Iraqi society. 

With two bloody wars and 12 years of sanctions, the US government brought immense misery and suffering to the people of Iraq. The occupation of Iraq shattered Iraqi society and brought chaos, pillaging, ransacking, and destruction of public and secular institutions. It paralyzed Iraq’s infrastructure and civil life, allowing Islamic forces to expand their ominous control over people lives through atrocity, terrorism, and criminal acts. The US recruited tribal leaders and religious thugs as allies and placed them in leadership positions, hoping that with their cooperation, the occupation forces could control Iraqi society and the people of Iraq. Thus, the emergence of Political Islam in Iraq as a decisive force is in part a direct outcome of the US criminal and genocidal policy against Iraq. 

Islamic Atrocities 

The Islamic forces in Iraq, like the Taliban in Afghanistan and Khomeini in Iran, have focused their attack against Iraqi women and young girls, in an attempt to impose their barbaric Islamic laws on Iraqi society. Islamic groups are terrorizing women and girls by spreading their message of hate, violence and women’s inferiority. They are forcing women to wear Hejab, avoid make up, be silent, refrain from smiling, laughing, and observe other inhumane Islamic public conducts. Women who do not follow these rules are threatened, humiliated, and beaten up publicly. Islamists throw acid at their face and bodies or force them out of school and career and back into their homes. Store owners, offices, and shops are threatened if they provide services to women who do not observe Islamic gender apartheid and misogynist regulations. Prostitutes are murdered and brothels are burned down. Islamists have created an environment such that women even fear to walk alone in the streets. “Honor killing” is rising rapidly. Rape and abduction of women and young girls has reached an alarming level. Many of these rapes are committed by Islamic thugs to intimidate women, take revenge on supposed followers of the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein, and rival Islamic groups.

Moreover, under the pretense of fighting “corrupt western culture, imperialism, and the US,” Islamic organizations are attacking any symbol of civilization, progress, and human enjoyment. Islamic clerics and their armed followers have been threatening and harassing the owners of movie theaters not to show “pornographic” movies (for example, movies showing women’s knees) and films with romantic or joyful themes. In many instances, they have burned down movie theaters to create an atmosphere of terror. They are attacking music shops and intimidating the owners who sell western or even happy and popular Arabic music, especially those with female singers. In Baghdad, in a street style execution, they brutally shot to death an “infidel” Christian music shop owner who sold western music under Saddam Hussein’s regime. Many other types of art and cultural activities and entertainment venues have come under attack and been forced to shut down or only promote “Islamic values and morals.” Liquor stores, in particular, have faced the wrath of Islamic leaders. In the south, almost all the liquor stores and distilleries have been burned or shut down. 

Secular institutions have come under attack both to revenge Saddam Hussein and to destroy the system of service and food deliveries that provide people’s daily needs. For example, in many cities, Islamists have ransacked hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies and taken large quantities of medicines to mosques in an attempt to dominate people’s lives. 

Islamic clerics have been threatening and attacking progressive organizations that are standing up to these criminals and exposing their barbaric and reactionary ideologies and acts. In their sermons and propaganda, they have tried in vain to intimidate the Worker Communist Party, Unemployed Union, and Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq that are courageously fighting off Islamic groups. On July 3, in al-Nasryia, Islamic thugs attacked a UUI demonstration and march to Bremer’s office. In the same day, they attacked and shot at the office of the Worker Communist Party of Iraq and its members, but were forced to flee as party members in self defense chased the attackers away. Later, to intimidate the party, Islamists kidnapped four party members at gun point, beat them up savagely, and eventually released them. 

Political Islam is a rabid enemy of freedom, human dignity, joy, happiness, progress, and humane life. It disdains and abhors any symbol of humanity. Hate, violence, and terror are integral to the Political Islamic movement. The Islamic regime that they promise is a government of rightlessness, mass execution, torture, prison, stoning to death, inhumane retribution laws (for example, cutting limbs), savage exploitation, and gender apartheid. It is a government of legally sanctioned child molestation and raping of young girls. The Islamic government which they want to bring for the Iraqi people is based on superstition, ignorance, and barbarism of the worst kind.

The nationalist left in the US views political Islam as an “anti-imperialist movement,” (although “inadequate”) and a “petty bourgeoisie utopia” that “advocate[s] reconciliation between social classes” and “[has] little to offer to working class” (this is the extent of the criticism!!). A view such as this minimizes the atrocities committed by Political Islam and ignores the grave threat posed by the Islamist movement to freedom, human dignity, and working class struggle for socialism. It fails to see Political Islam in the context of class struggle between capital and labor. Political Islam is the most barbaric current in Islam-stricken countries which the bourgeoisie and the western powers resort to in times of upheavals, instability, and crisis to preserve capitalism and secure cheap and silent labor for savage exploitation by capital. The Islamic Republic in Iran is a case in point. Contrary to populist perceptions, Khomeini’s regime was ten times as brutal as the Shah’ regime. Indeed, the Islamic Republic was a continuation, rather than a departure, from despotic monarchy. The Iranian and western bourgeoisie dumped the Shah because of a mass revolt and picked Khomeini to put an end to the growing mass movement, radicalization of the working class, and the increasing power of the left. Khomeini crushed the revolution in the name of revolution and brutally murdered those who escaped the repressive regime of the Shah. Anyone with a history of revolutionary struggle against Shah was automatically seen as an opponent of Islamic regime. What the Shah failed to do was accomplished by Khomeini and his criminal Islamic regime. Similarly, an Islamic regime in Iraq will be the continuation of Saddam Hussein’s regime in the most brutal and honorific form. There is no intrinsic animosity between the US government and political Islam. 

The US government has no intention to eliminate Islam or political Islam. It only intends to tame this movement and bring it under its control as we see currently being engineered in Iraq. The US has no problem with a friendly Islamic regime in Iraq. It is with this understanding that the Islamic groups in Iraq by and large are playing a political game with the occupation forces. In a speech in late May, Paul Wolfowitz told a gathering of Shiites that he was never among the people who believed that a Shiite regime was worse than Saddam Hussein’s government. He suggested that it could take some time getting used to and the West had to guard against the bigotry that clouds perceptions of Shiites. The relation between the US government and Islamic movement over the last two decades clearly shows the US government alliance with Political Islam against freedom and communism.
No to Another Islamic Republic

However, this time around, selling Islam to the Iraqi people and the world public opinion will not be easy for the US government and the western powers. After more than twenty years of its existence, the contemporary Islamic movement, whether in opposition or in power, has shown its brutal face. The world will never forget the horrific crimes committed by the Taliban regime. It will never forget Khomeini and his barbaric regime of over 100,000 executions, a regime of torture, prison, and utter rightlessness. No one will ever forget the criminal Ben Laden whose supporters used civilian airplanes as missiles with hundreds of innocent people aboard to bring down the World Trade Centers where more than 3000 people were burned and crushed to death. The Islamic movement is more discredited than the US thinks, and it will not be an easy task for the US government to easily install an Islamic government in Iraq. The people of Iraq are already experiencing the brutality of political Islam, and they know well that an Islamic regime can only create a hellish life for them far worse than they suffered under Saddam Hussein. Iraq is not a religious society. The Iraqi working class and the women’s movement have a long tradition of struggle for freedom, equality, progress, and human dignity. 
In Iraq, the movement for freedom, equality, secularism, and a better world is present and strong. This movement is being represented and organized by Worker Communist Party of Iraq. The Worker Communist movement in Iraq presents a major barrier to the US government and Islamists’ attempts to install an Islamic regime in Iraq. This movement gives Iraq a unique characteristic different from countries where Islamic regimes rose to power. In Iran at the time of 1979 Revolution, the Iranian left was predominantly under the influence of nationalism and populist illusions about Political Islam. Worker Communism provides Iraqi society with an immense opportunity to organize a massive movement of workers, women, and youth for freedom, human dignity, progress and a better life. With such political force in place, the US government will face a major obstacle. 

After the down fall of Saddam Hussein, the party has been able to organize openly and initiate a massive effort to organize workers, unemployed people, women, and youth. The Union of Unemployed in Iraq has been courageously fighting for workers right to protest and to have better and humane life. The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq is fighting against crimes against women and for women’s rights. WCPI has extended it organizing effort to organize councils, factory committees, and other workplace organizations. It has stood courageously against occupation forces as well as against the Islamic organizations and tribal forces. 

In the words of Comrade Rebwar Ahmed, leader of the WCPI “Based on Marx’s teaching, WCPI is the party of the extreme left (Maximalist) and extremely radical. It criticizes religion and stands against racism and patriarchy. It is an extremist party in its humanism and egalitarianism. It confronts bravely all kind of reactions and inequality. It reveals all information to the masses and announces frankly the position of communism on religion. It exposes religious superstition as a tool for deception, dividing people and imposing deprivation and inequality in the society. It opposes dividing human beings on the basis of nationality, religion, sex, and race. All these characteristics are not only political stands for the WCPI, but it has organized a wide daily struggle to achieve them.”

Iraq is not a religious society, despite all attempts by western media to portray political Islam as the voice of the masses. If this was the case, why would the Islamic forces need to resort to the most brutal and inhumane methods to impose their medieval ideology and barbaric life style on the people of Iraq? Why do they need to beat up women in the streets, throw acid in their face, and rape them to make them understand that they need to observe Islamic dressing codes or other Islamic public conduct? Why should they burn movie theaters in order to stop people from watching western movies? What is the need to execute people who sell “non Islamic” music tapes and cds? Why do they need to form “Vice Committees” in every mosque to terrorize people? Why is so much hate and violence necessary to impose Islam in a society that purportedly is Islamic? If the western and the US official journalism had a shred of decency they would begin to ask these questions. 

Political Islam is one of the most barbaric currents the modern humanity has ever seen. It is a criminal beast that has been unleashed by the bourgeoisie and capital to attack freedom, progress, socialism, and anything with the slightest tint of humanism. It has been let loose to secure the conditions of capitalist production and savage exploitation through imposing utter rightlessness on the society. The extent and depth of Islamist crimes, especially in countries where they ascended to power, is unimaginable and hard to describe for lack of appropriate vocabulary. Their atrocities are not due to some “uncontrolled passion,” “instant outburst of rage,” or some “bad apples” among them. Crimes against humanity are an integral part of Political Islam. They are premeditated acts of violence carried out to terrorize the masses and break their will, integrity, and resistance, acts that are carried out cold heartedly with pride, belief in the blessing of god, and hope to find eternal life in heaven. 

The nationalist and populist left in the US that finds some merit in Political Islam for its “resistance to imperialism and Zionism” fails miserably to see that Islamism is deeply inhumane and barbaric. They throw dust in the eyes of people and prevent them from seeing Islamists for what they are. They create illusions towards Political Islam and undermine the struggle for freedom, equality, and socialism. They ignore women’s rights and children’s rights. They disregard civility and basic norms of human conduct, relegating all of the above to secondary position or non important status. Nothing matters but fighting the “main enemy, imperialism” becomes the foolish obsession.

Political Islam must be confronted head on for it is the only way to defeat it. This struggle started a long time ago. In Iran, the Islamic regime is facing a massive anti Islamic movement. The issue in Iran is how soon the Islamic regimes will collapse under the pressure of the masses not whether it will stay in power or not. In Iraq, an open defiance of political Islam is taking roots among the people. In Afghanistan, a strong women’s movement against criminal Islamist warlords is continuing. In other Islamic–stricken countries secular movements are beginning to take shape. World wide after Sept. 11, the world public opinion has come to see the capacity of Islamism to commit atrocity and brutality. At the head of this struggle for freedom, equality, human dignity, and socialism stand Worker Communist Party of Iran and Iraq. Political Islam must be defeated, and Islamic criminals brought to justice. Islam must be criticized, completely thrown out of public and social life, and relegated to a strictly private business of individuals. The world can never again tolerate another Islamic regime.

More information about the Marxism mailing list