Archive article from The Socialist Issue 408
Unite against war, terror and racism
Fight for a socialist alternative
ANOTHER DAY, another death toll. Unemployed men are blown up while queuing in the hope of picking up a day's construction work, then shoppers are killed at a Baghdad street market. Every week hundreds of Iraqi civilians are being killed by the occupying forces and by insurgents in countless different incidents.
The south, occupied by British forces, is not fundamentally different to the rest of Iraq, as recent events have shown. The commander of the Basra police force, who was effectively appointed by British army commanders, has admitted that he only has control over 25% of his staff.
The rest are under the command of different militias - primarily the Badr brigades and al-Sadr's Mahdi army. As tensions between different factions grow the potential for a descent 'into hell' is no less in Basra than elsewhere.
With a majority of Americans now opposing the war and one third supporting immediate withdrawal of the troops (and even higher opposition in Britain) Bush and Blair are increasingly desperate to dress up the bloody nightmare of Iraq as something more palatable. But the Iraq constitution, which Bush hoped would act as a fig leaf, is speeding up the slide towards all-out civil war.
The occupation, as the anti-war movement predicted, is a nightmare for the people of Iraq. The US claims to have spent $9 billion of Iraq's oil revenue on reconstruction - but millions are still without reliable water and electricity.
In reality the vast majority of the money has gone into 'security' and the pockets of the elite. The last (US-backed) defence minister alone is being charged with stealing between $1-$2 billion of government money!
The anti-war movement must continue to campaign for an immediate withdrawal of the troops from Iraq. But this alone is not enough - we must also stand for workers' unity around a socialist programme. The only means to end the nightmare of the Iraqi people is via the unity of the Iraqi workers and poor from every ethnic and religious group.
The basis for such unity exists. Many areas are still multi-ethnic and, despite the increase in sectarian attacks, inter-ethnic solidarity continues to be demonstrated. One recent hero in Iraq is Uthman Abt al-Hafez, a young Sunni who died when he along with other Sunnis, saved many lives by diving repeatedly into the Tigris to rescue Shia pilgrims.
The Socialist Party is continuing to build the anti-war movement here in Britain under the clear slogans of 'no to terror, no to war, no to racism'. At the same time we are fighting to build a socialist alternative.
The dramatic breakthrough of the Left Party in Germany's general election gives a glimpse of the support that an alternative to capitalism can win once it gains momentum.
No wonder. Germany has mass unemployment, but the capitalist 'success stories' of the US and Britain offer no alternative. Even the UN has attacked both the US and Britain for the startling gulf between the incredible wealth at the tops of society and the mass of working class people at the bottom.
Capitalism is a system riven by crisis. It is based on the super-exploitation of the majority of the world's population and our environment. Join us in the struggle for a socialist world.
against war, terror and racism
USA: laws threaten democratic rightsfight for workers' unity