The debate on the "defend Iraq" slogan
. The article "The third side, the Iraqi masses: Opposing both sides in the war crisis" (CV #30,
Dec. 2002) goes into how various Trotskyist groups have become apologists for the oppressive
Saddam Hussein regime. They have a stand of "military, but not political support" for the
Hussein regime, instead of support for the Iraqi masses against both the Hussein regime and
imperialism. This stand is what they mean by such slogans as "Defend Iraq against imperialist
attack". "Defend Iraq" may be taken by some activists to refer to defending the Iraqi masses, but
the Trotskyists use it to refer to defense of the military efforts of the Iraqi regime. They can's see
that both sides in a war might be reactionary.
. A follow-up article on this subject was Anti-war slogans in light of the outcome of the war from
Communist Voice #31, May 20, 2003.
. This question was passionately debated during the first Gulf War of 1990-91. Below are some
articles on this subject from that time:
- Should the anti-war movement 'defend Iraq'? (from The Workers' Advocate December 1, 1990
vol. 20, #11, just before the outbreak of the first Gulf War)
- For your reference: Trotskyist ''Spartacist League'' replies to "Should the anti-war movement
'Defend Iraq'"? (from Workers Vanguard, Jan. 18, 1991)
- More on the ''defend Iraq'' slogan:
"Building an anti-imperialist movement
or putting hopes in Hussein's military?" (part one)
(from The Workers Advocate Supplement, Feb. 20, 1991)
- For your reference: Trotskyist "Spartacist League" replies to part one of "Building an
anti-imperialist movement or putting hopes in Hussein's military" in an article entitled
"'Anti-imperialists' who denounced defense of Iraq/MLP: 'Ex'-Stalinists adrift" (from Workers
Vanguard, March 15, 1991)
- "The experience of the war and the fiasco of 'military support' for Saddam Hussein", part two
of "Building an anti-imperialist movement, or putting hopes in Hussein's military?" (from The
Workers Advocate Supplement, April 20, 1991)
- "The hypocrisy of 'military, but not political, support' for tyranny", part three of "Building an
anti-imperialist movement, or putting hopes in Hussein's military?" (from The Workers
Advocate Supplement, June 15, 1991). This includes material on the SL call for "labor strikes
against the war", on SL "military support" for the Teamster bureaucrats, on the examples of
Turkey,. Argentina, and Nicaragua, and about Lenin's stand on the Kornilov revolt.
- "Sham militancy or real struggle" - - the "defend Iraq" slogan and the question of the "third
side" in light of the results of the Persian Gulf war (from The Workers Advocate Supplement,
April 20, 1991)
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