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Submitted by Jason on Thu, 09/10/2008 - 15:03

I don't have much time either. I will attempt a brief response despite your lack of courtesy and extremely patronising style. Perhaps lack of time led you to not notice that I have already responded to all your points.

To reiterate:
"I'd say that the idea of a "united front" with non-working class forces fundamentally misunderstands the tactic.”

You may well say this. I said exactly the same thing- "it is a tactic to break workers from bourgeois or petit-bourgeois misleaders."

You ask: "in what sense does this apply to the Mahdi Army? Of course we want to break working-class individuals away from such organisations but trying to apply the united front tactic to such a scenario is square-peg-for-round-hole stuff. Breaking Iraqi workers from the Mahdi Army implies organising against Al-Sadr (not just independently of him) as a bourgeois element, rather than simply trying to "expose" him as somehow insufficiently anti-imperialist."

As I said twice before and repeat for a third time- it does not apply to the Mahdi army. I fail to see how it can. You can try to expose them as insufficiently anti-imperialist- if you like. But they are not at all anti-imperialist they play straight into the hands of imperialism and are directly anti working class (murdering trade unionists for example as do the imperialist occupiers). I repeat- the working class needs to defend itself against the Islamists.

"In the first instance we should be talking about how Iraqi workers can defend themselves against organisations like the Mahdi Army, not about how they can ally with them."

Good. This though more or less quotes my earlier point- "we tell you now he will not only not give you arms but you will need to defend yourself against his vicious thugs." Why would you want to ally with them?

"In summary, I think your position on the AIUF both a) drastically misunderstands the class nature and application of the united front tactic and b) abdicates, or at best subordinates, our very real and urgent duty to tell the truth about the nature of Islamism and its relationship to working-class politics and the socialist project."

You I believe misunderstand the AIUF. It is a tactic ONLY to be undertaken where substantial sections of the working class are already mobilised by bourgeois misleaders. Just because it is possible at some points does not mean it can be read off as a formula and applied at all times irrespective of reality. I'm not sure how it can remotely be applied with forces such as the Taliban or Mahdi army- if you can think of some concrete instances of how it can let me know.

You seem to be inventing differences where none exist on this. We do though differ on:
a) The need to oppose and actively organise imperialist war
b) The need for troops out now
c) The need for the working class to defeat imperialism
d) The need to oppose imperialism as well as the regional dictatorships.

I think what has happened is that much of the left has fallen into a trap of my enemy’s enemy is my friend. The SWP 9or at least many in it), Galloway and Respect (or at least many in it) for example see that imperialism is an enemy so brook no criticisms of the Iranian regime (see current exchange on Liam Mac Uaid's site) and claim those who criticise the dictatorship or even raise issues around it must somehow be friends of imperialism. The AWL recognise that the Iranian regime is a barbaric dictatorship but then have a variety of positions from 'not condemning' Israeli attacks to
claiming that those who oppose imperialist attack are somehow friends of the dictatorship.

I think we can break with this logic and support socialist working class internationalism.

Finally over the next 6 weeks I will hardly have any time to respond on this. I may come back to it after then. Thanks

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