By Martin Thomas
At a West Midlands Socialist Alliance meeting on Wednesday 14 January 2004, Stuart Richardson of Resistance accused Jim Denham of Solidarity and Workers' Liberty of supporting the US and UK troops in Iraq.
He repeated the accusation despite Denham immediately heckling him to say it was not true.
It isn't true. Two recent front-page headlines of Solidarity, issues 3/30 and 3/41, and many articles, have stated our opposition to the US/UK occupation of Iraq.
We demand that Stuart Richardson withdraws the accusation and apologises, and that Resistance repudiates it.
In the meeting, the lie diverted and muddied debate on the "Respect" coalition. In the meeting Denham had criticised the "Respect" platform. He did not object to the platform's call for an end to the occupation of Iraq. No-one had mentioned Iraq before Richardson spoke. Denham said that the platform's policies, though unobjectionable as far as they go, are no more than what the Greens could equally support. The platform lacks any definite working-class stance or political framework.
Richardson's lie also smears and evades debate on Iraq. We explained our view in Solidarity 3/37:
"We must insist on the right to self-determination of the peoples of Iraq. We have a fundamental opposition on principle to US/UK occupation of Iraq. We want to help a reborn workers' movement become the leader of the Iraqi peoples against the occupation as well as on economic issues.
"But it would be irresponsible for us to pretend that the Islamic fundamentalists, or the rump Ba'thists, represent any sort of national liberation movement and limit ourselves to simple slogans about 'US/UK troops out'. What do such slogans mean?
"The US will not now withdraw (short of getting a government in Iraq which suits its purposes) unless it suffers catastrophic defeat on the ground. Do we want victory for the rump Ba'thists or the Islamic fundamentalists? Would we want it if it were possible? No more than we wanted Saddam's victory in the war..."
Richardson wants agitation for support to the Iraqi guerrilla resistance and "troops out now". Let us debate it: but not on the basis of lies designed to write out the very possibility of a "Third Camp" policy supporting the new Iraqi workers' movement against both the various right-wing guerrilla factions and the US/UK forces.