To quote from the piece
Those who howled down al Mashadani and would not let him speak — the meeting had to be abandoned — were, some of them anyway, people who think of themselves as Trotskyists (though the SWP, which has done most to create the political hysteria in which such things happen, has criticised those who shouted him down).
In fact they are true Stalinists, and not only in their thuggish disregard for free speech. They stand squarely on the Stalinist tradition in their attitude to the Iraqi working class and to the fate of the newly reborn Iraqi working-class movement.
They say they are anti-imperialists, and their objection to al Mashadani is that the trade union movement which he represented at the the ESF meeting does not call for the immediate withdrawal of US and British troops from Iraq; that it does not side with the military activities of the combination of Islamic fundamentalists and Saddamites who make up “the resistance”.
. . .
The evidence is that most Iraqis do not support the “resistance” — those who set off bombs in Baghdad without warning and with the goal of killing as many Iraqi civilians as possible. Not even the brutal stupidity of the US occupying forces has so far driven them to such a despairing conclusion.
Certainly the new Iraqi labour movement has not reached such a conclusion. The Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions believes that the establishment of some sort of bourgeois-democratic system — even with the continued presence of US and British troops, which they oppose — is a better way forward for the Iraqi people. In that they are entirely correct.
Socialism would be better. But if the working class is not yet able to win socialism, then the IFTU is right that the establishment and consolidation of the sort of bourgeois-democratic rights that now exist de facto, despite the bloody chaos in Iraq, and without which the trade unions cannot survive — that that is the best possible option for the Iraqi working class. They are right not to rush to despair and commit the social, political and trade unionist suicide which the idiots of classless “anti-imperialism” urge on them.
The policy which the kitsch left urges on the Iraqi workers is a policy of political and possibly physical suicide. These “militant idiots”, despite what they intend, are with their classless and nameless “anti-imperialism”, for practical purposes, simply reactionaries.
They are erstwhile socialists in process of inadvertently redefining themselves as “anti-imperialist” reactionaries.
The root of it is that they are people who now operate almost entirely with negative politics. They know what they are against. Apart from a vague and undefined, and increasingly “classless”, socialism, they do not know what they are for. By negative repulsion against the USA and Britain, they back themselves into a de facto unity with the politics of downright anti-working class reaction.
What I find most distasteful about the StWC and their supporters is their belief that they claim to know what Iraqis want. And what the Iraqis want is the slaughter of Iraqi civilians. Any Iraqi wanting anything other than the pre-packaged opinions of the StWC must be a "quisling" or a "collaborator". It must be good having such a sure world view where all things are split into binary oppositions: good vs evil; "resistors" vs "collaborators". And you know which side you are on (if you don't know you can always find out what you should think from the "What We Think" column in the paper) and those on the other side are excommunicated from "The LEFT". And so it goes. And so it goes. And so it leads to the slaughter of Trade Unionists. And so it leads to the slaughter of Socialists. And so it leads to the slaughter of heretics. And so it gets as far as it can from Marxism as a theory/practice of human liberation. And so it goes.
*Update* For further discussion on this see Hak Mao and SIAW. To quote from SIAW
Can we be bothered to try to teach these hankerers after ideological purity the simple moral lessons that even a child could grasp, in the childish language that might reach them - that it’s better for a Good Thing to be done by Bad People than not done at all; that you can tell something about what a person (or a sect) is like by the people they choose to hang out with; and that standing back while the other kids are fighting, then claiming to be the best mate some of those kids could hope to have, will not and should not make you popular in the playground?
AWL are in danger of being neither one thing nor t'other1; being run over; picking splinters from their collective bum. There's a quote I can't find online from the designer of the programming language C++, Bjarne Stroustrup, that when he hears the words "pure" and "purity" he can't help thinking of storm troopers.2
1The phrase I seem to recall from a galaxy far, far away is Neither Washington Nor Moscow but International Socialism.
2Geek alert. Stroustrup was responding to a criticism by Bertrand Meyer that C++ is not a "pure" object oriented language.