The third camp

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 10 November, 2004 - 9:08

On 26 October, AWL took part in a meeting to plan action against the USA’s projected blitz on Fallujah. Initiatives coming out of the meeting include a demonstration on Sunday 7 November, 2pm at Parliament Square, which we urge all readers to support.

Those like the SWP and Respect who shout about “supporting the resistance” in Iraq, and who seem positively to look forward to new battles in Fallujah as a great chance to see a blow against imperialism, were not at the meeting.

AWL’s efforts on Iraq are focused on helping the new labour movement there to become a powerful Third Camp capable of defeating both the US/UK occupation and the Islamist militias.

Through No Sweat, through the Iraqi Workers’ Solidarity Group, and through trade unions we are active in, we have helped make the voices of the Iraqi labour movement known in Britain, and to raise funds for it.

At the same time we have joined all the demonstrations against the 2003 war and against the occupation, while distributing leaflets at them urging people to support the Third Camp rather than the Islamist militias.

In 1848, when they set out to define what they meant by “communism”, Marx and Engels had to mark it off from what they called “reactionary socialism”, and even “the revolutionary literature that accompanied [the] first movements of the proletariat [which] had… a reactionary character”.

Almost a century later, in September 1947, Stalin’s henchman Andrei Zhdanov claimed that “the political forces operating on the international arena [were divided] into two major camps: the imperialist and anti-democratic camp, on the one hand, and the anti-imperialist and democratic camp, on the other”. The USSR led the “anti-imperialist camp”.

That Stalinist doctrine was a “reactionary anti-imperialism” which misled much of the left for decades. Today, after the collapse of the USSR, we see a peculiar recycling of Zhdanov, which now attributes to Islamic fundamentalism the central role in the “anti-imperialist camp”.

The AWL fights to reinstate Marxist, genuinely communist, criteria in place of the doctrines of “camps”.

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