Interview of "International" *

with Issam Shukri regarding LWPI 4th Plenum


Anternasional: The plenum of the left-worker Communist Party of Iraq is now over. Please give the readers of Anternasional a quick picture of what happened and what subjects was the main focus of the plenum?


Issam Shukri: Thanks for allowing me to address the readers of Anternational regarding our party and its latest plenum. This is the 4th plenum of the central committee of LWPI. It was held in Iraq between 19 & 20 of April, 2009. The plenum was attended by the majority of members of the central committee, both in Iraq and abroad. It was a very successful and important event and I believe mostly for the working class and the socialist movement in Iraq.  The most important aspect of plenum 4 was the political discourse it initiated and the debate it created. It presented sharp political analyses around the situation of Iraq, the dark scenario forces installed by the US, and also the position of America after the last changes in its politics and course. It also tackled the position of our movement, its presence and ability to address the pivotal issues in the society of Iraq after 6 years of war and catastrophe. In my view the main focus or theme of the plenum was its ability to point out to the paths of struggle, and eventually, progress of our party and in large, our movement as a whole.


Anternasional: what were the main and the most important resolutions passed in the plenum?


Issam Shukri:  The main resolutions presented were: The political situation in Iraq under and the global political and economical changes; the party Finances, and lastly a thesis / resolution called Party and Partisanship. The first two were passed by the plenum after elongated discussions; however, the third needed more time to take its final shape. The plenum had decided to forward the resolution of Party and Partisanship to the politburo to discuss and hopefully pass it.


Anternasional: Can you elaborate on the main issues of the resolution passed about the political situation in Iraq under the global political and economic changes?


Issam Shukri: The resolution dealt with the current political situation in the world and the impact of the demise of the New World Order of the USA and the change of its course from confrontation and militarism to bargaining and negotiation with Political Islam. It also addressed the political situation in Iraq and the position of the Dark Scenario forces within those changes. It also delineated the political features of the current situation in Iraq passing through a transitional and uncertain phase after 6 years of war and destruction and the tear down of its civil society. It has pointed out to the probability that the coming situation in Iraq might still be even more dangerous and insecure while eminent threat of ethnic and religious wars still loom. This is due to the policies of all religious, sectarian and nationalist forces in Iraq.  From the other side, the resolution dealt with the deep crisis that sweeps through capitalism and the floundering and inability of the bourgeoisie to find any solution to its crisis. The resolution talks about the impact of the international economic crisis on the already-deteriorating situation in Iraq due to the political impasse and the war that the US waged on Iraq 6 years ago. The resolution also talks about the prospects of the US withdrawal from Iraq and the end of occupation and its effect on the re-polarisation and alignment of the forces, how this prospect could turn the struggle into more transparent between the front of people from one side and the front of the whole bourgeoisie from the other. In the end the resolution stressed its conclusion of the importance and vitality to strengthen the front of workers and people versus the bourgeoisie and the position of the LWPI within the working class in leading that humanitarian front in Iraq.


Anternasional: America attacked Iraq in 2003. The direct consequence of American military attack was the quick and bloody rise of Islamic and nationalist movement. And it seems that the Islamic movement was the main winner! Iraq turned into breeding ground for political Islam.  Can you give us a clear picture of how the Islamic movement is doing now?


Issam Shukri: In my view the Islamic movement in Iraq has reached political power. We know that the question of political power is still open in Iraq; however, looking at the issue from a global perspective, the government of Al Maliki and his alliance is the embodiment of political Islam (i.e. Political Islam in power). It is true that the Islamists have failed to create an Islamic republic with full-fledge oppression against women and Shari’a reactionary laws etc, but politically the ruling parties are mostly Islamic and the West now has recognized them as such. It is worth noting though that, on the street level, so to speak, the people of Iraq, for the first time, and probably due to the first fact, are showing more and more contempt and disgust of this barbaric movement both as a political movement and an ideology. This change has been overwhelming and it is recognizable in the everyday scene in Baghdad for example. The society still fears the explosions and instability but the people are turning more towards secularism, modernity, and defying political Islam. This situation could well be the consequence of the Political Islam’s own impasse; its impotence to mobilize around its clichéd slogans of “No No America”, or “Down with the big Satan” etc... Once Al Sadr and his gangs have been forced to play by the US rules (i.e. became part and parcel of the Iraqi government), this movement has in fact lost its ability as a major political player against the West and the US. For a political Islamic movement this is a declaration of annihilation!.


Anternasional: The Obama administration is planning to withdraw its military forces from Iraq in 2011. What would be the political consequences of American withdrawal?


Issam Shukri: As I mentioned in a previous answer, this issue has been addressed by our 4th plenum specifically in its first resolution. We think that America’s withdrawal from Iraq would lead, in terms of security, to further chaos and deterioration. The different religious, sectarian, and nationalist groups currently secured by the presence of a huge US army, are all willing to wage whatever wars in order to secure their own position and maintain their current influence. Due to their own political identities as religious, sectarian, tribal, and nationalist groups, they would use those slogans and propaganda to mobilise people to their inhumane ends. However, I think that the US will not completely withdraw from Iraq at this point and will keep enough forces to wage serious battles against the enemies of their ally in Baghdad (the central government in the Green Zone), namely Al-Kaeda, the Baathists, and other Shi’a groups supported by the Islamic regime in Iran.  Mr. Obama is willing to end the occupation of Iraq and this will mean, if the country was not dragged into chaos and a civil war that the fight will turn from against “the imperialist infidels” into against “the government”. This, if happened, will polarise the people around their own material conditions to fight for their rights and win over one camp of exploiters, rather than being torn in the fight of two terrorist camps. This will turn the whole struggle around into a transparent confrontation. People will be less bewildered about which camp to choose. !.


 Anternasional: We know that the American military attack shattered the  Iraqi civil society and in a socially, economically and politically crushed society, the workers and left movement were the main victims. How is the situation now?


Issam Shukri: The civil society in Iraq was crushed because the US destroyed the government and replaced it with Islamic militias with the support of the reactionary regimes in the region especially the Islamic regime in Iran. This had caused a dangerous deterioration of the civil society which effected every citizen in Iraq especially workers, women and choldren. The working class has been struggling for many years now; unemployment in Iraq is in its peak. Poverty is strikingly high and millions of people are deprived of the basic necessities of life; health, clean water, electricity, medicine and good health care are all became things of the past. I think that without ending the occupation and establishing a sort of normal condition to the society, the working class movement, however promising, rising and alive, will not be able to fully engage and free itself from the shackles of deprivation, political exploitation of the religious and tribal parties and groups, and eventually show its strength to intervene and decide its fate and the whole society. That is why we kept calling for the expulsion of the US as an important element to retain the normalcy of the situation.


Anternasional: What are the main focuses of the left-worker Communist party of Iraq’s strategy to exit from the political situation Iraqi people are facing now? 


Issam Shukri: However the US has changed its policy and is now willing to withdraw and has declared that in fact, and however the Islamic militias have become a ruling political power in Iraq with the support of the West, the society is still as it was 6 years ago if not, in certain aspects, worse. With the defeat of the US policy, the collapse of the neo-conservatives, the world economic crisis of capitalism, the impotence of the bourgeoisie as a class, the field is now more open for our advancement. Certain issues now will be the focus of our party in Iraq. Those are societal and urgent issues, for instance we will continue to struggle against political Islam as a barbaric and reactionary political movement, defend and lead workers demands, demonstrations and intervene in their struggles, protect and advance women’s call for equality and end of oppression, stand for the youth and their freedom from religious and sectarian divisions and its hypocrisy, advocate for children’s rights, and so on. Our priorities come from the people’s concerns and problems. We as communists are duty bound to lead the struggles to achieve a better condition for the people and set off a radical change in the society of Iraq.


Without us the situation will definitely be bleaker no matter what the bourgeoisie decide. We consider that worker communism and our party represents the hope of humanity in Iraq and with this in mind we move confidently forward to achieve these goals.


* Newspaper of the Worker-communist Party of Iran- WPI, issue no. 297 - published in Farsi.


Issam Shukri is the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Left Worker-communist Party of Iraq - LWPI