On Monday 13 January, a joint statement between revisionist ‘communist’ parties – the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) , the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and the Tudeh Party of Iran – was published denouncing the escalation of tensions between Iran and the USA. Typically, the statement lacked any anti-imperialist analysis and indulged instead in a disgusting display of victim-blaming.
Equating the violence of the oppressed with the violence of the oppressor
The following statement is made in the second paragraph: “We view the Iranian regime’s threat to hit US personnel and interests in the region as a dangerous and irresponsible position that serves only to escalate tension.”
But what is Iran to do in the situation in which it finds itself? Capitulate to imperialist aggression? Is not appeasement a ‘dangerous and irresponsible’ position? Do these ‘communists’ not understand that imperialism recognises only one logic: that of force? Are not ‘US interests’ synonymous with imperialism?
Not only does this criticism of Iran’s response to the US’s assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani – a blatant act of war – fly in the face of all past experiences of attempts to appease imperialist aggressors (from the USA to the German Reich) but it had been proven wrong before the statement was even published! The US backed off from its threat of major escalation as soon as Iran had hit its Ayn al-Assad military base in Iraq.
The administration of US president Donald Trump has been forced to recognise Iran’s strength and its determination to defend its sovereignty. Although an all-out war would favour the US in terms of military technology and air superiority, any attempt to conquer the country would require huge numbers of boots on the ground, crippling the US perhaps beyond repair whilst ultimately proving to be impossible to achieve.
The revisionists’ statement asserts otherwise, however: “The missile strikes on US bases in Iraq on Wednesday 8 January by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps [IRGC] clearly heightened tension and threatened to bring about an all-out war with USA. It is clear that these bellicose moves have the potential to transform Iraq once again into a regional and international battlefield and immerse a swathe of countries in yet another bloodbath.”
So Iran’s act of self-defence is presented by these self-identifying ‘progressives’ as being equally ‘bellicose’ as the US’s illegal and unjustified aggression, and Iran is held equally culpable with the imperialist invaders for the spread of violence across the region.
Who is responsible for the bloodbath in the middle east?
But it is Iran that has played a pivotal role in defeating Isis and al-Qaeda, all but ending their reign of terror over the people of Iraq and Syria, while the US has been quietly funding and facilitating the headchoppers’ activities – and then using those activities as a justification for retaining a military occupation in both countries.
It should be clear to anyone with half a brain that it is the bellicose moves of US imperialism that are entirely responsible for the ongoing (not merely ‘potential’) bloodbath in the middle east, and it is the desperate US drive to crush all resistance to its diktat that is driving it towards an all-out war with Iran. It is also abundantly clear that any serious US-Iranian conflict would have the potential to spiral rapidly into a regional and international conflagration.
Only Iran’s heroic and defensive stance against imperialist aggression can reduce this drive to war by making it clear that the price for imperialism will simply be too high.
There are times when the only way to deter imperialist aggression and bring the aggressors to the negotiating table is to counter-attack. That is why it is essential for all true communists and anti-imperialists to defend Iran’s just retaliation.
Instead of taking this clear line, the revisionist spivs of the CPB et al repeatedly push their ‘Neither Washington nor Tehran’ line – an incongruous and anachronistic throwback to Mr Trotsky’s playbook that essentially calls for the defeat of the anti-imperialist forces. The CPB have been working hand in glove with the ‘Socialist Worker’ and Counterfire Trotskyites for decades, and this statement suggests that they have given up any attempt at independent thought.
“The present ‘tinder box’,” they tell us, “is a concoction fuelled by the adventurous policies of US imperialism – including harsh sanctions against Iran, withdrawal from the JCPoA and continuing military presence in Iraq.” So far so good, but this nod to reality (and even a stopped clock is right twice a day) is quickly negated by the authors’ insistence that US aggression is compounded by “the interventionist policies and actions of the Iranian theocratic regime, particularly its Quds Force, across the region”.
One cannot help wondering exactly which ‘interventionist policies’ the CPB and friends would rather that Iran’s brave Quds fighters had not taken. Is it that they would have preferred to see the black flag of the Islamic State flying over Baghdad and Damascus?
The world watched in horror and fear as Isis expanded its sway across large swathes of the region, just as the world once watched Hitler’s troops march into Austria and Czechoslovakia. It was the Syrian Arab Army, the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and Iraq’s popular militias, assisted by Iran’s Quds force, that drove the heart-eating, head-chopping, Saudi and US-backed terrorist scum from the region.
As one of the main tacticians behind the rout of Isis and al-Qaeda, it is clear that Major General Soleimani saved the lives of many thousands of people and liberated many more from their barbaric rule. Iranian General Soleimani was not a terrorist; he was a war hero!
What does meaningful antiwar work look like?
Communists oppose war, and aim to avoid conflict wherever possible, because it is always the working people who suffer most at time of war. But it is equally clear that sanctions are a weapon of mass destruction, aimed at the peace, health and sovereignty of the Iranian people.
And it is abundantly clear also that an unjust, imperialist-imposed state of economic superexploitation is not a state of ‘peace and harmony’ for the world’s working masses, but is itself a state of perpetual agony and war, which cannot but give rise to the desire for a better life, and to wave upon wave of fierce resistance.
It was for this very reason that Vietnam’s renowned leader Comrade Ho Chi Minh famously stated: “Nothing is more important than independence and freedom!” The world’s working class can never accept a false US-imposed ‘peace’, at the expense of the sovereignty and self-determination of the oppressed countries.
We therefore oppose imperialist war, but we are clear that the guilt for such wars lies with the imperialist aggressors.
We stand by the oppressed countries in their just wars of national liberation against such aggression. Lasting global peace is impossible while imperialism dominates the world. Bourgeois pacifists like the authors of the CPB and co’s statement are deluded if they imagine otherwise, and they certainly have no right to call themselves communist.
According to these revisionists, it is not Iran and the rest of the heroic anti-imperialist axis of resistance that will bring peace to the middle east, but the United Nations (clearly and repeatedly revealed as a hostage to US imperialism) and the toothless ‘international community’ that gathers under its auspices:
“Our parties call on the United Nations, its agencies and the international community to help find peaceful approaches to resolve the current issues in the region.”
It is a glaring and telling omission that no mention is made here of the refusal by the US to grant Iran’s representative a visa so he could come and address the UN assembly in Washington! What kind of diplomatic effort can take place without the participation of the attacked party? And if Iran is blocked from such diplomatic avenues, what right does anyone have to demand it should ‘de-escalate’ regardless?
“US imperialism and the Iranian dictatorship are disarmed and toothless without their allies’ support,” says the statement. And there we have the crux of the matter. Alongside the usual nod (for form’s sake) towards ‘opposition’ to US imperialism, we see that the real desire of these ‘revolutionaries’ is to render the Iranian government, a real cornerstone of the anti-imperialist axis of resistance in the middle east, ‘disarmed and toothless’.
It is rare that revisionists and opportunists declare their treachery so openly. Let workers beware: the true content of the political line expressed in the formula ‘neither Washington nor Tehran’ is to render the anti-imperialist (ie, workers’) movement, particularly here at home in the imperialist core, ‘disarmed and toothless’.
The CPB has teamed up with Trotskyites and Labour party social democrats in order to deliver the working people of Britain, supine and defenceless, into the hands of their British imperial ruling class.
Anyone honestly seeking to play a part in a meaningful antiwar and anti-imperialist movement that is actually capable of helping oppressed countries defend themselves against imperialist attack must let go once and for all of this social-chauvinistic talk about Iranian ‘dictatorships’, ‘mullahs’ and ‘regimes’, and recognise the right of Iran to self-determination.
We must also recognise the prevailing atmosphere of Iran – particularly following the US’s illegal assassination of Iran’s second-most senior political leader – which is the overwhelming unity of the Iranian people in supporting their government against imperialist aggression.
All other secondary contradictions within Iranian society will be resolved by the Iranian people themselves.
Meanwhile, our job here in Britain is to mobilise British workers to side with their brothers and sisters under attack in Iran; to reject the lies that seek to demonise Iran’s government and soften us up for war; and to refuse to help in any way with the unjust and unjustifiable economic and military war being waged against Iran.
No cooperation with imperialist war; victory to the resistance!