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United Fronts

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Date : Dec 5, 2003 6:13 am _____________________

Some quick ideas about united fronts

United fronts are about winning

Iraqi people have some chance of winning by forming a united front with Bush, who supports democracy, against forces of reaction (fascism, religious fundamentalism)

Iraqi people would lose immediately if they did not form a united front with Bush

United fronts are a collection of forces with different long term interests but with common short term interests

The interests of the Iraqi people and the interests of US Imperialism will not co-incide in the longer term but they do co-incide in the shorter term

You can sabotage the united front by either being purist (left deviation) or by not exerting independence (right deviation)

Purist means being so concerned and preoccupied with your own political line about your longer term goals that you drive people away by not facing current realities. eg. we can't unite with Bush now even though he has done something good - waged war against Saddam fascists - because we know he is up to no good in the long run.

Not exerting independence means not speaking out when Bush is doing something bad in the immediate sense, eg. Bush trying to get Turkish troops into Iraq (not acceptable to Kurds) because he is feeling the heat of mounting US casualties at home

United fronts are about ideas as well as being about forces on the ground

The organised non pseudo left in Australia currently consists of 3 men, 2 women and a dog and so does not make a significant contribution to the forces of US, Britain, Australia etc. in Iraq or anywhere else

Nevertheless, there has been significant progress in the realm of ideas since the changes of 9/11 - a small group of people are struggling with what it means to be a genuine leftist and some ideas are being developed on a range of issues

I can see some tremendous ironies here. The fundamentalists have used modern technology against US Imperialism. This has persuaded sections of Imperialism (Bush, Blair etc.) to temporarily abandon reactionary policies of long standing in the Middle East and support democracy in their own self interest. This new set of conditions creates an environment where the pseudo left is clearly seen to be bankrupt because they blindly oppose Bush and hence objectively support fascism and oppose democracy in Iraq. In turn this creates conditions for the rebirth of a genuine left. For this we can thank Osama bin Laden, who in turn was created by US Imperialism, etc.

Imperialism creates its own grave diggers.


Comments :

  • Re:United fronts (by albert on 12/04/2003)



Re:United fronts (by owenss on 12/06/2003)

Firstly a pedantic point I think united front refers to uniting with people of the same class ie a communist party could form a united front with a social democratic party. When people who would be regarded as class enemies unite I think its called a popular front. You state that the Iraqi people stand some chance of winning if they unite with Bush. Its a bit vauge by people do you mean the carpet baggers around Chalabi or the slum dwellers in what was Saddam city. Right at the start of the war the Economist ran and interesing story about one hospital and the complex power struggle that followed liberation. The US army set up a barracks in the new wing, the staff elected a new management and the old management returned accompanied by thugs while the local mulluh pushed for his people to be the new management as his supporters had looted the necissary equiptment. That first demo in Falugia gives some pause for thought what with the US army making its home in the local school and then shooting unarmed protestors who wanted their school back. I suppose gone are the days when you would have been outraged about invading armies shooting unarmed protesters. Im a long way from understanding the complex social forces operating in Iraq but I forsee this that if the new Iraqi government doesnt tow the US line particularly in regard to its oil industry it wont be the Iraqi government for long.


Re:United fronts

(by Clive on 12/06/2003)

I don’t think owenss’ point is just pedantic. The united front was a policy developed by the early Communist International to develop the unity of the working class against the capitalists; the idea was that the Communists propose action over specific objectives with other working class parties. It was a proposal for practical action; and its fundamental defining characteristic was that it expressed the unity and independence of the working class. Trotsky, famously, advocated this sort of united front to stop the rise of Hitler, at a time when the CP regarded the Social democrats to be worse than the Nazis.

So, regarding your “united front” with the Interim Governing Council and with Bush. What, beyond you saying you support these forces, do you mean? Why call this policy a “united front”? (Albert somewhere says that the IGC itself is the united front, without your participation or that of any Iraqi working class organisations; the post to which I am here replying implies that in principle you would like to participate in a “united front”, and that you advocate Iraqi workers do so.)

Why are you so confident that Bush’s policy will lead to the introduction of democracy? If it becomes clear, or possible, that it will not, what happens to your putative united front?

Can you conceive (this is a serious question: I am interested to hear your answer, I’m not just “having a go”) of times where the American (etc) armed forces were not, on the ground, your (the Iraqi people’s) closest allies ? When they are closing down local councils, or cancelling elections – or shooting at civilian demonstators, for instance? Or arresting leftists? Or refusing to grant the demands of working class organisations which have negotiated with them, or tried to?

If your united front is with the IGC, is it, for instance – hypothetically, sure – also with the militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which numbers maybe 20,000 people trained by the Iranian revolutionary guards – which the US now says it wants to preserve? And with the armed forces of the Iraq National Accord, a group led by the man who was responsible for public hangings in Saddam’s Iraq before he fell out with the dictator? Is a united front with these people what you mean by fighting for democracy? Or does the “united front of ideas” not extend to considering these issues? Are they insufficiently concrete?


Re:United fronts (by keza on 12/08/2003)

This is a response to what Clive wrote about the united front (in response to Bill's message (Kerrb) )

Bill said “united fronts are about winning” and that’s probably the key to understanding the LastSuperpower attitude toward what constitutes a united front. Clive says that the “fundamental defining characteristic” (of the united front) was that it “expressed the independence and unity of the working class”. He doesn’t mention “winning”. I’m sure that if we were arguing face-to -face he would respond at this point by saying that the idea of defeating the enemy is implicit in (and flows from) maintaining “the independence and unity of the working class”. I wouldn’t really feel all that convinced however that the idea of winning was really a big part of his conception of a united front. I don’t think it even makes much sense to define a united front as the expression of “the independence and unity of the working class”. What does it mean?

Surely a united front must be fundamentally about winning. Clive’s definition is really a very sectarian one because it seems driven by more by the need to maintain some sort of purity than to actually defeat an enemy.

Moving on from his attempted definition of the idea of a united front he suggests that its wrong characterise our support for US policy in Iraq (and the IGC) in terms of a united front of pro-democracy forces against anti-democracy forces. This can’t be a genuine united front he argues, because of the lack of participation by “any Iraqi working class organisation”. Once again this strikes me as a case of trying to sound very correct and pure as a substitute for trying to think in terms of victory vs defeat (or reactionary vs progressive).

It seems just obvious to me that US policy in Iraq is to create a situation in Iraq which is conducive to the establishment of a bourgeois democracy there. It also seems obvious to me that there is opposition to this both within and outside Iraq. In this situation I feel quite clear that it’s in the interests of the Iraqi people for the anti-democratic forces to be defeated – this would be a victory and its of overriding importance. Any genuine Iraqi working class organisation would have to be in favour of the defeat of fascism and the struggle for bourgois democracy in Iraq. It isn’t a matter of looking around and saying “I can’t see a whole host of Iraqi groups with the words “working class” in their name on the IGC so I don’t think I can support what the US is doing there”.

The US only maintains that it is in favour of bourgeois democracy and that’s clearly the basis on which the IGC was formed. The fact that they haven’t appointed more of the Iraqi working class to such a council is no big surprise. It in no way suggests that they aren’t genuine about encouraging bourgeois revolution in Iraq (and the rest of the Middle East) however. The breadth of the IGC is nevertheless impressive – there’s no doubt that the US has made a real attempt to set up an organisation representing the diversity of influential groups in post- Saddam Iraq. I also think it’s highly significant that they did include the Iraqi Communist party . Whether it’s a “real” communist party or not the inclusion of the ICP on the IGC has important symbolic value. IT has never been US policy previously to appoint people calling themselves “Communists” to any governing body.

A united front is something you participate in because you think it will defeat a common enemy. It’s a temporary form of unity with a specific purpose. Clive asks Bill if he can “conceive” of times when the US forces on the ground have not acted like allies of the Iraqi people – eg w hen they have shot at civilian demonstrators etc. I am quite certain that Bill (and the rest of us can). This question is diversionary and a bit insulting to boot. None of us has ever claimed that the US army is anything but an imperialist army so what would you expect? The question we have to consider is whether we want them to succeed in what they are attempting to do in Iraq – or not. What is the alternative if they don’t succeed?


United front in practice (by kerrb on 12/11/2003)

Steve and Clive,

read this (an article about the Iraqi demonstrations against terrorism which happened in November 2003 - lost link - keza)

Do you support this united front or not? If you were in Iraq would you join them as part of the struggle to defeat Baathist fascism and terrorism or criticise them for gullibility for trusting US Imperialism and / or lack of working class independence?

Parties that marched on the demo

-Iraqi communist party.






-Al-Da'wa party.

-Iraqi Islamic party.

-Independent democrats' congregation.

-Iraqi democratic trend.

-The Iraqi Turkomen front.

-Iraqi Assyrian democratic movement.

-Iraqi medical association.

-Iraqi dental association.

-Iraqi workers union.

-Iraqi women association.

-Iraqi human rights organization.

-Iraqi farmers union.

-Iraqi independence party.

And many independent individuals like us.


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Created by keza
Last modified 2004-03-20 06:56 AM

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