Iraqi Communist Party
Infobox Political party
party_name = Iraqi Communist Party الحزب الشيوعي العراقي
colorcode = Red
Hamid Majid Mousa
international = none
website = http://www.iraqcp.org/
Since its foundation in 1934, the Iraqi Communist Party (in Arabic: الحزب الشيوعي العراقي) has dominated the left in Iraqi politics. It played a fundamental role in shaping the political history of
Iraqbetween its foundation and the 1970s. The Party was involved in many of the most important national uprisings and demonstrations of the 1940s and 1950s. It suffered heavily from 1978 under the repressive regime of Saddam Hussein, but remained an important element of the Iraqi opposition, and was a vocal opponent of the United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq after the Kuwait War of 1991. It opposed the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003 but since then has participated in the new political institutions. It received little support in the Iraqi general elections of 2005.
Fahd's leadership and after
In 1941 Fahd, the cadre name of
Yusuf Salman Yusuf, became secretary of the party, and set about revamping the organization and expanding membership among the working classes. He successfully laid the basis for the mass party of later years, and under his leadership the party became a considerable force among the Iraqi working class and a major focus for protest against British involvement in Iraqi affairs.
In 1949, after the suppression of the revolutionary upsurge expressed in "al-Wathbah" (the Leap) of 1948, Fahd and two comrades were executed. The party recovered, and played a major role in the
Intifadaof 1952. In 1958, it supported the revolution and the new government of Abd al-Karim Qasim, who relied to a considerable degree on its support.
The party under Qasim, 1958-1963
The relationship between the party and Qasim was not an easy one. By the summer of 1959 the party had perhaps between 20,000 and 25,000 members. This, added to their ability to mobilise the masses and their penetration of the workforces in strategic industries, made Qasim fear the party's growing power. In July 1959, he ordered a minor crackdown on the party. It was unsure how to react. Some elements, around first secretary
Husain al-Radi(also known as Salam 'Adil), suggested launching a coup, but the more conservative elements opposed this. In fact the party would continue to support Qasim, more or less critically, up until his overthrow in February 1963. In the last two years of his rule, Qasim greatly weakened the party by suppressing largely or completely most of its flanking organisations, including the Democratic Youth Federation and workers' and students' unions. By the time of the 1963 coup the increasing unpopularity of Qasim, with whom the Communists were still linked in the public mind, coupled with the repressive measures he had adopted against them, had contributed to reducing the party's membership to under 10,000.
The party under Baathist rule
Ba'athistcoup of 8 February 1963 was accompanied by street fighting as Communist activists and supporters resisted the coup attempt. Fighting in Baghdad continued for three days, concentrated in the party's strongholds in the poorer, mainly Shia, districts. When the Baath consolidated its power the ICP suffered an unprecedented campaign of mass physical liquidation. Leading figures and cadres of the Party were tortured to death, including Husain al-Radi. The total number of communists killed is unknown, but was certainly in the thousands.
In the mid 1960s the
U.S. State Departmentestimated the party membership to be approximately 15000 (0.47% of the working age population of the country). [Benjamin, Roger W.; Kautsky, John H.. " [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0554%28196803%2962%3A1%3C110%3ACAED%3E2.0.CO%3B2-V Communism and Economic Development] ", in The American Political Science Review, Vol. 62, No. 1. (Mar., 1968), pp. 122.]
Aziz al-Hajjsplit from the ICP, establishing the Iraqi Communist Party - Central Command, and initiated an armed struggle, which the ICP at the time opposed.
In 1973 ICP secretary
Aziz Muhammadsigned a National Action Pact with President Hasan al-Bakr, forming a National Front together with the Ba'ath Party. The ICP was permitted to operate legally, publish and revive its flanking organisations. However, this was coupled with elements of repression, and by the autumn of 1974 the party tried to increase its security through a more clandestine mode of operation. In 1978 Saddam Husseinunleashed a renewed campaign of repression against the party, including the execution of large numbers of party members. In 1979 the party officially broke with the regime.
In 1993 the
Kurdish branch of the party was transformed into a semi-autonomous party, the Kurdistan Communist Party.
After the occupation of Iraq
The Iraqi Communist Party opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 but decided to work with the new political institutions established after the occupation. Its secretary,
Hamid Majid Mousa, accepted a position on the Interim Iraq Governing Council. The party was the principal component of the People's Union (Iraq)list for the general election on January 30, 2005 (see Iraqi legislative election, January 2005) but filed separate lists in some governorate council elections (see for instance Ninawa governorate council election, 2005). For the Iraqi legislative election, December 2005, the party has joined the Iraqi National Listof Iyad Allawi, along with other socialist, secular, moderate Sunni and moderate Shiite parties.
The party newspaper is "Tariq ash-Shaab" (Path of the People). It also publishes the magazine "Al-Thakafa Al-Jedida" (The New Culture [http://www.althakafaaljadeda.com ] ).
The youth wing of the party is the
Iraqi Democratic Youth Federation.
The motto of the party is "a free homeland and a happy people" (Arabic: "watanun hurrun wa sha'bun sa'id").
The following is a list of persons who served as Secretary or First Secretary of the
Iraqi Communist Party, the party's primary leadership position. Given the occasional suppression of the party and resultant lapses in its activity, the position was at times vacant. No. Name Assumed Position Left Position 1 Amin Flayyeh May 1935 December 1935 2 Abdullah Mas'ud 1941 October 1941 3 Yusuf Salman Yusuf(Comrade Fahd) October 1941 February 1949 4 Baha' al-Din Nuri September 1949(effectively, officially appointed only in August 1951) April 1953 5 Abd al-Karim Ahmad al-Daud April 1953 June 1954 6 Hamid Uthman June 1954 June 1955 7 Husain al-Radi(Salam 'Adil) June 1955 February 1963 7 Aziz Muhammad August 1964 8 Hamid Majid Mousa 1993
*Batatu, Hanna. The Old Social Classes and New Revolutionary Movements of Iraq", London, al-Saqi Books. 1978, republished, 2004. ISBN 0-86356-520-4
*Salucci, Ilario. A People's History of Iraq: The Iraqi Communist Party, Workers' Movements and the Left 1923-2004. Haymarket Books (2005) ISBN 1-931859-14-0
Yusuf Salman Yusuf
Co-ordinating Committee of Communist Parties in Britain
* [http://www.iraqcp.org/ ICP site]
* [http://www.iraqcp.org/framse1/index.htm English ICP site ]
* [http://www.tareekalshaab.com/ Tariq ash-Shaab]
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