Those who defiantly
survive police-state violence tend to develop a wracking, dark humor.
In 1970, our friend and surrealist co-worker Haifa Zangana* was
jailed in Saddam Husseins horrendous Qasir al-Nihaia political
prison as an enemy of the State. In her grim but poetic memoir,
Haifa recalls the taste of blood in her mouth and the sight of blood
on her thighs, the hot tears she shed for friends executed by security
police, and the cool gorgeous springs of water in her ancestral
homeland of Kurdistan that were plugged silent with cement by Husseins
troops. Yet today, she says with a tough, sad chuckle, she finds
herself (objectively at least) on the side of the dictatorship that
tortured her and against the Western governments who vow to "liberate"
We understand Haifas wise and bitter smile. At present, the
people of Iraq are confronted by the prospect of a Bush-league emperors
ambition to depose their CIA-appointed despot through a U.S. invasion
and military occupation, a scheme we are supposed to believe is
motivated by moral indignation and high-minded righteous regard
for democratic principles. Such malevolent hypocrisy would almost
be funny if the implications were not so catastrophic. Since 1968,
Husseins Baathist regimean unrelenting torturocracyhas
been showered with support of all kinds, including massive shipments
of weapons and incalculable U.S. tax dollars. After Kuwait, the
U.S. effectively rehired Hussein to continue butchering anti-State
separatists, feminists, and anti-capitalists in order to "stabilize"
the region for exploitation by globalized capitalism. U.S. National
Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice proclaims that attacking Iraq now
will aid "the march of freedom"; tellingly, Rice is the
first such Advisor with a 136,000-ton Chevron Corporation oil tanker
named after her.
George Bush and Saddam Hussein are not exactly Tweedledee and Tweedledum,
but the similarities between themideologically, morally, and
as figureheads of Statefar outweigh the differences. Indeed,
the Executive Branch of the Bush-Cheney regime and the ruling circle
of the Baath Party are clearly the most tender and intimate
of enemies. We are not surprised to learn that portions of a recent
televised speech by the most ignorant President in U.S. history,
in which he expressed his "feelings" about "Iraqi
culture," were in truth lifted almost verbatim from a 1990
speech by none other than Saddam Hussein, who was then directing
his own invasion of Kuwait. And we would not be surprised to learn
that Saddam Hussein has in turn plagiarized juicy bits of double-talk
from speeches by one or another U.S. President.
Make no mistake: The proposed "regime change" in Baghdad
is solely about replacing a fractious death-squad subcontractor
with a more passively compliant one. A New World Order "police
action" aimed at Iraq would provide U.S. capital with easy
access to twenty- two percent of the worlds available petroleum,
meaning less dependence upon the doddering feudal oil oligarchy
of Saudi Arabia. In our era of turbo-globalized and genocidal capitalism,
the oil extraction industries are one of the hinges on which international
class relations turn. Any bombs that fall on the people of Iraq
in the next few months will also be a dire "message" pointed
at petroleum workers in such places as the Caspian Sea basin, Angola,
Nigeria, Colombia, and Venezuela. It is no accident that the "interim"
government in Afghanistan that replaced the Taliban ruling clique
is led by a former consultant to the Unocal oil company who is protected
round-the-clock from assassination by a contingent of U.S. Green
Carnage apologists, militarist demagogues, war profiteers, and their
fundamentalist Christian cheerleaders charge that those who are
unable or unwilling to fathom the hateful logic of their policies
are plainly guilty of the terrible crime of being "unrealistic."
For our part, as surrealists, we readily affirm that we despise
the so-called "realism" that is based solely on the clumsy
hypocrisy, swaggering boorishness, and ecocidal greed of a few cowardly
billionaires along with their political/ military/ journalistic
yes-men. Quite simply, a "realism" sustained by nothing
more than shamelessly arrogant celebrations of degradation, persecution,
and miserabilist obfuscation deserves only con-tempt, scorn, and
We say: Neither ruling-class war nor imperial peace! The grubby,
counter-revolutionary opportunism of "realistic"realpolitik
is no excuse for industrialized mass murder. When the U.S. governments
stooges of Capital try to blackmail us with the pseudo-choice of
being "either with us or against us," we wholeheartedly
refuse. In this as in all intercapitalist rivalries, we support
neither side. Heeding our imaginations, we pursue an alternative
set of terms. We do our best to ignore the flags and sneer at the
superstitious calls for some war gods blessings, and focus
instead on our solidarity with the working people of Iraq.
With sorrow, but also with anger, Haifa Zangana reminds us that
siding with the oppressed "does not mean we are unaware of
the complexity of the situation."
Unalterably opposed to yet another sleazy capitalist oil war, we
uphold the tried and true values of class war: the self-emancipation
of the workers of the world from wage-slavery. To quote one of the
oldest and soundest watchwords of the workingclass movement:
The real enemy is in "our own" country! And despite
that enemys penchant for euphemistic pseudonyms ("free
enterprise," "globalization," etc.), his true name
No to Bushs war-plans and globalizations death
industry! No to the outlawing of workers movements!
No to "austerity programs" and the "structural
readjustment" dictates of the World Trade Organization, the
International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank! No to misery
and miserabilism in all their forms!
Yes to revolt! Yes to freedom now! Yes to international
workingclass solidarity! Yes to life, imagination, the Earthand
their marvelous possibilities!