U.S. forces may win the war in Iraq, only to lose the peace to the country’s communist party.
The Iraqi Communist Party is busily stirring up trouble, to both ensure that American forces leave the country and to position themselves in order to best exploit the resulting power vacuum.
For the sixth week in a row, Iraqis demonstrated last Friday in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square and around the country, demanding jobs, public services, worker rights, civil rights and liberties, and an end to corruption. It is an unprecedented development for Iraq.
Since February 25, thousands have marched and rallied in nearly every one of Iraq’s 18 provinces.
According to the General Federation of Iraqi Workers, they have come out “to protest the failure of the Iraqi state to listen to the Iraqis’ demands.”
The protests have led to the resignations of two provincial governors, the mayor of Baghdad and other officials.
A newly emerging nationwide Democratic Current is at the heart of this movement. Leaders say it is an expression of wide sectors of grassroots Iraqi society, including people who are not members of any organized group.
Local committees are being formed around the country, and preparations are under way for a national conference to be held in the next month or two, to lay the basis for “a sustainable organization.”
|Raid Fahmi – Communist Party leader and Iraqi Minister of Science & Technology|
The Iraqi Communist Party is one of the key organizers of this movement… Raid Fahmi, a member of the ICP’s leadership, said this “very diverse” mass movement opens a “very promising prospect” for his country.
At the local level, Fahmi noted, neighborhood “popular control” committees are being set up to monitor public services, investigate problems, meet with the authorities to get action, and supervise their actions.
“We believe these committees will have a very direct impact on the provision of services,” he said.
This movement is also key to ending the U.S. occupation, Fahmi said.
A few weeks ago the government tried to evict the Communist Party and another party active in the protests from their Baghdad offices. The… effort backfired, generating considerable media coverage and popular support for the ICP. The government backed off, and the parties are expected to keep their offices.
Hints are being floated of keeping U.S. military forces in Iraq, at a string of U.S. bases around the country. Yet “very strong public opinion in Iraq will not accept foreign bases,” Fahmi said. Mass political pressure will be needed to ensure an end to the U.S. occupation, he said.