[Marxism] The Iraqi Left and an small factual correction for Jose

paul bunyan cutemdown2003 at yahoo.com
Mon May 10 08:26:41 MDT 2004

My question to all of you in this discussion. Were the Iraqi CP'ers shot because they were seen as collaborators or because they are seen as leftists? Again, this is a question. I bring this up because the Workers Communist Party, who are very much against the US puppet government in Iraq, have also been attacked by Sadr's militias. Since the WCP are armed, this resulted in a gun battle, on at least one occassion.
If a lot of leftists in Iraq have a "knee jerk" reaction to the Islamic fundamentalists, it's because any leftist in that part of the world remembers what happenned to leftists in Iran in the 80's. Yes, I am aware of the concept of "military support, but not political support" a concept that I support. And yes, the Iraqis have a right to engage in armed struggle to evict foreign occupiers.  I remember in the mid 80's one of the three United Secretariat groups (USFI-create one, two, three, many sections per country), the HKE, which was the most slavishly supportive toward the Khomeni actually renounced Socialism from their program.

Carlos Petroni <alternative at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
I read some of the discussions on the Iraqi Communist Party. As far as I can gather, there are at least 21 left groups and parties in Iraq, most of them coming to life after the occupation of Iraq.

Among the left groups in Iraq that I could identify there are at least four claiming the name of "Communist": the Workers-Communist Party of Iraq -- linked to its counterpart in Iran; the Communist Collectives (more or less an independent outfit with some religious overtones), one faction of the ICP which split because the official leadership's support for the occupation and the Young Communist -- more or less a Trotskyist group of high school and college students.

There are also two socialist groupings, four or five revolutionary nationalist groups and the recently split of the left of the Baath Party -- very active among intellectuals and students.

There is also a Green Party and very leftist secular left organization, very active in Basra. Most of these groups have several things in common: a) they share their opposition, with different degrees, to the occupation; b) collaborate among them and most of them are part of the new opposition to the IGC formed last Saturday in Baghdad in conjunction with moderate Shia and Sunni groups (35 parties in all participate of this coalition); c) they all have public headquarters that could be visited by foreigners if you happen to be visiting, that is and d) None of them recognize the ICP as part of the left.

At least three members of the ICP had been shot lately. Two of them were "Councilors" of at the local level and were accused by the Mahdi Army and the "Nationalist Resistance Group" in Fallujah as "collaborators. I know little about the third known case.

The position of the ICP was not only that they participate in the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) and thus are part of the US puppet government, but they do so actively and when the recent uprising started in the first week of April, they denounce it as "criminals" and "terrorists" and called for smashing the revolt.

The ICP are long time associates of the two main Kurdish bourgeois parties and they only developed a base in the rest of Iraq after the US invasion. They do, however, work as much as possible among workers and in the slums of Baghdad and they have members as far as Basra, were they opened their 25th offices few months back. They keep lots of the "communist jargon" and they do defend secularism -- in part, their opposition to the Mahdi Army, al-Sadr and others is based on their denunciations of these groupings as "reactionary religious fanatics."

Note to Jose:

* The Communist Party of Nicaragua was originally an split of the PSN (the official pro-Moscow party). They were no Maoists. You're probably confusing them with another former Maoist grouping behind a daily newspaper published immediately after the triumph of the revolution. Those former Maoists were very active during the civil war as the organizers of the MILPAS (Milicias Populares Anti-Somozistas). They were originally part of the FSLN and broke with them in the early 80s to become Maoists. They broke with Maoism when China refused to support the insurrection against Somoza and characterized it as a "Moscow's coup."

* The PSN played a role under Somoza similar to that of the Cuban CP under Batista. They were opponents but signed deal after deal with the dictatorship. They did, indeed had some influence in the working class, but they lost it even before Somoza was overthrown. Immediately after the FSLN victory, some of their leaders were imprisoned when documentation was found in Somoza's bunkers indicating they were informers of the "Seguridad" and received payments from the dictatorship.

* The first organization created by the original leaders that later will form the FSLN was called "Juventud Patriotica." This grouping was formed by mostly members and formers members of the PSN under the influence of the Cuban Revolution. Later on they took the name FSLN when they fused with other left group of similar origin.

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