The International Bolshevik Tendency helped organize a “Rally Against War on Iran and Iraq” in Wellington, New Zealand on Saturday 25 January 2020 and participated in a rally in Toronto, Canada on the same day as part of a global day of action against imperialist intervention in the Middle East. At both protests we distributed copies of our leaflet Defend Iran! Imperialists Out of the Middle East!
Below is a lightly edited version of the speech given by IBT supporter Adaire Hannah at the Wellington rally.
Kia ora. We are here today because the American imperialists and some of their collaborators have been making moves toward regional war in the Middle East, and increasing the risks of inter-imperialist rivalries.
Trump’s 3 January assassination of the Iranian military commander Suleimani, and the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, had two motives. He wanted to distract ordinary Americans from the impeachment process, and he wanted to protect America’s strategic and economic interests in Middle Eastern oil fields and pipelines.
We give no political support to the Suleimani’s of this world or the ruthless regimes of Iran and Iraq, but we stand on the side of Iran and Iraq against imperialist attack. We defend Iran’s right to retaliate against any imperialist military target.
As Marxists we call for all imperialist powers to be driven out of the Middle East.
The Democrats, including the so-called progressive Democrats such as Sanders and Warren, are focused on blaming Trump for the increased dangers of war with Iran. But let us not forget that in 2011 when the Democrat Obama was President he was responsible for the assassination via a drone strike of Anwar Nasser al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American citizen. Like Suleimani he was supposedly planning terrorist operations.
Obama and Trump are two sides of the same coin. One is urbane, able to sell his imperialist messages with coherently constructed arguments while the other is crude, bombastic, inconsistently justifying his actions via illiterate tweets. The Democrats may be more sophisticated but no less criminal than Trump in representing the American capitalist system and the war machine.
The New Zealand government is divided three ways. NZ First is all for remaining in Iraq. Pragmatic Labour calls merely for de-escalation. The Greens want troop withdrawal. This resonates with many New Zealanders, but notice that Green defense spokesperson, Golriz Ghahraman, describes this as “calling out our allies.”
Translated, this means that she and the Greens openly stand in the camp of the imperialists, the enemy of the environment, the exploiters of workers and oppressors of women, people of color and minorities.
All three components of the New Zealand government are happy to let United States imperialism lay claim to the Middle East – with support from New Zealand forces. They differ only on tactics.
The failure of the working class, in New Zealand and internationally, to respond to Trump’s imperialist aggression is not the result of apathy so much as ruling-class pressure to depoliticize the union movement, and limitations on the right to strike.
We need militant union leaders who have an international perspective of ending exploitation and oppression. Instead we have leaders who head off any rank-and-file militancy in the service of their own bourgeoisie.
We need workers’ strikes against the imperialist war machine – in the U.S. and in NZ.
We need an international revolutionary party.
We need to bring down the capitalist system.