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Issue # 1418      8 July 2009

Culture & Life

Struggle takes many forms

Judith LeBlanc, the CPA’s guest from the Communist Party of the USA, surprised one or two people at the public meeting she addressed in Sydney by singling out for praise the Iraqi Communist Party.

The Iraqi Party has copped a lot of flak, mistakenly in the CPA’s view, for participating in the US-backed occupation regime. Surely tradition demanded that the Communists should lead the resistance to the occupation, should devote their energies to sabotaging occupation installations and assassinating occupation troops?

But the old regime in Iraq had been that of the dictator Saddam Hussein. The bulk of the Iraqi people had no desire to see that regime restored. At the same time, they did not really want it replaced by a US proxy, although that was more of an unknown quantity.

The Iraqi Communist Party had been ferociously persecuted by Saddam. Its members had been sadistically tortured and murdered in large numbers in his regime’s numerous prisons. Some of these horrific establishments were built underground and not all them have yet been discovered to this day.

After the fall of Saddam, the Iraqi Communist Party was the first political party to emerge back on to the streets, opening its office, publishing its newspaper. That must have been as unwelcome to the US and its allies as it was unexpected.

As an existing, large, functioning political party the Communists could hardly be ignored by the imperialist Coalition, much as the latter must have wished they could.

No doubt to the imperialists’ secret delight, the Communists initially called on all Iraqi political groupings to boycott the US-backed Interim Government. Unfortunately, the other parties quickly broke ranks and joined the new government. Faced with being sidelined, isolated and rendered politically impotent, the Communists reluctantly changed tack and also agreed to join the new government.

They had realised the truth of something the South African Communist Party has written about extensively: that gun in hand is not the only valid form of struggle, and that, depending on circumstances, other forms of struggle may even be more appropriate.

Before the overthrow of apartheid, the SACP tended to be attacked by the ultra left for even deigning to hold talks with the fascist apartheid regime. Although the SACP was, with their armed wing Spear of the Nation, prepared for civil war with the heavily-armed white racist forces, as Communists they knew it was still their duty to do all they could to spare the South African people the heavy toll in death and destruction that such a war would inevitably bring.

The SACP resisted the strident calls of assorted left-sectarians who wanted to see apartheid forcibly destroyed, and instead negotiated its peaceful demise. Although many of the progressive social and economic advances inherent in the concept “the overthrow of apartheid” have yet to materialise, there has been progress, there have been advances, and this process is continuing.

Such advances as the SACP has been able to achieve, have been made within the constraints of bourgeois democracy, giving imperialism no excuse or opportunity to intervene in this strategically-important, mineral-rich country.

And the tripartite alliance of ANC, SACP and COSATU (the Congress of South African Trade Unions) has continued to lead the country, winning every post-apartheid election, despite the glaring inadequacies of bourgeois democracy.

In Iraq, the situation is far tougher, and far more violent. Even there, however, within the constraints of an occupation regime, the Communists have been able to work effectively to modify or alleviate the worst anti-people aspects of the regime’s decisions.

The capitalist ruling class is very clever: it is constantly seeking innovative ways to maintain and bolster its class rule, to gain and extend its opportunities to increase exploitation and make more profits.

The working class must also be innovative and imaginative in countering the schemes and plots of capitalists, in defending the interests of working people and in foiling the attempts of capitalism to start new wars.

Barack Obama has rejected the hideous concept promoted by George W Bush, that of “endless war”, and Obama’s election to the White House demonstrated that the people of the US also overwhelmingly rejected that concept.

Only a religious hypocrite like Bush, devoid of all genuine morality and any semblance of understanding, could ever have supported a doctrine so inherently evil, while daring to lecture the rest of the world on ethics and human rights.

It has long been recognised by Communists that capitalism leads to wars, because capitalism actually needs war: war solves crises of overproduction by rapidly destroying accumulated surplus products, by providing a seemingly inexhaustible source of profits and investment opportunities, and by forcibly directing production away from “merely” satisfying people’s needs and towards capitalism’s most profitable areas – armaments, hi-tech and heavy industry.

However, it is the working people who bear the brunt of this capitalist manoeuvre: it’s they who pay the social cost in funds diverted from peaceful production and government services, in death and suffering, and in loss of freedoms on grounds of “security”.

There was a time when capitalism, confronted by a problem, could send a gunboat or at least an aircraft carrier-led task force and solve the problem with typically high-handed authority. They still seek to do that, but it is getting harder and harder to do so.

The world’s people are increasingly saying no to such “solutions”, and saying it in a way that leaves the capitalists with no option but to agree (however reluctantly).

The people have a great capacity for struggle in their quest for a better life for all. Uniting that capacity and determination with the most appropriate form of struggle will surely see greater victories for the working people and their allies in the future.

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