March 10, 2006

Iraq Freedom Congress

Submitted by clore -
This group has unfortunately received essentially no publicity. This group, anti-occupation, but also anti-Baathist, anti-Islamist, and anti-nationalist, embraces many libertarian and progressive ideals and practices. I present below their manifesto. As English is clearly not the writers' first language, I have done some minor editing for grammar, but left most of the unidiomatic usages.

The present situation in Iraq and the forces involved

The US war on Iraq has led to the disintegration of the fabric of the civil society in Iraq. This war has unleashed the most reactionary religious and ethnocentric forces against the people of Iraq. Daily social, economic, and cultural life has plunged into an abyss. Iraq needs to rebuild its civil society. The security, livelihood and the basic freedom of the people must be maintained and their right to an informed and free determination of their future regime in Iraq guaranteed.

The present situation in Iraq is the product of the policies of the US, political Islam and the Arab and Kurdish nationalism. The military invasion of Iraq and the subsequent humiliation and submission of the country coupled with the destruction of the most of the country's infrastructure; both during the economic sanction period and the recent invasion, has given the current occupation much wider dimensions. Without ending the occupation there can be no realistic improvement in the situation.

The social and political impact of the invasion of Iraq and the associated military aggression and violence has unleashed the darkest political and social forces in Iraq and in the region. The invasion and occupation of Iraq has been the singles biggest source of recruitment to the ranks of political Islam in Iraq and the region. Iraq has turned into a magnet for political Islam. The West and in particular the US policies have, more than any Islamic agitations, mobilised and recruited forces for political Islam and continue to do so. The US government in its attempt to contain the situation in Iraq has resorted to the religious and tribal forces and increasingly turning Iraq closer into an Islam stricken society.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, Ben Laden brand of Islam and the Shiite and the Sunni forces in Iraq are one of the main causes of the current regression in Iraq. These forces in the guise of the "saviour" of the dignity of the Iraqi people, providers of "security" and "social services" and the architects of rebuilding the foundations of "civil life" have forced the Iraqi people into a more devastating submission. Humanity and human values under the influence of the Islamic currents in Iraq have sunk to their lowest point.

The Kurdish nationalist currents, in pursuit of their own interests and securing their share of power, are capitalising on the spread of chaos and worsening civil life in other parts of Iraq. Never before in Iraq have ethnic and national hatreds run so deep. In addition to keeping Kurdistan in a limbo and social wilderness Kurdish nationalism has more than ever stirred up Arab and Turkman nationalism and brought them to the fore.

Against the Americans and the forces of political Islam a third force focused on pulling the country out of the current abyss is emerging. Those who are frustrated with the violence and the indignity and humiliation at the hands of the Islamists, tribal forces and the US occupiers, i.e., the working class that is enduring physical destruction, the youth who are longing for a brighter future, the women who are suffering at the hands of political Islam and the primitive tribal forces and the free minded intellectuals who are seeking a way out of this situation all belong to this third force.

The way out of the current situation

The way out the current situation is to remove all the perpetrators of the despair of the Iraqi people. None of the forces involved in the creation of the current turmoil can play a part in putting an end to this situation. Each one of the players in this conflict justifies their existence vis-à-vis the other forces. The Islamic and Arab nationalist forces draw their forces and resources from the social dimensions of the occupation and the resentment of the Iraqi people towards it. Similarly the ultra-reactionary nature and the brutality of the Islamic groups and the tribal and fascistic forces are exploited by the Americans to justify their occupation.

None of the common solutions put before the people of Iraq can provide the prospect of delivering them from the current situation. These solutions broadly fall into three categories.

1. Siding with political Islam

Siding with the Islamists and turning a blind eye to their reactionary and criminal nature and practices under the rubric of being against the USA is a disastrous policy. Such a policy will lead to collusion with the Islamists. This policy not only fails to initiate any improvements in the current situation but will enhance the position of the Islamic currents. Furthermore, this policy by overlooking the ultra-reactionary nature of the Islamic currents and by dashing any hopes of a better prospect for the people of Iraq, disheartens the honourable and civilised people across the world from engaging in a meaningful and active opposition to the current situation and practically giving the US a free rein.

2. Siding with the USA

This tendency is the other side of the same coin as compromising with the Islamists. Hostility towards Islam and Islamic backwardness forms the basis of this approach. This policy by overlooking the US occupation of Iraq offers the US a pretext to continue with its occupation of Iraq. Again, just like siding with the Islamists, this policy is incapable of offering deliverance from the existing quagmire and the only solution that it can offer is to call on them to be patient and wait for the eventual US victory over the Islamists. This policy by failing to comprehend the social implication of the occupation and the associated humiliation and indignation that the US aggression has inflicted on the Iraqi people, and by adopting a policy of lingering around in anticipation of US victory, remains incapable of putting up an active intervention to rescue Iraq from the current abyss.

3. Calling for the intervention of the "International Forces"

Another approach to the current situation is to call for the replacement of the US forces with Multi-national forces under the auspices of the United Nations. This is an unrealistic, utopian, and impractical solution. The proponents of this policy do not realise that to restore civil order in Iraq the forces of political Islam and fascists must be swept away. Such a task in today's Iraq, more than ever, has acquired a military and political dimension. Regrettably, the European governments and the United Nations themselves are guilty of appeasement towards political Islam. Therefore calling for the intervention of international forces is an unrealistic policy and in the real world it can only be regarded as a wait-and-see policy.

The force that can end the current situation

The only force capable of ending the current situation can only be an organisation that enjoys popular mass support in Iraq. The Iraq Freedom Congress intends to be such an organisation: an independent, democratic, secular, non-ethnic, and mass organisation, which is founded to guarantee the right of the people of Iraq to determine freely the future political regime in Iraq. An organisation that can unite and organise the people to take their destiny into their own hands and defend themselves, as well as mobilising and leading international support, to save the people of Iraq from the grip of both poles of global terrorism.

The salvation of Iraq and its current and future generations and that of the entire region from the destructions imposed by both poles of terrorism depends on the development of such a popular movement.

The aims the Iraq Freedom Congress

To remove all the protagonists of this dark scenario the people of Iraq should:

1) End the occupation of Iraq -- the US forces must leave Iraq immediately

2) End the interference of the Islamic currents from people's lives

3) Guarantee the right of the Iraqi people to make an informed and free decision on the future of the political system

4) Restore civil life to Iraq

The plan of the IFC is to curb the influence of all the players responsible for the political, economic, moral and cultural devastation of people's lives in Iraq. To this end, people should seize political power at all levels. People should organise around the IFC's manifesto and implement it to guarantee their own security, livelihoods, and freedom and take charge of their own affairs when and wherever possible.

The immediate goal of the IFC is to seize power and establish a provisional secular and non-ethnic government, declare the following articles as the laws of the land and guarantee their implementation:

1. Expel the US and its allied forces and dissolve all political, economic, military and paramilitary institutions set up by the US in order to control Iraq militarily, politically and economically. Repeal all the laws adopted in this regard,

2. Dissolve and disarm all armed and paramilitary groups linked to Islamic forces and lawless groups and confiscate all their weapons, resources and funds.

3. Make public all documents, archives and files from the time of the Baathist regime as well as the current administration,

4. Confiscate and repossess all the properties and estates belonging to religious foundations and utilise them to meet the social, recreational, and political needs of the people,

5. Facilitate the provision of empowering people to defend their freedom and expel and suppress any aggression and assault directed against their rights and freedom,

6. Complete separation of religion from state and education,

7. Revoke all religiously derived laws and legislations. Declare freedom of religion and atheism,

8. Full and unconditional freedom of expression, belief, press, assembly, organisation and the right to demonstrate,

9. Declare the full and unconditional individual and civil rights and equality between men and women. Immediate revocation of all laws and regulations that violate this principle.

10. Full and unconditional civil, political and social rights for all citizens regardless of their gender, religion, nationality, ethnicity and citizenship,

11. Freedom of all political prisoners,

12. Abolition of the death penalty,

13. Free public access, especially for mass organizations and political parties, to state media.

14. Adequate unemployment benefit for every unemployed person over 16 years of age who is available for work. Adequate unemployment benefit and other necessary allowances for those who, for physical or mental reasons, are unable to work,

15. Delegation of powers to the assembly of direct representatives of the people to decide on the future political regime and drafting a constitution within a maximum period of six months.

16. Hold an immediate referendum in the Kurdish regions on cessation from Iraq or to remain within Iraq as citizens with equal rights,

IFC's plan of action within Iraq

The IFC will:

a) Unite and organise people through local networks and in "People's Houses".

b) Acquire the necessary force and resources to restrain the Islamists and the nationalist forces from interfering in people's lives.

c) Exert enough pressure on the US to withdraw from Iraq.

d) Become the instrument of the application of people's power under any circumstances and at any possible level and extent.

e) Organising and leading people in this decisive challenge.

f) Self-defence is the basic right of every individual. In the absence of a viable government the rights of individuals to life is measured in terms of their ability to defend themselves. The IFC will endeavour to become the conduit for enabling people to defend themselves.

IFC's plan of action outside Iraq

Mobilising civilised humanity across the world is another avenue of power for the IFC. The IFC will launch a recruitment drive outside Iraq, both within Iraqi expatriate communities and amongst free-minded non-Iraqis.

Attracting moral and financial support from people outside Iraq is an important source of support towards our movement. Exerting pressure on foreign states and mobilising volunteers to assist our movement is another element of the IFC's aim of work abroad.

March 2005

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