[Marxism] Re: Should the Iraqi resistance resume the 50-year warbetween Iraq and "Iraqi" Kurdistan ?

Suresh borhyaenid at yahoo.com
Fri May 7 23:55:20 MDT 2004

It's still not obvious to me why the independence of
Kurdish Iraq should be a fundamental element in
socialist and anti-war agitation over the occupation.
Of course, the Kurdish people should not be punished,
in a metaphysical and karmic sense, for having had
corrupt and opportunistic leaders like Barzani and
Talabani - who, when not fighting each other,
participate in American bombing raids against Kurdish
Islamists and Turkish Kurds in what used to be called
the PKK. But, I sense that you're minimizing the
distinction between imperialist and semi-colonial -
indeed in this case, colonial - nations. 

Lenin, of course, stated that "In my writings on the
national question I have already said that an abstract
presentation of the question of nationalism in general
is of no use at all. A distinction must necessarily be
made between the nationalism of an oppressor nation
and that of an oppressed nation, the nationalism of a
big nation and that of a small nation." Quotes like
this can take on a fetishistic quality among true
believers, but I think the familiar point here remains
valid. The main priority in Iraq is the broadening of
the resistance against American imperialism, not
criticizing the bourgeois character of Sadr's Mehdi
Army or Fallujah's mujahadeen and whatever
expansionist ambitions these group's elites may hold
for some distant future.

Communal separatism and irredentism in the Third World
have been rampant ever since the decolonization
process, and has only accelerated over the last
fifteen or twenty years. To speak in standard Marxist
polemical jargon - it makes sense to take a balance
sheet of separatism in the "developing" parts of the
world. In India, for example, Kashmir, Assam,
Khalistan, and the Punjab, just for starters, have all
had valid reasons since 1947 for seeking
self-determination and independence from New Delhi and
for utilizing suicide bombers or armed guerrilla bands
in the countryside to achieve their purposes. India,
after all, was largely a British invention. The Mughal
dynasty never extended to the south of the
sub-continent, and nor did any of it's predecessors.
Does this mean that all "artificial" Third World
nations should be encouraged to fragment in the manner
of the former Yugoslavia? 

There's something to be said for large, unitary
nations in the global South. Portuguese America,
unlike it's Spanish counterpart, seceded via
monarchical machinations, and maintained it's
territorial integrity. Even taking into account the
predatory depredations against the indigenous peoples
of the Amazonian interior, the sheer scale of Brazil
has always kept alive the hope for an independent path
of development, though this has remained largely an
unrealized dream until now, even as the PT and
landless movements provide us some optimism. 

At any rate, I have sympathies with Lenin's position
on the incident in Georgia with Dzerzhinsky and
Stalin, which is as good a case study as any for
Marxists to debate over. In the aftermath of those
events he proposed even reverting to a loose
confederation with Georgia and for instituting a kind
of affirmative action in the Caucasus. Yet, as you
said yourself, the coup originally occurred because of
antagonistic Menshevik factions in power in the
country. Similarly, if the southern two-thirds of Iraq
emerges out of American dominion, while the Kurdish
north continues serves as a de facto U.S. base, which
Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress then use
as a front in a war of destabilization and conspiracy
against the nationalist regime in Baghdad, just as
they did for over a decade - how then, could we defend
an immutable right of self-determination for the Kurds
of Iraq? Indeed, your argument seems to be yet another
rearticulation of the line about national
disintegration following in the wake of an American withdrawal.

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