Thursday, September 28, 2006

60% of Iraqis Support Resistance: a few lessons suggest themselves.

The latest news for the occupiers is exremely bad. The last time such polls were taken, it could certainly be said that the vast bulk of Sunnis and probably a plurality of Shiites supported resistance attacks, while only a minority of Kurds did. Across the country as a whole, support for the resistance was 45% in the last polls. One is tempted to be in awe of the extraordinary patience that Iraqis have had until now, even as their country has been destroyed, even as they suspected and slowly came to know the worst about the occupiers. The reality, however, is that one group has had a mostly positive experience of the occupation (Kurds) while many Shiites have been biding their time at the behest of the national political leadership, and others still pursued a mixture of armed and unarmed resistance depending on the circumstances. That stage is now passing. As the sectarian SCIRI lose their grip, and Sadr's star continues to climb, the tendency is for people to abandon those hopes and pitch their lot with national unity and an end to the occupation.

In order to undermine this increasingly unified view, the occupiers have been working through their political allies in Iraq to push for the fragmentation of Iraq along sectarian lines. The Israelis are busily training Kurdish peshmerga for the fighting that will be necessary to secure this. So the lesson is, once more, that the occupiers would sooner see Iraqis torn to piece, drilled, shot up, blown up, tortured and raped in a flood of contrived sectarian violence than allow themselves to lose control. That should have been obvious from the fate of Yugoslavia, not to mention everything else the imperialist powers have done, but it merits repeated emphasis. This instructive when faced with preposterous efforts by the New York Times to persuade us that the US is promoting Iraqi nationalism.

The other lesson of this keeps being compounded, much to the embarrassment to the imperialist states and their apologists: US and UK foreign policy is provoking and inspiring a wave of armed or explosive attacks on Western targets. Aside from the huge weight of evidence beforehand, several recent reports have confirmed this. One is the leak of intelligence from within the MoD, which it is furiously distancing itself from, which discuss the way the 'war on terror' is provoking 'terror'. In addition, two reports - one from Washington and the other from the UN, have confirmed the hypothesis that the Iraq war in particular has galvanised 'Al Qaeda'. Of course, these reports are very narrow in their focus and misleading in that we are encouraged to think that this is all that Washington's new wave of imperialism is provoking and all that the old one has provoked. Resistance is taking various forms, and Political Islam has been one of them. Those Islamist groups using terror as a strategy have actually been of the least significance in terms of resisting Washington's hegemony. The most important resistance groups have often pursued a combined military and political strategy (such as Hezbollah, the Nepalese guerillas, the Moro independence fighters, Famni Lavalas etc). But strictly from the point of view of what the war is supposed to be on, 'terror', it is not succeeding and could never possibly have succeeded because it wasn't designed to succeed in that score.

This is what is deliberately obscured in the sophistical defense of the pro-war left and their neoconservative allies who repeat that, after all, it is no good saying that if we resist their attacks they will attacks us more. 'We' are not 'resisting' shit. 'We' (they, they imperialist states and their apologists) are attacking with callous disregard for the lives of those in the targeted societies. We continue to hear from people who think they've won the argument by saying that we had terrorist attacks before Iraq. So? As far as the US is concerned, there has been no let up in its war on the Middle East since it became a significant power in the region. Similarly, no respite has been allowed the people of South East Asia that was not brought about by the reistance of those people. Or Africa, or Latin America. Does not the recent success of Islamists against US-backed warlords in Somalia at the very least suggest that the war, (the real war, the one in which political leaders are inspired by an interest in resources and geopolitical control rather than some pathetically vaporous 'ideals' and the altruistic desire to spread them) has been going on for longer than five years?

In fact, we (the ones who live in imperial societies but are not consulted about our governments decisions) are being held hostage to the interests of the ruling classes, who don't feel they have anything to lose if some deluded groups or individuals conclude that murdering civilians in the UK or Spain or elsewhere is going to assist their cause. As residents of thermonuclear states, we have already been (and continue to be) hostage to those who have the capacity to bring about planetary death. As participants in economies trapped in a fuel-deathlock, we are hostage to those who are slowly incinerating our planet and poisoning us. As working people in capitalist societies, we are hostage to that class which has over the centuries appropriated the means of production and who now hold us as a captive labour force. If you want the means to eat, clothe yourself, ingest drugs and participate in every other normal activity of contemporary society, you have to allow them to exploit you. What are you gonna do, move to Russia? Set up a cooperative farm and live with a bunch of pale beardies? What would be the point of that? Why not simply resume control of our lives? Why not simply retake the means of production, subordinate the state to real democratic control, and collectively decide what to do about the environment, the threat of nuclear megadeath, the allocation of resources, the 'bringing home' of those who are sent overseas to kill, and everything else that affects our lives? It is our birthright. It is our rightful status. We have no business allowing ourselves to be the collective property of a master race which sees us as exploitable and expendable.