2002-12 Interview with Rebwar Ahmad [WCPI]
Forward N°2, (1 december 2002) and WPI Briefing N°85 ( 2 december 2002)
On the WCPI’s Second Congress
Forward Interview with Rebwar Ahmad, Secretary of the Worker-communist Party of Iraq
Question: Let’s start with the issue of participation in the Worker-communist Party of Iraq’s second congress. The politburo statement says that participation in the congress is open to the public. Everyone can attend as an observer. This is very interesting. What is the basis of this decision?
Rebwar Ahmad: The decision to hold the WCPI’s second congress was taken by the 11th plenum of the central committee which was held at the end of May this year. Its details were left to the politburo. In a politburo meeting at the beginning of October, it was decided that the congress would be held in Kurdistan and that it would be open to the public. This decision is seen as an important and forward step.
Actually, a political party’s secrecy should be questioned and
attract attention not the opposite. Mainly because of the political suppression which forces especially communists to work clandestinely and partially due to a culture held by the traditional left that has yielded to this pressure, stayed in the periphery of society and turned underground political activity into a norm, however, a step like this attracts attention. If not so, why should a political party’s conference of activists concerned with society and its issues and a congress that is to discuss the fate of society, provide alternative solutions for its problems and make decisions in relation to the future of the masses be held secretly away from the eyes of ordinary people and other political forces? This congress is not a meeting of a group of intellectuals who discuss a number of issues related to their own minds among themselves; it is supposed to be a congress of a serious political party connected to the masses.
Therefore, people should be able to access it, be aware of its
discussions and resolutions and even be able to participate in these discussions. At the same time, it is a step for us to emerge as a mass and powerful party and movement. It is also a step to distance and separate ourselves from all the restrictions and traditions that distance communism from the masses and their daily issues and from decisions made on the fate of society and the working class. By using oppression, torture, execution, and all resources available, the ruling class tries to keep the activity of communists underground so as to deprive people from choosing communism as an alternative for a better future. This is a vital issue for a political party and movement that regard seizing political power and bringing about a radical change in the lives of the masses as its main concern.
Breaking these restrictions, creating suitable conditions for a
public political activity and making the party accessible to ordinary people are important issues for a party that wants to become an influential, powerful and mass force. We know that there are some subjective conditions, which impose secrecy on the political activity of communists, however we do not want to succumb to these conditions.
We shared this wrong tradition for a long time, which is often
presented as a fundamental feature of communism itself. Worker-communism has always tried to get over this feature and culture of the traditional left and this congress is a huge step in this regard in order to turn our party into a powerful political party.
Question: In addition to the fact that the congress is public, a large number of political parties, organisations and personalities have been invited to attend as observers. What is the purpose behind this?
Rebwar Ahmad: The purpose behind this is to substantiate the same objectives that I mentioned above. We are not only allowing people to attend but we are also inviting them. We want to put our congress in the hands of every individual, movement and political party and to conduct it under the observation of others. On their part, if they want, they can come and closely observe the congress and even participate in it. This enables them to assess our party more precisely and accurately and to know us better. Consequently they can
determine their policies towards us on the bases of a better and clearer understanding. At the same time, this is an attempt to establish a new, modern, distinctive and superior political culture than the culture that prevails among political parties. It is tradition-breaking and an initiative that communism has started in society. We give other parties and individuals the right to come and observe a sensitive and important action of our party. Parallel with this, we regard it as our own right to face a modern political culture via other political parties. The more a communist, progressive, freedom-loving and egalitarian movement is known, and a superior political culture prevails among political parties, the interests of the masses, and consequently the interests of communism itself, will be observed. All political and intellectual personalities, political parties and mass organisations in Iraq and Kurdistan are welcome regardless of any political differences, except those organisations and personalities that have any connection to the Iraqi Ba’ath regime, the Islamic current which has proved it is against humanity and does not believe in political dialogue and the puppets of the USA which have been killing the ordinary people of Iraq over the past ten years, destroying this society and still planning for more anti-human acts against the Iraqis. We hope and will be pleased if all attend our congress.
Question: You have asked people to register if they want to participate in this congress; what is the aim behind this? Do you have any restrictions?
Rebwar Ahmad: We asked those who want to participate to register first not because we have restrictions for their participation but because we want to ensure we have all the requirements for their participation. Organising a large congress that will continue for several days needs much preparation; therefore, it is important to know in advance the number of participants. Apart from this, we do not have any other conditions. We will not investigate the political beliefs and affiliations of those who want to participate. So far, many have enrolled and we have welcomed them. The majority of them are from Kurdistan. Many people from abroad have expressed an interest to participate, however because the congress is held in Kurdistan it is very difficult for them to do so; unfortunately, many people decide not to register after they are informed about the whereabouts of the congress. In the same way, travelling to Kurdistan from other parts of Iraq controlled by the Ba’ath regime is very difficult and risky therefore, unfortunately many people will be unable to participate. We decided that 30th November will be the last day for registration so as to leave enough time for us to prepare for the congress. I hope up to then all those interested will be able to register. However, if after this date, we see that there are people who are still interested in participating and the preparatory committee of the congress is able to prepare for their attendance quickly, we will extend the registration time according to our capacities.
Question: How will the security of the congress be guaranteed, especially since it is to be held in Kurdistan and contains different terrorist groups which are connected to surrounding countries?
Rebwar Ahmad: This issue was studied and discussed in detail by the politburo, different measures and plans necessary in this regard have been established and special teams have been set up for protecting the congress. Also, we have formally informed the responsible members of the ruling party and expressed our readiness for any necessary measures. Logically, this should help with the security of the congress. At the same time, internationally, many are aware that this congress is to be held in Kurdistan, and many individuals, parties, and organisations, especially those familiar with our party in Europe, North America and Australia are watching this congress as a valuable step forward. In addition to all this, we have prepared to respond to and prevent any terrorist action against the congress. We assure all participants that we will protect the congress very well.
Question: What are the issues to be discussed in this congress? What is its agenda? Is everyone able to pass suggestions or resolution proposals at the congress? Please clarify this.
Rebwar Ahmad: Undoubtedly, according to the principles of the congress itself, in the beginning it will decide on the discussions and the agenda. The politburo has prepared a proposed agenda, which contains few documents and topics but all suggestions that we receive will be placed before the congress to decide on them. Prior to the congress, the proposed topics and documents will be passed to all representatives and those who will present the topics of the congress will be announced. This will help the representatives to be aware and better prepared to decide on the agenda of the congress and to participate in the discussions. According to the principles of the congress, in the beginning it will determine the committee which will
run the congress and will give legitimacy to the representatives, then the congress will decide on the agenda of its meeting and the way it will be conducted. Later, apart from the opening speech and the report of the central committee according to the proposed agenda that I mentioned, there will be discussions and resolutions in regard to: thirty years of the Ba’ath regime’s rule, the way to end this rule and establish a socialist republic; the policies and role of the USA in Iraq; the situation of Kurdistan over the last 11 years; the necessity of the struggle against political Islam; the condition of the Arab world after September 11 and our role, in addition to resolutions, documents and suggestions that will be presented to the congress. Finally, a new central committee will be elected for the party. Whether everyone will be able to present a resolution proposal, a document or any suggestions to the congress is a simple issue. When we render the congress public and invite people it means they will be allowed to pass their suggestions and comments to the congress and draw attention to them. However as we announced previously, 25 November is the last date for any suggestions in order to be able to put all resolutions and documents in the hands of the representatives beforehand. Therefore, no suggestion will be received after this date.
Question: What do you expect from this congress; what effect will it have on the activities of the Worker Communist Party and what changes will it bring?
Rebwar Ahmad: I think, before anything else, the congress can be a huge step towards changing the party to a mass, powerful political party. It can be another step forward to scraping the remnants of the restrictive culture of the traditional left. It can be a huge step toward strengthening the relation of the party with the society, working class and toilers. At the same time, another important issue is the fact that this congress is held during a very sensitive political situation that has put this society on the verge of a huge change. In particular, I mean the policies of the USA and its threats of attacking Iraq. That will have significant political and social effects. It also puts huge and sensitive tasks on the shoulders of our party. This congress must in particular pay attention to this issue, must determine the tasks and policies of the party and most importantly must push the readiness of the party to a new level necessary for confronting these coming challenges. I cannot say the coming changes and situation will create a new opportunity for communism because the USA policies toward this society are strongly against humanity and communism and they will by all means cause more destruction and encourage reaction. More than ever, this will require active and effective involvement from the Worker-communist party because this party is the only light in this dark tunnel. If a force is supposed to end this darkness and give hope to this society it will be our party. Therefore, this party has to be more ready than ever. It needs to be up to its tasks and historical role. This is an essential condition to successfully and effectively confront and stop the coming disaster and the dark future that is planned by the USA and its allies for society. Ensuring a better future is totally connected to the role that this party will assume. This is an important standard to gauge the successfulness of the congress, i.e. how much it will be able to increase the readiness of the party. If I add another factor, it is the situation of the region especially the movement for overthrowing the Islamic Republic of Iran, the involvement of the masses and the role of the Worker-communist Party of Iran in these events. If these two parties act correctly and precisely alongside each other, and carry out their tasks, this region will be radically change in favour of more freedom and equality. If this congress is going to make the party more prominent and is going to be a huge step toward creating the kind of party which knows clearly what it has to do, how to advance, how to win, then undoubtedly the political and social activity of the party will totally change.