Report from the Iraqi resistance mobilisation in Rome, Dec 13, 2003
On Saturday, 13th December, 2003 the first larger manifestation in Europe in emphatic support for the Iraqi resistance against the US empire took place. Nearly one thousand people participated and even the main Italian bourgeois paper, "Corriere della Sera", which was at the forefront of the media campaign against the mobilisation, had to admit the success. They spoke of 800 participants.
The manifestation took place amidst a tremendous McCarthyist witch hunt not seen since the 70s. The supporters of the Iraqi resistance were attacked as "terrorists" and as "Islamo-Nazi-Communist block". The slander campaign was operated by a transversal front ranging from the far right (all the main Fascist organisations) to the far left (led by Rifondazione Comunista) passing by the two party regime (the forces of the Berlusconi government as well as of the centre left opposition).
Facing this extreme polarisation the mood of the participants was highly combative. Despite the fact that both the speakers as well as the participants originate from different political backgrounds an extraordinary sense of unity was to be felt having commonly repulsed the imperialist and Zionist enemy and its aides no matter in which disguise they have appeared. Between the speeches speaking choirs were shouted reaching their climax when Awni Al Kalemji, spokesman of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, entered the hall: "Free Iraq" and "long life the Iraqi resistance".
He had to be broad secretly in order to avoid provocations. The hall was heavily guarded by riot police and plain clothed agents. Also provocateurs of the Iraqi quislings including the Iraqi Communist Party showed up – but their attempts to disturb were frustrated.
Originally the mobilisation was scheduled to close with a protest rally in front of the US embassy which was, however, forbidden by the ministry of interior. So it was decided to continue the assembly in closed hall in order to pave the way for a national committee in support of the Iraqi Resistance to be found in a meeting scheduled for early next year based on respective local solidarity caucuses.
In his conclusive speech Moreno Pasquinelli, the spokesman of the Anti-imperialist Camp, which was instrumental for the mobilisation, assessed the day of action for the resistance as a success sowing seeds destined to grow soon. "They wanted to isolate and suffocate us. But they failed. Everybody could hear the voice of resistance against the US empire. Those who dared to come here form part of a vanguard. When we will take to the street next time we will have broken the ice and multiplied our forces." The mobilisation voiced the democratic sentiment of vast strata of the Italian population sympathising with the Iraqi resistance against the US tyranny and for the defence of elementary democratic right against the preventive war.
In his speech Awni Al Kalemji stressed that the battle being fought by the Iraqi people is on behalf on entire humanity. "Our victory against the invaders and occupants will open the door to all the oppressed people of the world to get rid of the tyrants supported by the US. It will be the signal for the end of the US global rule." He closed by saying that he will not thank the organisers and participants as we conduct the very same battle shoulder on shoulder.
Among those intervening were prominent figures of Rifondazione Comunista (PRC) which only one day before the manifestation issued an official statement threatening all those to participate with expulsion.
Among the PRC´s dissidents Domenico Losurdo, docent for philosophy, who called the UN embargo against Iraq the post-modern version of the Nazis´ KZ. The US have kept the spirit of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the biggest terrorist acts against mankind ever committed, as they openly announced their readiness to attack with nuclear weapons of mass destruction whoever claims its basic right of self-determination. It is outrageous to counterpoise the US´ preventive war to terrorism. This war is a terrorist war while the military resistance is both legitimate and necessary. This it has already brought one important result: the US is hindered to attack further countries!
Fabio Pasquinelli (no family ties with Moreno Pasquinelli), regional secretary of the PRC, who had been menaced repeatedly by party official not to participate at the manifestation, said that real communists will not allow that "war of aggression" be termed "peace mission" and "resistance" "terrorism". There is no third way between imperialism and the resistance. The political and armed resistance in Iraq and Palestine must be supported.
Aldo Bernadini, docent for international law, defender of Milosevic and member of PRC, called his party leader "Hare Krishna communists" as they insisted on "non violent means". He attacked the argument that the Iraqi resistance would not carry a social programme: "This is a miserable pretext. Everybody knows that national sovereignty is a precondition of social development."
The most emotional intervention was that of Mara Malavenda, leader of the radical unions Slai-Cobas of Alfa Romeo who was once also Mpon a RPC ticket. It is a shame for the left not to support the mobilisation for the Iraqi resistance while Berlusconi is serving as the instrument of the US imperialism. The attack on our democratic and social right is linked to the attack on Iraq and Palestine. We will be always on the side of the wretched of the world while the US is trying to impose new slavery. Eventually she gave the banner of her organisation to Awni Al Kalemji in exchange for the Iraqi flag.
There were others to intervene like Costanzo Preve, a Marxist philosopher, Claudio Moffa, historican, Luigi Cortesi, publisher, Roberto Massari, historian, Franco Pelazza, lawyer etc.
Greetings have been sent from Franco Cardini, a conservative Catholic historian, Hamza Piccardo, the leader of the Union of Islamic Communities and well as Padre Benjamin, long time fighter against the genocidal embargo on Iraq. International support declarations were received from two dozen organisation including the different forces of the Iraqi resistance. A selection was read to the audience.
The bourgeois media and even the most vicious press outlets of the "left" had to admit that were not a single fascist. On the contrary "Corriere della Sera" spoke of a challenge to the official "left" which intends to go to government with the centre left being forces to accept their slavish subordination to US imperialism. The incipient broad anti-imperialist pole created by the manifestation could serve as an alternative to the chauvinist and imperialist transformation of the historic left.
However, the Rome mobilisation was only a first step. To continue the Anti-imperialist Camp proposes
a) to carry on the campaign to collect funds for the resistance (10 euro campaign)
b) to send a solidarity delegation to Iraq by spring of next year
c) to set up support committees for the Iraqi resistance throughout the world
d) which should be eventually unified in an international congress in support of the Iraqi resistance.