The Iraq war’s sleeping giant

April 22, 2007 at 9:39 am (Civil liberties, Human rights, iraq, iraq war, kdp, kurdistan, left, liberation, national liberation, pkk, puk, socialism, turkey, voltairespriest)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketOver recent weeks, stories have begun to filter into the public press in the west that the Turkish government and army are increasingly discontented over the seeming haven given to PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) fighters in Northern Iraq. Predictably it’s taken a while, as both the mainstream media and the left wing press in the UK have a tendency to “skip” Turkey on their way to Palestine, Iran and Iraq when covering the area. Which is all the more bizarre seeing as at more than one ethnic and cultural group straddles several of those countries at the same time, but that’s an issue for another post.

Many of you will know that in the 1980s and 1990s the PKK and the Turkish army fought a running civil war in the south-eastern region of Turkey, whose majority population is Kurdish, and whose regional centre is the city of Diyarbakir. At the same time, Kurds were less than second-class citizens in law, their language being barred from most media, and their nationality being generally referred to as “Mountain Turk”. Most of the left in the west (left and centre-left parties in Turkey were more divided) sided with the PKK as a national liberation movement, in spite of some queasiness over their tactics which included attacks on civilian targets. Nevertheless, given the organisation’s at least formally Marxist politics, and the appalling mistreatment by the Turkish government of those who it stood to defend, it is easy to see why the majority of the left took, and still takes, this stance.

However by the late 1990s the Turkish Army had gained the upper hand and the PKK’s influence was radically reduced. The symbolic capture of iconic PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999 appeared to mark the beginning of the organisation’s end. Furthermore, the election in 2002 of the nominally Islamist AK party led by current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan led to an unprecedented liberalisation of the laws on language in broadcasts and schools, and to a stream of of public investment in south east Turkey being opened up. This in turn seemed to bleed support further from the PKK.

The PKK went through a couple of transitions, as KADEK (Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress) and Kongra-Gel (Kurdistan People’s Congress) in the early 2000s, in an effort to reverse its decline. In 2004 however it reversed its unilateral ceasefire that had been imposed since Ocalan’s capture, and began operations within Turkey once again. These operations have once again included attacks on civilian targets, which have produced outcry in the mainstream Turkish press, but not a huge amount of comment among the western left. Large numbers of PKK fighters were, and are, based in Northern Iraq where their former rivals in the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, hold sway.

All this brings us up to date. Obviously the Iraq War has in many ways entrenched the positions of KDP leader Massoud Barzani and (even more so) PUK leader Jalal Talabani in their political fiefdoms. Further, it has provided the PKK with an opportunity to regroup militarily, subject to their not-always-easy dealings with Barzani, whose forces control most of the Turkish border area. It has also infuriated generals and politicians in Ankara, who in addition to seeing a revived PKK, are also having to resist ultra-nationalist calls for outright military intervention to safeguard the Turkoman poplulation in Kirkuk. The AK government which as well as having to deal with nationalist tide currently enveloping Turkey is also the main electoral rival of Kurdish nationalist parties in the East of Turkey, is under severe pressure to act. Only days ago, Turkey’s special envoy on the PKK, General Edip Baser said:

“It’s hard to understand why we should not use one of our international rights, as this terrorist organization is still active and coming into my country, and acting in my country, killing people and then going back to northern Iraq… Why I shouldn’t go after them?” [1]

This came along with similar sabre rattling from Turkish army chief General Yasar Buyukanit and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, amongst others. And let’s face it, it’s quite hard to argue for restraint in Northern Iraq (as western governments have been doing) on Turkey’s part whilst you’re busy razing the rest of the country to the ground. Further it’s hard to talk about the democratic rights of those invaded when the country doing the invading is an electoral democracy claiming to be protecting the rights of an endangered ethnic minority and eradicating terrorism. Again, sound familiar?

Furthermore, Barzani, part of a Kurdish coalition government in Northern Iraq that wants Kirkuk as its capital, appears to be alert to the mood in Turkey. In response, he has threatened to step completely off the fence in the PKK’s war against the Turkish government:

“Turkey is not allowed to intervene in the Kirkuk issue and if it does, we will interfere in Diyarbakır’s issues and other cities in Turkey” [2]

This carries with it the veiled threat of a call to arms for the majority of people in Turkey’s Kurdish region, for whom Barzani’s father in particular is a folk hero figure. It also marks a potential alliance between the PKK and KDP, whose mutual antipathy has contributed a great deal in the past to Turkey’s ability to manage the region.

So, what happens next? Obviously to anyone such as myself who is basically sympathetic to the Kurdish cause, there is an emotional impulse to hope that the floodgates are lifted, there’s a heroic struggle, and a unified Kurdish national liberation movement sweeps to power across the region on a cry of “Biji Kurdistan!” and the smoke from a peshmerga’s Kalashnikov.

The reality is it won’t work like that. Turkish military intervention in Northern Iraq would massively strengthen the hands of the ultra-nationalist right in Turkey, who are already riding high amid political and legal moves to strangle liberal voices in that country. Pan-Turk sentiment which always bubbles just beneath the surface in parts of Anatolia would have an opportunity to pour out in solidarity with the (genuine) plight of the Turkomans. Turkey is a regional superpower with over 1 million men under arms and modern equipment. Such civil rights as Turkish Kurds have gained in recent years would be washed away under a tide of brutal military repression. The consequences for the Iraqi Kurds of an outright military confrontation with Turkey would be apocalyptic. And the west would be powerless to stop a NATO ally from doing what, after all, is only the same thing that it is doing in the rest of the country.

It is only to be hoped that some kind of solution can be found – and it is far from clear that the PKK is the same organisation that it was in Apo’s day, in order to be able to find the tactical nous to exercise such restraint. Barzani is a master political tactician (whatever one may think of the tribal and conservative KDP’s actual politics), but whether he could put the lid back on Pandora’s box were he to open it with a call for a rising in Diyarbakir, is very much in doubt. Thus far outside interventions in the dispute have been largely limited to toothless criticisms from the Baghdad government and US officials.

And what are we on the left to say about it? I think that we should speak clearly and loudly against Turkish military intervention in Northern Iraq. We also obviously support the Kurdish right to self-determination, which is clearly the wish of a large majority in Northern Iraq and probably a majority of Turkish Kurds as well. Finally, we stand in defence of the rights of the Turkoman minority in Iraq to live free from harrassment and to enjoy the same democratic rights as Kurdish citizens in the Kirkuk region. 

I certainly support an independent Kurdish state – it is one of the greatest historical injustices in that region that one of the oldest nations in the world does not control its own borders, and one that is to the abject shame of western imperialists past and present. But for all that, I don’t think that the left should endorse either the PKK’s actions or Barzani’s tactics right now – they strike me as foolhardy and likely to lead to the destruction of liberationist political forces in Kurdistan, which would lead to that nation’s realisation being set back for decades. Of course every person wants to be his own king, but not of a devastated and desolate realm.


  1. Jules said,

    Great post VP.

    Is this your specialist area?

  2. voltaires_priest said,

    I suppose so – well, Anatolia mainly, Turkic central Asia secondarily.

    Thanks for the compliment too. 🙂

  3. chris y said,

    Last two paras get it exactly right. Evidently, with Turkey being the main anchor for NATO (read US interests) in the region, any Turkish intervention would be geeted with a great deal of hand wringing and fuck all else on the part of the imperialist powers. Provoking Ankara at this time seems insane to me. Is there any rational basis on which it should seem otherwise to the KDP?

  4. voltaires_priest said,

    I suppose it’s feasible that Barzani’s simply miscalculated his and his party’s (not to mention his region’s material assets’) value to the western forces in the region. He’s a competent regional baron, but not someone with Talabani’s eye for and understanding of the world stage, from what I can gather. He’s also still rather trading off his legendary father’s reflected glory in terms of the KDP’s political kudos in region, as well as iron clan loyalties. Of course, whilst these are all of enormous import in his immediate surrounds (and were also vital in the power games and loyalty webs that made up much of regional politics in Baathist Iraq), the Turks basically don’t care about any of that stuff, because they don’t have to. Hence perhaps his experience in previous situations has taught him to think that he’s more of a big wheel that he actually is.

  5. Squirrel Vanguard said,

    While I certainly support an independent Kurdish state in principle, I am a bit troubled as to its potential nature.

    Under the circumstances, an independent Kurdistan can very well become a new Israel, namely, a new gendarme of American interests in the region. The situation is certainly very complicated though. We’ll have to stand by and see.

  6. johng said,

    ‘One of the oldest nations in the region’.

    This is a bit of a strange idea really.

  7. voltaires_priest said,

    Errr no it isn’t.

  8. said,


    Please do give us the benefit of your extensive knowledge of the region

    also, do you support the establishment of a Kurdistan?

  9. gasdocpol said,

    This is yet another instance where the UN could solve problems in the Mideast. Those who discount the ability to this are creating a self-fullfilling prophesy.

    Turkey wants to become part of the European Economic Community. The Kurds want to have their own country. Turkey has the very legitimate concern that the presence of a Kurdish state on their border will encourage rebellian by their own Kurds.

    If the Kurds wants international supportfor their own independant state, international guarantees must be given to Turkey that Kurdistan will play nice.

    If Canada and the USA who have a similar languge and culture can live side by side, why can’t the Kurds of Turkey do that with the Kurds of Kurdistan?

  10. voltairespriest said,

    I think it has more to with whether Turkish Kurds consider themselves a part of Turkey or of Kurdistan.

  11. gasdocpol said,

    That is where the UN can come in.

    There must be an understanding by the Kurds of Iraq that if they want international support ofor their independance, they must respect the Turkish border.

    If the Turkish government wants to become part of theEuropean Economic community and retain the Kurdish part of turkey, they need to make the Turkish Kurds comfortable staying in Turkey.

  12. voltaires_priest said,

    Sure, but why don’t you think the Turkish Kurds should be able to choose whether they form a part of Turkey or of Kurdistan?

  13. gasdocpol said,

    Yes i think that the Turkish Kurds SHOULD be able to make that choice but I do not think that Turkey would agree to that and international law would certainly forbid that being imposed on Turkey.

    Maybe it would make some sense for Iran, Syria and Turkey to all relinquish their Kurdish parts to form one big Kurdistan. BUT THAT AIN’T GOING TO HAPPEN AND WE SHOULD NOT EVEN THINK OF IT. IT WOULD CAUSE EVEN MORE TROUBLE IN THE MIDEAST.



  14. voltairespriest said,

    Right now, I more or less agree (albeit rather less emphatically) – independence for Turkish Kurdistan isn’t on the cards right now. But please don’t mistake what I wrote – my argument is one of tactics not principle. If the balance of forces were different, and I was certain that there was a majority for Kurdish independence in SE Turkey, my stance would be a far less cautious one than it is at present.

  15. Jonathan Genocide said,

    I sincerely believe that the Kurds have no claim to nationhood as Alex Callinicos has declared Iraqi Kurds to be tools of Imperialism.
    I therefor support the Islamist groups who kill them randomly.

  16. gasdocpol said,

    If the Kurds want to have their own country whose borders are respected by other counties, it would behoove them to respect other countries’ borders.

  17. voltaires_priest said,

    Indeed, although what’s constituted by “other countries’ borders” in that region, is disputable. For instance, if a majority in the Diyarbakir region want to be part of Kurdistan, are they then “disrespecting Turkey’s borders” by saying so? It seems to me that they have that right.

  18. Igor Belanov said,

    I agree with Gasdocpol, we should defend the linguistic and civil rights of Kurds as much as possible, but a Kurdish irredentist movement in the Middle East would be a disaster. I think the problem is the ‘right’ to self-determination which only helps to encourage nationalism (from more than one side) and does next to nothing to improve the prospects for socialism.

  19. voltaires_priest said,

    …which is easy to say when you haven’t been deprived of a state.

  20. Igor Belanov said,

    That’s my whole point. I don’t believe that national groups have the ‘right’ to a state. Especially when it’s likely to unleash bloodshed on a regional scale.

  21. said,

    Igor wrote:

    I don’t believe that national groups have the ‘right’ to a state. Especially when it’s likely to unleash bloodshed on a regional scale.

    three points:

    isn’t it a bit presumptive for people living in nationstates to tell others that they cannot have a state of their own, even if there are long historical and valid reasons for having one, and that without a state those people would largely be defenceless?

    the creation of nation states seems to be part of modern political development, as without them people feel they have no means of representing themselves against other bullying nation states, etc

    it is not a foregone conclusion that the creation of a Kurdish state would naturally unleash bloodshed,this is in the hands of Turkey and Iran, and if they use the pretext of the creation of a Kurdish state for a violent intervention then that is their political and military choice, not the Kurds, who would naturally prefer a peaceful settlement with neighbouring nations

  22. Igor Belanov said,

    I don’t feel the need to ‘belong’ to a nation-state, indeed in the UK we live in a multinational state, something that many people forget (though not the Welsh or the Scots!).

    Modernity, you contradict yourself by stating that there are long historical reasons why some people should have a state, but then you say ‘the creation of nation states seems to be part of modern political development’. I’d agree with that, it is a recent phenomenon, but not an inevitable one, Kurds have historically lived within a wide range of different political structures and I don’t see why they ‘need’ a nation-state if their civil rights and national identity are respected. I’m perfectly happy that they currently possess a ‘de-facto’ state, but I think people are entitled to be a bit worried if they start to demand the ‘right’ to unify all Kurdish peoples, as some people on this thread seem to be advocating.

  23. said,

    Igor Belanov,

    several points:

    whether or not you are feel that we “belong” to a nationstate is not the issue, we are not stateless and whatever the disadvantages of a nation state that condition does not compare with that of stateless refugees

    so I think it is a bit arrogant of us to tell stateless refugees that they cannot have a state (be that Kurdistan or Palestine)

    whether or not people should put trust in a nation state is another issue, but until people actually have a state I don’t think that necessarily they can advance beyond it

    I don’t think that there is any contradiction between a group of people wishing a nationstate and much of the activity happening in the 19th century, it happened, history is messy, history is contradictory, that’s the nature of human development, it is not some mathematical equation

    in terms of the Kurds, please tell us where their national identity is recognised [outside of Iraqi Kurdistan, which is their own creation]and their rights guaranteed? Turkey? Iran?

    that surely is the issue? their national rights are not respected or is their culture

    and where does self-determination come into this whole scheme?

    or is it all geopolitics?

  24. gasdocpol said,

    The Kurds want to be an independant state and they have proved that they are capable of self-government. Partitioning Iraq may be a way of stopping sectarian violence in Iraq. These are reasons are reasons for creation of a Kurdistan.

    The presence of an independant kurdish state on Turkey’s Southern border gives Turkey the very real concern that there could be a rebellion on the part of the turkish Kurds.

    Turkey is going to need some very solid guarantees from Kurdistan and the world community for this to work.

  25. Jules said,

    Igor have you read Hal Draper’s work on Marxism and national liberation? It’s well worth a read if you haven’t:

  26. Igor Belanov said,

    I don’t really fancy taking a lecture on national liberation from someone whose views may well differ radically from my own. The are other strands within Marxism that take a less favourable view of nationalism, Luxemburg for example, and I tend to share that viewpoint.

  27. johng said,

    Yes it is Voltaire. What do you mean by ‘nation’?

  28. johng said,

    Nationalism today is usually understood in relationship to the formation of a modern nation state (the subject under discussion). This is a radically novel idea in human history, even more so in the region under discussion then in Europe. Therefore when people invoke a national past as part of a project to establish a modern nation-state they usually refer to matters of culture, language, literature and other such things which pre-dated the idea of modern nationalism (and in my view there is no neccessary connection between these things). In a region like the Middle East, whilst the modern nation state is a more novel idea then it is in Europe, the development of cultures, languages, literatures and what might broadly be described as patterns of civilisational distinctiveness, actually pre-date similar things in Europe. This is because, whilst in relation to capitalism (whose secular religion is nationalism) the region was historically a late starter, in relation to the patterns of civilisational distinctiveness it was considerably more advanced then Europe, which was up until the 14th and 15th century, a civilizational backwater by comparison.

    Thus literary and cultural traditions associated with Persian mirrored the position of French in Aristocratic Europe reaching well beyond the boundaries of what is today Persia and to some extent supplanting Arabic as a high literary language across whole swathes of the Islamic world. The growth of such regional centres of culture proceed apace with the development of trade and the emergence of different centres of political power within this world (and indeed outside it: one thinks of South Asia) something greatly aided by the fact that the world of Islam, in distinction to Europe up until a relatively late stage, had a much more urban and hence more urbane and cosmopolitan high culture. Vernaculars emerge in relationship to this culture, enjoying complex relationships with it.

    To isolate one vernacular, and describe it as the ‘oldest nation’ makes no sense. Often terms translated as ‘nation’ mean ‘tribe’, ‘clan’ or even refer to social status (important in the Kurdish example given the brutal exploitation of the population by the leading clans, who incidently now make up the elite families who run these political parties). This is not different from Europe where the term ‘nation’ has similarly diverse meanings (oddly enough, according to one writer, being related to the emergence of medieval universities as cosmopolitan centres). To confuse these things with modern nationalism and to start talking about the relative antiquity of different ‘nations’ is a very odd thing for a Marxist to do, perhaps the complement contemporary liberal cosmopolitanism pays to contemporary irredentism.

    On the issue of Kurdish right to self determination my position would be rather similar to Lenin’s on the national question in Europe. Divorce is a right but its not always something you advocate. I think Communists would argue both against the local great power interests who manipulate the Kurdish question (inheritors of the British who used Kurdish fighters against Iraqi nationalist aspirations), point out the venality of the leadership (who in the early 90’s actually invited Saddam Hussain into their territory in order to continue their factional battles with each other) and argue against both the demand for seperation and the chauvinism of the local states (concretely this would mean opposing and fighting against repression etc). If however it was not possible to win this battle seperation would be the price paid for the venality of the other ruling classes.

    But it would probably be a disaster for all concerned, lead to renewed bouts of ethnic cleansing on both sides of the border and strengthen reaction. And yes, clearly, the aim would be to turn it into a ‘little Kurdish Ulster’ for the western powers. History demonstrates that whenever the western powers have been trusted its been a disaster for the Kurds. A poisened chalice of liberation.

  29. said,


    thank you for your contribution,

    n terms of your views on these topics would be easier to always say “I’m not too original on the subject and wish to parrot Lenin’s/Trotsky’s (other political deity) point of view”??

    it would save a lot of time

    leaving aside the waffle, and I somehow doubt that Lenin’s view on nationalism will carry any weight with the Kurds

    I would have assume that if you oppose the creation of the Kurdish state that you oppose the creation of the Palestinians state, for the sake of consistency?

  30. johng said,

    Surely even my opponents can see what a tiresome twit modernity is. One historical problem with the development of Kurdish nationalism was the domination of the Aga’s. As people who have read Hanna Batatu’s magnificant tome on Iraq will know the Kurdish peasentry of Iraq was one of the most bitterly exploited peasentries of the region. And they were exploited by the Aga’s who remained very prominant in Kurdish politics. Whilst there was always a modernist trend, this remained a minority, and the majority opposed land reforms carried out by the centralised states of the region to protect their power. This marked the main distinguishing feature of Kurdish nationalism from anti-colonial nationalism which, whatever its other crimes, was concerned with questions of modernisation and development which involved land reforms. This meant that many Kurdish intellectuals were ambivulent when it came to choosing between Iraqi, Arab, or Kurdish nationalism. On the one hand the repressiveness of centralising regimes which saw the Kurds entirely as a security problem was a major factor shaping consiousness on the other hand the brutal and feudal Aga’s who bled the peasentry and stifled any hope for progress where another. Its a tragic situation, and the small change of Modernities sarcasm demonstrates little but his profound lack of interest in the fate of either the Kurdish people or the region, an attitude identical to that of the western powers currently occupying it.

    The following is a reasonoble discussion although I’m not sure of all of it (note that the medium of discussions of Kurdish identity up until the late 18th century was Persian). Read Hanna Batatu, find something out about the place, and then perhaps it would be possible to take your crocodile tears seriously:

  31. johng said,

  32. johng said,

    I had answered Modernities pathetic and embarressing post, but unfortunately it was eaten up. The above link contains interesting information but the real source ought to be Hanna Batatu. One of the tragedies of Kurdish nationalism was always its domination by the feudal Aga’s who viciously exploited the peasentry (making the Kurdish peasent one of the most miserably oppressed peasentries of the region) and bitterly opposed land reforms which would have deprived them of their power. The Kurdish intelligentsia therefore by the 1950’s found themselves in a deeply tragic and ambivulent situation when confronted with the rise of different kinds of nationalism. On the one side the repressive and centralising tendencies of anti-colonial nationalism shaped consiousness, on the other side the fact that land reforms and modernisation were part of the project of that nationalism, whilst the leaders of Kurdish nationalism opposed it (indeed a case can be made that the leading figures of Kurdish nationalism during this period were largely nationalists because they opposed land reforms) meant that it to, was a draw.

    The combination of these factors meant that Kurdish nationalism was always very different from the nationalism of the Palestinian movement (to give one example). As Socialists we support land reform and oppose feudalism. I know that you only oppose feudalism when it is of the correct imaginary Islamist type (imaginary because the dominant forms of popular political Islam in the ME do not oppose land reform) but for some of us who actually are real Socialists these are real issues. And they represent the real reasons why there was always an ambivulence about Kurdish nationalism: its social content. And the social content clearly had political consequences. But of course none of this matters when your striking poses on an imaginary barricade.

  33. johng said,

    Modernities definition of waffle: anything with which he’s unfamiliar.

  34. johng said,

    …but nevertheless has wery stwong feelings about….pass the brusschetta’s someone. Those AWFUL anti-war people, why-oh-why, etc, etc.

  35. Mike said,

    The only logical thing I can see in that gallimaufry of sesquipedalian sentences is that Marxists support nationalities’ right to “divorce”. Indeed we do. And though, as Volty actually said, we don’t necessarily advocate all-out armed revolt all the time, it follows that if the majority of Kurds in Turkey want independence we support their struggle, even if it is violent.

    I am somewhat confused, John, that you criticise others for applying one European historical term (“nation”) to the Middle East and then use another yourself (“feudalism”) with complete insouciance. You must be aware of the diversity of economic and social development in that region.

    If the Kurds haven’t existed as a nation-state or a political organisation of nationality (which is what you seem to mean by “nation”) they have certainly existed as an self-conscious ethnic group for over a thousand years and probably much longer. But this is irrelevant. It really doesn’t matter *when* Kurdish nationalism in the modern bourgeois sense began, the fact is it exists now. To deny self-determination to a major national group is to postpone the struggle for socialism in the Middle East for ever. Which the SWP is good at.

  36. JohnGenocide said,

    I believe that the Palestinian case is differnet and more pressing than all others because
    a. they are fighting Jews
    b.They are fighting a democracy.
    c.It channels my anti imperialism into placard sized chunks.

  37. Igor Belanov said,

    I find it a shame that left-wing people often seem to have much clearer ideas about nationalism and how to advocate it than they do about socialism.

  38. johng said,


    By Feudalism I mean, as most Marxists familiar with issues of third world development do, power associated with ownership of land. The term came to be used because the left was centrally pre-occupied with the question of land reform in most decolonised countries. In Afghanistan by feudalism I mean the power of the Khan, in India one could speak of bhumihar’s, rajputs and Zamindars, and in Kurdistan one speaks of the Aga’s. The idea that you can have socialist revolutions whilst supporting such groups is what is really ludicrous.

    This social systems associated with this power over the land meant first of all the most terrible oppression and suffering for the peasentry and secondly a barrier to modernisation and development. One very important factor that shaped the rise of Arab nationalism was the bizarre combination of formally parliamentry monarchies, whose institutions were packed full of landowners. In many parts of the middle east military officers tended to be drawn from families representing the poorer peasentry. Hence the association between military coups and Radical Nationalism: these parliaments bourgoise in form were feudal in content. Combined and Uneven development, and in the absence of the working class playing a revolutionary role various radical officers seize power, on a program of radical nationalism (which really meant breaking the back of the ‘old social classes’).

    Hence the social struggles of the period (and again I would commend Hanna Batatu’s book which is the most detailed monograph available, and which, if truth be told, is still used as a kind of primary source by most historians) revolve around the question of attitude to land reforms, the question of the nationalisation of oil being of equal importance.

    This is a very important part of the story of the institutional form taken by Arab Nationalism across the region, as well as the great divide between authoritarian military republics on the one hand and despotic feudal monarchies on the other.

    If you don’t understand this you understand nothing at all about the politics of the region over the last fifty years.

    But it really doesn’t seem your very interested in understanding anything. What on earth has happened to peoples Marxism that they are so deeply uninterested in the social relations of the region they claim to know so much about, and instead prate a lot of garbage about ‘ethnic consiousness’ which has existed for thousands of years etc, etc, like ludicrous trainee nationalists.

  39. johng said,

    ‘oldest nation in the region’ etc, etc. jesus christ. ‘the smoke of the peshmurga’s gun’. Why is it that you guys look like perverse mirror images of the stereotypes you claim to reject? (those stereotypes having nothing to do with reality of course).

  40. JohnGenocide said,

    “The idea that you can have socialist revolutions whilst supporting such groups is what is really ludicrous.”

    I support Hezbollah and Hamas who are clerical fascist.
    They can be part of a socialist revolution.

  41. johng said,

  42. johng said,

    why does shiraz socialist support allow right wing scumbags like ‘johngenocide’ above to troll here?

  43. said,


    you managed to avoid giving a succinct answer to the question:

    do you support the establishment of a Kurdistan?

    I presume that you and many others (rightly in my view) support the creation of a Palestinian state and yet you are ambivalent towards the creation of a Kurdish state, unless it fits into your geopolitical scheme of things

    can’t to see how unsatisfactory that is? and how shifty you appear?

    PS: concerning John Genocide, he is rather tasteless but seems to convey your true sentiments, unless you forget your cheerleading of Hezbollah last summer? or your ambivalent towards Hezbollah’s warcrimes

    so all in all, if you don’t like people taking the piss then don’t act like a political charlatan and cheerleader for Hassan Nasrallah, how you are perceived is entirely in your own hands

  44. JohnHangUntilGamey said,

    As I seek to discredit Kurdish claims by branding them feudal,clannish ad tribal I’d like to clear up a small inconsistency.

    I do not see the kidnapping of Alan Johnstone by a Palestinian clan as damaging the Palestinian case.
    because they still kill jews.

  45. johng said,

    So you don’t care about reality, about history, about society, about anything at all concrete about these societies or the people who live in them. But we’re supposed to believe that you really, really, really care about them as individuals. Forgive me if I don’t believe you.

    All I can remember about the argument about Hezbollah was that I explained that if you bomb half a country you can’t be too terribly surprised if they lob some back. This just seems common sense to me, and it seems equally commonsensical to regard the hysteria about ‘the warcrimes’ of Hezbollah as rather farcical coming from people who bent over backwards to justify the far more serious war crimes committed by Israel.

    Oh, and I also remember people being rather upset when presented with facts about the near complete absence of Hezbollah actions against Israeli civilians in the whole proceeding period of their existence. Despite the periodic and deliberate mass slaughter of civilians by Israel in Lebanon every six years or so.

    But, I know. Its terribly tasteless to discuss the facts of the matter. Lets instead mouth meaningless moral platitudes and feel good about ourselves.

  46. johng said,

    But I see the looney hate mongers and racists have taken over now. Nice popular front this is.

  47. johng said,

    And yes I am ambiguous about whether or not there ought to be a seperate Kurdistan. I oppose the national oppression of the Kurds. But I’m not at all sure that a seperate Kurdistan is the answer.

  48. JohnGameoff said,

    Who are the racists on here?
    It can only be he,the ally of anti semites,but not the BNP.

  49. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    it seems equally commonsensical to regard the hysteria about ‘the warcrimes’ of Hezbollah

    either you accept that war crimes (such as those committed by Hezbollah) defined by international humanitarian law or by your own subjective view of the world

    it cannot be both

    if you accept international humanitarian law then you’re required to acknowledge (based on the widespread evidence, and not just subjective opinion) that Hezbollah committed war crimes by deliberately targeting civilians in Israeli, from the initial attack and beyond

    if you do not accept it, then presumably you don’t consider that Israeli civilians are worthy of humanitarian concern? and we know wear that sick line of reasoning leads eh?

    if you’re in any doubt about Hezbollah and their warcrimes, do a simple google search. eg

    “(New York, July 18, 2006) – Hezbollah’s attacks in Israel on Sunday and Monday were at best indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas, at worst the deliberate targeting of civilians. Either way, they were serious violations of international humanitarian law and probable war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today.”

    oh JohnG, by the way, are you still providing excuses for Hassan Nasrallah’s antisemitic outbursts?

    see “The London Review of Hezbollah By Eugene Goodheart”

    disagreements over the Kurds are one thing, but sucking up to Hezbollah is entirely another matter

  50. Jules said,

    The sort of personal vindictive abuse John G has been on the recieving end of is totally unacceptable. The mods should delete those comments and ban that ip adress. This was very nearly a good debate. Not that modernity’s Zionist obsessions have helped much.

  51. said,

    Banned Jules? not put up against a wall?


    I would have preferred for JohnG not to engage in his habitual subterfuge but his comments are on record and so are the war crimes of Hezbollah, and the evidence of Hezbollah’s war crimes won’t change irrespective of our opinions, they are facts.

    unless of course you adopt some postmodernist view of the world that facts are whatever you wish them to be, which is it Jules?

    oh and I am very intolerant of apologists for Hassan Nasrallah’s antisemitic outburst, as should you, see the dissent article for clarification 🙂

  52. JohnGameoff said,

    You are all racists.
    I only support anti semites.
    (And Serb paramilitaries)

  53. Jules said,

    Modernity – despite the verbal gymnastics of that article, the facts remain that those Nasrallah quotes have been disowned by the newspaper in which it appeared and no independent authentication of its existence has beenforthcoming – although it was allegedly made at a widely reported public speech.

    If we accept Hezbullah committed war crimes against Israel then you must also acknowledge that they are only a tiny of faction of Israel’s war crimes against Lebanon (which during its two decade occupation included systematic torture, rape and killings, the bombs in 1982 that killed 20,000 people,thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians slaughtered in refugee camps and a further 1000 and mass civilian infrastructure destruction in the last war)?

    Do you acknowledge these facts? Have you written posts expressing outrage about them?

    Or do you only care about Israelis?

    Anyway I’m not going to comment on this any more – its not relevant to the thread.

  54. JohnGSOAS said,

    Not abuse Jules.
    Just a bit of piss taking.

    When Johnny stops confusing anti semitism with anti imperialism, I’ll stop.

  55. JohnsupplyteachG said,

    Palestinian clan kidnaps journalist.
    Kurd clan conspires in free press.


  56. said,


    in fact Nasrallah’s utterances have been verified by Eugene Goodheart, an academic, as the above article indicates

    of course if you wish to believe that no matter what Nasrallah says that none of his utterances are antisemitic that is entirely another matter, interpretation of evidence is one thing disregarding the wealth of evidence is either irrational, shows political malice, prejudice or plain stupidity, which is it?

    on the topic of war crimes, it is not some game of cards where one set of atrocities are wiped out by another

    if leading human rights organisations have documented Israeli warcrimes, then I am prepared to believe them based on the evidence

    but that wouldn’t change anything concerning Hezbollah as such events are separate events and thus should be judged accordingly,

    leading human-rights organisations (no friends of Israel), have documented extensive warcrimes committed by Hezbollah, and those actions are independent of absolutely anything in the world, if they’re war crimes they are war crimes, based on the evidence, “mitigating” circumstances do not change the facts on the ground

    returning to the Kurds, it brings up a wider issue, the lack of consistency that some people have between the treatment of the Kurds and the Palestinians, I favour a Palestinian state and state for the Kurds, I don’t think either is beyond the circumstances

    I think it is completely arrogant for people who live in nationstates to argue that stateless refugees cannot have the protection of a state, even if that state is less than perfect

    most of us take for granted the protection that a nationstate confers and often we don’t realise the precarious situation that the Kurds and the Palestinians live in

    they deserve to be treated more than just pawns in some geopolitical scheme

  57. Will said,

    “Zionist obsessions”

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hahHa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hahHa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah

  58. voltaires_priest said,

    why does shiraz socialist support allow right wing scumbags like ‘johngenocide’ above to troll here?

    Coming from someone who (as far as I can gather) attributed comments that I didn’t make to me on “lenin’s tomb”, and who disappeared when I called you on it, and who has repeatedly slandered Jim and I as “racists” – without being censored or banned – on this site, that’s a bit rich.

  59. voltaires_priest said,

    Yes it is Voltaire. What do you mean by ‘nation’?

    Are you quite serious? This isn’t Derrida 101, and I don’t propose to get involved in the sort of stupid and sematic side-track debate so beloved of po-mo so-called “marxists” in arts and humanities departments. Are you saying that the Kurds are not a nation, and that they don’t deserve a state?

    Your first substantial post is simply gobbledegook, attempting to waffle away the SWP’s historic (and honourable) position on the Kurds’ right to self-determination by use of weasel words about tribes, clans etc. Kurdish people are not unclear about the history of their nation, nor are they unclear about what a nation means. The fact that you are concerned to talk down an oppressed people’s right to self-determination merely marks a further sign of your and your organisation’s political degeneration. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    ‘oldest nation in the region’ etc, etc. jesus christ. ‘the smoke of the peshmurga’s gun’. Why is it that you guys look like perverse mirror images of the stereotypes you claim to reject? (those stereotypes having nothing to do with reality of course).

    And this is the guy who complains about “hate mongers”? You seem to do very little but waffle and slander in equal measure. Not to mention the fact that you seem to have decided that it’s “racist” of people to take the piss out of you. And then you have the hide to talk about people becoming stereotypes?

  60. johng said,

    I’m glad that Jules has some sort of principled postion on standards of debate. I don’t know whether we agree on other things or not but its the standard one expects from other socialists. Voltaire I have no memory of being called on anything. On Jim Denham you might explain what is wrong with my position on his wholly reactionary position on the current conflict, one which you actually disagree with yourself. On the Kurdish question I would remind you of the context of the discussion. It is not post-modernist to oppose primordialist theories of nationalism. And it is not post-modernist to mock people who talk about ‘Nations’ as being thousands of years old. Irish nationalists are also clear about the history of their nationalism. Whatever my political position on that struggle I am not a nationalist and I therefore do not believe that there is a history of an Irish nation stretching back thousands of years. These are just basic Marxist positions.

    I’m amazed that you allow rabid Zionists to conduct hate campaigns against Socialists on this site which involve grotesque maligning of both individuals and basic Marxist catagories. As I said, a peculiar form of popular frontism this. The problems I raised about Kurdish nationalism in Iraq and their wider significance are based on what is widely accepted as being the best historical account of the emergence of modern Iraq and its history, that is Hanah Batata’s. I note that the book was used even by the AWL on its discussions of Iraq. I also attempted to point out that it is not possible to seriously discuss the network of oppressions based on ethnicity, language and sectarian identity in the region without some knowledge of crucial issues of social relations around land and its ownership.

    These things are really basic. They inform, as any Marxist might expect, much of the history of communal, ethnic and sectarian tension. These become much more marked as this logic becomes connected to the emergence of the modern state system. I was asked why my position on Kurdish nationalism was different to Palestinian nationalism. I answered the question. As is by now becoming wearily familiar, because the answer did not fit into the required stereotypes (and because importantly, these stereotypes are the only thing that people seem to know about) I am accused of being ‘post-modern’. What on earth is supposed to be post-modern about talking about the importance of land reforms I have no idea.

    As to bizarre accusations that I accused Kurds of being a clan (I didn’t actually: I stated that the term ‘nation’ was used in the pre-modern period, in both Europe and the Middle East to refer to lots of things: clan being one of them) or that it is somehow wrong to talk about the well-known tension in Kurdish nationalism between the feudal Aga’s and more secular elements, I can only suggest that if people are not even interested in social reality they should not accuse others of being post-modernist.

  61. Igor Belanov said,

    You still haven’t adequately explained why you favour one nationalism and dismiss another. Therefore people are very likely to insinuate that this inconsistency is because of anti-Americanism and anti-semitism.

  62. johng said,

    But I have. Its not in any case about ‘favouring nationalism’. I’m not a nationalist. But the historic contrast between Kurdish nationalism and the general anti-colonial nationalism’s that became one of the dominant forms in the region, related to the question of land reforms. Historically in the 1950’s and 60’s as I tried to point out this even put the Kurdish intelligentsia into a bind. On the surface the regional tensions between constitutional feudal monarchies and authoritarian military modernisers centred around the question of land reforms (this real history is simply ignored by people whose only purpose is to denounce the anti-war left for being anti-Israel). Kurdish nationalism has a tragic history of being dominated by what in the third world are often called ‘feudal forces’ ie those forces most opposed to land reforms. Thus the Kurdish intelligentsia faced on the one hand by national oppression from increasingly centralised (and militarised) developmentalist regimes and on the other by feudal Aga’s whose main basis for opposing these regimes was to prevent land reforms found themselves in a tragic situation. The Aga’s vacillated between opposing the regime when their interests were threatened to collaberating with it to smash any opposition to their power in the region. As stated this situation was on-going even in the early 90’s when there was relative autonomy with one faction inviting Saddam Hussain in to smash their rivals.

    On a larger scale there is a difficulty with the much wider question of the oppressions heaped on oppression that make up the tribal, sectarian and ethnic hierarchies of the region (with minorities of one kind or another sitting on top of pyramids of oppression right across the region). Socialists on the one hand have always supported the right to self determination. On the other hand historically, they’ve also always been aware of the horrors of partition (particularly in the colonial situation). This is a real problem in the real world and not something spun out of my head. I am opposed to the partition of Iraq in the same way I would have been opposed to the partition of the Indian subcontinent. If people find that eccentric I suspect thats simply because they know very little about the historical debates around this question.

    The question of Palestine seems to me quite different. Historically the nationalism that developes amongst the Palestinians was indeed divided by the feudals and the modernists. The modernists won out. Palestinian nationalism was a dagger at the heart of every one of the monarchist regimes and at the same time an embarressment to the radical Arab nationalist ones. I’m a Socialist. I want to see the transformation of the whole region. Every line I write is premissed on that. I have no trouble with Modernity, Sack Cloth and Ashes, and the various cowardly pugilists of the status quo who come on here with their foul slanders and innuendos. I’m rather more suprised by the attitude of people who at some level must believe in socialist revolution engaging in this ridiculous kind of slander and simply refusing to engage in any serious debate about the very real problems of the national question as it has historically confronted the left in the Middle East.

    Its sad.

  63. JohnHangUntilGamey said,

    The Palestinian modernists won out.
    Then lost to the 7th century theocrats.
    Buts its OK.
    They kill Jews.

  64. johng said,

    I really think it comes to something when people are allowed to post under monickers implying deaththreats to socialists. WTF is wrong with you people?

  65. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    monickers implying deaththreats to socialists.

    where exactly did that happen? the precise wording please

  66. said,

    but I think Igor hit the nail on the head when he wrote:

    You still haven’t adequately explained why you favour one nationalism and dismiss another. Therefore people are very likely to insinuate that this inconsistency is because of anti-Americanism and anti-semitism.

    on the surface of things, you might suppose that the likes of the SWP determine their political positions by orientation themselves towards any enemies of America (or Israel) and in this case because it might be argued that the Kurds are more “American” friendly then that is a black mark against them in the SWP book, thus the ambivalence

    and so it is with the Palestinians, their “enemy” is Israel thus the SWP support them, I would expect that once Israel and the Palestinians finally settle their disputes then the Palestinians will be subject to venom from SWP ideologues, such as JohnG

    it’s all a very crude way of thinking, no matter how JohnG dresses it up and it goes against the long held notion of self-determination for oppressed people, but that is probably just another shibboleth?

  67. voltaires_priest said,

    Voltaire I have no memory of being called on anything.

    I would refer you to the comments that you recently attributed to me on Lenin’s Tomb, presumably in the hope that I wouldn’t notice. I replied, you vanished without responding, predictably.

    It is not post-modernist to oppose primordialist theories of nationalism.

    It is post-modernist to divert a substantive discussion by quibbling over the definition of one word in one sentence in a large article. It is also in any case not “basic Marxism” to define a nation as a state – they are not synonymous. Further, it is rank hypocrisy for you to line up uncritically with anyone who shares your basic stance on national questions where you do support the struggle for independence (cf Palestine, whose nationhood you don’t quibble about), but to humm and hah about it on Kurdistan when we all reading this can take a good guess at the real reason why you’re doing so.

    As to bizarre accusations that I accused Kurds of being a clan (I didn’t actually: I stated that the term ‘nation’ was used in the pre-modern period, in both Europe and the Middle East to refer to lots of things: clan being one of them)

    More backwheeling.

    I’m amazed that you allow rabid Zionists to conduct hate campaigns against Socialists on this site which involve grotesque maligning of both individuals and basic Marxist catagories. As I said, a peculiar form of popular frontism this.

    The “rabid Zionists” also wonder at why I allow a member of the SWP to come on here, write incoherent po-mo influence wibblings, slander people and misattribute stances without fear of censure or ban. I do so because I support the idea of freedom of speech. And if you think someone calling you a silly name constitutes a “hate campaign” then you really haven’t been through a lot in life.

  68. voltaires_priest said,

    I really think it comes to something when people are allowed to post under monickers implying deaththreats to socialists. WTF is wrong with you people?


    Have you been on the sauce?

  69. voltaires_priest said,

    it’s all a very crude way of thinking, no matter how JohnG dresses it up and it goes against the long held notion of self-determination for oppressed people, but that is probably just another shibboleth?

    Of course, we all know that he’d instantaneously reverse his stance and stop blithering on about the Agas if the PUK declared war on the US…

  70. TWP said,

    Regardless of my disagreements with JohnG, I think that the nasty comments which are intended to belittle his going to univeristy are bullshit. I currently attend uni three nights a week as well as having a job, work extremely hard at my course work and enjoy engaging with fellow students about politics.

    I’m all for people disagreeing, but personally insulting someone because they are getting an education is just crass anti-intellectualism. What should JohnG and I be doing? Working in a factory to prove our working class credentials – oh wait scratch that – I already did that for 4 years when I was in the US SWP! Let’s stop this nonsense and stick to the politics of the debate.

  71. tim said,

    Theres nothing wrong with John going to university,besides the fact that he hasn’t learnt much.
    The problem is with his reflex support for any “nationalist” movement that is anti US,UK or Israel while searching for caveats in the case of any others.
    Plus his support for anti semitic fascists.

  72. said,

    TWP wrote:

    What should JohnG and I be doing? Working in a factory to prove our working class credentials

    the issue primarily is not one of working-class credentials but one of intellectual honesty, and what should be expected from budding academics

    my understanding is that academic research should be based on evidence based reasoning, where there is a search for plausible and intellectually robust interpretations of the evidence, but that is not always the case with JohnG’s utterances

    I think people expect more of him, an occasional bit of honesty, the ability to admit that he doesn’t understand something or that he could be wrong and that, more importantly he does not misrepresent peoples views (as with Volty’s comment, I saw it a few weeks back somewhere in Lenin’s Tomb haloscan stuff)

    JohnG has a long history of this type of behaviour, which has been pointed out by many of the professional academics at Harry’s Place and it is very disappointing

    one moment JohnG is quite reasoned and intelligent, the next moment he’s a complete political hack defending the indefensible, that is the issue

    even if JohnG had a highly privileged up bringing and is seeking his doctorate at the moment, that is by the by, it is how he conducts debates that is annoying, not necessarily his opinions

    I think the reason that many SWPers misrepresent their political opponents views is simple, they cannot deal with the real arguments so they have to construct a strawman to beat to death, and this type of tactic becomes obvious in the textual environment where people’s previous statements can be pointed out to them and shown in the light of their current views, thus contradictions can be highlighted

    that works for most people except for political hacks who will 1) deny that they said it 2) says is a complete misinterpretation 3) split hairs 4) ignore strong evidence when it does not suit them 5) vanish until the debate is finished 6) etc

    So I don’t think it’s too much to ask that fairly well-educated people (such as JohnG) try not to indulge in cheap political tricks, subterfuge, downright lying and evasion

    Such tactics are not new and become very boring after the 100th incarnation and all the waffle in the world cannot hide JohnG’s intellectual dishonesty and twisting of words

    TWP, if you’re in any doubt of the above, please do consult HP’s topics on Atzmon, the Middle East, etc and JohnG’s comments, also Lenin’s Tomb is replete with them, please don’t take my word for it, have a look around and see,

    I would hope that people aspiring to academic qualifications at least placed some of their views on evidence based reasoning, rather than crude ideology and political lines passed down to them by others, perhaps one day JohnG will realise that

  73. johng said,


    Thats a death threat voltaire. I don’t know why your so blind to these things and then act all surprised when people simply report on it. I didn’t attribute anything to you. I simply stated what you said. Please explain what was false about it.

    Modernities (and others) pet theories about why I think what I think (based on nothing I have ever said) and long disquisitions on how my style of argument falls below what is expected of academics seem to boil down to little more then that he disagree’s with my opinions.

    I have outlined my position on the questions that people have asked me about. Not a single person has responded to a single point I’ve made. I just have to assume that no one here is capable of discussion that aren’t simply propagandistic ranting.

    Its a shame and quite sad as I noted.

  74. johng said,

    One things for sure. One knows exactly how seriously to take Voltaire’s interest in the situation of the Kurds. In any case, rather charecteristically he seems to be in favour of the formation of a Kurdish state and the partitioning of Iraq, but not in favour of anyone doing anything about it. Presumably the line is to hang on and as the situation deteriates it will happen anyway. Genuinely puzzled by what he means on this. Oh and incidently it would be nice if he learnt to read. I didn’t say that the nation is the same as the state. I stated that the notion that ‘nations’ persist for thousands of years is a foolish thing to say. However I simply wrote a line about this. If he had simply conceded that that wasn’t a particularly apt formulation it would have ended there.

    But that would have meant that no one would have been any the wiser about the history of Kurdish nationalism and the reasons why it has always been a tricky question for the left (it also explains why despite himself he found himself unable to explain in his original post why different factions were behaving in the way they were; perhaps he thought they just were’nt very clever or something. Well now he knows. The least he could do would be to thank me.

    I mean I’m not even paid!

  75. johng said,

    Oh yes. A great example of honest debate is to misrepresent what someone said (on ‘clans’) and when they correct it, accuse them of ‘backtracking’.

  76. JohnGameoftwohalves. said,

    And this is a threat to chop you in half?


  77. said,


    you state above that you don’t favour the partition of Iraq? I think that is a fair representation of your views, please correct me if I am wrong

    that being the case, please can you explain how the existing groups in Iraq might function together?

    I say this, because if you are a supporter of the “resistance” (and by default some degree of the sectarian violence, as they go hand in hand, etc) then you cannot be necessarily in favour of the existing parliamentary system in Iraq which seems to be trying to stabilise the country, the two do not go together

    the heightened violence which is integral to the actions of the “resistance” seem to increase the probability of the partition of Iraq, not lessen it

    if you disagree with that, please explain how the violence and lack of stability enhances the probability of Iraq remaining one country, and not three statelets

    The violence in Iraq may reach such a point where some ethnic groups decide that partition is the least worst “solution” for them, so the supporters of the “resistance” have to answer:

    how does the continued violence affecting the likelihood of Iraq breaking up?

    please engage with that argument, if you can

  78. johng said,

    “if you are a supporter of the “resistance” (and by default some degree of the sectarian violence, as they go hand in hand, etc) then you cannot be necessarily in favour of the existing parliamentary system in Iraq which seems to be trying to stabilise the country, the two do not go together”

    Its absolutely true that I am not in favour of the current political system in Iraq. The government is deeply sectarian, backed up by militia’s killing civilians on about the same scale as sectarian jihadists on the other side. One side is allied with the coalition the other side is not. Both forces are a barrier to the consolidation of national unity.

    The desire of the coalition was to ensure the emergence of a regime that was pro-western and at the same time stable (with the emphasis on the former). These were, I believe, incompatible goals (I’ll always remember Bremner declaring that Arab Nationalism had to be removed from Iraq). This meant that everything possible was done to wipe out those forces which might oppose the occupation (in all communities) and bolster those who would support it. These tended to be the sectarians.

    Despite this the overwhelming majority of military actions carried out by those not in the coalition forces are directed against coalition forces (attacks running at several hundred a day at one point). Targetting civilians is easier however and kills more people. You only need a few attacks a day (and a much less sizable infrastructure of support) to kill huge numbers of people, particularly as protecting civilians is not regarded as part of the mission of coalition troops or anybody else apart from various militia’s on both sides. The general propaganda of the coalition has been to reduce the resistance to the sectarian killers on both sides. I do not believe this is borne out by the facts.

    Zarkawi and his ilk’s stated aim was to prevent the resistance falling into the hands of nationalist forces (which to them would have been a disaster: there was much worry about the potential for what might be called the Hizbollah effect of a nationalist resistance undermining the Al Qaida elements). Hence the massive targetting of sectarian targets to ensure that those elements around Al Sadr, at one point one of the only figures who looked capable of uniting sections of the insurgency across sectarian lines, would be pushed into the sectarian logic. This worked to a considerable extent, the rubicon being crossed with Al Sadr’s participation in the deeply sectarian occupation government with its organised pogroms and militia’s based inside government buildings. But the horror and scale of this assault partly reflected the panic about the alternatives.

    The demonstration of a few weeks ago appeared to mark a shift back to a more nationalist position. I therefore don’t see sectarianism as an ‘integral’ part of the resistance, rather I see sectarianism as a feature of both the system set up by the British and the Americans AND the main barrier to the consolidation of resistance forces. To me they are opposites. A lurch towards sectarianism is associated on the Shi-ite side with participation in the occupation government and on the Sunni side with opposition to Iraqi nationalism (the main threat to the occupation and its supporters).

    The coalition forces I’m sure would genuinely like to see the violence stop. However they are also caught out by the fact that the traditions of Iraqi nationalism which could unite people tends to be based around Arab Nationalism and percieved (in many ways correctly) as the main opponents of the coalition. This is why the coalition did so much to destroy the basis for the unity of the country at the same time as genuinely wishing for stability. To cut a long story short the Americans and the British were the last people on this earth who could have bought either stability or democracy to any country in this region.

    You speak of ‘ethnic groups’ . Sunni’s and Shia’s are confessional identities, with something like one in six marriages in Iraq (this is from memory) being mixed marriages (many are now having to live apart: most would prefer this not to be a permenant arrangement). There are all sorts of other identities as well. In the past tribalism was of great importance (for all I know it probably still is, although I’ve heard that the turmoil of the last five years has utterly rewritten the map on this along with the relationship of larger communities). Understandably, overwhelmingly, Iraqi’s are against partition. Understandably (and overwhelmingly) they believe that the foreign forces should get out immediately (these polls, rather amazingly, included Kurdistan). I think this reflects a good understanding of the connection between the occupiers, the type of government they have, and the tragic dynamic unfold with such intensity.

    Obviously you would believe its a kind of false consiousness or something. But most Iraqi’s want the occupiers to leave. Apparently the game is to concieve of the right to self determination and democratic institutions, in terms that self determination means anything but that. A partitioned Iraq would represent a compromise between western interests and the handful of politicians who now sit in the Green zone. It would not be a compromise between the existing peoples of Iraq.

    I have heard of no evidence that Sunni’s and Shia’s want to see partition (this would probably lead to millions of deaths, and would by no means end the violence, something that escapes advocates but probably doesn’t escape most Iraqi’s) , no evidence that there is a growing body of opinion favouring this or the increased carnage that would result. I do see a lot of people determined to ensure that, as that great man Douglas Hurd said on Question Time last night, ‘we have a dignified exit strategy’ , and seeing partition as one way of achieving that (blame the Iraqi’s for their problems not ourselves). In many ways this just continues the pattern set from the beginning. It was never about the Iraqi’s or their interests. It was about us and ours.

    And thats why there is carnage in Iraq and you can be sure that our mode of exit will ensure even greater carnage.

    After all we have to ensure that we don’t look silly.

    So as per usual I don’t accept your premisses modernity. Obviously this makes me dishonest, someone whose standards of reasoning are below par, etc, etc.

    But there you go.

  79. S said,

    Bit like blaming the disease that killed Tito for Bosnia, John.

  80. Will said,

    John G:

    Thats a death threat voltaire.”


    Har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har har etc. What a fucking tosspot. A death threat!? What a fucking jerkoff Game is. When he’s not tying himself up in knots with his deconstructivist Foucauldian drivel and assaulting us with his own personal viral marketing spam campaign he’s taking himself far too seriously to the point that his egotistical ‘pseudo-defiance as virtue’ stance only makes his pathetic personal ennui all the more blatant and banal at the same time. What an idiotic and ludicrous ritual in and of itself your whole existence must be. Twat.

  81. tim said,

    John G:

    Thats a death threat voltaire.”

    And I thought Justin Horton ran off with the Lenins Tomb pomposity prize.

  82. said,


    thanks for your contribution, however it did not engage with the question:

    how does the continued violence affect the likelihood of Iraq breaking up?

    by which, I mean, does the violence in Iraq increase the probability of Iraq breaking up or lessen it?/

    what is your opinion on that particular point

  83. voltaires_priest said,

    One things for sure. One knows exactly how seriously to take Voltaire’s interest in the situation of the Kurds. In any case, rather charecteristically he seems to be in favour of the formation of a Kurdish state and the partitioning of Iraq, but not in favour of anyone doing anything about it.

    Bollocks. That’s a misrepresentation of what I wrote – as I’m sure you’re more than literate enough to realise. What I’m not in favour of, is the Turkish army butchering Kurds in a war that the peshmerga couldn’t possibly win. That’s because unlike some, I don’t get off on seeing people martyred to a cause, and shouting about it from the safety of a postgrad common room in London.

  84. voltaires_priest said,


    Thats a death threat voltaire.

    LMFAO! That’s what you think is a “death threat”?

    Only if you consider “JohnI’mdonestickaforkinme” to be a threat to impale you on a spike, is that a death threat. Pull yourself together, you big baby. 😉

  85. voltaires_priest said,

    Regardless of my disagreements with JohnG, I think that the nasty comments which are intended to belittle his going to univeristy are bullshit. I currently attend uni three nights a week as well as having a job, work extremely hard at my course work and enjoy engaging with fellow students about politics.

    I went to university too TWP, as probably did most contributors on here. However I (and indeed you) don’t consider that a reason to drivel pompously on, writing vacuous sub-Derridean garbage about every subject under the sun. And therein lieth the difference.

  86. Will said,

    Is there anything Game isn’t an ‘expert’ on? Anything at all?

    Volty said…”as I’m sure you’re more than literate enough to realise.”

    Nope – I’m not buying into that shit Volty. He’s obviously thick as a pile of elephant shit. Anyone who’s a member of the SWP is by definition for fuck’s sake!

  87. johng said,


    I think the sectarian violence (carried out by the existing parliamentry regime as much as by the jihadists) makes the breakup of Iraq more likely. I think the only solution to this is successful mobilisation against the Coalition backed regime (which would of course and does of course, include violence. So it depends whose violence we’re talking about. The violence of the coalition forces, the regime and the Jihadists is certainly a barrier to national unity.

    However this should be qualified. It is very unclear to me that there is any move towards partition from ordinary Iraqi people or even from the sectarians. This is a brutal sectarian confrontation but I don’t think its goals are partition. Its goals revolve around questions of sovereignty and the shape of the future state.

    The pressure to partition is coming solely from sections of the US foreign policy establishment. So in the end its very unclear whether the levels of violence have anything to do with the likliehood of partition. This will seem a strange conclusion but I think its neccessary to understand that even sectarian horror has its politics, and these are not the politics of partition. Those come entirely from outside.

  88. johng said,


    So what do you think the Kurdish position should be? I thought it seemed to revolve around waiting as the situation worsens, perhaps the logic of the situation will simply lead to a state of its own accord. I also said though that I was unclear what your advocating (and was a bit sarcastic about this generally being the way on this site).

    Perhaps you could clarify what exactly it is that you ARE advocating (or as Modernity would say ‘Answer the question you lying liar who has not just let us down but let himself down’ etc, etc).

  89. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    I think the sectarian violence…makes the breakup of Iraq more likely.

    Good, I am glad that we have agreed that most obvious of points, that the continued violence in Iraq increases the probability of some form of partition.

    Now such a partition may not be part of a long-term plan of the participants but it might be a consequence of their participation in violence.

    and your stated position is that you are against partition. so therefore why does the SWP and Respect support and excuse various groups which participate in violence (Muqtada al-Sadr, etc) ??

    that’s the contradiction: an opposition to partition and yet support for groupings whose actions would probably lead to partition

    you can argue it anyway you like, but had some political deal within the current Iraqi power structures been possible then the likelihood of partition would have been nearly non-existent

    thus, supporters of the “resistance” are in a bind, the actions of the “resistance” may well lead to the eventually partition of Iraq, something that they are probably against

    Here is where the intellectual dishonesty comes in, instead of acknowledging that the actions of the “resistance” may well lead to the partition of Iraq a certain sleight of hand is needed, to explain away the violence and, how by inference the “resistance” is not really responsible for it.

  90. johng said,

    Not dishonesty Modernity. Disagreement. I’ve often noticed that you can’t tell the difference. I explained perfectly well why I don’t think its inconsistant to support the resistance and oppose partition. You’ve ignored all my actual arguments (as well as the facts of what is actually going on in Iraq) and somehow concluded that I am being ‘dishonest’. Its a really curious proceedure and the complete inability to have sensible discussions with people who disagree with you is something I’ve always found quite chilling about you. You tend to imagine yourself as an interrogator rather then a discussant. Its bizarre.

  91. Will said,

  92. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    I explained perfectly well why I don’t think its inconsistant to support the resistance and oppose partition.

    have you? rather than wishful thinking, I suggest that the concrete situation be examined:

    had there been participation in the Iraqi power structures then a deal could have been cut between the major groupings and that lead to an end to violence, but there hasn’t been

    that, above all else, increases the probability of partition

    even subconsciously supporters of the “resistance” appreciate that, even if they cannot acknowledge that the actions of the “resistance” might well lead to partition

    what then follows is some intellectual gymnastics which involves claiming the violence on everyone but the “resistance”

    and finally, we will be told that partition is really part of some American agenda and that absolves the “resistance” of any blame, it is all rather predictable, even if wrapped up in 10,000 words

  93. voltaires_priest said,

    So what do you think the Kurdish position should be? I thought it seemed to revolve around waiting as the situation worsens, perhaps the logic of the situation will simply lead to a state of its own accord. I also said though that I was unclear what your advocating (and was a bit sarcastic about this generally being the way on this site).

    I support the establishment of a Kurdish state, certainly in what is now Northern Iraq and in all probability encompassing what are now parts of southern Turkey and Iran as well. However, in order for that to happen in a manner that is secure, there needs to be a realignment of the political forces whose fratricidal infighting has nearly destroyed the Kurdish liberation movement on a number of previous occasions.

    So – as I thought was already obvious, I’m for a united Kurdish national liberation movement taking power. That isn’t what we have at the moment. I’m not for the peshmerga being slaughtered by a regional superpower before that can happen. Hence the position that I arrived at in the article.

    I’m also not for reactionary scum like Ansar Al-Islam having political influence in the region. Hence my support for the PUK (flawed though that group’s own politics may be) kicking their arses all over, and my differentiation from that crude so-called “anti-imperialism” which defines itself by supporting whoever’s currently lined up against the USA.

  94. voltairespriest said,

    Now, what are you in favour of?

  95. johng said,

    “had there been participation in the Iraqi power structures then a deal could have been cut between the major groupings and that lead to an end to violence, but there hasn’t been”

    Why hasn’t there been Modernity? Seriously its a bit of a tautology to suggest that if there there was a deal there could be an end to violence.

    I remain convinced that there will not be any possibility of an end to violence until the occupation forces leave (and most Iraqi’s actually agree with this, and indeed would like the occupation forces to leave).

    For one thing with the occupation forces gone the longed for confrontation between the nationalists and the jihadists would be much more likely and much more possible.

    I suspect that I know rather more about the reality of the situation on the ground then you do but this does not imply any special virtue or that my conclusions are neccessarily correct. But it does imply that your argumentative style which involves imputing ignorence and wishful thinking could be turned back on you.

    Certainly, those who supported the invasion in the name of democracy were totally ignorent of the society (one of the leading British scholars of which remembers the utter lack of curiousity about it amongst officials here) and if accusations of wishful thinking are to be hurled about it would seem best directed at those who think Britain and the US have a positive role to play in the region (given the wealth of evidence that this is not the case).

    However you are quiet correct that I am very concerned that after having totally destroyed this society (not the ba’athist state for which I have no regrets) Britain and the US should be held to account, rather then get away with the usual intellectual gymnastics and refusal to take responsibility for their own actions.

  96. johng said,

    My own position is that whilst I support the right of self determination I wouldn’t advocate it, particularly given the difficulties which you referred to, which I explained. Its unclear to me what the point is of advocating vast re-arrangements of political borders in the absence of any united movement demanding such a thing or the vaguest possibility that one might emerge.

    However recognition without advocacy isn’t empty. In the context of Iran, Turkey and Iraq it would mean demanding equal rights in language, education and development, and recognition that as long as such things are not achieved those denied these fruits have the right to fight back and should be defended in doing so whatever ideologies they have or whatever the limitations of their struggle.

    I’d have a rather similar position on Basque seperatism.

    But I am not an advocate of a greater Kurdistan as I don’t see this as a concrete way forwad. In a way you agree but seem to want to have it both ways. I prefer to be straight about the real problems that exist.

    Its also true however that I think its an extraordinarily tricky question, and I don’t see what the point is (aside from trumpeting our own virtue) in pretending that it isn’t.

  97. johng said,

    Here is our Lenin on the latest discussions about the partition in Iraq – in Washington not in Iraq:

  98. Will said,

    Fucking spamming bastard!

    Delete button Volty! Jim! Delete the fucker! Get rid of!

    “our Lenin” — har har har! What a fucking wanker you are Game. And a creepy crawly fucking one at that. [shiver].

  99. said,

    JohnG wrote

    Seriously its a bit of a tautology to suggest that if there was a deal there could be an end to violence.

    fairly obviously had there been a political deal then there would have been little reason for the various factions, groupings, etc to necessarily indulge in violence

    but that brings us back of violence and the “resistance”, and if the increasing violence leads to partition, then the Western supporters of the “resistance” have to explain away the violence perpetrated by the “resistance”

    they have a number of options:

    1) to suggest that the “resistance” isn’t really guilty of much violence

    2) to state that the “resistance” is only guilty of violence against coalition forces and not against Iraqi administration, blowing up the UN building or attacking civilians, etc

    3) that the violence is perpetuated mainly by the coalition forces

    4) violence is perpetuated by the Jihadists and not the “resistance”

    5) etc

    all of that seems to require a blatant disregard for logic

    Which shows the inconsistency and irrationality of Western supporters of the “resistance”, if the facts don’t fit the ideology, change the facts and blame everyone else but the “resistance” for the violence


  100. said,

    I disagree

    JohnG’s comments should be left for posterity and in a few months time when he’s done a 180 degree turn on some topic, he can be reminded of them.

    He will then probably explain how there’s no inconsistency nor could there ever be, irrespective of any change in his views!

  101. voltaires_priest said,

    Its unclear to me what the point is of advocating vast re-arrangements of political borders in the absence of any united movement demanding such a thing or the vaguest possibility that one might emerge.

    Just because there isn’t one specific movement demanding it, does not illegitimise the demand. It doesn’t after all stop you supporting “the resistance” in Iraq, which in reality represents dozens of different competing interests with different demands.

    The reality is that all major political forces in Kurdistan, regardless of the differences between them, support self-determination even if (like the PUK to some degree) they are willing to submerge that demand somewhat for the time being. The historical injustice involved is different to that afflicting the Basques, and the case for a state at least as strong as that of the Palestinians – you certainly haven’t convincingly made a case to the contrary. The majority of Kurds overall certainly want a state as well, and identify firmly as a people.

    I think the reality here is that the SWP – contrary to its previous stance on Kurdistan – has now taken a crude “but the Kurds are lined up with the US” angle on this, which you’re trying to intellectualise retrospectively. Doing that simply does not work.

  102. voltaires_priest said,


    John’s comments stay up. I may think most of them are bollocks, but he’s well within the (loose) behavioural bounds of this blog, therefore he has the right to make them. It’s what makes the difference between comments threads that – whilst they may sometimes get fractious – contain actual debate, and ones that contain endless repetitions of a certain blogger’s university mates going “great post Lenny!”, seemingly regardless of subject or content. 😉

  103. Will said,

    Basta. I was wanting to get the 100th comment here as well. Mod beat me to it. Damn.

    Here’s an idea – if you won’t delete the dumb fucker’s New-Age, pseudo-intellectual, nihilist, obsurantist drivel why not set up another blog for him and put up one post and let the onanist wank on to himself in the comments box to his heart’s content? It’ll keep him busy and the rest of us amused if nothing else!

  104. johng said,

    A bit crude really Modernity. You begin by suggesting that your own take on what is really happening in Iraq is simply indubitable and you then present a list of possible arguments against them (none of which you invalidate or examine empirically) as neccessarily simply ideologically motivated because they are obviously false (without demonstrating that they’re false). Its not very convincing unless your already convinced that the standard coalition line is the only correct way to understand whats happening in Iraq.

    Voltaire seems to be operating on a similar sort of basis in the sense that his refusal to argue seriously seems connected to his ideological beliefs about my ideological beliefs (which obviously I don’t share). In terms of two substantive points he makes. I don’t think the extent of oppression should be the basis on whichwe decide about the national question and the different forms it takes (ie the comparison between Basque nationalism and Kurdish nationalism was intended to draw parrallels between positions it was possible to hold not between the extent of oppression).

    In the second place you will note that I was very careful to say that as long as national oppression continues I would support those fighting against it without neccessarily approving of their program or aims. On that basis your accusation of inconsistancy rather fails given that there is not a fight on at the moment to build a greater kurdistan whilst there is a fight on (supported by the majority of the population in Iraq) to get the US and British troops out.

  105. Will said,

    Fucking hell.


  106. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    You begin by suggesting that your own take on what is really happening in Iraq is simply indubitable…

    wasn’t my take, it was a line of reasoning, there is a slight difference

    I am always happy to hear intelligent views based on the evidence, but clearly that was not going to happen in any dialogue with you

    so the inconsistency of you and many “anti-imperialist” supporting a “resistance” whose actions will probably lead to partition, even though many of them are against it, is all too apparent to anyone, moderately objective, who reads this exchange

    in terms of what’s going on in Iraq, I would like to defer to your “extensive” knowledge of it, however, as I have found you disingenuous in the past on rather simple subjects then I am loath to trust your judgement of the complex and ever-changing situation in Iraq (I hope you see the connection between the two?)

    but given your insights into the “reality of the situation on the ground”, please could you tell us which of the various groupings, factions etc within the Iraqi “resistance” that you support?

    for the sake of clarity, to avoid any possible misunderstandings in the future 🙂

  107. johng said,

    I think I supplied a fair amount of evidence (in the sense that I repeated things that are widely known and agreed, for instance the numbers of attacks on coalition forces when contrasted with the numbers of sectarian attacks). I also attempted to supply a framework which could make sense of the evidence. You had nothing to say about either, and nor did you supply either evidence or really a framework, to back up your own line of reasoning, save perhaps your dislike for stoppers.

    You certainly haven’t supplied any evidence that ‘resistance’ leads to ‘partition’ unless we are to take it that the US deciding to partition Iraq to avoid embarressment, makes it illogical for those of us who oppose partition to support the resistance to it.

    I can recall you accusing me of being disengenuous in the past, but as far as I can remember this related either to the fact that you disagreed with me, or on the other hand that I refused to accept your premisses (as I did above) for the simple reason that I simply don’t think they’re true.

    In terms of which factions I would support, the truth is, that its actual composition is very difficult to determine. We know that in its origins much of it was locally based, we know that it must have a very large infrastructure indeed (probably enjoying at one time or another active support from very large sections of the population). We also know that sections of the resistance have been pulled by sectarianism (this is not at all unusual in movements of this sort) and that other sections have pulled against it. Any socialist in Iraq today would be arguing against the sectarianism which has come to infect sections of the resistance. They would not be arguing against resistance.

    Its clear that Iraq is today hell on earth. But I support those people who want to drive the coalition out, and opinion polls show, so do most Iraqi’s (and these polls are conducted across the various divides).

  108. johng said,

    Or to take a leaf out of modernities book…Do you support the right of Iraqi’s to take up arms against the coalition….if not why not?

    (question addressed to all assembled).

  109. johng said,

    Very interesting piece on the origins of modern Kurdish nationalism and its relationship to the shaping of Kemalist politics in Turkey:

  110. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    Any socialist in Iraq today would be arguing against the sectarianism which has come to infect sections of the resistance.

    a lot of socialists that were in Iraq are probably dead, killed by your glorious “resistance”

    concerning evidence of partition, I simply don’t know, and I’m bloody sure you don’t know what the discussions going on are within the various factions in Iraq, sure they are highly intelligent people and have probably considered this is one option, but whether or not they would openly advocated now is another matter, that’s politics

    Iraq is hardly like any other country and so the political discussions, which must go on, do not necessarily percolate out to parts of Europe particularly in this time of war

    and just to correct misconception, I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq and in fact was on a few of the Stop The War coalition demos, that was before I realised that their agenda was in fact pro war, just the other side

    It is perfectly possible to oppose the invasion of Iraq, welcome Saddam Hussein’s dethronement and oppose radical Islamist groups which kill trade unionists, socialists, liberals, feminists, gays and others.

    Opposition to the invasion of Iraq does not automatically, as you seem to think, mean that people should support kidnappers, beheaders, suicide bombers, or those that indulge in gas attacks. The two do not naturally follow.

    as for asking questions, you seem a touch indignant at the very idea of someone questioning your views, which is strange for anyone engaged in politics or academia

    I appreciate that someone of your privileged background is sometimes taken aback when people question your views but I like to exercise the prerogative of the surly working-class when faced with your constant evasions and irrational reasoning 🙂

  111. Will said,

    For fuck’s sake Mod. Gameboy is just a typical PB stupid ignorant twattish cultist. Just call him a fucking imbecilc fuckwit. That does the job! Nowt more is needed!

  112. voltaires_priest said,

    Voltaire seems to be operating on a similar sort of basis in the sense that his refusal to argue seriously seems connected to his ideological beliefs about my ideological beliefs (which obviously I don’t share).

    1) I do argue seriously, and you have yet to come up with a convincing refutation of anything I’ve posited.

    2) It’s not a question of “ideological beliefs”, but of you trying to retrospectively justify a change in party line, with which you may or may not personally agreee.

  113. johng said,


    1) you haven’t responded to a single point I’ve made Voltaire. There is nothing for me to refute aside from a lot of personalised nonsense.

    2) I’m unaware that I’m trying to retrospectively justify anything, and am unaware of any change in line.


    1) There is ample evidence that those resisting the coalition bitterly oppose rather then support partition. There is also ample evidence that most of the population bitterly oppose partition. And its not true that politics in Iraq is ‘unlike politics anywhere else’ (this is one of the strangest things I’ve ever read, talk about special pleading).

    2) “Stop The War coalition demos, that was before I realised that their agenda was in fact pro war, just the other side”,

    well we opposed the war and now we oppose the occupation. Some of us support the right to resist the occupation whilst others are pacifists. Thats pretty much the same as the positions composing any anti-war movement that has ever existed.

    3) You have not answered my question (I’m borrowing your style) do you support the right of Iraqi’s to take up arms against the occupation? Stop engaging in your privilaged upper middle class wavering. I am a stout and honest proletarian outraged by your post-modern twaddle.

  114. voltaires_priest said,

    1) you haven’t responded to a single point I’ve made Voltaire. There is nothing for me to refute aside from a lot of personalised nonsense.

    That is simply untrue, as anyone reading back over this thread can clearly see.

  115. Clive said,

    I’ve come in late on this and can’t be bothered to read the whole fucking thing. But if I’ve picked up the gist correctly:

    Volty: there are issues, aren’t there, about

    a) whether we should actively favour the break-up of Iraq (I take it as read that the Kurds have the *right* to independence). This is especially so given the areas which would be contested, and the consequences, in terms of ethnic confilct, if there were an actual Kurdish secession.

    b) whether an indpendent Kurdistan consisting of the various, or main, Kurdish areas currently in Turkey, Iraq and Iraq, is actually posed by the Kurdish struggle. Neither in Iran nor Iraq has the Kurdish movement ever particularly favoured full secession and hooking up with the Kurds in what is now Turkey; and there are quite substantial differences, even in language as I understand it, between these Kurdish communities.

    Again, it is axiomatic that they have the right to such a state if they want it. (As an aside, if I understand Johng’s view, ie, one imagines, the SWP’s, at least part of it seems rather Luxemburgist. Part of Luxemburg’s objection to Polish self-determination was that in order to achieve it you’d have to overthrow three empires, and if you could do that, why bother with a Polish state? There’s an echo of this in jhng’s objection to the practicality of a Kurdish state. I know there’s other stuff, but that’s part of it. The core to the classical Leninist position, though, surely, is about how to unite the working class – ie, on the basis of recognising oppressed people’s rights, regardless of ‘practicality’. Lenin mocked those who rejected self-determination as the equivalent to ‘the right to eat off gold plates’. It wasn’t about the practicality of it, it was about democracy.)

  116. voltairespriest said,


    Yes there are different dialects in various parts of Kurdistan – and indeed these differences are quite substantial. However Kurds largely do nevertheless identify as Kurds.

    It’s certainly true that the PKK and its various associate groups in Turkey have been the main force calling for full independence for Kurdistan over the past few decades, whereas the KDP and PUK have been more circumspect, and the various Iranian/Syrian Kurdish parties even more so. There are of course particular reasons for this, especially in the Iraqi case, where Barzani and Talabani have danced around each other for decades, just as they did with Saddam Hussein, moving from open confrontation to maneouvre and back again. However it is worth remembering that much of this is a question of tactics (and a certain willingness to trade principles for influence) rather than one of not wanting self-determination underneath. After all, the KDP retains branches in Iran, Syria and Turkey as well as in Iraq, and it does so for a reason.

    The question of the ramifications for the region is a different one – albeit not insignificant. Obviously if the various parts of Kurdistan were to be liberated and forged into a state, this would have enormous implications for the surrounding nations. It’s one of the reasons why Turkey has been so historically anxious about the Kurds – not only would a Kurdish state in all likelihood represent a regional rival, it would also probably entail a singificant loss of territory and population for Turkey.

  117. Clive said,

    I suppose my question is about the extent to which we – I mean socialists in the UK etc – should actively encourage the idea of a single Kurdish state.

    I’m rather impressed by the Iraqi worker-communist people – who are mainly Kurdish, and the party mainly has its origins in Kurdish groups – ‘s very forthright anti-nationalism. For sure they overstate that (they were, prior to 2003, very hostile to the call for self-determination at all, and they still, I think, oppose ‘autonomy’). If most Kurds in Iraq are, for the moment anyway, happy to have autonomous status in Iraq, I can’t see why it’s our business to try to get them to want independence. (Of course, if they *do* want independence…)

    I visited ‘northern Kurdistan’, the part currently in Turkey, about eighteen months ago. I was surprised by how many people said they simply couldn’t understand Kurds from further south. Nothing necessarily follows from this observation. But it was news to me.

  118. voltaires_priest said,

    I think we should offer it active support as long as it’s an idea which retains substantial support in Kurdish communities (which as far as I can gather it does).

    On the WCPI, I have to confess to having my doubts about them – as I think you’re aware. Whilst I appreciate their bravery, socialist politics in a difficult time and place etc, I’m just not sure that they have the implantation that they give the impression of having. How many Hekmatist cadre are there realistically in Northern Iraq, and what influence do their ideas have? Obviously even if they are marginal it doesn’t necessarily follow that they’re wrong, however in terms of gaining an impression of support for autonomy amongst Iraq Kurds I think it has a bearing.

  119. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    And its not true that politics in Iraq is ‘unlike politics anywhere else’

    as a courtesy to others I am going to take your arguments and not be distracted too much:

    I did not write “unlike…” and using CTRL F will indicate what I wrote. Please don’t misrepresent my views when it’s easy enough to cut and paste them.

    I think that the Iraqis are politically sophisticated and probably would have discussed all of the viable options available to them, even partition. Of course, as none of us are party to those discussions, and even fewer of us speak Arabic, then we will have to wait some years to find any evidence of that

    please understand: I am not (repeat: NOT) making a case for partition, I am speculating on the thinking of participants in Iraq and could happen there, and do try to understand that there is a difference

    Some of us support the right to resist the occupation whilst others are pacifists.

    Some? the political leadership of the Stop the War Coalition: Rees. German, etc support the insurgency, there is plenty of documentation to support that contention,

    If that isn’t the case, please provide evidence of two occasions when they condemned beheadings, suicide bombings or attacks on Iraqi trade unionists?

    you can’t, because they haven’t.

    now as for the StWC, they are against the invasion and the US presence in Iraq, but they’re not against the insurgencies attacks on civilians or soldiers, that’s the key difference and no sleight of hand on your behalf will change that

    which is why so many people have left the StWC, disgusted with the pro-insurgency sentiments of the StWC’s leadership

    If you want me to answer a question, try asking directly

    “Do you support the right of Iraqi’s to take up arms against the coalition….if not why not?”

    No. Not when there is a political mechanism in place, I do not support people’s rights to hack off the heads of others, I do not support people’s rights to attack gays or feminists, I do not support people’s rights to attack trade unionists, socialists or liberals, etc

    I do not support the right of Iraqis to carry out beheadings, suicide bombings, kidnappings, random shootings, the abduction and murder of children

    I do not support the right of Iraqis to carry out the bombing of mosques

    I do not support the right of Iraqis to carry out chlorine gas attacks

    and my reason is very clear:

    if I wouldn’t support such actions in Europe and other countries, then why would I find them somehow palatable in Iraq or the Middle East?

    I don’t.

    Therefore, no is the answer to your question. I am interested in politics, not in AK47s or encouraging armed militia. I’m interested in people resolving problems via politics, not via armed conflict.

    I think that mass movements and politics are the way to resolve such issues, not armed attacks.

    I hope that’s clear enough for you.

    JohnG, please make an effort to represent my views in their entirety (which is a basic minimum of academic work), it makes for more honest discussion and is less annoying.

  120. Clive said,

    My worry – it’s a worry; I’m not sure – is that a focus on a sort of Greater Kurdistan state would have very negative consequences in Iraq right now. The unfolding civil war isn’t rampant in the Kurdish north yet, but it could be. The break up of Iraq implies, probably, very fierce ethnic conflict in Kirkuk and Mosul, which would be disastrous.

    There is also a large Kurdish population in Bahgdad, where Sunni/Shi’a conflict is already intense. Throw the Kurds into that mix (as a consequence of fighting in the north, not because of a struggle over territory), and I think you have a very bad situation indeed.

    The Iraqi part of Kurdistan is (if you assume Kirkuk and Mosul are in it) the oil-rich part. A Greater Kurdistan includes it, crucially.

    If it’s what Iraqi Kurds really want, so be it. But maybe it isn’t. And if it isn’t, why would we or our co-thinkers be the ones to advocate it?

    I agree about the WCPI. I was lauding their general attitudes (on this issue), not suggesting they are especially representative.

  121. johng said,

    er..modernity, this is a blog and I have no more responsibilities then anyone else taking part here. Anyway you seem incapable of addressing the question or sticking to the subject (personal smears and referring to my job as often as possible). Suffice to say that we know more then nothing about political traditions in Iraq, as well as current ideologies, and not any of them, in terms of the current sectarian violence involve discussions of partition. There is tremendous HOSTILITY to the idea actually, and so much evidence for this that I don’t know why your flogging this dead horse. Elites would oppose it because of financial loss whilst for ordinary people it would be a horrifying prospect producing slaughter on a scale drawfing what we’re even seeing today. It would also utterly destroy and not restore working class unity: for generations.

    Clive raises some interesting points. My position on the difference between rights and advocacy is identical to his it seems, but he somehow manages to smear me as a Luxembourgist.

    I raised lots of points both about the historical origins of the things Clive refers to, and indeed about the potential for sectarian mayhem in the name of self determination and further dividing the working class. My point wasn’t about breaking up three empires so much as, er, largely the points Clive raises.

    I share Voltaire’s scepticism about the influence of the Hekimists though, and in any case, as would be obvious, think their third campism in relationship to imperialism both theoretically wrong, and politically suicidal.

  122. Jim Denham said,

    …but not as , literally, ‘suicidal’ as giving support to people who, given half a chance, will kill you, eh John?

  123. said,

    John wrote:

    Suffice to say that we know more then nothing about political traditions in Iraq, as well as current ideologies, and not any of them, in terms of the current sectarian violence involve discussions of partition.

    and before:

    Understandably, overwhelmingly, Iraqi’s are against partition.

    so on the one hand, allegedly we know next to nothing about the political traditions and previously we’re told that Iraqis are against partition, just how do you square the circle?

    anyway we know one thing, that humans in Iraq, Alaska, Timbuktu or London, engage in political discussions, they ponder the options “if we do that, then that might follow or even….” “how best can we do ….” etc

    I think many of the Iraqis have proven that they are considerably smarter at politics than their counterparts in Europe or the US, so it is best not to treatment like mindless pawns, as you seem to

    back to the StWC:

    so where is the evidence of the StWC leadership condemning the murder of Iraqi trade unionists? Do you have any?

  124. johng said,

    Modernity please explain the difference between:

    “Iraq is hardly like any other country” , with “Iraq is unlike any other country”.

    I’m not sure what ‘distortion’ and breach of the special standards expected of me I’m supposed to have committed here.

    On the other ludicrous allegations, many who support the stop the war movement have argued that the attempt to portray a) Iraq as a country where there are mechanisms other then physical force to get the Americans out or b) the resistance as made up entirely of loopey fundementalists, are disengenuous at best, and downright lies at worst (in the latter case covering up the vast machinary of repression, mass murder and sectarian communalism currently under construction with the help of coalition forces).

    After I try and explain this you respond by saying that there are alternative mechanisms and that all the resistance are a bunch of loopey fundementalists and sectarians, implying I support blowing up mosques. Its a fairly fruitless way to conduct discussion. You might, if you want to learn how to debate questions say, “John suggests that the majority of attacks are on coalition forces although the majority of casualties are created by the smaller number of people carrying out sectarian atrocities. He draws the unwarrented conclusion from this undoubted fact that….etc, etc.

    It is POSSIBLE to have rational debate you know.

  125. Will said,

    Why are you people still engaging with this disgusting cretin? Why give him the time of day? You think him and his fellow party automatons have *anything* to bring to the table?

    Gameboy’s pre-packaged rebel stance is nothing but nihilsm dressed up in old rags – Gameboy turns critique on its head by his partiality, limited expression, misrepresentations, outright distortions and miserable supernatural fortune telling. He’s nothing but a shitpot for irrationality – a dung storing chamber pot, a voyeur of other people’s suffering, a conduit for nothingness and a parasite to boot.

  126. Will said,

    Just to be clear — that’s parasitical on the labour movement.

  127. johng said,

    what does will bring to the table?

  128. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    “Iraq is hardly like any other country” , with “Iraq is unlike any other country”.

    I am talking about the on-going conflict in Iraq, NOT the Iraqis’ capacity to engage with political issues or ponder the future of their country, which I suspect they do daily

    as for the question, I can see that NO MATTER how I answered, you would disagree, notice my comment about mass movements and politics

    btw, I am not terribly interested in those 3rd hand arguments, either address my points here or don’t, and don’t try to evade the point:

    Have the StWC leadership EVER condemned the murder of Iraqi trade unionists or not?

    If so, provide some evidence or acknowledge that the StWC leadership haven’t

  129. Clive said,

    Is ‘Luxemburgist’ a ‘smear’? Anyway, the part of your argument, if I understood it right, which I thought was Luxemburgist wasn’t the advocacy vs rights as such, but the ‘impracticality’ bit. Beyond that your argument seemed to be all about feudalism and the nature of nations.

    Will, I give lots of people the time of day.

  130. johng said,

    I said that ‘we know more then nothing about Iraq’s political traditions’ not that we know nothing about Iraq’s political traditions. I was making the suggestion that you are talking as if they don’t have any and the whole thing is a complete mystery. Its not. There is an Iraqi nationalism which see’s it-self in pan-Arab terms, there is an Iraqi nationalism which has been described as ‘Iraq first’ which see’s its ties as being with some of its non-Arab neighbours etc, etc (I suggest Charles Tripp’s excellent book for a rundown, as well as Hanna Batatu). Yes Iraqi’s are intelligent and no they are not pawns (who said or assumed they were?) and thats why partition has not been seriously entertained as an option were politics has been conducted to disputes about national politics since the 1920’s. These national ways of understanding politics has been bought dearly by generations in struggles against foreign occupation, dictatorship and oppression. Its also true that one in six existing marriages in Iraq are mixed marriages. Why the hell would people want partition?

    Instead of trying to find textual contradictions where there are none, you might try and address substantive points. Just because some US spindoctors are talking up partition does not mean that this means this is something either that Iraqi’s want, or that they’re talking about, or that would naturally occur as a solution to their problems. Anymore then any other wierd idea dreamt up by Bush’s failing administration.

  131. johng said,

    “Is ‘Luxemburgist’ a ’smear’?”

    It is for rockhard Leninists like myself.

  132. johng said,

    Oh and Clive, I must insist that you read every single line of my superlative analyses before rushing to judgement. My argument about the importance of land, power and ethnicity was related to a real problem for Socialists in terms of the emptiness of suggesting that the only solution for the #many# peoples of the region all seceding from each other. The duty in terms of recognising rights to self determination for me does not lie in advocating it, but arguing that unless complete equality is guaranteed, responsibility for the consequences lies on the shoulders of the existing states who don’t grant it. Until such conditions of equality exist one supports the right of resistance without neccessarily being too keen on the consequences (ethnic cleansing, further division of the working class etc). But in relationship to Iraq I think the emphasis has to be on fighting sectarianism rather then advocating partition.

    The only impracticality I referred to was the non-existence of any actually reasonably unified movement demanding such a thing on the scale of ‘greater Kurdistan’. I don’t think the first goal of socialists ought to be to create one. I don’t see how this is different from what you were arguing.

  133. johng said,

    On the question of condemning the killing of civilians and the killing of trade unionists this has been done all the time, yes by people like Lyndsey German. The origins of this canard is that the STW did not support a particular speaking tour and does not take the view that the main task was to use the umbrella of the coalition supported government to build trade unions, a view I disagree with. But thats a whole other different subject from the subject either or partition, kurdish nationalism, or indeed the question of whether Iraqi’s have the right to take up arms against the occupation.

    On the question of mass movements you raised it in connection with the idea that where there are alternative mechanisms of representation then armed struggle is not justified. I dealt with that point. And my arguments are not second hand or third hand. They are entirely my own as I am a deeply original, innovative and exciting thinker.

    What does Will bring to the table incidently?

  134. Will said,

    “What does Will bring to the table incidently?”

    Cutlery and condiments.

    The cultlery to splice and dice your pretentious drivel and unimaginative theological discourse. Condiments to mask the distaste of having to glance upon your shitty little spambot comments.

    “rockhard Leninists like myself.”

    — you see what I mean by ‘rebel pose’? What a fucking jerk you are.

  135. Will said,

    “Clive:Will, I give lots of people the time of day.”

    What? Even fascist fellow travellers?

  136. Will said,

    Here’s what you do Clive, Volty etc…

    Start with the presumption of denying Gameboy’s, or his peers authority to speak on any matter whatsofuckingever – thus it becomes not a matter of proving them and him wrong but of proving whether they have any value whatsoever to the subject matter at hand. The rest follows easily once you do this. Of course, the initial first premise is the source of Game’s predictable whining.

  137. johng said,

    rockhard Leninists like myself.”

    — you see what I mean by ‘rebel pose’? What a fucking jerk you are”

    One thing you wouldn’t bring to the table would be a sense of humour fairly obviously. Is this a universal trait of the right, or is it just subjective?

  138. Will said,

    You dickhead.

    The point was that it wasn’t a very funny piece of self-parody you stupid piece of slime.

  139. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    On the question of condemning the killing of civilians and the killing of trade unionists this has been done all the time, yes by people like Lyndsey German.

    I come back to my previous question:

    so where is the evidence of the StWC leadership condemning the murder of Iraqi trade unionists? Do you have any?

    the key word that there is: evidence

    you make an assertion which provides no evidence to back up your argument, provide evidence and people might believe you

    a simple web link or 2 will suffice

    remember an assertion is not evidence

    so if you wish to maintain that the StWC has condemned the murder of Iraqi trade unionists, please provide a link or 2

  140. johng said,

    Will, given that everything we’ve argued about the consequences of the invasion has been proved correct, and everything you’ve ever argued has been proved wrong, I can understand the urge to shoot the messenger. But it won’t really make you feel better you know.

    And no, the anti-war movement is not responsible for your mistakes or the consequences of the policies you enthusiastically advocated and mocked other people for opposing.

    What are you going to do politically for the rest of your life? Must be quite frightening. Its not true that everything at some point is going to return back to normal you know. Do not adjust your television set. This is it.

    Believe it or not, the time isn’t far off when you won’t even have warm approval from the current crop of pro-war liberals and slavering Blairites. Within a few years all this ranting will be a source of terrific embarressment for anyone in mainstream politics. Its such a shame. Who could have predicted that all the power at the disposal of the western alliance (that field of ‘grown up politics’) could come a cropper.

    It really was a sensible move on your part. But history has played a terrible trick on you. The left wing cover isn’t useful anymore when the right no longer want to do the things you want to cover for. But thats all in the future. For the moment continue to make an arse of yourself…its fun.

    You can respond by pointing out the moral horror of me invoking schadenfreude at such a critical time if you like. Thats always entertaining.

  141. Will said,

    They haven’t done so because the likes of Hadi Saleh for instance, was in the wrong party for the SWP to even have the slightest sympathy. As an ICP member they consider him to have been a ‘quisling’ and so on.

    The swappy sectarian filthy scum.

  142. johng said,

    I don’t particularly wish to mantain anything modernity as I don’t feel I have anything to prove. I know that there is a long debate between Gilbert Achar and Alex Callinicos about the resistance. I know that there was a statement about the subject of killings of trade unionists (probably if you look up weasel words or something like that on HP it will turn up). If you want to look it up please do so. I don’t feel any need to prove anything for your satisfaction, particularly when its utterly irrelevent to the actual discussion we’ve been having and your raising it because you can’t respond to that discussion. Its not my fault you picked the wrong side, and nor is it the fault of the anti-war movement.

  143. Will said,

    Spamming twat.

  144. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    I don’t particularly wish to mantain anything modernity as I don’t feel I have anything to prove.

    there you have it, no evidence to your assertions, plenty of waffle but nothing else, QED

  145. Will said,

    They haven’t uttered a word in there shitty little rag or anywhere else about TUists being murdered and targetted.

    Lenny did the other day, say the ICP were all quislings and so tacitly gives agreement that socialists should be targeted for killing in Iraq. There you go — the SWP in the swamp with barbarian filth.

  146. johng said,

    Well I shouldn’t really because its just timewasting, but here is just one of the condemnations:

    although here is the condemnation of the ‘brutal murder’ of Hali Salah:

    Trade Unionists in Iraq

    Conference unequivocally condemns the brutal murder of IFTU International Secretary Hadi Saleh and all other attacks on trade unionists in Iraq

    The differences with IFTU were real though and are outlined below:


    Since the bloody and illegal invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq by US and British armies, the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) has consistently called for the withdrawal of foreign troops and the ending of the occupation. This position commands the support of the great majority of the British people, and was recently reaffirmed as the unanimous position of the TUC. It also commands the support of the majority of the Iraqi people, as evidenced by opinion polling carried out by the occupation forces themselves.

    At the same time StWC has always refrained from taking any position on the internal development of Iraq, since this is solely the preserve of the Iraqi people themselves. Affiliates of the Coalition have, of course, developed their own links with Iraqi organisations, according to their particular policies or spheres of interest.

    However, the recent activity of the representative of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) in Britain compels the StWC to make its position clear. In recent weeks the IFTU representative has:

    * Urged that the Labour Party conference welcome the puppet Iraqi premier Allawi, at a time when the entire anti-war movement was demanding that the invitation be withdrawn, which it subsequently was.

    * Shared a platform with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and the UK government’s “human rights envoy” to Iraq Ann Clwyd, respectively a leading architect of and an indefatigable apologist for the war and the occupation.

    * Most shamefully of all, energetically lobbied the trade union affiliates of the Labour Party to oppose a motion, reflecting the unions’ own agreed policies, calling on Blair to set an early date for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.

    In this last undertaking the IFTU representative worked as the direct instrument of the government and the Labour Party apparatus, which prepared and distributed his statements to delegates. Indeed, the statement by the IFTU representative issued by the Party was not merely supportive of the continued military occupation of his country, but could also be read as supportive of the original invasion of Iraq.

    There is little doubt that this intervention played a significant part in persuading some major trade unions (and perhaps constituency delegates too) to abandon their agreed policy on the occupation (affirmed at the TUC just two weeks earlier).

    It is understandable that British trade unions should wish to express their support to the working class of Iraq in its extremely difficult struggles, and the StWC has always encouraged such support insofar as it falls within our political remit. The IFTU is one of a number of trade union and workers’ organisations in Iraq, distinguished from others by its support for the Allawi government and, it is now apparent, for the foreign occupation on which that government depends for its existence.

    The IFTU has, however, attempted to divide the anti-war movement from the trade unions by taking advantage of the goodwill towards it shown by a number of unions for honourable reasons of solidarity, the lack of understanding of the actual nature of different organisations in Iraq, and the climate of pre-election pressure from the government on trade union delegations.

    As a result, several affiliated trade unions at the Labour Party conference voted for a policy of effectively open-ended licence for the occupation and against the early withdrawal of British troops.

    The StWC hopes that the leading unions will restate their previous policy of an end to the occupation. The coming weeks and months are likely to see still bloodier battles within Iraq, with a growing number of deaths both of Iraqis and of British and US soldiers. It remains most likely that the war and the occupation will remain the dominant political issues in the months leading up to the next British general election. The trade union movement must find a voice on these developments and cannot remain within the confines of the statement agreed at the Labour Party conference.

    With regard to the IFTU, the StWC condemns its political collaboration with the British government, exemplified at the Labour Party conference, and its view that genuinely independent trade unionism in Iraq can develop under a regime of military occupation (including the daily bombardment of major Iraqi cities) by the USA and Britain.

    The StWC reaffirms its call for an end to the occupation, the return of all British troops in Iraq to this country and recognises once more the legitimacy of the struggle of the Iraqi people to secure such ends.

  147. johng said,

    which demonstrates, to use the methods of will and modernity, that both are “LIARS”!!

    (I know they don’t write in caps but as Ken Kesey once said ‘its all true even if it didn’t happen).

  148. johng said,


  149. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    Well I shouldn’t really because its just timewasting,

    I’m sure that you think that the murder of Iraqi trade unionists is time wasting, but to other people it quite important, very telling of your real attitude

    interesting, how long did that take?

    Still, no comment from Lindsay German? just a composite motion?

    no unequivocal statement from the StWC leadership?

    Notice the next paragraph “At the same time, we remain focussed on the far more numerous killing and torture of Iraqi civilians carried out by US and British occupying forces.”

    still it was coming very late, after the penny dropped by the killing of trade unionists and how the StWC would lose support

    months after Mick Rix resigned concerning the StWC’s attitude to Iraqi trade unionists, see

    I have no doubt that you will say everything Lindsay German said was correct, and all of Mick Rix points are irrelevant

    but that is it, we are concerned about the murder of trade unionists and you are not

  150. Jim Denham said,

    …amazing: a “socialist” organisation effectively backing fascists nationalists against a reformist workers’ organisation? Is that a first? It’s certainly a new low in international scabbing; as well as, in effect, inviting the islamofascists to murder and tortore more trade unionists. There is no lower that the super-scabs of the SWP can sink…is there?

  151. johng said,

    And your evidence for this is Jim? I love the Stalinist use of the word “Effectively”.

  152. said,


    glancing at that motion, it is quick to condemn the IFTU, with any equivocation and yet we see nothing condemning the “resistance” or their violence, as they bring carnage to Iraq and open the way for sectarian divides

    funny that, it attacks trade unionists but never a significant word of criticism for the “resistance”

    I must say I think that most of Will’s comments about you and the SWP are spot on

    Essentially, you are pawns of fascism, and you use your political and academic expertise to hide that fact

    sad really

  153. johng said,

    This was an amusing piece on the AWL website:

    As it happens I was at the ESF conference being discussed. The people protesting against the speaker were not ‘Ba’athists’ but as it happens a leftist Kurdish organisation (some splinter group based in Turkey I think) being backed by a few trots of the Workers Power variety. The SWP element in the audience wanted to let him speak and fought for the right of a member of the Oil Workers union in Iraq (insultingly called a ‘token’ union by the correspondent) to make the case as to why the IFTA speaker should be allowed to speak.

    The position was that it was ultra-left to no platform a member of IFTA and it was neccessary to have the argument out in the open in front of the Trade Union movement (there was a lot of trade union representation at the meeting). We would of course have argued against a strategy which put organisations like IFTA at the centre of solidarity work. The AWL, if they had any members there capable of doing more then writing fiction, would no doubt have argued against (along with sections of the British trade union bureacracy).

    The meeting had to close because you couldn’t physically move kurdish organisations out of an open forum (even if they were ultraleft nutcases). Its the kind of problem most people on the left will have experianced in meetings.

    Why the lies? Why not just go over what you guys think is faulty in the SWP’s analyses of the situation? Why the need to make shit up?

  154. Will said,

    More Gameboy spamming. He must be on automatic.

    That link the filth Game has supplied – far from being a defence – actually condemns him and his stupid bunch of theist cultist brethren the more. Is that the best you could come up with you knuckle-headed slimeball? A token mention in amongst reams of yes buttery (which isn’t even factually accurate) and the like. Diseased scumbags. And how does your disgusting twerp of a braindead friend’s utterences about ‘quislings’ square with the oh so sincere (non) – denunciation? Square that circle you pissant.

    ‘Stop the War’ coalition my arse. Your ‘politics’ stink – a mish mash of pathetic third worldism mixed up with pseudo-radical verbiage – all washed down with fascist sympathies. What a cocktail. It’d be like drinking raw sewage through a straw. You make me fucking puke Gameboy.

  155. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    Why not just go over what you guys think is faulty in the SWP’s analyses of the situation?

    that sums up your attitude, life is an argument

    but for the rest of us life is about facts, real people and problems that they face

    and why would anyone go over your analysis?

    if you can’t agree basic facts, then you’re not exactly likely to agree on abstract ideas, are you?

    especially if they contradict your “line”, so you keep spewing the rubbish out and we’ll keep pointing out the contradictions

  156. Will said,

    “Why not just go over what you guys think is faulty in the SWP’s analyses of the situation? ”

    Been doing that for a while now you prick.

    That ESF thing…

    Here was a much better report from Darren of Inversek Street Ingrate on the events rather than the boring as fuck prose Gameboy supplies(you and Olly Kamm blood brothers or something)?:

    “…during a mad scrum and melée of a meeting of over 1,200, one of the last things I saw, after the demonstrators had *cough* successfully disrupted the meeting to the extent that the Chair abandoned the session, was [the Iraqi trade unionist] Subji al Mashadani being physically restrained by a member of the independent security firm from trying to assault/launch himself into someone in the crowd of the demonstrators. As Subji al Mashadani is quite a thick-set and chunky guy, this resulted in both of them (seemingly) toppling off the platform at the side of the stage after a bit of a wrestle. I say “seemingly” because it was a bit of a scrum and, despite standing on my seat to see what the Hell was happening, it was difficult to see what was the final straw that prompted the guy to finally re-enact a scene from a past episode of The Jerry Springer Show. I’m not sure even now who it was who were the main people disrupting the meeting. I would hazard a guess that it was the WCP Iraq/Iran. I may be wrong and I will happily be corrected on the matter.

    […] Among the large number who had crowded the aisle to protest at, in their words, a “collaborator” being on the platform were some *cough* orthodox Trotskyists – the Fifth International mob [who they?]. The vitriol between some of the ortho Trots and the SWP members was such that a few “physical altercations” occurred. It was one of the Fifth Internationalists, a middle-aged, “middle class” English type, who had intially started the heckling of the platform as soon as the Chair announced the start of the meeting. He was sitting a row behind me and it had initially seemed so quaint when he had started this seemingly lone protest. He was one of the first to “approach” the platform to protest at the speakers, but I did note that as soon as it was kicking off, with lots of bad temper, nose-to-nose shouting and screaming in a babel of languages between the protesters and those in the audience, he suddenly found himself further back from the platform, away from the more heated exchanges. Funny that! He’s no’ daft.

    Funny meeting to attend as an SPGBer: the SWP ultra-lefted by someone else and not liking it; Lindsay German rabble-rousing and (part of) the crowd loving it; people trying to do paper sales even when it was at its most heated; and me thinking: “Fuck, I only turned up to hear Tommy Sheridan speak …”

  157. Clive said,

    I’m sure it is the case that the SWP wasn’t instrumental in ‘no platforming’ the IFTU, and its policy, in principle, is ‘to debate this in front of the movement’.

    But there is a basic attitude involved here. I can’t be bothered to find the link, but the SWP has referred to the unions as quislings, Callinicos has referred to people ‘making a fuss’ or whatever phrase he used about the murder of trade unionists; and you do – don’t you? – regard the trade unions (at least the ones dominated by the CP; you don’t seem to have an opinion about the others, apart from Hassan Juma’a) as collaborationists, and what have you.

    A trade union movement is not a national liberation movement. It is in the nature of trade unions to want, for instance, legal status, to negotiate with whoever is in power, and so on. To condemn a trade union movement for doing what it is in its nature to do, rather than take up arms, or take sides with people who are at worst murdering them, or at best rabidly hostile, is to misunderstand the absolute fundamentals, it seems to me, of how a revolutionary *workers’ movement*, as opposed to something else, can be brought into being. For socialists, solidarity with the workers’ movement *whatever its politics* should be the bog-basic point of departure.

    Whatever the SWP’s precise position over the ESF business, it doesn’t have this basic point of departure.

    This simply is not a matter of lying about the SWP.

    That said, against Will – and Jim, I guess – I don’t see the SWP as simply ‘in alliance with fascists’, so that’s the end of it, treat them like fascists. Obviously there are lots of people in the SWP for perfectly good reasons, and on many questions we will be on the same side. Johng wants to argue, so fine and good. I think to equate arguing with him to attempting to argue with a fascist is a bit ridiculous.

  158. Jim Denham said,

    The facts are: the SWP did not initiate the “no platforming” of the IFTU speaker, but Lindsay German, chairing the meeting, made it quite clear that she was sympathetic to the “no-platformers” and only disagreed with their tactics. Later on, when a leading IFTU’er was tortured to death by the “resistance”, Callinicos referred to the international trade union protest at his death as a “hoo-har”. And, famously, that piece of scum Galloway called the IFTU’s British representative a “Quisling”: a bit rich. coming from a latter-day Lord Haw-Haw. But the picture is clear: the SWP and their allies are scabs towards the Iraqi trade union movement.

  159. said,

    Taking up Jim’s point, this is the open letter from Trade Unionists:

    “The murder of Hadi Saleh – why are you silent? An open letter to the leaders of the Stop the War Coalition.”“*

    extract from the bottom of that web page:

    “26/27 December 2004

    The ‘Resistance’ launch an RPG attack on the headquarters of the Transport & Communication Workers’ Union. The ‘resistance’ shelled the building with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars which caused a large whole in the wall of the building and a crater in the ground. Luckily there were no fatalities.

    January 4 2005

    The ‘Resistance’ tortured and murdered Hadi Salih, International Officer of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions. He was tied and blindfolded and severely tortured before being forced to kneel and strangled by electric cord. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has said “This vicious murder is nothing less than an attack on the right of Iraqi worker”

    now as much as JohnG would like to rejig events, minor the condemnations in that composite motion only came after immense pressure from rank-and-file trade unionists, the StWC had to be forced into that statement, obviously it was not given willingly or there wouldn’t have been the need to put so much pressure on them

    the letter was from the 11th of Jan 2005, but the motion is from Saturday, 12 February 2005

  160. Will said,


    You are far too accommodating towards the filth that is the SWP and the scum like Gameboy. About time you woke the fuck up as to the reality of these reactionary pigs and ignoramous pieces of shit Stalinist cowboys.

    In your last comment you’ve basically said, in ten times the amount of words that I used (by the way), that they – the Swappie bastards – are unable to square calling TUists as quislings (and other socialist organisations) and the so called pitiful excuse for a condemnation of the killing of these same ‘quislings’ by their fascist friends. The permanent falsification of reality and the permanent falsification of ends sought are yet more reasons to desist in debating with the likes of Game and agitate for their (and his) removal from labour movement arenas (whether that be of discourse or physicality, I leave to the particular). And I haven’t even touched on the anti-Semitic and racist aspects of their anti-humanist perspectives. In short — fuck ’em. make them feel pain, make ’em hurt.

  161. Will said,

    Incidentally – why doesn’t Game have a Blog? He seems to have lots to say doesn’t he? Or does he rely on the hub of ordure known as Lenny the Loon’s shithouse because he knows that he’s a boring as fuck imbecile with nothing to say with any content or worth. Merely repeating and cutting and pasting your undergraduate piffle won’t ‘cut the mustard’, you dickheeded mutton tugging, loose sausage having dope.

  162. Clive said,

    Whatever ‘removal from labour movement arenas (whether of discourse or physicality)’ means, precisely, I’m pretty sure I’m against it. The last trade union branch I was in had SWP members in prominent positions. You could remove them by voting for someone else I suppose. But is that all you mean? (I wouldn’t necessarily vote to remove them as officers, either – only if there was someone better.)

    The SWP attracts some good people. I am for winning them over by argument. If by ‘removal… from arenas of discourse’ you mean don’t argue with them, well, there are lots of situations where that’s simply impossible anyway. (Personally, in most of the workplaces I’ve worked in there have been SWP members.)

  163. Will said,

    “The SWP attracts some good people”

    Horseshit. That’s the point where you and me stop talking. Goodbye.

  164. Will said,

    In case anyone is still interested you can see in the comments thread (link below) Gameboy defending his organisation’s links to fascists and the like and also defending the views of disgusting anti-Semites and mad nazi W J Phillips etc. But I suppose that’s OK for Clive and his ilk because “The SWP attracts some good people.”

  165. johng said,

    Another lie. I asked whether the guy really was a fascist (posting under the name of Stephen Wise). I actually think that Will is pretty close to being a fascist and his deliberate lies and misrepresentations certainly would be in line with that analyses.

    I posted the critique of IFTU’s position and yes, in terms of the material that link goes over, quisling is a pretty accurate term to use. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that people who used to be in alliance with the Ba’athsts until they fell out, then found themselves exiled in the west for twenty years, and then returned following the invasion might play such a role. Nor is it impossible for trade union leaders to be quislings.

    However both Modernity and the demented Will (who really is someone Socialists should not communicate with and really is a quisling in the proper sense) are simply wrong when they suggest that we did not condemn the killing of trade unionists. It has been a disasterous mistake of sections of the Stalinist left to firstly line up with the Ba’athists and then line up with the occupation. The repression they suffered from the occupation merely confirms the wrongheadedness of this policy. Far from treating the coalition presence as an opportunity to build up trade unions (disasterous if for no other reason then that such a position meant that trade unions effectively came to be identified with the new regime in the same way that the old ones were identified with the old one) the vital question facing socialists should have been what role the trade unions and the working class should play in driving it out. The position of those like IFTA did the job of the fundementalists and the nationalists for them.

    An utter disaster and one which flowed from the basic Stalinist history of the left in the region. That sections of the AWL leapt on the bandwagon spouting obscure variants of Trotskyist theory alter the basic picture not one jot, just as an Aronovich article does not make the invasion of Iraq a step towards the construction of an international human rights regime.

  166. Igor Belanov said,

    Can’t you get it in your head to recognise that there is a massive incompatibility between the Iraqi working-class movement and the glorious ‘Resistance’ with their backward religious intolerance? You’re basically saying that because the Arab left haven’t acted in a way the SWP deem appropriate, then you’re backing violent bigots instead. And if some left-wingers happen to suffer at the hands of these murderous reactionaries, then it’s their own fault.

  167. tim said,

    And yet JohnG, you are happy to be in alliance with one of the prime Stalinists, George Galloway who campaigned for the Ba’athist regime, and now also allies with the killers of trade unionists,

  168. Will said,

    Are you taking note of Game’s slurs and lies and contortions and distortions Clive?

    Oh yes — that’s right – “The SWP attracts some good people”…

    Good for what? Jew hatred, sectarianism and an endless capacity for bullshit rhetoric.

    These people are not part of any labour movement. They should be treated with the contempt they deserve.

  169. johng said,

    I can’t get things into my head that I don’t think are true Igor. And effecting mocking tones about ‘glorious resistance’ and counter-posing it to the working class doesn’t help much either. The bizarre stages theory which counterposed working class politics to resistance to Imperialism has clearly been a disaster for the working class both inside Iraq and outside of it. This is not my fault. Nor is it the fault of the anti-war movement. The only puzzle is how an organisation from the Trotskyist tradition could have gone along with such a thing.

    George Galloway did have Stalinist politics yes, although he was much more consistant in his opposition to Ba’athism then either the Iraqi Communist Party, or indeed the Labour Party front bench. Anybody in the Labour Movement knows people with Stalinist politics. I work with them or don’t work with them on the basis of what they actually DO not on the basis of a single television clip.

    The real argument (at least amongst people who still see themselves as being on the left) is whether or not the occupation of Iraq is akin to colonialism or not, or whether imperialism has changed so much that such an analyses makes no sense. This, as far as I can work out, is the theoretical basis for those like Clive who at least isn’t a complete looney even if I think he’s politically misguided. Whilst I think that Imperialism has indeed changed, I don’t think the changes imply that the occupation of Iraq is not an imperialist occupation, and that it is the first duty of Socialists to get rid of it.

  170. johng said,

    “slurs and lies and contortions”

    which ones Will? And please keep it brief and to the point. None of your middle class, post-modern, immoral equivication please.

  171. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    are simply wrong when they suggest that we did not condemn the killing of trade unionists.

    Those condemnations only came after immense pressure as the above chronologically shows.

    So if you were less disingenuous then we might be able to discuss this issue clearly 1600with you, but it seems that you know the sequence of events and merely wish to misrepresent them.

    So after much pressure the StWC made some rather feeble condemnations (some of which were qualified, as in the motion) those feeble condemnations is in comparison with the attacks on trade unionists, where no punches are pulled.

    Your contempt for Iraqi trade unionists is all too obvious in your above statements

    JohnG, that is why people don’t like debating with you, you cover your intellectual dishonesty with a pile of waffle and sing out the Party line, even if the evidence contradicts it

    and you still haven’t answered Igor’s point

  172. johng said,

    Do you accept that you were wrong to say that the Stop the War movement never condemned the killings of trade unionists or not? Yes or No and no post-modern equivication.

  173. johng said,

    In terms of chronology and what the debate was really all about these letters to Socialist Worker are rather important:

    The attempt was being made to suggest that support for resistance to the occupation was tantamount to support for the murder of trade unionists: and Tony Blair was using these Iraqi trade union leaders to push this case. Whats shameful is how people on the left could have gone along with this and pretended that it amounted to ‘solidarity work’. I find it inexplicable.

  174. johng said,

    Open letter to RMT by Sami Ramdani. I seem to remember one Jim Denham suggesting that people with his views shouldn’t be allowed to live in this country:

    22 October 2004
    Dear Alex,
    Your message regarding the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) was copied to me by a friend, and I felt that I must write to you, in your capacity as a representative of the RMT trade union, which has a proud history of struggle for working class rights and international solidarity with workers across the world.

    I fully agree with you on two points. Firstly, it was wrong and undemocratic to disrupt the European Social Forum plenary on the occupation of Iraq by an organised small group of hecklers. The second is that no Iraqi was involved in the disruption of the meeting or the shouting down of speakers. I myself was shouted down by the same group of disrupters when I went to the platform to appeal to them to stop the disruption and to stage a quiet and dignified walk-out of the meeting when IFTU general secretary, Subhi Mashadani, starts his speech and to walk quietly back after he finishes.

    However, I take issue with the rest of your contribution and appeal to you to take a second look at the dire consequences of the war on Iraq and to revise your opinion of the unelected leadership of the IFTU and of the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP), which dominates this leadership with the backing of the Iraqi National Accord, an organisation of former Ba’athist military and security men led by US-appointed prime minister Ayad Allawi, former Saddamist agent in charge of all Ba’ath party organisations in Europe.

    I am sad to say that the (IFTU) leadership, in its present post-occupation reincarnation, appears to have succeeded in convincing you that it is a staunch opponent of the occupation of Iraq and of the institutions set up by the occupation authorities. Alas, this self-projected image of the IFTU is false, and I will explain why below. Before doing so, I draw your attention that I will list, in the course of my arguments, the crucial questions that the IFTU need to answer in relation to the occupation of Iraq and the Allawi regime. In asking these questions I have in mind the fact that Bush and Blair were also against the occupation of Iraq and wanted to end it “as soon as possible.” Bush and Blair did do their best to end the dreaded occupation by handing “sovereignty” to the Allawi regime, which in turn “invited” them to remain in Iraq as the “multi-national forces.” Bush and Blair are now “fully committed” to withdrawing the troops the “moment” the newly elected government in Iraq asks them to do so. The “presence” of the US-led forces is merely to make sure that Iraq will have free and fair elections. To withdraw the troops now will lead to civil war and the “murder” of all “active trade unionists and socialists.” Delete “active trade unionists and socialists” and replace with “free Iraqi men and women” if Bush is making the claim. And to legitimise this entire process the US and Britain asked the UN security Council to pass resolutions noting the transition from invasion to occupation, to occupation-plus-Bremer-appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), to “multi-national forces” assisting an interim, but sovereign, Iraqi Interim Government until elections are… The UN Security Council noted all this in resolutions 1483 and 1546. Unfortunately and despite their best efforts to assist the people of Iraq, Bush and Blair are now facing a big problem, not of their own making of course, of some cut-throat terrorists who must be crushed before elections are held in Jan 2005. In order to crush them, many Iraqi cities, Shia and Sunni, had to be bombarded and thousands of homes had to be demolished on top of their inhabitants. This collateral damage could go up as the free and fair election date approaches…

    This is not intended to introduce an element of cynicism, but to know what people exactly mean when the say “we are against the occupation of Iraq” and “we are for a free, democratic, secular and federal Iraq” and that “UN resolution 1546 offers the best hope for Iraqis to achieve” these goals. I also have ample and reliable information from within Iraq that the IFTU is not an elected umbrella organisation of all Iraqi trade unions as its name suggests. [The correct translation of the name is: The General Federation of the Workers’ Trade Unions in Iraq]. Indeed, the IFTU itself has not officially claimed that there has been such a conference representing democratically elected trade union bodies across Iraq. However, its self-appointed (or rather party-appointed) leaders, including its general secretary, Subhi Mashadani, and its London-based International Representative, Abdullah Muhsin, have unashamedly given such a false impression to British and other trade unions. But once the role of the IFTU and ICP leaders is fully understood, and the historical parallels are relevantly drawn, it would be patently obvious that it was wrong to invite Mashadani to an anti-occupation meeting. No prominent supporter of the Vichy regime would have been allowed to set foot in Britain let alone get near a trade union platform or a rally supporting the French people’s struggle against the Vichy regime and its occupation masters. Drawing parallels has its limitation, and one might accurately state that Bush and Blair are not Hitler and Mussolini. The retort to that is: yes but try telling that to the people at the receiving end of cluster bombs, helicopter gunships, and tank fire in their besieged cities and Baghdad working class neighbourhoods. Try telling them that Allawi is not another Vichy.

    Most of the current leaders of the IFTU are ICP cadres. And it is impossible to understand the IFTU’s policies and line without recognising this fact and
    without being acquainted with the party’s line and policies. A party that was once a proud organisation that had the support of millions of people in Iraq, in the late 1950’s and 60’s, is now at the forefront of perfecting the art of justifying the continued US-led occupation of Iraq. The party’s slogan, before the invasion, was “No to war and no to Saddam’s dictatorship.” The first half of the slogan was not acted upon energetically and the opposition to the invasion was tempered by some equivocal statements in the party’s main organ, Tareeq Al-Sha’ab, and by its leaders, who surreptitiously took part in pre-war US administration and British government organised conferences of some Iraqi opposition leaders, some of whom later served as collaborators appointed by the occupation authorities. However, this prevarication was dramatically ended few months after the fall of Baghdad to US tanks, and the collapse of Saddam’s tyrannical regime. Political imperatives, logic and the interests of the Iraqi people would have necessitated bringing into sharper focus the party’s opposition to the war and the subsequent occupation. Instead, the party solemnly declared, on 13 July 2003, that its secretary general, Hameed Majeed Mousa, would join the Paul Bremer appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). Though anticipated by people familiar with the party leadership’s history and manoeuvres, that statement came as a shock to some of the party members whom I met in Baghdad last year. From that day onwards, the party was seen by most Iraqis as a collaborationist force, with some of its leaders receiving their salaries from the occupation authorities. Under the hammer blows of the Iraqi people’s magnificent struggle against the occupation, the IGC and its US master, Paul Bremer, were so isolated and discredited that Bremer had to disband the IGC last June in favour of passing “sovereignty” to the US-appointed Iraqi Interim Government led by the CIA “asset”, Ayad Allawi. The ICP fully supported the formation of Allawi’s puppet regime, and has one senior and two junior ministers serving under Allawi and his US bosses. US ambassador Negroponte, the mastermind of terror organisations in El-Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, and now bunkered at Saddam’s Republican Palace in Baghdad, is the real political ruler of Iraq with 160,000 occupation troops and over 40,000 foreign mercenaries at his disposal. He is hard at it to build an Iraqi force to kill other Iraqis and subdue the people using Saddamist methods. So were does the IFTU stand on all this?

    You need do no more than read translations of the ICP’s communiqués and Tareeq Al-Sha’ab editorials to know were Abdullah Muhsin and Subhi Mashadani get their political line from. Indeed, an IFTU article by Muhsin in the Morning Star last year was almost an abridged translation of a party statement on the political situation in Iraq. What I am trying to put the spotlight on here is not that a trade unionist is exercising his or her right to be also a party cadre but that the party line the IFTU leaders adhere to is, in practice, acollaborationist line. Their protestations to the contrary, misleading some people abroad, are laughable to most Iraqis. The few Iraqis that you met at the ESF were ICP activists, some from here in London and others flown in with Mashadani from Baghdad. They were mobilised to support Mashadani’s appearance at the ESF conference. I too, being a friend of some of them, was standing near them to the left of the platform and engaged them in discussion later. Some were in a state of denial about the occupation of Iraq, calling the US-led forces a necessary, if temporary, “foreign military presence.” A phrase used by Allawi and the latest ICP central committee communique [dated 26 Auguat 2004]. Others acknowledged the occupation but strongly believed that there was no alternative to joining the occupation-created institutions. The obvious point, of saying you can’t end the occupation by serving in its highest levels of political structures, was answered with strong attacks on the notion of armed resistance. I suggested that they could lead the peaceful struggle to end the occupation by following the great example of Ghandi and boycotting the occupation authorities and all their institutions. The answer was “we don’t have a Ghandi.”

    People who are reasonably well informed on Iraq will benefit a great deal from closely examining the IFTU website (set up in London) ( Reading the headlines of the website, you would be forgiven to think that there was no war or invasion of Iraq and tens of thousands of people did not die at the hands of the US-led occupation. Nor has there been a US bombardment of Najaf, the working class districts of Baghdad, particularly Sadr City, Falluja, Samarra and many other cities in the past weeks and months… The IFTU, rightly, very strongly and swiftly condemns the atrocities committed by the terrorist gangs. But they always do so in the manner of Bush, Blair, Allawi and the occupation forces. They always try to portray the hugely popular patriotic resistance as “remnants of the Saddam regime” and “secretive anti-democratic” forces. On the other hand, the IFTU and the ICP are yet to launch a campaign against the massacres committed by the occupation forces. Associating the resistance with terrorist gangs is one of the most insidious acts of the IFTU and the ICP. They dare not condemn the resistance openly, in Arabic within Iraq, but they always issue statements, in the wake of terrorist crimes, trying to surreptitiously suggest that Zarqawi and the other terrorists are the resistance in Iraq.

    In fact the only very strongly worded IFTU statement on its website is dated 3rd March 2004 condemning the murder of worshippers by unknown terrorists who bombed Shia mosques/shrines in Karbala and Khadimyia. The wording of the statement is very interesting in the way it mimics the occupation authorities’ style of condemning such atrocities. Those particular bombings were widely described by Iraqis at the time as the work of occupation forces’ agent provocateurs out to incite civil war between Sunni and Shia. People of the Baghdad district of Khadimya stoned the US forces and accused them of perpetrating the crime. These forces moved in on that day (2nd March) within minutes of the bombing of the famous shrine, thinking that the people would welcome them as their protectors. Obviously, for those who know the reality of IFTU, it is not surprising that the statement does not even mention the occupation.

    These one-sided, well-synchronised statements on terrorism are designed to apologise for Bush’s policies in Iraq, or for what Blair portrayed as the engagement of the occupation forces in a “second war” in Iraq, the war against terrorism. As it happens, the vast majority of Iraqis reject Zarqawi and his ilk – as do the armed resistance and its supporters in Falluja, Basra, Najaf, Sadr City and across Iraq. Many even suspect that the occupation forces are somehow encouraging the likes of Zarqawi, or at least failing to prevent their crimes, as a way of obscuring the fact that most Iraqis now actively support a patriotic and widespread resistance movement. While rightly condemning Zarqawi, the IFTU and the ICP are keeping quiet about the Israeli-trained American assassination squads. (See reports, undenied by Bush or Blair, published by Seymour Hersh).

    Does the IFTU mention anywhere that the occupation forces have admitted that the attacks on them by the resistance rose in August to 2,700 ? Does it mention how many of these 2,700 attacks a month were claimed by Zarqawi? Six. Six headline-grabbing, TV-dominating, stomach-churning moments. The mildest, and furtively stated, criticisms are reserved for the US bombardment of the cities. ‘Bombing cities in which civilians die is not the way to defeat the terrorists’ is the best we can hope for from the IFTU and the ICP in the way of condemning the US-led war crimes, being assisted by the Allawi regime, which the ICP is part of. Just as Iraq’s 25 million people were reduced, in the public’s mind, to the threat from weapons of mass destruction, ready to be unleashed by Saddam within 45 minutes, the resistance is now being reduced, with the help of the IFTU and the ICP, to a single hoodlum by the name of Zarqawi. And just as we should have been told, before the war, whether the
    45-minutes-from-dooms-day WMD threat referred to “battle field or long range missiles,” to judge whether the war was legal or had a moral foundation, we today need to be aware that the IFTU and ICP assisted “war on terrorism” is nothing but a
    new deceitful attempt to wage a new war against the Iraqi people, in the interest of the Bush administration and the neo-cons, and to multiply the profits of the transnational companies.

    So what does the IFTU stand for in Iraq today? On the front page of the English version of their website there is a picture of the leaders of the IFTU seated under an IFTU banner. The words on the banner are worthy of verbatim translation, because they sum up the IFTU’s main demands and platform for Iraq and its working class after the invasion and the occupation of the country: ” The General Federation of Workers’ Trade Unions in Iraq [this is the full and accurate translation of the IFTU’s name] struggles for:
    – Defending the fundamental rights of the Iraqi working class.
    – Endeavouring to restart the wheel of production as soon as possible
    – The immediate improvement of the economic and social conditions of the workers”
    It is unreal. No war, no occupation, no torture and murder of workers, no privatisation, no selling of Iraq’s assets to the US and British transnationals, no Bremer and Allawi re-enactment of Saddam’s 1987 law banning trade unions and strikes, no US bombardment of working class districts, no workers falling victim to radiation emanating from the US and British depleted Uranium shells, no working class children dying of water-borne diseases stemming from raw sewage (also fed into the Tigris and Euphrates), because the greatest military and economic power in the world can’t bring electricity supplies to the sewage plants to their pre-war levels,… These slogans remind me of the yellow unions under Saddam when they were allowed to talk about everything, and make all manner of demands, as long as they did not criticise the mass murderer and the political nature of his regime. If you dig deeper into the IFTU website you will find ICP justifications for joining the occupation-appointed bodies dressed up as IFTU stands. The IFTU’s Abdullah Muhsin relies on the nimbleness of the party’s phraseology when writing, on behalf of the IFTU, on the Bremer-appointed Iraqi Governing Council: “The UN helped in forging a compromise and the idea of the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) was born. Both Iraqis and the UN supported it. The US and UK administrations agreed. In July 2003 the IGC was formed. The IGC, despite the fact that [it] is not the best or the preferred ultimate perfect model of running Iraq post-Saddam, nevertheless remains an acceptable alternative to the US vision. It represents all sections of Iraqi society – including Arabs, Kurds and other nationals.”

    A Bremer-appointed IGC is “an acceptable alternative to the US vision” ? And there is much more where that quotation comes from. Reading the ICP and IFTU literature might keep one in touch with the surreal, but it gives all well-informed people on Iraq immunity against subterfuge, collateral oxymorons, deceit, dissembling and much more. There is a very good reason why the IFTU and ICP have to camouflage their practice with such contortions: they are addressing the left in Iraq, not renowned for their propensity to be easily fooled about their own society, and they are addressing anti-war and progressive opinion abroad. This is their main role. And that is why the CIA, Bremer and Allawi kept the ICP on board all the US-appointed or approved bodies. Why else would the CIA do that to such a small organisation, which doesn’t even register in all the opinion surveys held in Iraq since the occupation? But there is another very good reason: to confiscate the glorious memory, dating back to 1920, of the tens of thousands of Iraqi socialists, secular democrats and, since 1934, communists who died at the alters of British colonialism, Ba’athist fascism and US imperialism in Iraq. There is nothing like renegade, persons or organisations, to accomplish this mean task.

    Did the trade unions in Britain take such a considerate and caressing stance towards the institutions set up by the occupation forces in Europe? Or, indeed, would the TUC and the unions have been so supportive of an occupation-imposed authority if Hitler’s forces occupied Britain? I am bringing these rather stark examples, because it is sometimes forgotten that the Iraqi people and their land have been occupied by the mightiest military forces in the world and that the Iraqi people expect, and are entitled to, not only sympathy but active support in their struggle for liberation and democracy. They don’t expect the collaborators in their midst to be held up as representatives of the oppressed working class and people of Iraq. They certainly don’t expect it from democratic and proudly free unions such as the RMT. I have no doubt that the misleading picture painted by the IFTU and ICP leaders has had its toll. I also have no doubt that this is a temporary state of affairs. Not least, because US Abram tanks and Apache helicopters on the one hand and the valiant resistance, peaceful or armed in legitimate self-defence, speak much louder than the honeyed words of the IFTU and ICP leaders.

    The RMT and other unions could also examine the fact that, for eight long years, the ICP leaders played a similar role, in relation to Saddam’s tyrannical regime, to the one they are playing today in relation to the US-led occupation. From 1972 to 1978, they were tireless in their efforts within Iraq, and here in Britain, to convince the unions and the Labour party to accept Saddam’s tyranny as a reformed regime, which was implementing “progressive and patriotic measures,” and to support the party in proudly joining Saddam’s “Patriotic and Nationalist Progressive Front.” They had two party politburo members serving as ministers under Saddam. It was worker, student, and other organisations, which the party then controlled, which undertook that task. All these organisations, including the then IFTU, were later disbanded by the party because Saddam ordered it to do so, as part of being in the “same trench,” as he was fond of reminding the ICP leaders. Saddam, who was described then by the ICP leaders as representing the “left wing” of the Ba’ath party, even published a pamphlet entitled “One Trench or Two Trenches?” to remind them of their role, which later included the crushing of the 1977 Karbala uprising. Iraqis, including some ICP members, who continued to expose Saddam’s fascist policies abroad, and even those he killed and tortured at home, were dubbed as “infantile leftists” or “reactionary Kurds” by the ICP leadership.

    The RMT, UNISON and other trade unions, including my own union, NATFHE, should also take on board the fact that the IFTU wasn’t accidentally chosen by the Bremer-appointed IGC as the sole organisation representing Iraqi workers (albeit outside the banned state sector). There are several other such umbrella organisations led by other parties in Iraq, including Iraqi Kurdistan, and including the non-party controlled Union of Unemployed Workers (which is now part of the Federation of Workers Councils and Trade Unions). The IGC’s sponsorship of the IFTU was born out of a deal struck between the Communist party and the Iraqi National Accord, led by CIA asset Ayad Allawi.

    [NB: My guess is that the IFTU does not correctly state its full name in English, because the Arabic name is the same as the Saddam licensed federation. This will allow it to lay a claim to the vast resources of the yellow unions, of which many IFTU activists were members from 1972 to 1978 when the ICP was in Saddam’s cabinet. The Arabic name is claimed by others (accused of being Islamists or former Ba’athists). It is also intended to gain acceptance by appeasing unions abroad and international union bodies, by implicitly admitting, at least in English, that they are not the only “federation of unions” in Iraq.] There are also individual unions such as the Basra oil workers union and the South oil workers union, both of which are strong unions that took part in a widely supported strike, stopping oil exports in protest at the US bombardment of Najaf in August. Both these unions don’t recognise the IFTU leadership as speaking on their behalf. Workers across Iraq are entitled to ask what did the IFTU leaders do to lift the siege of Najaf and Falluja and to stop the bombardment of the cities?

    One incident that exposed the IFTU’s duplicity here in Britain was its active campaign to support Tony Blair’s move to invite Ayad Allawi to address the Labour party conference. This is what the IFTU told the Guardian only last month: “The invitation to the interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi to address the Labour party conference is a opportunity for those who honourably opposed the war to extend support to Iraqi democrats who are trying, in the most difficult circumstances, to construct a vibrant civil society. Allawi is criticised for having been a Ba’athist but many decent people joined the Ba’ath party – and he was nearly assassinated by Saddam’s agents in Britain. The Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions strongly supports the current process to prepare the ground for democratic elections. His presence at Labour’s conference is an excellent opportunity for a real dialogue with him. Abdullah Muhsin Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions” Who else could defend and try to legitimise the CIA’s man in Iraq, and Saddam’s former thug, with such left and liberal sounding eloquence? Having failed in that mission, Tony Blair and other Labour party leaders made sure that the IFTU and the Kurdish partner of an Iraqi minister were given ample opportunity to spread confusion at the conference and get it to, in effect, support President Bush’s policies in Iraq. For let us not forget that President Bush also says that the US will leave Iraq as soon as the future elected Iraqi government asks to do so!

    That eloquence in defending the US-chosen prime minister extends to the US occupation itself. Let us read, at length, how the US-led occupation is being “opposed” and, at one and the same time, accepted de facto and de jure by the IFTU, echoing its ICP master’s voice: “As a consequence of the war, the occupation and the failure of Iraqi parties to agree on holding of a national conference April 2003 to elect a transitional government, the occupation authorities (US and UK) became de facto the transitional authority in Iraq. Their authority was further consolidated by the UN Security Council resolution 1483, which internationalised the occupation of Iraq. The US administration interpreted one of UN resolution 1483 articles, which relates directly to the formation of an Iraqi political transitional authority, as meaning that the new Iraqi political body would exist merely to advise and assist the occupation authority during the transitional period of the occupation. All Iraqi forces rejected this flawed idea. The UN helped in forging a compromise and the idea of the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) was born. Both Iraqis and the UN supported it. The US and UK administrations agreed. In July 2003 the IGC was formed. The IGC, despite the fact that is not the best or the preferred ultimate
    perfect model of running Iraq post-Saddam, nevertheless remains an acceptable alternative to the US vision. It represents all sections of Iraqi society – including Arabs, Kurds and other nationals.”

    So, the Bremer-appointed IGC was the fault of the Iraqis (which Iraqis?) for not holding a national conference, and, in the circumstances, the best possible outcome. The IFTU goes on to list some of the wonderful achievements of the defunct and totally discredited IGC, including: “Preparing the ground to end the occupation, dissolving itself and handing power to an Iraqi interim government (which was achieved on 28 June 2004)” Let us read on to see what a left and liberal sounding defence of the evolution of the US-led occupation looks like, and how one could shelter behind another UN resolution to accept the occupation, in practice, and openly defend the next US-led occupation tactics and the US-chosen regime: “The unanimous UN resolution 1546 on Iraq is an important signal for ending the occupation and regaining Iraqi national sovereignty. It will help to undermine anti-Iraqi terrorism and will assist Iraqi democrats – like the new trade union movement – to help build a secular and secure civil society. Whilst the IFTU is aware that the legacy of Saddam’s dictatorship, war, sanctions and the effect of the recent invasion will not be eradicated on June 28th, the IFTU nonetheless welcomes and endorses the commitment given in the resolution to the ending of the power of the Coalition Provisional Authority on that day and handing the political power to the Iraqis. The interim government is not an end in itself- it is a means to an end. Its role must be to prepare Iraq for full democratic sovereignty. This will include full authority and control over Iraq’s financial and natural resources. The IFTU will play a full part in this process and will seek to ensure that workingmen and women are alerted to the importance of participating in the democratic renewal of their
    country. The IFTU also support the convening of a national conference to reflect the
    diversity of Iraqi society. The concrete goal of the national conference is elect 100 seat transitional assembly that will oversee the current interim government until national elections are held in January 2005.” Can’t be clearer, can it? Even down to using the phraseology of the US generals who officially call all people resisting the occupation as “anti-Iraqi” forces. Every military communiqué, on bombarding Najaf, Sadr City in Baghdad, Samarra, Tel Afar, Falluja and other cities and villages, referred and continues to refer to the eradication of the “anti-Iraqi” forces or terrorists.

    It is time to call a spade a spade: the leaders of the IFTU and ICP are the left-wing sounding, trade-union ‘friendly’ face of the Allawi CIA-chosen regime and of the continuing occupation of Iraq.

    It is time to call a spade a spade: the leaders of the IFTU and the ICP are part of a left-wing sounding, trade-union ‘friendly’ campaign to oppose the immediate withdrawal of the occupation forces from Iraq under the pretext of keeping them to prevent civil war and to hold elections in January.

    It is time to call a spade a spade: the leaders of the IFTU and the ICP are part of a left-wing sounding, trade-union ‘friendly’ propaganda war designed to justify the “new war” to crush the resistance of the Iraqi people by portraying entire cities towns and villages across Iraq as hideouts for mass murderers and terrorists such as Zarqawi.

    I and many trade unionists in Britain of Iraqi origin, who opposed Saddam’s tyrannical regime for decades, were shocked and dismayed that most of the unions at the recent Labour party conference accepted the message from the ICP, IFTU leaders and other Allawi collaborators and voted against a resolution calling for the withdrawal of the occupation forces. This is tantamount to abandoning the Iraqi people to be crushed by the US tanks and cluster bombs. This is tantamount to abandoning solidarity with the workers and people of Iraq. The Iraqi people’s blood is as precious as that of the people of Europe who resisted the fascist forces, even if today the British Government and the US administration refuse to count the Iraqis they have killed and are continuing to kill. And Iraqi collaborators can be as treacherous and deceitful as any of the collaborators in Europe under the Nazi jackboot. For the Iraqi people in their besieged cities today, and for the thousands of tortured people at Abu Ghraib and other prisons, the US tanks, helicopter gunships and heavy bombs are no different from the Hitler’s forces in France or Albania.

    I am confident that Britain’s unions and most Labour party members will eventually see through and reject these collaborators, much as the Iraqi people rejected their calls to support Saddam’s regime from 1972 to 1978, and much as they are rejecting their calls today to support the US-appointed Allawi regime. I am also confident that Britain’s trade unions and most Labour party members will, sooner or later, stand by the Iraqi people’s struggle against the US-led occupation and for liberation and democracy.

    Best wishes,


  175. tim said,

    Can you give us any examples of George Galloway opposing Ba’athism post 1990 JohnG?

  176. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    In terms of chronology and what the debate was really all about these letters to Socialist Worker are rather important

    So you have no arguments to explain away the discrepancy, therefore you post some fairly meaningless web page, from SW, as if it is the fountain of knowledge and all honesty

    [I can imagine the parallels, in the 1930s, had a Stalinists been stuck for an argument, he’d simply wave a copy of the Daily Post, as IF that were convincing to anyone but a cultist]

    JohnG, you aren’t really concerned with the pursuit of the truth (academic or otherwise), are you??

    you refused to acknowledge the fact the StWC condemnation came AFTER immense pressure was brought to bear

    engage with that point directly, and less of the spam bot crap, it indicates that you are no arguments of your own

  177. johng said,

    Sorry Modernity what ‘discrepency’ are you talking about? I hope its not another one of those silly misreadings again. That would be embarressing. And please stop behaving like a Spam Bot. You said there was ‘impossible to supply evidence’ that Stop the War had ever condemned the murder of trade unionists. This was, to use your charming debating tactics ‘a lie’. ‘Caught out’ (as you would no doubt say) in your ‘lie’ you then ‘twisted and obfuscated’ changed the subject and claimed that this condemnation only came after ‘immense pressure’. Apparently now I’m supposed to prove this isn’t true. Its a deeply strange way of carrying on a debate Modernity.


  178. johng said,

    Modernity might like to be reminded that the debate was actually what was present in stop the war declarations and publications. So its very hard to see how posting these things is ‘irrelevent’. Sami Ramadani also condemns the murder of trades unionists incidently. He doesn’t somehow not really do it because he also condemns the politics of IFTU. Its also true, as I said, that its deeply irresponsible for people to advocate a policy which effectively does the propaganda work of the Islamists and sectarians for them. Thats why Socialists would never have advocated a policy which effectively defended the existence of the occupation. It was a terrible mistake and its not you or the other good people here who have had to pay the price.

  179. tim said,

    Can you give us any examples of George Galloway opposing Ba’athism post 1990 JohnG?

  180. SP said,

    I tend to agree with Will regarding the pointlessness of engaging with johng, it is like trying to pick up mercury with knitting needles.

    The chronology and the pressure to which modernity refers includes this however:

    other readers might be interested however.

  181. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    Sorry Modernity what ‘discrepency’ are you talking about?

    the discrepancy is between the dates of the letter and the pressure put on the StWC and their subsequent motion, which was after (got that; AFTER) the pressure was applied

    and if you trouble to read the contents of the letter, you will see that it argues “the begrudging utterances from you at the Stop the War (StWC) Coalition”

    So yes the StWC did condemn the murder of trade unionists, but not of their own free will and only AFTER pressure was applied.

    JohnG, as you obviously barely read anyone else’s comments I stated that it in my comment of April 29, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    also, see

    JohnG, exactly what was the purpose of pasting in 5000 words? do you honestly think that is an argument??

    why not follow the fairly obvious academic convention in summarising your sources and then linking to them instead?

  182. SP said,

    This is interesting too and highly pertinent to games stout defence of his “party”.

    Do follow the link and read Callinicos un-paraphrased.

  183. johng said,

    I’m sorry but are Socialists supposed to take the main campaigning arm of the pro-war section of the Labour movement as evidence for anything at all? I love the way they attempt to equate the right to resistance ‘by any means neccessary’ with approval of execution of trade unionists, and even blame the stop the war movement for the murder of Iraqi trade unionists. This shows what the whole argument was really all about. The attempt to give a fig leaf of legitimacy to the occupation, and use the murder of pro-occupation trade unionists as a device to do this. The response would be that disapproving of the murder of trade unionists in no way means that one has to support their pro-occupation politics. Which is precisely what was said.

  184. johng said,

    All groups on the left have theories about other groups on the left. I can remember a long discussion about the degeneration of the AWL’s politics from some time ago. One camp had a conspiracy theory about student union electoral politics. As a pretentious wanker even then I tried to link it to their third campism and obscure debates in the Trotskyist movement. In retrospect the most serious analyses pointed to a strategy based around being a kind of ginger group to the lower echelons of the trade union bureacracy. The apparently convoluted theory usually led to positions which would be ‘respectable’ in terms of the kinds of arguments that the lower echelons of the bureacracy had to make in front of their higher ups.

    The mood of the bureacracy is equivical. It doesn’t want to be completely in bed with the imperialists (this would not be popular and is potentially embarressing). However one doesn’t want to say anything ‘unconstitutional’ either. What better position in the world to hold then the curious version of ‘third campism’ espoused by the AWL (in this internet age of course this translates into being ‘the respectable opposition’ on right wing websites although Jim seems to have fallen off the deep end here),

  185. tim said,

    can you give us any example of George Galloway condemning the murder of Iraqi Trade unionists post 1990?

  186. SP said,

    “the main campaigning arm of the pro-war section of the Labour movement”

    Who is that john?

  187. johng said,

    Really excellent Callinicos article. And the crocodile tears of Labour friends of Iraq deserve precisely the term ‘hullabaloo’ as does the supposed solidarity of trade union bureacrats mainly concerned not to break their connection with the Blair government. People should look up the entire debate between Achar and Callinicos which is really excellent.

  188. johng said,

    Labour friends of Iraq.

  189. SP said,

    You know very well that at least half of the LFIQ EC at that time wer, like me, anti war.

    Will is entirely correct in your regard.

  190. johng said,

    “why not follow the fairly obvious academic convention in summarising your sources and then linking to them instead?”

    Its a blog and so I am under no obligations to follow any academic conventions. The letter was related to precisely the subject under discussion (which of course your not really interested in). So now you’ve amended your remarks about it being impossible to find any evidence that the anti-war movement has ever ‘condemned the murder of trade unionists’ to ‘have never condemned the murder of trade unionists of their own free will”.

    Isn’t this becoming a bit surreal Modernity?

  191. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    I’m sorry but are Socialists supposed to take the main campaigning arm of the pro-war section of the Labour movement as evidence for anything at all?


    what it means is that you base your views on the evidence of the chronology of events,

    it does not mean that you regurgitate a line which you have been told to spout, by your poltical masters in the SWP, and expect people to believe it

    evidence based reasoning (and I suggest that you take jury service if you need to understand what that is) means that you base your views on a reasoned and intelligent interpretation of the facts

    and in that you have shown complete disregard, I have pointed out there is almost a months discrepancy between the pressure applied and the subsequent minor condemnation, which was qualified

    now that is different from the condemnation freely given and without qualification.

    if you’re in any doubt, check the dates of the letter and the motion.

    the letter was from the 11th of Jan 2005, but the motion is from Saturday, 12 February 2005

    see? AFTER, the letter, see the connection?

  192. johng said,

    I don’t know that ‘perfectly well’ at all, and I have NEVER seen any article in Labour Friends of Iraq condemning the occupation. NEVER. Sami Ramadani was entirely right about you lot.

  193. tim said,

    You campaign for an MP who you claim is anti Ba’athist and anti the killing of Iraqi trade unionists.
    That MP visited Baghdad 100 times.
    Can you provide us with any example post 1990 of him condemnig Ba’athism or the killing of Iraqi Trade Unionists?

  194. johng said,

    I’m sorry Modernity you seem to be suggesting that conferences occur weekly. The vote was at the first conference after the murder. You also seem to be suggesting that the Stop the War movement would respond to open supporters of imperialist occupation like Labour Friends of Iraq. This seems a bit doubtful to me. But by all means supply the evidence for this if you have any. In any case that was not under discussion. The question of ‘condemning the murder of trade unionists’ was. I did a brief google search. Given that discussions often come up about sectarianism, etc, all of the speakers have responded to these things on a number of occassions. In the frenzied campaign to suggest that the only resistance to US occupation were headchoppers and other elements deserving torture and death the Stop the War movement spent much of its time refuting these justifications for torture and death being enthusiastically promulagated by the likes of ‘Labour Friends of Iraq’ and IFTU. Thats what the argument was really all about.

  195. johng said,

    Timmy!!! You know I never respond to you. Why do you keep writing? Why not do a google search and find out for yourself? I mean no doubt he did, but if I bothered to look it up, Modernity would come on and change the subject and claim it was done under pressure. Which is why we in the anti-war movement never respond to these kinds of questions. I did. Slap on the wrist for me.

  196. johng said,

    And once and for all. I do not ‘regurgitate’ lines. I am a highly original, nay unique, thinker with a great respect for individuality and personal freedom. If anyone suggests anything different they should be taken out and shot.

  197. tim said,

    He didn’t.
    He did in fact grovel before the Ba’thists who were doing the killing.
    And spend their cash.
    So leave aside the pretence.
    You support anyone who you define as “anti imperialist”
    Even if you know them to be corrupt Stalinists.

  198. Clive said,

    If the anti-war movement had thrown its resources into building solidarity with the unions, including those with ex-Stalinist leaders and wrong politics, but even other unions which were more openly or directly opposed to the occupation, it might actually have made a material difference to how things have turned out in Iraq.

    That’s what’s at issue here. The only force which could actually have arrested the drift to civil war was the workers’ movement. Of course for the moment – at almost any given moment – the workers’ movement will have leaders we disapprove of. It remains the agency for change.

    This is not some obscure facet of Trotskyist theory, or some weird ‘third camp’ dogma. It is absolutely fucking basic.

  199. tim said,

    But that presumes Clive that JohnG is anti war.
    Which we know from his stance on religious groupings in the Middle East,he is not.

  200. SP said,

    “LFIQ includes those who opposed and those who supported military action but are united in supporting Iraq’s struggle for democracy and labour rights”.
    From “Who we are” statement LFIQ website October 2004

    “I don’t know that ‘perfectly well’ at all”

    All right then you the kind of politically mendacious twat who characterises and attacks an organisation on the basis of someone else’s word without even bothering to check your facts.

    “justifications for torture and death being enthusiastically promulgated by the likes of ‘Labour Friends of Iraq’” – again time for you to provide some evidence.

  201. JohnGenocide said,

    So what if the insurgents kill trade unionists,as long as they would kill Jews too whats your point.
    So what if Galloway was a Stalinist on the take.
    I am pure.

  202. johng said,

    I’m sorry but the kind of mendacious and morally obscene support for genocide that anyone complicit in the occupation and Blairs policy is involved with (personally I believe that office holders in tha organisation would be tried for war crimes in a decent world) is not cleared up by a few absurd constitutional phrases. These things will come back to haunt you and well they might.

    Clives hypotheticals presume that the only choices involved here are between trade union support and sectarianism. I utterly disagree with this. If it was people like Clive I was debating with I’d probably be capable of developing a discussion on this. But given the polluted tone of this thread, and the strange way in which people who do regard themselves as socialists tolerate this (its not censorship I’m calling for just intervention) I really can’t be bothered.

    This is not a reflection on Clives point.

  203. SP said,

    Cutting and running at the point you are asked to provide some evidence for your attacks on other contributors is politically dishonesty of the worst kind. Doing it behind a smoke screen of “Clive’s all right but the rest of you are beastly” only makes it worse. Are you really tutoring our children at an institution of Higher Education?
    Frankly I blame the teachers.

  204. JohnGenocide said,

    i only teach first years.
    Don’t worry.

  205. johng said,

    Cutting and running? It really is Orwellian. Look over the entire thread. Not a single argument I have put foward has been responded to. Its been going on for three days. Its a disgrace on a website ran by people claiming to be left wing. But ok SP. Not a single criticism of the occupation from an organisation which claims to be a friend of labour in Iraq. You say your a member. More then half a million dead (and thats a conservative estimate). You explain to me why you should not personally be put on trial. I can think of no good reason.

  206. said,

    To answer Jules’ and TWP’s earlier point “why not debate JohnG’s arguments?”

    I think this thread has been a good example of the JohnG/SWP School of falsification:

    When faced with inconvenient facts, he and many members of the SWP either chooses to ignore them, sweep them aside or paste some largely unrelated guff.

    Summarising a few of his logical discrepancies:

    1. JohnG is against the partition of Iraq, acknowledges that violence could increase the probably of partition and yet still he advocates support for the “resistance”, a major cause of violence and murder in Iraq.

    2. On the topic of trade unions in Iraq, JohnG’s in a pickle, notionally he supports trade unions and yet all he can do is expressed contempt for Iraqi trade unionists. Then he argues that the StWC really did condemn the murder of trade unionists, but is unwilling to explain away the discrepancies between the pressure applied from international trade unionists and the rather mealy-mouthed and qualified condemnation at the StWC conference.

    3. Posters have commented how the JohnG’s and SWP’s politics seems governed by a rather crude and vulgar “anti-imperialism” which tends to dictate that nations or groups, even slightly friendly, to the US to be condemned or treated with contempt, whilst nations or groups that oppose the UK/US, out of their method, are ardently supported and praised no matter how murderous or reactionary.

    4. JohnG tries in vain to defend the StWC against the charge of being pro war, and yet finds it hard to explain away the StWC’s support for the resistance and the violence that they perpetrate.

    5. When sources such as the Labour friends of Iraq are used JohnG seems to treat them as if they were written by Hitler, yet he is unable to explain away the very valid concerns raised by Mick Rix and other trade unionists.

    6. It is apparent from the arguments that if something goes along with JohnG’s geopolitical scheme of things, then you’re probably supported but if it doesn’t, he won’t. E.g. Women’s rights and feminists in Iraq, Gays being killed by the “resistance”, socialist, trade unionists and liberals suffering attacks from the “resistance”, such shibboleths are of little consequence to JohnG’s view of the world, and if people have to suffer or are killed as a result, then that’s their hard luck as far as the likes of JohnG are concerned.

    7. JohnG’s characterisation of some rather tasteless jokes by Will as akin to “implying deaththreats to socialists” only confirms the impression that some SWP members are humourless, introverted and probably paranoid.

    8. If the argument is not going his way, he runs off in a huff. That’s why people don’t “engage” JohnG in argument or meaningful discussions, it’s hardly worth the bother and you feel dirty after the whole episode.

  207. Jim Denham said,

    John Game, re myself on Sami Ramadani: “I seem to remember one Jim Denham suggesting that people with his views shouldn’t be allowed to live in this country”: Mr Game: when and where have I said -or “suggested” any such thing? please cite your exact reference and source…otherwise withdraw that libel, you LIAR!

  208. voltaires_priest said,

    Indeed: as far as I’m aware, Jim’s – and the AWL’s – stance on immigration is to be for open borders and free movement of people, a stance that the John Game’s organisation, the SWP, has voted down at previous Respect conferences. So if anyone should be justifying their views on immigration, it ain’t Jim.

  209. johng said,

    Modernity thetotalitarian:

    1. “JohnG is against the partition of Iraq, acknowledges that violence could increase the probably of partition and yet still he advocates support for the “resistance”, a major cause of violence and murder in Iraq”

    This is somehow taken as a ‘fact’ that I am ignoring when in fact it is simply the a proposition which depends for its coherence on modernities interpretation of what is going on in Iraq. It is not permitted to disagree with modernities interpretation of what is going on in Iraq (even with facts).

    2. On the topic of trade unions in Iraq, JohnG’s in a pickle, notionally he supports trade unions and yet all he can do is expressed contempt for Iraqi trade unionists. Then he argues that the StWC really did condemn the murder of trade unionists, but is unwilling to explain away the discrepancies between the pressure applied from international trade unionists and the rather mealy-mouthed and qualified condemnation at the StWC conference.

    The first sentance is simply a lie (I have contempt for organisations which collaberate with the occupation which is not the sum total of all trade unions). In the course of the argument Modernity said that the stop the war movement had never condemned the murder of a trade unionist. I supply evidence that they did (simply on the basis of a google search). His response is to make wild claims about how because the conference was held a few weeks later this condemnation does not count and was the result of external pressure. In any case it doesn’t count because they don’t share his politics.

    3. Apparently because Posters say bad things about my politics this represents a ‘logical incoherence’ in my position or something else bad. I don’t see any need to comment further on this save to say that I wasted time explaining the actual basis of my position, which of course Modernity has no interest in. Like all totalitarians he ‘already knows’. People who do not fit into his stereotypes are ‘illogical’.

    4. Modernity repeats a central ideological meme in the pro-war argument (even if he is not himself). That the anti-war movement is not anti-war because it supports the ‘Resistance’. Far from not explaining this I pointed out that on this basis the Anti-Vietnam war movement was not an anti-war movement and indeed most anti-war movements have not been anti-war movements. Many people oppose this war because they believe it is a war of aggression launched by their own government. They support the right of people to defend themselves against this war of aggression but recognise that the only people who can call it off are our governments engaged in an unjust war of aggression. There is nothing ‘logically incoherent’ about this, and again, saying there is depends on the curious idea that unless you agree with Modernity your illogical.

    5. I did not explain ‘away’ the ‘valid concerns’ (they are not valid concerns) of the Labour Friends of Iraq and Rix the latter of whom was concerned not to move too far away from Blair. Again, because I do not agree with my opponents this is taken to be a failure on my part.

    6. No evidence at all is presented for this. Its just a lot of right wing ranting so I’ll ignore it.

    7. Being humerlous or paranoid is not a logical flaw in an argument. If this was the case your arguments would be even more incoherent.

    8. The argument has gone my way in the sense that there has not been a single coherent argument put against anything I’ve said. Modernity like all totalitarians you need to understand that believing your right is not the same as being right.

    I have however made a grievous error. Jim in some drunken rant about Ramadani said something on the tomb years ago about how he should be grateful to be in this country (how dare he say such things etc, etc). I implied in return that this involved a curious notion of dual citizenship and was a reactionary argument. He said blagaglagag,,,ggrrrrrrrr. or something like that. I have here misrepresented this grotesquely and I can only fall on my knee’s and beg absolution.

  210. voltaires_priest said,

    Produce a link that proves what you’re saying about Jim to be true.

  211. John Genocide said,

    My views are similar to Takfiris.
    kill all apostate collaborators in Iraq.
    Voting in the election was collaboration.

  212. voltairespriest said,

    OK, that joke’s getting kind of samey now.

  213. Jim Denham said,

    Mr Game, your claim that I have *ever* (even in a “drunken rant”) claimed that Sami Ramadani “should be grateful to be in this country” is simply a LIE. I demand that you corroborate this slander/libel or withdraw it. If you fail to do either, I think most readers will draw their own conclusions about your standards of honesty in the course of debate.

  214. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    No evidence at all is presented for this. Its just a lot of right wing ranting so I’ll ignore it.

    you suggest that it is “right wing” to be concerned about attacks on Women’s rights and feminists in Iraq, Gays being killed by the “resistance”, socialist, trade unionists and liberals suffering attacks from the “resistance”??

    whereas traditionally socialists have defended women’s rights, feminists gays and others, instead we now see JohnG defending the resistance, groups that attack women and gays in Iraq

    JohnG, could present reams and reams of information and evidence on the subject, what good would it do?

    you would simply dismiss any evidence or try to “contextualise” it

  215. tim said,

    For JohnG,all those who voted in the elections are collaborators.
    Thus he can defend attacks on 80% of the Iraqi population.

  216. Will said,

    Gameboy does nothing but throw around a load of pretentious, pompous, pseudo-forensic, windbag tripe. Most of the commenters here need take no bullshit from the Gameboy piece of shit slandering filthbag on what it means to be left wing or anything remotely like it. I repeat what i said earlier – why accept that this cretinistic, opportunist, pathologically lieing, squalid, piece of shit and piss and his equally insane, corrupt and shallow organisation has any value to the labour movement (or is a part of it) in any way shape or form at all? I’ll answer that myself — they fucking don’t.

  217. johng said,

    Is there a way of finding all of Jim Denhams posts on the Tomb? I will search. If I can’t find it I’ll withdraw that and even apologise profusely. I do have a strong memory of Jim saying this though. I’ll get the Leninist thought police onto the question.

    Modernity lies through his teeth again claiming that I think it is ‘right wing’ to support feminism. Thats what I meant by ‘right wing ranting’. ie he tells loads of lies about the anti-war left and what they say, and when anyone from that left argues against it, he simply repeats it, and thinks its a an argument. Whats right wing is claiming that anyone who resists the Occupation is a head chopper and a fanatic who deserves to be killed. Arguments which are cloaking crimes the scale and nature of which we will probably not find out for years.

    Personally, if people don’t ‘contextualise’ arguments or actions I’m not too interested in what they say. I have no great love of decontextualised arguments or actions (another word for misrepresentation or propaganda). Its interesting that the whole of modernities argumentative style rests on desperate attempts to remove discussion from any historical or political context (its also the source of the endless attempts to ‘catch people out’ a childish style of argument which rests on the belief that disagreements rest on ‘distortions’ of the truths that modernity is sure of.

    Will is of course completely mad and never brings a bottle to the table (or at least he doesn’t share).

  218. tim said,

    are people who voted collaborators John?

  219. johng said,

    Are you a martian Tim?

    (you might have noticed that even people elected now, on both sides of the sectarian divide, stated that Prince Harry should not come as he should not be associated with the occupation. This presumably reflects the feelings of their constituents about the occupation).

  220. said,


    it is noticeable how your employ the old age SWP tactic of accusing your political opponents of racism, then when found out start to retreat

    you’re one class act, how predictable

  221. johng said,

    Oh yes Modernity you’ve got me, oh dear, I’m utterly humilated, modernity has won, i’ve really let the side down, i’ve let myself down, its exposed everything about me that anyone would ever want to know, i am a shuddering heap of contradictions and bad faith and my secret has been exposed before the world…oh woe is me, woe is me, when I decided to mislead the general public about the most crucial battle the world has ever seen, i had NO idea that modernity was about. I’ve been moderned.

  222. said,


    you’re a disgrace as an academic, without evidence you shouldn’t have uttered one word or rebuke to Jim Denham

    it hasn’t occurred to you that your views should be based on evidence, not your incredibly poor mental recollection.

    as a politico you’re hack and pretty boring one at that

    you won’t see any contradictions because you are essentially a cultist without many original ideas, you need the crutch of dogma to hold you together

  223. johng said,

    What do you mean ‘as an academic’. Is that the only thing you can repeat over and over again? Do you not have any argumentative ability at all? Modernity shouldn’t be your tag. It should be ‘Dogmatist’.

  224. SP said,

    It strikes me as not unreasonable that someone working/teaching in an institution of HE should have the concept of justifying an argument by reference to evidence, at least to the level required of my “O” level taking son.

  225. tim said,

    Can’t John Game find his source material again?

  226. johng said,

    I do justify arguments with respect to evidence, frameworks, and logical coherence. I spent two or three days doing that. Nobody else here does. Then I was pulled down by the dank and dark moral nihilism of the ‘democratic left’. Everything’s gone to hell in a sidecart since then.

  227. said,


    it seems that you are the only one here that thinks that you “justify arguments with respect to evidence, frameworks, and logical coherence.”

    seems like a “I am sane, the rest of you are mad” argument, and we know where that leads, but you are occasionally humourous, even if it is unintended

  228. johng said,

    Well modernity there seem to be few people here capable of stringing a sentance togeather let alone an argument so I’m hardly bothered really.

  229. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    Well modernity there seem to be few people here capable of stringing a sentance togeather let alone an argument so I’m hardly bothered really

    your upper middle class inferiority complex is showing

    you should get your misanthropy treated

    when you’ve join the human race, come back and have a chat!

  230. Will said,

    Game is a spamming twat (amongst other things). If you people haven’t realised that he and the so called ‘party’ he’s a member of are cultists and dishonest apologists for murderers, genocidaires and religious theocracy then there’s nothing else I can say or do to help you.

    Confront and deny their authority to speak on anything whatsoever at all times. Otherwise you are complicit in their filth.

  231. voltaires_priest said,

    So… John… where’s that proof about what you claim Jim said?

  232. Will said,

    There is none. He’s a liar as usual. A filthy disgusting prick with warts on.

    Waiseul Islam joins Labour Party and slams Respect on local record:

  233. johng said,

    Can’t find it. So I apologise unreservedly to Jim for my terrible error.

  234. johng said,

    Now is there any chance at all of anyone responding rationally a) to problems of the Kurdish national question and Socialists or b) the actual composition of the resistance in Iraq and what Socialists attitudes should be?

  235. Will said,

    Fuck off spamming twat. You aren’t a socialist. You’re a scab.

  236. Will said,

    “Can’t find it. So I apologise unreservedly to Jim for my terrible error.”

    It’s not that you can’t find it – it’s a fact that you lied and misrepresented (again) you prick. There is nothing to ‘find’. Now get on your knees and grovel you pretentious fucking slab of gristle.

  237. said,

    This thread showed four things:

    1. there is a legitimate debate over the creation of Kurdistan

    2. that JohnG’s and the SWP’s orientation towards the Kurds is not based on any principle, but more on a geopolitical outlook, so if the Kurds become anti-American, than it is more likely that they will have the support of the SWP, etc

    3. that SWPers, like JohnG, will often evade straightforward issues and try to spread as much confusion is possible, rather than clarifying political issues by straightforward questions, discussion becomes embroiled in some pseudo intellectual contextualising, which leads nowhere

    4. the question of: to debate SWPers or not, brought up by Will is interesting

    I think we have to acknowledged that JohnG is unusual for a SWPer, as they rarely engage in any meaningful debate outside their own controlled environments (meetings, blogs, publications, etc) and that in the past many SWPers were decent sincere socialists, (even if it has changed dramatically since their alliance with Islamists)

    Although I think that Will is correct about JohnG’s attitudes and ideas, the ideas of the SWP need to be challenged and if one of their kind is open for debate then they should be engage. As disagreeable as the processes is and requiring a great deal of patience, the end result is that the inconsistencies in their own reasoning and political positions becomes all too evident

    The online medium of the Internet means that the SWP’s lies become all too apparent when evidence is placed before SWPers, and they noticeably disregard it.

    SWPers need to be reminded of their support for reactionaries, right wing Islamists and murderers, thugs that will happily murder feminist, gays, trade unions, socialists, liberals, etc and any secular opposition.

    So as distasteful as it is, I think that is what has to be done.

  238. johng said,


    I really don’t see how you conclude that a) there is a legitimate debate over the creation of kurdistan (something which I alone initiated, although Clive did come in towards the end), and b) that my orientation is not based on a ‘principle’ but simply ‘anti-americanism’ or whathaveyou. Explain to me how you conclude this (based on things I have actually said please). I also don’t understand what you mean by ‘avoiding straightfoward issues’ (presumably you mean initiating a serious debate about the issue of kurdistan which only now can you admit is a matter for serious debate). I would again remind you that any discussion of Kurdistan and the national question which did not contextualise the issue would be utterly worthless (its interesting that you have nothing whatsoever to contribute to a discussion on Kurdistan).

    As for will’s “interesting points” comprising obscene and hysterical abuse, which at times was inadvertantly comical, following your dodging of all questions actually raised, this pseudo-reflection resembled nothing-so-much as the famous monty python syllogism on how to discover witches.

    In the times today rumours of the killing of the leader of Al-Qaida in Iraq were discussed against the backdrop of long term tensions between those sections of the insurgency which concentrate on killing coalition soldiers and those ‘foreign fighters’ who’ve saught to turn the insurgency into a sectarian bloodbath.

    Do you have any framework for making sense of this at all? As you know I have. But in your desperate urge to slander the anti-war movement you’ve deprived yourself of any critical faculties at all. Its a shame that sections of the left appear to have done so as well (no doubt they will soon be hailing Turkish generals as defenders of the western way of life at the same time as they pretend to be concerned about the oppression of Kurds. The absence of any coherent analyses of actual events is the hall mark of a failed perspective. Its peculiarly poignant for those people on the left who opposed all things in principle but whilst supporting all the arguments which led to those things.

    You end up sharing nothing but the confusions of your own ruling class and lacking any credibility at all. Only children are desperate to sound like grownups. Grownups don’t talk endlessly about how grown up they are. That might be a salutory lesson for the so-called ‘democratic left’.

  239. said,

    JohnG wrote:

    I really don’t see how you conclude that a) there is a legitimate debate over the creation of kurdistan (something which I alone initiated, although Clive did come in towards the end), and b) that my orientation is not based on a ‘principle’ but simply ‘anti-americanism’

    because that is how your position on Kurdistan can be read, as pointed out by Igor:

    You still haven’t adequately explained why you favour one nationalism and dismiss another. Therefore people are very likely to insinuate that this inconsistency is because of anti-Americanism and anti-semitism.

    it is fairly apparent from your political positions and their inconsistencies, that they are more likely to be governed by your Party’s internal politics and geopolitical outlook rather than any principled approach to these issues

    that is not to say that you don’t try to wrap them up in a “socialistic” and “anti-imperialist” veneer, but it doesn’t stand much scrutiny or inspection, it is why you are so adverse to any form of questioning

    you wrote:

    Do you have any framework for making sense of this at all? As you know I have

    spoken like a true cultist, of course you have some framework, much as a seven-day Adventist or Mormon has some “framework”, it is not of any use to anyone else, its intellectual crutch to hide your character flaws but still you have it

    but unlike you, I am not contemptuous of people, and unlike you, I am not from the British ruling classes, so I like many others engage in political discussion and accept we will have some differences, it called pluralism, an idea which you and your Islamist allies are so heartily opposed to.

    I also favour secularism, another idea which you and your Islamist allies despise.

    I’m interested in discussing politics, complex situations and above all having a historical perspective on them

    I think that your views are a mishmash of pseudo intellectual justifications, no matter how the policy changes in your Party and how many reactionaries you have to embrace, you will foist lies onto others as if nothing has changed

    As long as you maintain your alliances with reactionaries, excuse away attacks on trade unionists, go on about shibboleths and apologise or contextualise antisemitism, I shall oppose you and your party.

  240. SP said,

    Re point 4 above:
    I am closer to Will than you on this point however I broke my self-denying ordinance on this occasion. I was told, though have no evidence to back it up, that the SWP license bloggers and that ordinary members are not allowed (or politely discouraged) to engage in this sort of thing. Perhaps JohnG can confirm or otherwise. That might explain the rarity of this exchange. Alternatively he might be breaking the line and to be fair to him has he not done this regarding Atzmon?

    I never much liked the SWP and its rigidity usually precluded any joint work etc. On occasion their sectarianism had a disastrous impact and not just regarding the big things ANL, miners support etc. – I can remember local initiatives too. It is however a deeply undemocratic organisation which does not encourage independent or critical thinking hence its surprisingly low presence on the interweb.

    I do however now think through Respect, STWC they have descended into a form of communal politics inimical to socialism and placing them outside the norms and traditions of the labour movement. Jim, and others, might be unable to avoid having to deal with them in their locality, this is not a problem for me. Neither are they seeking involvement in the initiatives in which I participate so I don’t need to articulate this argument for their exclusion. If I had to however, I think I would.

  241. tim said,

    Heres a religious loon that JohnG supports
    This is how George Galloway celebrated May Day.
    claiming that people who believe in Judgement day cant vote labour and “meet their maker”.As Galloway did last night.

    Given Georges laissez faire view of the ten commandments it seems a bit odd.

    Thou shalt not steal George.
    Thou shalt not bear false witness George.

  242. Will said,

    Well said Mod and SP.

    Regarding the SWP ‘license bloggers’ point made by SP:

    …they do have form in that sort of thing of course. The fucking ignorant filth.

  243. Will said,

    SWP — modern day Strasserites. Be careful John Game – keep your head on your shoulders — The islamists will have their night of the long knives with you! Chop chop, slice slice, dice dice!

  244. said,


    Very strange video, I’ll bet that is withdrawn shortly.


    re: Atzmon and JohnG, I think it is merely a slight tactical shifting of position before the 180 degree about turn.


    agreed, their shift rightwards is disgusting

  245. tim said,

    James Meadway, the SWP blogger ,Dead Men Left,suddenly stopped blogging after some conversations.
    He did accidentally expose George Galloway lying to the press about his cash links to the Al Queda terrorist associate Saad Al Fagih.
    No link.

  246. Will said,

    Yes Tim – I remember there was the incident with the King of Morroco

    is that a different story to the Saad Al Fagih one?

  247. said,

    how will SWPers explain away Galloway’s rant?

    Galloway is the best advert for secularism that there is

  248. tim said,

    The SWP are attacking secularism in Turkey this week so I doubt they’ll bother.

  249. said,

    ahh Tim, but the SWP argument is so cunning that Baldrick could have thought it up. ie “the military support secularism, therefore secularism is tied to the military, the military is bad, therefore secularism is…..”

    very strange, as I would assume that most SWPers are atheists?

  250. Will said,

    Good series of posts here:

    …from principled socialist and friend of the Iraqi workers – Harry Barnes. Talking about murdered Iraqi Trade Unionists (murdered and tortured by gameboys friend of course) and the history of the ICP in relation to Ba’athism (correctly placing events in a proper historical and dynamic context – unlike Gameboy who just spouts ‘rad chic’ crap and such like) .

  251. voltaires_priest said,

    Now is there any chance at all of anyone responding rationally a) to problems of the Kurdish national question and Socialists or b) the actual composition of the resistance in Iraq and what Socialists attitudes should be?

    Have done both already (on several occasions). I guess you just didn’t like the answers, huh?

  252. Will said,

    He should read the original post.

    The thick cultist twat.

  253. Will said,

    Galloway (Gameboys leader) is quite obviously insane (religiousity is a marker of this). Tells you everything you need to know about the pathological liar and religious buffoon that is Game himself. Cults are like that tho’. Gameboy will be wearing black Nike and going to bed in a dormitory if he isn’t already. I hope he is. As with all Strasserites – I hope his life is shortened — the scab bastard.

    Not a death threat Gamebot (y) – you thick fucking imbecile. Only a wish.

  254. Will said,

    Mayday in Iraq;

    These communists are who Gameboy and his Strasserite party would like to see murdered and tortured because he thinks of them as ‘quislings’.

  255. The Shadow State Conflict » Comments from Left Field said,

    […] this was happening, Kurds were busy fighting a civil war in the southeast region of Turkey. Many of you will know that in the 1980s and 1990s the PKK and the Turkish army fought a running […]

  256. Adam said,

    Kurdistan doesn’t even exist how can they be apart of it. They are trying to create one because the Turkish government did not take care of the eastern area. True but you have to take in consideration of the other presidents and there lack of skill to spread equal rights and amenities to other areas of the country. I read the whole thing and i couldn’t believe you or the media didn’t take the consideration of the Turkish Citizens on the eastern front that are stuck in this crossfire and are being forcefully recruited into this fiasco. There are definitely higher powers enforcing this riot of a civil war (sounds like Uganda) because if these cities did round up dollars or liras were do they find that kind of arms to go through with that kind of battle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: