The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Iraq:
Prime Minister Forced Out, Protests Continue

Dec 9, 2019

Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.

Iraq’s prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi had to step down on November 29. The politico-religious clans divvying up political control had abandoned him. They were aiming to stop the two-month-long protest movement among Iraqi working people.

One protestor explained, “This is the least they could do for the martyrs of Nasiriyah and Najaf.” The government had savagely attacked protestors in these two cities, killing 70 people over three days. More than 400 have been killed and thousands wounded since the start of the protests.

The regime has gone back and forth between using an iron fist—rooftop snipers and religious militias firing on crowds, which still continued the fight—and making excuses for this repression. Officials have apologized for the use of excessive force. They gave the death penalty to a cop who killed two protestors, and fired a brutal general only days after assigning him to restore order in the south of the country.

Working people are sick and tired of never-ending poverty, unemployment, and chaos. The protests spread from the south, where many people are Shiite Muslims, to the north where many are Sunni Muslims. The movement rejects religious division. The protestors target all the political currents which have shared power for 15 years under the control of the United States and, since 2014, also of its strategic ally Iran.

Mahdi represents these cliques and is the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Party. He has held office since 2005 as vice president, minister, or prime minister in the government the U.S. imposed after invading the country in 2003.

Mahdi’s leaving changes nothing. He holds onto his position while political and religious leaders fish for a replacement to carry out his same policy. But by protesting, a lot of the demonstrators learned not to trust the speeches of political leaders!