What follows is the text of one of the leaflets distributed by our organisation in the factories and local markets in which we work.





Two words on the facts of Nasiriya


The government and official information agencies claim that Italy is taking part in a “humanitarian mission” in Iraq.

In reality, as pointed out by the magazine Limes: “everybody knows, above all the Iraqis, the enormous economic and strategic geopolitical interests that have led to the direct intervention of the USA in Mesopotamia” (No. 5, 2003, p. 33). The pillaging of oil, the armouring of Western domination over the Islamic world to the point of reducing even the workers who have immigrated to the West to the level of starvation, the construction of military bases from which it can launch its attack on the Far East… these are the aims of the war that the USA has been leading over the last few months. And these are the interested defended by the entire Western contingent now located in Iraq.

In the face of this neocolonial occupation, the Iraqi people have taken up the challenge in the same way as the working masses in Palestine and Afghanistani. Anybody who believed that they would find themselves faced by flocks of sheep or mercenaries ready to sell themselves in order to lubricate the wheels of the West in the region made a big mistake. What they found were peoples prepared to organise themselves and fight back. They do not have B-52’s from which to drop a hail of explosive half-ton confetti at a “clean” height of thousands of metres, and they do not have Tornado fighter-bombers, Cruise missiles, aircraft carriers or armoured tanks. But, although they may not have any of these things, they are still not disposed to crawl servilely at the feet of the lords of the dollar, the pound or the euro. And they fight as they can and must.

This is the context leading to the attack in Nasiriya, and the situation that all of us are called upon to face. But what did we expect?

Everywhere you can hear people say: “Italy is different, it is not like the USA”. But if we want to know exactly what this so-called Italian diversity really is (and restricting ourselves to the last ten years), we only have to ask the Somali women raped by “our” paratroopers during their “humanitarian” mission in Mogadishu in 1993, or the Yugoslavian populations bombed by “our” airforce in the equally “humanitarian” war of 1999. Ask the peoples of “ex”-Yugoslavia what the Italian contingents in Bosnia and Kosova are doing.

“But it was different in Nasiriya – the Italian contingent there was repairing hospitals and water supply equipment”. We can leave aside the “small detail” that it was Italy that helped to destroy them by participating in the wars and the embargo. The Italian contingent is engaged on training the local police force that the allied occupation authority is trying to set up as a means of protecting Western order in the country. Furthermore, over the last few weeks, Italian soldiers have sequestered arms of various types to the great “disappointment” of the Iraqis... Let us take note of all of that and think about what it also means for workers in the West. This was clearly “confessed” in the recent full-page headline of the daily paper Libero: “More guns, fewer flowers”.

More guns – which means that Italy’s workers will have to pay for even higher costs than those they are already paying in order to finance the Italian war machine, which has for years been accompanied (as everywhere in the West) by cuts in “social spending” (pensions, health, education, etc.).

But “more guns” also means a increasingly militarised society not only in, but also in Italy and the West: a further nail in the coffin of the workers’ political and trade union activities. The “first” signs of this are before our eyes: continuing limitations on the right to strike, intimidatory denunciations of delegates of the CGIL and COBAS, threats of legal action against the recent strikes of engineering workers, a rifle pointed at immigrant workers, the arrest and anti-globalisation activists.

However, and particularly in the future, these economic and political costs will be joined by human costs, because we can certainly be sure that it will not be the financial or industrial bigshots (or their sons) to risk their lives in the so-called “theatres of war”. 

In the light of what is happening, it is even more urgent and necessary to launch the struggle for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Italian and Western troops from Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. It is necessary to roll up our sleeves, and look at how we can encourage the struggle and drive it forward. 

There are many people who say that we have to “put our faith in the UN and entrust it with the task of bringing order and peace to Iraq”. But they seem to have forgotten that the UN gave its blessing to the 10-year embargo against the Iraqi people and is now supporting the occupation of the country! And that it has always covered the attacks of American and European imperialism against the peoples in the South and East of the world (Korea, Jugoslavia, Somalia, etc.)!

Others say that it would “prevent Italy from getting caught up in the mire of the Middle East”. But Italy is already up to its neck, not only because it has its troops there, but above all because the banks and industries of the bel Paese have already dirtied their hands in the neocolonial looting of the Middle East perpetrate by every country in the West. Berlusconi certainly did not send a military contingent to Iraq just to suck up to the White House at the expense of the Italy’s national interests: he did so precisely in order to safeguard them, giving Italian capitalists their share of the Iraqi booty and also strengthening their hand against the workers in Italy.

Counting on the UN or the “different role of Italy and Europe” actually means asking the Iraqi people to retreat from the struggle in the name of a “peace” that would mean nothing more than the continuation of their misery and oppression.

In order to be really what it claims to be, the mobilisation for the withdrawal of the occupation armies must aim at strengthening the resistance of the Iraqi people and all of the oppressed Arabian and Islamic masses by giving them its unconditional support – with the aim of opposing all of the war and “peace” policies of Western governments, starting with the bourgeois crusade against immigrant workers that represents our own Baghdad, and in the perspective of constructing a common anti-imperialist front of Western workers and the exploited of the Southern world. This means a front against the lords of markets and stock exchanges who sow death and misery in the “Third World”, and here “at home” increase the precariousness of Italian proletarian life and super-exploit immigrant workers. Although the official information agencies would like us to think the opposite, the resistance of the working masses in Iraq and the Islamic world  is not a threat for Italian and Western workers. By supporting it, the Western proletariat is supporting its own actions in defence of living and working conditions in the metropoli.

Such a mobilisation in Italy and the West would help the exploited peoples of Iraq and the Middle East to find the best policy for effectively joining battle against imperialism. This policy is not that put forward by the current leaders of the Iraqi resistance movement, who still base their political and  military choices on assumptions that decades of experience have already shown can only lead to failure: the assumption that it is possible find relief from imperialism by constructing a “protected capitalist island” inside the world market, and the assumption that it is possible to subordinate the political protagonism of the working masses to this objective and the actions of the bourgeois States  adopting it. The fall of Baghdad last spring was not simply due to the betrayal of some of the generals of the “Republican Guard”, but a consequence of the inability of the Arabian bourgeoisie to win the struggle for the national and social of the Arabian and Islamic world. As is beginning to be understood in Palestine and Iraq, the success of this struggle necessarily requires the direct involvement of the exploited, whose unity must go beyond the artificial divisions created by imperialism between Sciites and Sunnites, and between Arabs and Kurds, and who must become directly responsible for every aspect of the fight against the Western powers and their local lackeys.

However, it must also be remembered this “failure” of the oppressed in the Middle East is no different from that of a Western proletariat still limited by its willingness to delegate its powers to political formations (of the left and right) that continue to bow down before the arrogance of the capitalist market and its “infinite war”. We can overcome this common limitation only if the exploited of the metropoli work together with the working masses of the Middle East. We must both rediscover a programme, policy and organisation necessary for our common fight for freedom against the dictatorship of globalised capitalism (the real dictatorship!) and in favour on international socialism.

Organizzazione Comunista Internazionalista