[Marxism] The CPUSA's twisted line on the occupation of Iraq

Jose G. Perez elgusanorojo at bellsouth.net
Sat Feb 28 22:40:09 MST 2004

The CPUSA's People's Weekly World has an opinion article in its latest
issue by long-time CP leader Daniel Rubin that makes for interesting
reading. It shows how the lesser-evil, "Anyone but Bush" pro-Democratic
Party line leads to abandoning the defense of the right of the Iraqi
people to control their own destiny.

The full article, for those that want to refer to it, is here:

The article starts out straightforwardly enough: "It is in the interests
of the peace and democratic forces of the U.S., of the vast majority of
our people, that we join with the Iraqi people and the people of the
world to compel the Bush administration to end all forms of occupation
and control of Iraq now." 

Got that? "End all forms of occupation and control of Iraq now." Full
stop. No ifs, ands or buts. One could not want a clearer and more direct
statement that the affairs of Iraq are for the Iraqi people, not foreign
invaders, to decide.

But with the CPUSA, things are often not what they seem. Practicing a
strange brand of dialectics learned in the pro-Moscow Stalinist
movement, black turns into white, and the seemingly straightforward call
for an end to "all forms of occupation and control of Iraq now" turns
into its opposite, a call for continuing imperialist military occupation
of Iraq.

After the initial left-sounding sentence, Rubin argues: "While paying
close attention to how the Iraqi progressive forces assess their
situation, we have to judge how best to struggle here in the U.S. to end
the occupation. Maximizing pressure to turn over control of the country
to the democratic forces of Iraq and to get the U.S. out completely
requires supporting not only the demand to 'bring the troops home now!'
We need also to support 'UN peacekeepers in!'"

Lest we forget, the "UN" being referred to there is the United Nations
Organization headquartered in New York, under whose authority the United
States launched the first Gulf War; carried out a blockade and countless
bombing raids against Iraq for more than a decade; and provided
essential cover for George II's invasion of Iraq through its Weapons of
Mass Destruction inspection charade. THAT United Nations. 

The PWW goes on in the next sentence to try to differentiate between US
and UN occupation: "UN peacekeepers enter a country only with agreement
of the authorities of that country."

But that's really a sick joke. Just what Iraqi "authorities" does the
PWW imagine exist NOW? Well, Ambassador Bremer, who serves at the
pleasure of President Bush, and the Quisling Governing Council, about
which more below. By the Coalition Provisional Authority's own
description, Iraq TODAY is not a sovereign nation, sovereignty will be
"restored" supposedly on June 30. Of course, anyone who believes
whatever new regime Washington is able to scotch-tape together by then
will be anything other than a Washington puppet is going to be in for a

As we will see, however, this isn't an oversight or contradiction in
Rubin's position. He is *for* a UN occupation *acceptable* to
Washington, and even to the current Bush administration. 

"Even among those who opposed the war originally and now want the U.S.
out, there is concern about how to prevent leaving Iraq in a state of
civil war as a result of the U.S. aggression. Given the present armed
attacks by backward forces and the existence of a number of politically
contending militias, including one acknowledged to have been created by
the CIA, the concern is legitimate and is expressed by some Iraqi
progressive forces. Such a danger can best be met by UN commanded and
controlled peacekeeping forces."

Incredible! For the CPUSA, the armed Iraqi resistance to the U.S.
occupation are just "attacks by backward forces." 

Faced with the Harlan County question --which side are you on-- in
relation to the war actually going on in Iraq today, the CPUSA sets
itself up to give advise to imperialism on how to defeat the resistance:
" Such a danger can best be met by UN commanded and controlled
peacekeeping forces."

The Iraqis, you see, can't be *trusted* to run their *own* country, the
"United Nations" -- which can only be the U.S. and its European
partner/rivals -- have to do it for them. Take up the white man's

"By including such a just demand," Daniel Rubin continues, "it will be
much easier to build maximum pressure and ensure major support in
Congress for withdrawing the U.S. military."

And there we're starting to get close to the  bottom line for the CPUSA.
"Bring the troops home now," i.e., "end all forms of occupation and
control of Iraq now," which Rubin ostensibly is arguing for, has become
its opposite, continued occupation by "UN peacekeepers" so as to "ensure
major support in Congress."

And why would we need to have "major support in Congress"?  Because, you
see, "On Nov. 2, we must elect an administration that will respond to
the pressure." There's a worthy goal for Communists: electing an
imperialist that can be pressured. Why so modest? Why not, at least,
elect someone who could be fobbed off as some kind of
almost-quasi-sort-of "progressive"?

Because by now, it has become clear that "anyone but Bush" is going to
be Kerry or Edwards, both of whom supported and still support the U.S.
war and occupation of Iraq. In an attempt to curry favor with antiwar
voters, they are critical of *how* Bush launched the invasion and is
carrying out the occupation. But both of them supported the war and
voted for it, and STILL support it, because those they represent -- the
imperialist ruling class -- is entirely united around this war. 

Essentially, placing the U.S. occupation under a U.N. flag is what
Democrats Kerry and Edwards, and Communist Rubin, argue for.

In Kerry and Edwards's cases, the position is straightforward enough.
The UN under these circumstances is better cover for imperialist
interests than naked U.S. aggression. Even the Bush administration
essentially concedes this point, arguing only that UN "cover" is not
worth nearly as much as Germany, France and Russia want to charge. 

But there is an additional dimension to the CPUSA's position.

"Some on the U.S. left complain that the UN is a tool of U.S.
imperialism or of imperialism in general. That case could have been made
when the UN General Assembly endorsed the U.S. aggression against North
Korea in 1950. Now the UN is the scene of major struggles between the
forces for peace and progress in the world and those for war and
reaction, headed by the U.S. Not every battle is fully won, but the UN
has been resisting U.S. dictation on Iraq."

The theses that the United Nations is an above-the-class-struggle
"neutral" arena has nothing to recommend it. An examination of the UN
record on Iraq alone is sufficient to dispel it. It is like saying that
if genuine working class forces were successful in electing a
significant number of people to Congress, it would stop being a
bourgeois imperialist parliament and an instrument of capitalist rule.
However, parliamentary forms are, by their very nature, BOTH instruments
of class rule AND arenas in which the political class struggle is

Rubin goes on to cite evidence for the supposed changed nature of the
UN: "There was evidence of the change in three recent votes of the
General Assembly. These condemned the Sharon government of Israel for
threatening the life of President Arafat, for assassinating Palestinians
and for building the separation wall. Only Micronesia and the Maldives
joined Israel and the U.S. in opposing those resolutions."

Actually, this is no change. The Zionist entity has been losing votes at
the United Nations General Assembly my entire political life, more than
three decades, but that hasn't changed the nature of the UN. And there
is something else to be said here, which is that Rubin is being
consciously *dishonest* and not just in suggesting that the world-wide
repudiation of the Zionist regime is new.

He cites resolutions approved by the one-country, one-vote General
Assembly. But General Assembly resolutions are, at best, press releases.
They are non-binding expressions of opinion. In particular, the General
Assembly has no power over UN "peacekeeping" efforts.

THOSE powers are vested EXCLUSIVELY in the 15-member Security Council,
which is dominated by five permanent members with veto power over all
decisions (The U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China, which were the
ostensible victorious powers in World War II). Rubin conceals this fact
because of the obvious absurdity of claiming that a body under
Washington's thumb can somehow force it to withdraw from Iraq. The
*only* possible UN occupation of Iraq is one that has the green light
from Washington. Moreover, as a *practical* matter, where would the
United Nations get the 200,000 troops required to maintain the
occupation, as well as the logistics and communications needed for such
an army in the field?

Rubin is entirely conscious of this: he knows that a U.S.-sponsored "UN"
occupation is entirely possible, and even likely, and is preparing the
ground for the CPUSA to openly support it.

"In most cases, if the Bush administration is for something
internationally, it is safe to assume the peace, democratic and
progressive forces of the U.S. and world should be opposed. But in a
complex situation there can be moments when, for its own basically
reactionary reasons, the administration supports something democratic
forces support for opposite reasons," Rubin writes. "That is the case
with the U.S. opposing Ayatollah Sistani’s proposal for immediate direct
elections. While opposing a federal state, the Bush administration
apparently recognizes that if the Kurds are excluded by a majority
Shiite Arab vote, the country may split apart in civil war, or, due to
fundamentalist militias that control sections of Iraq, end up with a
theocratic regime similar to Iran’s."

Having earlier dismissed the armed resistance as "backward forces,"
Rubin now makes clear that the CPUSA also opposes the most visible
non-military opposition to continuing U.S. rule, and the demand for

The reasons for this go beyond having to promote the likes of John
Kerry/Edwards for President. To do that, you don't really need such a
detailed position.

The reason for this, it appears, is solidarity with those Rubin
considers "democratic forces" within Iraq, namely, the CPUSA's erstwhile
comrades of the Iraqi Communist Party.

Contrary to what you might think from its name, the ICP isn't exactly a
militant force against the imperialist occupation. Instead, it is
actually a part of Bremer's 25-member rubber-stamp Governing Council,
along with Chalabi and others of his ilk. The ICP opposes Sistani's
demand for elections and supports the U.S. plan for “regional

"We get along fine with them and they've behaved responsibly in terms of
the redevelopment of Iraq." That's what "a coalition official who asked
not to be identified" told the Associated Press last November about the

Rubin's article concludes: "Whether the U.S. will be compelled by the
Iraqi people, world public opinion and a growing majority sentiment in
the U.S. to give up real power and get out in favor of democratic Iraqi
political power and UN peacekeepers remains to be seen. As the Bush
administration sees its present policy become an ever-greater threat to
its reelection, the possibilities of a compelled just solution grow."

So that is the real position of the CP on Iraq, NOT "U.S. out now!" but
rather a "compelled just solution" --continuing occupation under UN
auspices-- which they hope will be acceptable to a Kerry or Edwards
administration, and perhaps even the current Bush regime.


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