Year 2000 No. 29, February 17, 2000

Condemn the Renewed Bombing of Iraq!

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index : Discuss

Condemn the Renewed Bombing of Iraq!

Senior UN Officials Resign over Iraq Sanctions

Readers' Forum: On Overproduction

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Condemn the Renewed Bombing of Iraq!

US and British aircraft have not ceased their patrols over the illegal "no-fly" zones of the north and south of Iraq together with their criminal bombing raids. They have been attacking targets in these zones ever since Operation Desert Fox in December 1998. In addition they continue to maintain the genocidal sanctions against Iraq which are killing so many innocent people in that country, including 5,000 to 6,000 children a month through sanctions-related illnesses, according to UNICEF figures.

In a renewed spate of bombing in northern Iraq, two people were injured on February 10. The US military’s European Command confirmed that US and British planes had struck at Iraq’s air defence system. Two days before, an air strike in southern Iraq had killed four people, according to the Iraq News Agency, and eight were wounded. It is reported that around 40 US and British aircraft have been "enforcing" the northern "no-fly zone" since the Gulf War in 1991, and the bombing has been stepped up since December 1998.

US imperialism and the British government are intent on punishing Iraq as a "rogue state" which will not do the bidding of the US and its allies as the US attempts to dominate a unipolar world and under globalisation is demanding that the whole world submit to the rule of the monopolies. The US and Britain also view this strategic and oil rich region of the Middle East as one which they must control.

The genocidal bombing of and sanctions against Iraq must be stopped!

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Senior UN Officials Resign over Iraq Sanctions

Jutta Burghardt, a senior UN official, resigned on Tuesday to protest against the UN sanctions imposed against Iraq. Jutta Burghardt was the head of the World Food Programme in Iraq, and she said she was resigning over the latest Security Council resolution – passed in December – which would partially suspend sanctions in return for full co-operation with a new weapons inspection commission.

The Iraq government reiterated on February 10 that it would not allow the weapons inspectors back into Iraq, because of their track record of spying for the United States. Vice-President Taha Yassin said, "There shall be no return to the so-called inspection committees because we refuse to admit spies under such covers." Referring to the December Security Council resolution, he said, "Iraq is not committed to resolution 1284 because it was drafted by America to achieve its aggressive aims against the people of Iraq."

Jutta Burghardt said on announcing her resignation that she could not oversee a programme that the Iraqi government opposed. This programme is known as the "oil for food" programme, but the US has by various means been limiting the scope of this programme, such as finding pretexts to limit the sale of oil, and placing holds on Iraqi imports. The US imperialists have frozen some 1,000 contracts, a situation which has been criticised by nearly all UN officials and diplomats. Britain follows the US with 120 contracts on hold.

Jutta Burghardt’s resignation comes shortly after the top UN humanitarian official in Iraq, Hans von Sponeck, announced his resignation last weekend. He condemned the trade sanctions and said that the oil-for-food programme that he heads was not even meeting minimum requirements of the Iraq’s 22 million people, calling the sanctions a "human tragedy". Last October, he called on the UN Security Council to separate the issue of relief for the Iraqi people from the whole issue of disarmament. In response to his resignation, US State Department spokesman James Rubin said: "I think an article in the Iraqi press praising his approach to his work is ample evidence of his unsuitability for this post," adding, "We look forward to an able manager who will maximise the benefits of the oil-for-food programme." Hans von Sponeck is the fifth coordinator to have run this programme. His predecessor was Denis Halliday who also resigned in order to wage a campaign against the genocidal effects of the sanctions.

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Readers’ Forum

On Overproduction

(WDIE reply to reader’s query, continued from issues No.14, 18 and 24, January 27, and February 2 and 10)

Both Marxist-Leninist theory, the summation of the objective developments, and the practical operation of monopoly capitalism, show that the present system in which the monopolies operate cannot develop without crisis, without chaos, without the destruction of the productive forces. It is a system which is incapable of uninterrupted extended reproduction. By the very mechanism of capitalist production, the system produces the rich at the one pole and the growing number of poor and exploited on the other, those to whom the monopolies and the governments which represent them have no responsibility.

To return to our reader’s query, it is the case that the management should be given the grand order of the boot. But this is not so much because they are out of touch and inept, and it is not really the managers of the factories as such that are the issue. It is the finance capitalists themselves, those that make the decisions about "rationalisation processes" and "globalisation plans", that should be done away with, because they have become a superfluous class. The decisions they make in accordance with the dictates of a system which is demanding that in order to be competitive on the global scale they must strive for domination of markets in order to make the maximum capitalist profit – these decisions are causing so much havoc for the people, because the workers, the products they make, everything is made incidental to the realisation of this maximum capitalist profit. So it could be said that not only are they a superfluous class – because they themselves are incidental to the socialised process of production – but they are a class which stands opposed to the very well being of the needs of the society as a whole, as well as to the needs and claims of the individuals and collectives within the society.

This state of affairs positively demands certain conclusions. The first is that these objective processes which, as we have explained, have worked themselves out from the very genesis of capitalist society, and which long ago reached a stage of giving rise to a society which objectively is ripe for revolutionary transformation, are pointing to the need, the demand, for a new society. Society has been socialised to the maximum, yet the relations of production are totally anachronistic. The issue is not just about the jobs that are being cut, the sackings which are taking place, but that the whole motive and direction of the economy is centred around the interests of the monopolies and not the people’s well-being. In other words, the situation is demanding that it is the people themselves that take the decisions on the direction of the economy, and that the working class put the assets of production under their control so that they be in a position to do so.

In a situation of globalisation and mega-mergers, the situation described by Lenin that the capitalists seek maximum profits by exacting tribute from every cell of society has been taken to its extreme, in that the monopolies are demanding an integrated global economy where the full force of the anarchy and chaos caused by their cut-throat competition is unleashed and where the governments of each state are to give every facility, including hand-outs, loan payments, putting public assets under the monopolists’ control, to these various sections of the financial oligarchy.

Furthermore, the role of the unions under these conditions is being defined by governments as to facilitate this process, to win the workers over to social partnership with their particular monopoly (for where is the section of production that is not integrated with the operation of one monopoly or another?), not to mention that many large unions have become businesses in their own rights. The problem, as the reader touches on, is that within the workers’ movement, there are apologists for this process, who say that the class struggle can be conciliated, that at best some reforms are called for, the system tinkered with, that the issue is that there are some bad employers along with the good and that workers should not demand that their rights are recognised and should not get to grips with what is happening right under their noses but should remain on the margins of society.

(to be continued)

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