2006-02 NO-IFS Statement

The National Organization for the Iraqi Freedom Struggles (NO-IFS) is a coalition of individuals who have come together to oppose the U.S. war against Iraq by supporting the secular, democratic, and progressive movements in Iraq that are struggling for freedom against the occupation and against the Ba’athists and the political Islamists of all stripes, who aim to impose a theocratic state on the Iraqi people. We intend to be an organized presence within the American antiwar movement on the basis of the following principles:

(1) We recognize the brutality under which the people of Iraq live, due to a recent history that includes dictatorship, wars, economic sanctions, and, especially, the current occupation by foreign troops, accompanied by indiscriminate killing and systematic torture. The presence of these troops has helped to promote indigenous reactionary forces that often target women, trade unionists, and innocent civilians. The Iraqi people cannot be free as long as foreign armies occupy their land. We therefore demand the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops and military bases from Iraq, and an end to the U.S.-created « democratic process » that is part of the occupation. We also deem it necessary to stop the « next war » before it happens. To this end, we will help educate Americans as to the causes of continual U.S. intervention overseas.

(2) We recognize the overwhelming, steadily growing opposition of Iraqis to the occupation, but also the sharp divisions within the opposition. Accordingly, we do not support « the resistance » as such. In particular, we oppose all forms of outright or tacit support for the political Islamist and Ba’athist forces that overwhelmingly make up the armed insurgency. We reject all suggestions that non-Western peoples are somehow less entitled than we are to freedom from oppression by foreign and indigenous reactionary forces.

(3) We support the secular, democratic, and progressive freedom struggles in Iraq – the Iraqi women, workers, and youth who have created their own organizations within Iraq, who oppose both the occupation and the terrorist reaction, and who fight for the rights of women, workers, national minorities, and GLBT people. For instance, we support the efforts of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq to prevent the imposition of Sharia law and to maintain women’s shelters; the struggle led by the Basra Oil and Gas Workers Union, in defiance of threats and assassinations, against the privatization of the industry; the demand for secular government put forward by the Iraqi Freedom Congress, a new coalition of several civil groups; and the IFC’s efforts to build a non-sectarian, multi-ethnic society based on neighborhood assemblies in communities of Baghdad and Kirkuk. These struggles and their accompanying ideas are the latest instance of a long and rich history of indigenous Iraqi mass movements for self-emancipation – much of it secular, feminist, and multiethnic – that existed prior to the Ba’athist dictatorship. Although these groups are at present relatively small and weak, this is no reason to neglect them. On the contrary, it is a reason to make our support of them an urgent priority.

(4) We advocate that the antiwar movement as a whole adopt this approach to ending the war and occupation – active support for the secular, democratic, and progressive freedom struggles against both the U.S. occupation and the indigenous reactionary forces. This type of solidarity is a central way to build and sustain our movements here. It is by evincing an unyielding, principled commitment to human freedom and to people struggling for freedom – not by explicitly or tacitly supporting a supposedly « lesser evil » – that the antiwar movement and other movements will be able to grow.

New York City

February 2006

Some supporters:

Kevin Anderson, Purdue University

Joshua Howard, National Co-Chair

Peter Hudis, News and Letters Committees, Chicago

Anne Jaclard, National Co-Chair

Andrew Kliman, Pace University, Pleasantville

Ali Reza, Chicago

Bill Weinber, National Co-Chair

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