Photo: Protesters in Iraq throw stones and bottles at an armored police vehicle
By Jennifer Kelly
For over a week, thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets in a spontaneous movement across the country. Protesters initially demanded an end to the high rate of unemployment and rampant corruption as well as an improvement to social services like health care.
These demands have since coalesced into a unified call for an end to the current US puppet government, to the comprador parties and system which leave the Iraqi people poor as imperialists, principally US imperialists, grow fat on the resource-rich land.
As the Iraqi government escalates its crackdown on the protests, enforcing curfews and cutting off internet, the people’s resistance has grown more fierce and determined in response. More than 100 protesters have been killed and thousands wounded, as the Iraqi government uses snipers, army personnel, and police forces armed with live rounds against those who continue to defy curfews.
Government offices have been torched by protesters, and at least 8 members of the security forces have been killed and another 1,000 have been injured. The desperate administration of Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi has promised reforms and has even declared some of the protesters who have been killed as “martyrs,” entitling their families to government assistance granted typically to those killed in war. However this has not satisfied protesters any more than the increase in repression has driven them away.
As one protester put it, “The fear has been removed – I have nothing to fear anymore. We will continue protesting because we have nothing to lose. It’s better to die with honor.”
For years now protests have shaken Iraq. Last summer, 23 protesters were killed in protests against unemployment, corruption, and diminishing social services.
Since the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the country has remained under imperialist domination, and it is this oppression which forces the government to cater to the interests of international finance capital, resulting in the suffering of the Iraqi people. Everywhere the people are rising up against imperialist domination, including nearby Afghanistan, as imperialism decays and capitalism hurtles towards a global crisis. So long as imperialist domination exists, the Iraqi people will resist it, and only New Democratic Revolution can end it.