We convey the warmest greetings of Iraqi Communists on the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of Britain.
On this special occasion in the life of your fraternal party, we salute the history of struggle and sacrifice of British Communists and their dedication to uphold the lofty values of communism and fight relentlessly for a socialist future. Throughout these 100 years, confronting an enormous political and ideological challenge of facing up to the one of the world’s oldest capitalist and imperialist powers, they have held high the red banner of socialism, communism and Marxism. This history is today an inspiring example for British Communists and their allies in the labour movement and society to intensify their struggle to defend the rights of the British working class and people and achieve a popular left alternative. It is also an inspiration to Britain’s young generation as they look for an alternative to a bankrupt capitalist system that stands condemned for its systemic failures in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and its devastating economic and social consequences that will impact their lives for years to come. Today, more than ever before, the role of the Communist party and progressive forces, in Britain and worldwide, is indispensable for providing inspiration and a guide for action to achieve change. It is vital for building a better future, a society free of exploitation, all forms of oppression, racism, fascism, wars, poverty and disease; ensuring freedom, democratic rights and social justice; laying the foundations for socialism.
On this centenary celebration, Iraqi Communists join you in remembering with pride the role of Britain’s Communist Party in providing internationalist support and expressing solidarity with the fighters against fascism and war, and in building the world peace movement. An outstanding example was the participation of British communists in the International Brigades and their courageous fight against Franco’s fascists. Another example was its contribution to the fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Britain’s Communist Party also supported national liberation movements in the fight against British colonialism, for freedom and national independence. This had special importance for the Iraqi people in their bitter fight to win true independence after Iraq fell under British occupation in 1917. This fight continued until the 14th July 1958 Revolution which overthrew the reactionary monarchy that was a British puppet.
Iraqi Communists recall with pride the relationship that developed with Britain’s Communist Party during the 1940s. It actively campaigned to save the life of Comrade Fahd (Yousuf Salman), the leader and founder of the Iraqi Communist Party, when he was sentenced to death after his arrest in 1947. Under the pressure of this international campaign, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. But following the party’s role in the popular uprising against the Portsmouth Treaty in 1948, he was re-tried along with two members of the party Politburo, sentenced to death and executed in February 1949.
Following the CIA-backed bloody fascist coup in Iraq on 8th February 1963, in which thousands of Communists and supporters were physically liquidated, British Communists again supported an international solidarity campaign to expose and stop the bloodbath.
The British Communist Party also provided vital support for the solidarity campaign that was launched in Britain in 1979 after the escalation of bloody repression by Saddam’s fascist Baath party against the Communists and democrats. This internationalist support for the Iraqi people continued over more than two decades, during which our people suffered the catastrophes of the Iran-Iraq war and economic sanctions after Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. Iraqi Communists participated in the anti-war demonstrations, alongside British Communists, on the eve of the US war and occupation of Iraq in 2003, under the slogan “No to War .. No to Dictatorship”. The ties of friendship and solidarity between our two parties continued during the years that followed, despite the difficult struggle waged by our party and democratic forces under complex conditions against the occupation, political sectarianism, corruption and terrorism, for freedom and national sovereignty, and to build a civil democratic state based on social justice.
On the Centenary of the birth of your party, we seize this occasion to express once again our appreciation for your internationalist solidarity with the Iraqi people, democrats and Communists.
We warmly salute all the members and supporters of Communist Party of Britain, and look forward to strengthening and developing the historical relations and internationalist ties between our two parties, in the joint struggle for freedom, peace, democracy, social progress, and socialism.
With warmest comradely greetings,
Iraqi Communist Party
30 July 2020