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Lessons of the Irag War

by Lal Khan-Asian Marxist Review Wednesday, May. 28, 2003 at 5:26 PM

Irag War

In Defense of Marxism-http://www.marxist.com

Workers International League-http://www.socialistappeal.org

Asian Marxist Review

(Editor Lal Khan)

Editorial statement issue June 2003

We are publishing the editorial statement of the forthcoming issue of the Asian Marxist Review. We will publish the contents shortly.

The imperialist pillage and desecration of the heritage of Babylon and Mesopotamia has provoked a shudder throughout the civilized world. This sickening destruction is now being hypocritically camouflaged as “reconstruction”. But what they have destroyed can never be reconstructed, any more than the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids, the Tower of Pisa, the Great Wall of China or the British Museum could ever be reconstructed, if they were destroyed. No matter what the level of technology and development is, these monuments can never appear in their original form again. They are lost to humanity forever.

At the dawn of the twenty-first century we have such astonishing advances in science and technology that, if they were developed under a democratic plan, they could provide the basis of the ultimate conquest of nature by man. Yet the leaders of the technologically most advanced nation on the planet are bent on using these advances to spill innocent blood and destroy important archaeological relics in the cradle of world civilization. The only scientific explanation for this is a psychology created by the decay of a socio-economic system that is historically obsolete.

Saddam and his military machine have been defeated, but not the people of Iraq. The massive anti-imperialist demonstrations in Iraq display astonishing resilience. These are not the desperate outbursts of a people in the throes of defeat. They mark the beginning of a new era in the reawakening of the Middle East.

The Palestinian “leadership” has capitulated to the US imperialists and the Zionist generals. But the “road map of peace in the Middle East” is not worth the paper it is written on. The fall of Baghdad has only served to intensify the terrorism of the Israeli occupiers against the Palestinians and provide fresh encouragement to the fundamentalists. The spiral of violence seems to have no ending. But the blood of innocent Palestinian children will increase the rage of the masses and give a new vigour and zeal to this movement throughout the Middle East.

The war on Iraq has its lessons. The mass anti-war protests in Europe and America dwarfed those in the so-called Muslim world. And that mass protest has not died down after the fall of the regime in Iraq. It has provoked a general questioning on the part of a vast number of people all over the world. People are asking: why the mass protests against the war went unheeded.

The fact that the largest protests against war were made by the non-Muslim masses of the West proves that the theory of “the clash of civilizations” is false, reactionary and absurd. The demonstrations against US aggression in Tel Aviv were larger than those in Cairo. The illusion that France, Russia, China or Germany would stop the imperialist onslaught has also been smashed. Their shameful capitulation in recognizing the US/British occupation of Iraq through a Security Council resolution shows the degenerate and counter-revolutionary character of these regimes.

The arrogant conduct of the biggest beneficiary of the war - US imperialism - has exposed the UN and other diplomatic frauds as impotent and irrelevant. On the other hand Arab and other forms of nationalism have floundered in the face of the imperialist might, while fundamentalist bigotry has only served to strengthen the imperialist “crusaders”.

The masses also are learning their lessons. They are asking questions. And the question that is uppermost in people’s minds is: how can such a mighty imperialism be resisted? Can it ever be defeated? The answer to this is yes. But imperialism cannot be defeated by the wars waged with the ideas and methods of the past. Nor can it be defeated by national wars or by acts of individual terrorism. It can only be defeated by means of the class struggle and the socialist revolution. All other ideas and means of resisting the imperialist onslaught are bound to fail.

The pursuit of incorrect methods and policies only increases the frustration and despair of the masses. They hate imperialist aggression and exploitation and want to overthrow it. But the only way forward is on the basis of the class war. This is the war that will put an end to all wars. Its victory will eliminate exploitation, oppression and violence.

The conditions for such a struggle are being developed all over the world - in Iraq, the Middle East, and even in the USA itself. The elements of a class war were already apparent in outline in the peace movement in all countries. But when the peace protests failed to halt the imperialist aggression, the limitations of pacifism became evident to many people. The fact is that imperialism can only defeated by the overthrow of capitalism

The victory of the oppressed in a class war is only possible through a Socialist Revolution. The victory of the socialist revolution in one country - especially a key country - would show the way out to the people of the whole world. In spite of everything, the movement is learning and acquiring experience.

The disappointment that followed the defeat of Iraq, especially among the Arab masses, will not last long. After a period, there will be a new mass upsurge. Sooner or later the masses will find the way forward to the goal that the oppressed have been seeking for generations. There are bound to be all kinds of problems, initial wavering, confusion and even some setbacks, but through the hard school of experience, the masses will learn.

US imperialism, like all other despotic Empires in history, seems to be compelled to tread the path of war, destruction and occupation. These are the symptoms of a system moving into terminal decay. The intensifying capitalist exploitation around the world further fuels resentment and anger. It piles insult upon injury. Pain turns into anger, and anger into revolt.

The turbulence and the turmoil are a symptom of the impasse of the system on a world scale. It is being generated by the intransigence of the imperialists, who are exacerbating all the contradictions.

For the time being the US imperialists are intoxicated with success. But this hollow victory will only serve to further aggravate their arrogance and insanity. They will be tempted to exercise their military might and trample as many countries underfoot as they can. This will lead them to overreach themselves. It is preparing one explosion after another. This will provoke mass movements that will make those of the past seem insignificant.

Sooner or later the working class will come to power in one country or another. Under modern conditions, the victory of the toiling masses in any key country would spread rapidly to other countries. Given the enormous potential of modern science and technology, it would create the conditions for an unprecedented prosperity on the basis of a nationalized planned economy. It would open the door for the emancipation of all humankind.

For decades we have experienced the dark night of imperialist drudgery and oppression. This was one of the most reactionary periods of the last century. But the guides of caravans in the Arabian deserts used to say that the darkest part of the night comes just before dawn. We have entered that phase of the night. Let us prepare for a new red dawn that will avenge all the defeats of the past. It will realise the dreams of generations of workers and toilers. It will be humankind’s giant leap from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom.

May 2003

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