Gulf war or class war?

Leaflet published in response to US intervention in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

The recent U.S. shelling of an Iranian oil platform represents a significant escalation of the war in the Gulf. There is no mystery as to why nations go to war - it is for the same reason that small-town gangsters go to war..., economic competition.

For America, control of the oil-rich Gulf area became problematic after the Shah of Iran, who had acted as the main cop guaranteeing U.S. interests in the region, was overthrown. The U.S. now looks to Iraq to fulfil this role which is why the U.S. navy is in the Gulf to "rig the game" so as to ensure that Iraq cannot lose. Remember, the excuse for U.S. intervention against Iran was an accidental (?) attack on a U.S. tanker by Iraq. However, it is not just about the exploitation of mineral resources. The main reason behind the war, as always, is to maintain the exploitation of capital isms most basic resource: the working class.

The overthrow of the Shah in 1979 was not simply a seizure of power by the "mad mullahs" or "anti-imperialist forces" (depending on which bourgeois shit-sheet you happen to read), but a series of mass strikes and insurrections which threatened the collapse of the state and forced the bosses to make major economic concessions. In the beginning almost no-one had heard of Khomeini, although he was to be given much free publicity by the "Voice of America" and the "BBC World Service" Khomeini was only able to come to power by using his Islamic guards and detachments of "loyal" troops left over from the Shah to crush all opposition, as well as making extravagant promises (such as free electricity) to the poor. If you talk about these promises in Iran today the state will kill you. Needless to say, when Khomeini came to power he was "critically supported" by the left, particularly the Communist Party who called on the working class not to defend themselves against the Islamic guards. Many of the C.P. were later massacred for their pains by Khomeini. It serves them right!!!

"Implicitly, the Iranian revolution threatened every established regime in the Muslim world, just as the French revolution threatened all the crowned heads of Europe"
-editorial in the Times, 21 Sept. 1980

In September 1980 seeing that the army in Iran had virtually collapsed, Iraq, encouraged by the U.S., Jordan and Saudi Arabia, hoped for a swift victory. In particular they hoped to gain full control of the SHATT AL-ARAB waterway and to annex the oil-rich province of KHUZISTAN. The main reason for the war, though, was to prevent the virus of proletarian struggle from spreading to Iraq.

The war brought massive hardships to the working class on both sides with hundreds of thousands killed and maimed at the front and massive wage cuts and increases in the working day for those left behind. However the war has been vigorously resisted on both "sides". In the Iranian capital of Teheran there were riots in March 1984 and April 1985. On the first of these occasions there was looting and several Islamic guards were wounded. Thousands were arrested as a result. In the second riot (of which we know), people shouted "Death to Khomeini. Down with the war!" 25 were killed and many wounded. In other parts of Iran there have been several prison mutinies, and in at least one case the soldiers who were on duty sided with the prisoners. In the Iraqi army there has been large scale disobedience of orders, organised fraternisation with the Iranian soldiers and desertion in epic proportions (On one occasion the Iraqi command was forced to order a full scale attack on their own positions with artillery, ground to ground missiles etc. The battle lasted 2 hours and claimed 8500 victims).

The United States’ last long running war, in Vietnam, ended in the midst of widespread opposition to its continuation. In the armed forces discipline was on the verge of collapse with widespread sabotage of equipment, disobedience of orders and threats to officers. In civilian society, anti-war protests and draft resistance also played their part. Because of this powerful anti-war movement the U.S. has been reluctant to enter directly into long term military conflicts since then, sticking either to abrupt actions (such as the invasion of Grenada and the bombing of Libya) or indirect involvement (such as in Nicaragua or the Iran-Iraq war). In order to make a more major war possible the U.S. ruling class must prepare U.S. society as a whole, and the working class in particular, for such a war. This is the task of the present anti-terrorist drive. This campaign, by the U.S. state and media, targets various states outside the U.S. sphere as terrorist (e.g. Nicaragua and Iran). These states are said to support or control terrorist groups which carry out outrages against innocent people. The ruling class thereby puts forward an evil enemy of all "civilised people" and so binds the nation (i.e. the proletariat and its exploiters) more firmly together in the name of combatting a common foe. This national unity is the prerequisite for a successful war (which is always "in the national interest").

From the bosses' massacres to a massacre of the bosses
For the working class there is no such thing as a "just" national war or a "just" settlement of a national conflict. It is irrelevant to us whether gangs of capitalist exploiters behave "fairly" towards each other (respect each others sovereignty and so on). We don’t care precisely where their borders (their check points, their immigrant detention centres ...) are put. It makes no difference that Iraq "started" the Iran/Iraq war, Germany "started" World War 2, Argentina "started" the Falklands/Malvinas war or that America is behaving "aggressively" (as opposed to "defensively") in the Gulf. If you live in a country at war your first concern is to fight your "own" ruling class, whether they are the "aggressors" or not. Every national war is a war against the working class.

The only war we are for is the class war, a war which is against national frontiers and for international solidarity. A war against work, against private property, against the family, against the state.

In every country in the world this war begins with the struggle against the measures of austerity and increasing police repression by means of which the ruling class try to make us pay for their war effort. Class struggle is always against the national interest however much leftists and other defenders of capitalism might pretend otherwise (by claiming that "it’s not in Britain’s interest" to make industries more profitable by sacking workers, for example). When "patriotic" workers steal from their bosses, skive off work or organise strikes they are really fighting against their country, whether they like it or not.

Any class struggle throws a spanner in the works for capitalism and can (sometimes) reduce the risk of war but only a unified international struggle consciously directed against capitalism will be the way of ending the massacres to which our class is subjected.

Down with all nations!!!

Info-tech Corridor Uncontrollables

Taken from the Antagonism website.

Posted By

Jul 26 2009 05:09



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