By the Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel / Occupied Palestine), 12 November 2019, http://www.the-isleague.com
We live in a pre-revolutionary period around the world, a period we characterize as a pre 68’. In country after country, the class struggle is sharpening. The immediate cause for the upsurge of the different struggles can be different but behind all of these struggles is the revolt of the forces of production against the relationship of production, namely the revolt against the control of the world economy by the imperialists, using their local servants.
“The growing accumulation of the world’s wealth shows that the 26 richest billionaires own as many assets as the 3.8 billion people, who make up the poorest half of the planet’s population. According to Oxfam report a wealth tax on the 1% would raise an estimated $418bn (£325bn) a year – enough to educate every child not in school and provide healthcare that would prevent 3 million deaths.” (1)
The revolutionary struggle began in 2010, following the economic crisis of 2008, in the Middle East in what is known as the Arab Spring. When the revolutionary struggle in Egypt was defeated by the military backed by the USA in 2013, the capitalists around the world felt secure once again. Now they are afraid once again. Even capitalist economists are saying that the world economy is in growing crisis.
“The world is sleepwalking towards a fresh economic and financial crisis that will have devastating consequences for the democratic market system, according to the former Bank of England governor Mervyn King”…. He added that the US would suffer a “financial Armageddon” if its central bank – the Federal Reserve – lacked the necessary firepower to combat another episode similar to the subprime mortgage sell-off...Citing the US-China trade war, riots in Hong Kong, problems in key emerging countries such as Argentina and Turkey, the growing tensions between France and Germany over the future direction of the euro, and the increasingly bitter political conflict in the US at a time when the willingness of the US to act as the world’s policeman was disappearing.” (2)
The Arab revolution has raised its wonderful head again like the Phoenix in Algeria, Lebanon and Iraq in the context of world revolutionary movement. For the imperialists, whether they are in the USA, Russia, China, Japan, or the EU, their urgent need is to crash the revolutionary movement. The interest of the international working class is to crash the imperialists and their servants. As Lenin said: ”For humanity to live imperialism must die”.
If in the past the USA and Western imperialism controlled the Middle East, today Russian imperialism, using its local allies like Iran, is the strongest imperialist in the Middle East and at the same time Chinese imperialists are deeply involved in the exploitation of the working class. “China has emerged as Iraq’s number one trading partner and Iraq as China’s third-leading source of oil after Saudi Arabia and Russia. Upon arriving in Beijing on September 19 at the head of a 55-member delegation, Iraq Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi described the visit to China as heralding a “quantum leap” in bilateral relations. The five-day visit culminated in the signing of eight wide-ranging memoranda of understanding (MoUs), a framework credit agreement, and the announcement of plans for Iraq to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).” (3) At the same time the American soldiers that left Syria are sent to western Iraq.
The revolutionary mass movement in Iraq that began on October 1st demanding the resignation of the government of Adel Abdul Mahdi, is uniting people from different religious background against the regime which was imposed after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq founded on a sectarian confessional system. In spite of the killing by the army that uses live ammunition, our brave brothers and sisters continue the uprising. So far the army killed at least 270 people and wounded hundreds of the protesters.
The government of Iraq is composed of two blocks. One of them is the Shia Islamist Sadrist Integrity Party led by the populist Al Sadr in a coalition with the Iraqi Communist Party. The other one led by pro-Iranian Hadi al-Amiri. The Communist party true to its reformist nature does not struggle for a socialist revolution and does not calls for a workers and poor peasants government but like Sadr it call for a “new government”. (4)
The struggle of the masses in Iraq is a class struggle between those who have enriched themselves since the American invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, and those who are struggling to feed their families and to have clean water, electricity, work.
The Sunnis, Shiites and the Kurds do not support any more their (mis)leadership. The protests against the Shia-led government have come from the central and southern provinces of Iraq, which in the past supported Iranian influence in Iraq. Today they want to remove Iran and disperse its corrupted militias. The Kurdish leadership does not support the revolutionary struggle but the Kurdish people do.
Like in Lebanon, Iran is using crude demagogy that blames Israel, U.S and Saudi Arabia for the uprising.
”A senior Iranian official has called for peace and non-interference in Iraq and Lebanon, blaming the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel for fomenting unrest in the two Arab countries. Mahmoud Vaezi, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian president, told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet session on Wednesday that “the US, Saudi Arabia, certain regional countries and the Zionist regime have been riding a wave of popular demands” and providing financial support to foreign forces, saying such policies harmed both the Iraqi and the Lebanese nations. “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s stance has always been that governments should pay heed to public demands and the demands should be put forward in such a way that will not lead to disorder, commotion, destruction or the killing and injuring of people,” Vaezi added. “Our advice has always been a call for peace and stopping interference by foreign forces [in these countries] that seek to advance their own goals and weaken the present governments and … depict authorities and legal parties as corrupt,” he noted.” (5)
The spontaneous movement is led by groups mostly of the working class and the professional middle class that are not affiliated with any party. This spontaneous movement lacks a revolutionary leadership and for this reason the revolution cannot win unless a revolutionary leadership of the working class is forged. But the masses can learn many important lessons that will advance the political consciousness for the next round.
So far the masses have learned some important lessons. These include: It is not only the president or the Prime Minister have to be removed but the entire political system that is subordinated to imperialism and regional powers that serve one or another imperialism. The generals and the high officers are defending the ruling class while the sympathy of the simple soldiers is with the revolution. There is a need for new non-sectarian constitution to unite all the exploited and the oppressed. These are important democratic demands. What is missing is to connect these demands with socialist demands. What is needed to learn is the strategy of the Permanent Revolution and the transitional program leading to an armed socialist revolution. The demand of technocrat government is an illusion as it can serve only the capitalist class and its masters. An illusion that must be overcome and replaced by the demand of a workers and poor peasants government. What is needed is to adopt the strategy of the Permanent Revolution.
The Strategy of the Permanent Revolution
In “What is the Permanent Revolution? Basic Postulates” Trotsky explained:
“With regard to countries with a belated bourgeois development, especially the colonial and semi-colonial countries, the theory of the permanent revolution signifies that the complete and genuine solution of their tasks of achieving democracy and national emancipation is conceivable only through the dictatorship of the proletariat as the leader of the subjugated nation, above all of its peasant masses.
Not only the agrarian, but also the national question assigns to the peasantry – the overwhelming majority of the population in backward countries – an exceptional place in the democratic revolution. Without an alliance of the proletariat with the peasantry the tasks of the democratic revolution cannot be solved, nor even seriously posed. But the alliance of these two classes can be realized in no other way than through an irreconcilable struggle against the influence of the national-liberal bourgeoisie.
No matter what the first episodic stages of the revolution may be in the individual countries, the realization of the revolutionary alliance between the proletariat and the peasantry is conceivable only under the political leadership of the proletariat vanguard, organized in the Communist Party. This in turn means that the victory of the democratic revolution is conceivable only through the dictatorship of the proletariat which bases itself upon the alliance with the peasantry and solves first of all the tasks of the democratic revolution.
The dictatorship of the proletariat which has risen to power as the leader of the democratic revolution is inevitably and, very quickly confronted with tasks, the fulfillment of which is bound up with deep inroads into the rights of bourgeois property. The democratic revolution grows over directly into the socialist revolution and thereby becomes a permanent revolution.
The conquest of power by the proletariat does not complete the revolution, but only opens it. Socialist construction is conceivable only on the foundation of the class struggle, on a national and international scale. This struggle, under the conditions of an overwhelming predominance of capitalist relationships on the world arena, must inevitably lead to explosions, that is, internally to civil wars and externally to revolutionary wars. Therein lies the permanent character of the socialist revolution as such, regardless of whether it is a backward country that is involved, which only yesterday accomplished its democratic revolution, or an old capitalist country which already has behind it a long epoch of democracy and parliamentarism.
The completion of the socialist revolution within national limits is unthinkable. One of the basic reasons for the crisis in bourgeois society is the fact that the productive forces created by it can no longer be reconciled with the framework of the national state. From this follows on the one hand, imperialist wars, on the other, the utopia of a bourgeois United States of Europe. The socialist revolution begins on the national arena, it unfolds on the international arena, and is completed on the world arena. Thus, the socialist revolution becomes a permanent revolution in a newer and broader sense of the word; it attains completion, only in the final victory of the new society on our entire planet.
Insofar as capitalism has created a world market, a world division of labour and world productive forces, it has also prepared world economy as a whole for socialist transformation.
Different countries will go through this process at different tempos. Backward countries may, under certain conditions, arrive at the dictatorship of the proletariat sooner than advanced countries, but they will come later than the latter to socialism.
A backward colonial or semi-colonial country, the proletariat of which is insufficiently prepared to unite the peasantry and take power, is thereby incapable of bringing the democratic revolution to its conclusion. Contrariwise, in a country where the proletariat has power in its hands as the result of the democratic revolution, the subsequent fate of the dictatorship and socialism depends in the last analysis not only and not so much upon the national productive forces as upon the development of the international socialist revolution.”
The Centrists and the Revolution in Iraq
Revolutionary events are a great litmus paper which shows the real nature of centrist organizations. These petit bourgeois organization wavering between the two main classes are caught in the wheels of history without being able to show the way forward for the international working class and the oppressed. This is very clear in the case of Iraq.
The British SWP simply describes the protest without offering any program and strategy to win the revolution. (6) The CWI including their section in Israel does not bother to relate specifically to the revolution in Lebanon and Iraq. The IMT of Woods published an article in support of the revolution and says that: “One of the main weaknesses of the movement is its lack of organisation, leadership and a clear programme. This is vital to its success and to satisfy the demands of the masses.” (7) However they do not put forward such a program nor the strategy to win the socialist program. The League for the Fifth International while supporting the revolution also does not offer a program and strategy to win the revolution. Instead in an article on Iraq they conclude: ”The real question is can they find the strategies and the leadership to make a revolution that puts power into their hands, creates a working class democracy and makes counter-revolution, by the generals, capitalists and imperialism, impossible”. (8) However, the necessity to build a revolutionary party is not mentioned once in the article, just the abstract need for “leadership”. If the workers and the oppressed can win without a revolutionary leadership what is the reason for the existence of the League? The Spartacists of Robertson do not find the time to relate to Iraq as they are busy in defending imperialist China, which they claim is still a deformed workers state.
FOR A GENERAL STRIKE TO BRING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT
FOR A REVOLUTIONARY CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY
FOR ORGANIZES SELF DEFENSE
FOR A WORKERS AND POOR PEASANTS GOVERNMENT
FOR A REVOLUTIONAT WORKING CLASS PARTY
FOR EXPROPRIATION OF THE BANKS AND THE INDUSTRY UNDER WORKERS CONTROL
1) Larry Elliott: Action not words needed over biggest public health failure of our time: pneumonia, The Guardian, 21/1/2019, www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/21/world-26-richest-people-own-as-much-as-poorest-50-per-cent-oxfam-report
2) Larry Elliott: World economy is sleepwalking into a new financial crisis, warns Mervyn King, The Guardian, 20 October 2019, www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/20/world-sleepwalking-to-another-financial-crisis-says-mervyn-king
3) John Calabrese October 8, 2019 China-Iraq Relations: Poised for a “Quantum Leap”? October 8, 2019, https://www.mei.edu/publications/china-iraq-relations-poised-quantum-leap
4) Morning Star, October 6, 2019, https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/iraqi-communist-party-calls-new-government-violence-continues
5) T.V Press: Iran urges peace in Iraq, Lebanon; blames US, Israel, Saudi Arabia for stoking unrest, October 30, 2019, https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/30/609966/Iran-Iraq-unrest-Lebanon-protests-United-States-Israel-Saudi-Arabi
6) Nick Clark: Protesters stay on the streets to win change in Iraq and Lebanon, Socialist Worker /socialistworker.co.uk/art/49199/Protesters+stay+on+the+streets+to+win+change+in+Iraq+and+Lebanon
7) Mina Samaadi: Social explosion on the agenda in Iraq, In Defense of Marxism, 24 October 2019, https://www.marxist.com/home/continents/middle-east.htm
8) Dave Stockton: Is this the long overdue Iraqi Spring? October 24, 2019, www.fifthinternational.org/content/long-overdue-iraqi-spring
Other Articles of the RCIT on the Arab Revolution:
Lebanon: A Revolutionary Situation, Article by Yossi Schwartz, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/lebanon-a-revolutionary-situation/
Syria: Assad Regime and Kurdish YPG Strike a Reactionary Deal, Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-assad-regime-and-kurdish-ypg-strike-a-reactionary-deal/
No to the Turkish Invasion in North-East Syria! Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/no-to-the-turkish-invasion-in-north-east-syria/
Syria: Defend Idlib against Assad and Putin! Emergency Statement of the RCIT, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/defend-idlib-against-assad-and-putin/
On the Israeli Aggression against Gaza, Statement of the Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Occupied Palestine), https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/on-the-israeli-aggression-against-gaza/
Iraq: Rally in Solidarity with the Popular Uprising, Report (with Pictures & Videos) from a Rally in Vienna on 8 Oct 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/iraq-rally-in-solidarity-with-the-popular-uprising-8-10-2019/
The Revolution in Lebanon as Part of the International Uprising, by the Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel / Occupied Palestine), 29 October 2019, http://www.the-isleague.com