Labor Advocate Online

Bush’s Next Career Move Should Be Show Business
by Bill Onasch

When GW gets relieved from his present job as Commander-in-Chief he should have no trouble continuing to put his talents to work. We expect he will be eagerly sought by Hollywood studios, or at least network television. Nobody comes close to his track record of transforming scum into superstar heroes.

First there was Saddam Hussein, a most unpleasant dictator with no visible redeeming qualities. Virtually overnight Bush made him a hero to millions inside and outside Iraq.

Recently, after arranging a coup to oust an elected government, Bush promoted a gangster/talk show host, Gerard Latortue, to be his man in Haiti.

The latest to be catapulted to stardom by the White House is Muqtada al-Sadr. Sadr, until recently, was a small time fascist d.b.a. Shia cleric. He was best known for arranging the murder last year of a rival Shia cleric. He had at his disposal a small "militia," a mix of religious fanatics and sadistic lumpen. These thugs occasionally murdered suspected opponents, carried out pogroms against Gypsies, and intimidated women. He also produced a small circulation weekly newspaper—with the journalistic standards of the National InquirerAl Hawsa.

A couple of weeks ago the American viceroy sent fifty GIs to close down Al Hawsa. Bremmer and the White House were probably prepared for the condemnation that predictably flared up in the USA, Britain, and other nations accustomed to having a free press.

What clearly did shock the occupiers was the massive protest that arose among the "liberated" Iraqis who had some how got the notion they were entitled to rights such as we Americans are supposed to have guaranteed in our First Amendment. Folks who wouldn’t have given a rotten fig for a lifetime sub to Al Hawsa were outraged by its suppression. Suddenly its two-bit gangster owner ironically became the symbol of the fight for democratic rights.

There was already an abundance of tinder ready for ignition as a result of unemployment, lack of basic public services, and perceived disrespect. The occupiers’ clumsy, hard-ass attempts to justify their repressive actions were more than enough to spark a conflagration.

What we have seen since is more or less spontaneous uprisings throughout Iraq. Their only unifying theme is the demand for the U.S. coalition to get out. Sunni, Shia, and secular all agree on that.

Unfortunately, at this point it appears that working class organizations emerging after the collapse of the old dictatorship, such as the Federation of Worker Councils and Trade Unions, the Unemployed Union of Iraq, and the Worker Communist Party, do not yet have sufficient strength to take leadership of these struggles, to move them in a positive direction. They are still a promise of the future not the solution to the present leadership crisis.

No other force can assume hegemony over these uprisings either. There are various religious sects and criminal gangs that have weapons and other material resources far out of proportion to their mass support. Some are beholden to neighboring regimes and forces in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Some of these elements are responsible for degenerate acts of kidnaping and political murders that mar the struggles.

The present insurrection will not win a military victory over the occupiers. Eventually workers will have to return to work, students return to the class room, life’s necessary daily routine will resume—for at least a while.

But the occupiers have been dealt an irreparable political blow. No one can deny the majority sentiment for an end to the occupation. No one can pretend any longer that an exit strategy predicated on continued American rule behind an effective facade of the Iraqi Council is not doomed.

The objectives of the labor component of the antiwar movement in this country need to be clear:

!Support our troops by bringing them home now. No more GI blood in a war based on government lies and corporate greed.

!Provide material as well as political support to genuine working class organizations developing in Iraq.

!In the spirit of the "make whole" principle that guides us in the workplace we support whatever it takes to provide a legitimate peaceful transition to democracy and an economic rebuilding in Iraq. Other than money there is no room in this process for the U.S. government or any of their coalition allies responsible for the crimes of occupation.

4/10/2004

US Army Stops Union Demonstration In Iraq
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