Ask the Communists

Q: Obviously you oppose terrorism, but what position do American Communists take toward the homegrown (non-al-Qaeda) resistance to the U.S./British occupation? Do you support the armed resistance? If so, where does this position fit into the overall class struggle in Iraq and beyond? If not, how do you reconcile this position with your anti-imperialist stance?

A: We support the difficult struggle of the Iraqi Communist Party, along with the trade unions, women’s organizations and other democratic forces in Iraq, to build broad, nonsectarian national unity in order to both rid themselves of foreign occupation and construct a democratic society that is not under the thumb of imperialism and reactionary forces.

We believe that the struggle for democracy is a key part of the class struggle and the struggle against imperialism. Armed forces that target the civilian population hinder the development of broad unity among all sectors of the Iraqi people. Armed forces that have the aim of installing theocratic or other reactionary government are anti-democratic.

In crisis situations especially, Communist parties in each country have a special responsibility to their people to carefully and soberly assess the political balance of forces and the mood and concerns of the people, to help find the methods of struggle that can achieve the national and democratic aims of the working class and its allies without violence if at all possible. We believe that the Communist Party and working class in each country is best qualified to make such assessments regarding their own country.

We believe that all peoples have the right to resist dictatorship and foreign occupation and to determine for themselves how they will do so. We Communists are humanists, and we see armed struggle as the very last resort, something to be avoided, unless it is forced on the people when all other, peaceful means of struggle have been exhausted or become impossible. In all such cases, we keep in mind that the poor and working-class people usually pay the heaviest price.

We invite readers to submit questions about the Communist Party USA, its basic policies, and a Marxist viewpoint on current social issues. The answers are provided by Marc Brodine, chair of the Washington State Communist Party. Questions can be sent to