The newly-elected Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party held a press conference at its headquarters in Abu Nuwas, Baghdad, on Wednesday 16th May 2007, to brief the Iraqi media and press about the party s 8th National Congress.
Comrade Mufid al-Jazairy, Politburo member, pointed out in his brief opening statement that a press conference held on 6th September 2006 had launched the public discussion of the draft party documents and the process leading to the 8th National Congress. These documents were debated by thousands of people through the pages of the party s daily newspaper Tareeq Al-Shaab (People s Path), in public meetings and party organisations, scrutinizing and amending them so that they better reflected the hopes and the aspirations of the broadest masses of Iraqi people.
Comrade Hameed Majid Mousa then spoke at length about this important event in the life of Iraqi CP, which recently celebrated its 73rd anniversary. He said that all previous party congresses had been held inside Iraq, but added that the 8th National Congress has a special significance because it is the first to be held in Baghdad since its 3rd Congress in 1976.
"A bloody campaign was then launched, in the late 1970s, with the aim of physically liquidating the party and eliminating all forms of freedom, and installing instead a brutal type of dictatorship. But after 31 years, the party has come back to hold its congress in Baghdad.. It has emerged revived, rebuilding itself, with its cells and organisations spreading all over Iraq."
"The insistence of Communists on holding their congresses in Iraq, and in Baghdad whenever possible, is further proof on their determination to be with the people. After 31 years of hard struggle, full of self-denial and sacrifices, Communists have returned to the heart of Baghdad to hold their three day Congress. The dictatorship, however, has collapsed and came to a shameful end".
Regarding the deliberations at the 8th National Congress, comrade Musa said that the Congress devoted a lot of its time to discussing the current situation in Iraq, and the interaction between internal and external; regional and international, factors. The party and its comrades have to face this historic juncture as a unifying patriotic force, always reflecting the people s higher interests and consciousness. This force would embody national unity through its policy and practice, thus becoming the impetus for a broad national movement, while acting as the lever for the broadest democratic action! 049, struggling to end foreign occupation and control, restoring national sovereignty and independence, rejecting any form of authoritarian rule, and building the foundations of a modern democratic Iraqi state, based on the rights of citizenship and social justice.
"The complex Iraqi political scene, with its numerous possibilities, was analysed in a frank, scientific and realistic manner. Resolutions were made to tackle the current situation and identify the forces that have an interest in overcoming the crisis. It was pointed out that unifying these forces, in government, parliament and society, could lead eventually to surmounting these difficulties. But this requires all of them, regardless of their position, to relinquish the infighting and unprincipled struggles that have exhausted the homeland, drai! ned its wealth, and most precious of all, the blood of its people, and dissipated their hopes."
Violence Only Serves the Enemies
Comrade Musa stressed that "The path of violence and counter-violence will not lead to the triumph of any side. Sectarian bigotry has destroyed all sects. Resorting to armed militias has made matters worse, bloodier and more violent. The policy of sectarian quota has not only failed to resolve the crisis but, on the contrary, served to aggravate it." The Congress has thus come to the conclusion that "the only solution and means of salvation is the patriotic-democratic solution. The party will put this forward for public discuss! ion in the form of a concrete programme, as a foundation for the unity of the people s forces, that is essential for achieving salvation."
This requires, first and foremost, an emphasis on National Reconciliation as the best, indeed the only, option in the current situation. Comrade Musa said that "national reconciliation as a policy has not been alien to Communists since the collapse of dictatorship. They have adopted this concept very early on, given the complexity of the situation, in order to tackle the painful legacy of dictatorship. We are glad that this concept has become widespread, and is now adopted by even those who used to be startled just to hear it. ! This is a good thing, though had its significance been realized at the beginning, the painful journey could have been shortened. It is essential, however, to activate this process in order to create a favourable climate for dialogue. There are a lot of complex issues that require concrete initiatives, and translating words into deeds requires reciprocal concessions."
The Secretary of the CC of Iraqi CP also dealt with the tasks for party organisations and members, as outlined by the 8th Congress. The party needs to put forward initiatives, based on its policies, that will help to bring about a convergence of viewpoints and establish proper alliances.
The 8th National Congress and its documents considered the external factors influencing the current crisis, including Iraq s relations with neighbouring countries and regional powers. It noted that "the repercussions of terrorism, encouraged by some of the neighbouring states, will not be confined to Iraqi territories. Its flames could extend to them too, as indicated by several events. It is therefore in the interest of everybody to confront terrorism."
Comrade Musa explained the role of the party programme, endorsed by the 8th Congress, in mobilising the party and its supporters around concrete objectives. He pointed out that many issues in the draft document were thoroughly discussed to improve the performance of communists and bring them closer to the aspirations of their people.
In this respect, he stressed that Iraqi Communists reject external advice that do not match the people s interests, referring in particular to some of the recommendations of the World Bank and IMF that are based on neo-liberal policies without taking into consideration the interests of the majority of the population.
He reiterated that the Communists’ alternative to all this is the patriotic-democratic project that the party will formulate and propose as a basis for bringing together and unifying the forces of national salvation.
Communists Future Vision and Socialism
The 8th National Congress discussed a theoretical document that considered the lessons drawn from the socialist experience in the Soviet Union and some Eastern European countries. Comrade Musa spoke about the Communists vision for the future, for which they strive in the interests of the people". Our choice is socialism. But what kind of socialism do Communists want for their people? The collapse of socialism that existed in the Soviet Union and some countries of Eastern Europe, in the early 1990s, has not shaken the Iraqi Communists belief in socialism. But they have had to pause and reflect, undertake a painful review! , pinpoint the shortcomings and draw lessons from past experience, in order to achieve an Iraqi understanding of socialism. The first conclusion they have reached is that there can be no socialism without democracy”.
The theoretical document has been approved by the Congress for open and public debate, "because the future option that the Communists are proposing for their country is the socialist option."
Democratization and Renewal
Comrade Musa explained the significance of the 8th National Congress as an important juncture in the march of Democratization and Renewal launched by the 5th National Congress in 1993 and continued in subsequent congresses. Principles and mechanisms for strengthening inner party democracy received a lot of attention during the process leading to the 8th Congress. These include nullifying the tendency for heirarchy, simplifying the levels between the party leadership and rank-and-file, consolidating the principle of collective leadership through internal referendums on important issues, greater involvement in meetings and other means of bringing the leadership and rank-and! 2049-file closer. Furthermore, after endorsing the principle of federalism in rebuilding the Iraqi state, it was necessary to review the party structure, including the mechanism for liaison with the Kurdistan Communist Party - Iraq.
"The new inner party rules have taken into account the latest developments in the country and the needs of the party, which is an open party that develops relations with other forces sharing common concerns, and interacts with civil social organisations."
Comrade Musa also noted with satisfaction that the main concern throughout the Congress discussions was to get closer to the masses of the people, especially the workers, to understand their demands and needs, and to interact with them. Work among women, youth and students received special attention for the renewal of the party and society.
A positive and transparent spirit pervaded the Congress. "There was no attempt to cover up shortcomings. Indeed, anything that hinders the party s work and activity in the interest of the people, was exposed and dealt with. The main concern throughout the Congress proceedings and discussions was how can communists get closer and closer to the people, being more attentive to the mood of the ordinary people, interacting and integrating with them".
The new leadership of the party was elected in the same spirit. The 8th Congress ensured the right of each delegate to nominate themselves, or be nominated". The number of nominees was nearly double the required number. Half the party leadership was renewed." Comrade Musa also pointed out that the elected Central Committee includes two women comrades, which is something that has not happened for a long time.
Comrade Musa, joined on the platform by several members of the party Central Committee and its Political Bureau, then replied to a host of questions from Iraqi media representatives and reporters about various aspects of party policy, Congress decisions and political developments.
The press conference observed a minute of silence at 12.00 pm commemorating the National Day for the Victims of Mass Graves.