Solidarity with Iraqi workers

Trade unionists or Islamists?

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2005 - 21:27

In October 2004 Subhi al Mashadani, general secretary of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) was shouted down at the European Social Forum. The meeting was abandoned.

After the ESF Sami Ramadani, an Iraqi leftist living in Britain, wrote a partial defence of the shouting-down. It was originally a letter to Alex Gordon, of the railworkers’ union RMT. The article was printed, abridged, in Socialist Worker on 30 October, and another article by Ramadani on similar lines was in the Guardian on 27 October. Martin Thomas critically examines the arguments.

Ramadani says the shouting-down was

Who represents Iraqi workers?

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2005 - 21:23

This article by Sami Ramadani appeared in Socialist Worker, 30 October 2004

THE Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) leadership appears to have succeeded in convincing some union leaders in Britain that it is a staunch opponent of the occupation. Alas, this self projected image is false. Before I explain, let us bear in mind that George Bush and Tony Blair also claim they are against the occupation of Iraq and want to end it “as soon as possible”. After all, they handed “sovereignty” to the Allawi regime, which in turn “invited” them to remain in Iraq as the “multinational forces”.


The Left and "reactionary anti-imperialism"

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2005 - 21:22

Editorial, Solidarity

“Reactionary socialism… half lamentation, half lampoon; half echo of the past, half menace of the future”
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto

“We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart’s grown brutal from the fare;
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love”
W B Yeats

The left is defined, grouped and regrouped, and redefined again and again, by responses to major events — for example, to the October Revolution of 1917. The left is now undergoing another redefinition, around its responses to the series of wars that began with the Kosova war of 1999 and continued

Why socialists can not support the USA in Iraq (part 3)

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2005 - 21:18

Capitulators of today and yesterday

An example from the history of the USSR will also shed some Marxist light on the question of the attitude Marxists take when alien, anti-working class forces, are, or seem to be, doing work we want done, and would like to be strong enough to do ourselves, in our way.

In the mid 1920s, Trotsky and the Left Opposition, then the United Opposition (with Zinoviev), advocated a programme of industrialisation for the USSR. Their opponents, the Stalinists and the Bukharinites, scoffed at such an idea.

Then in 1928-9, faced with an upsurge of resistance by rich

Why socialists can not support the USA in Iraq (part 2)

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2005 - 21:16

Not a penny for this system!

Amost instructive misunderstanding occurred when one of the New Blairites took issue with an editorial preface to some texts from Lenin and Luxemburg in Solidarity (3/52, 27 May 2004). The preface said:

“Solidarity thinks it good that the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq has been smashed. Does that mean that we should have supported Bush or Blair’s war? Does the political judgement that the smashing of Saddam’s regime was a good thing necessarily imply support for those who smashed it? Again, we say, no. These sorts of issues and dilemmas have always existed for

Why socialists can not support the USA in Iraq (part 1)

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2005 - 21:09

By Sean Matgamna

[This is an edited and reworked version of an article by Sean Matgamna which first appeared in Solidarity 3/63 to 3/65. That can be found on this site: part 1; part 2; part 3. It was a reply to Don’t think twice, it’s alright, published in Solidarity no 3/62. More on the Iraq page of this website.]

“The attempt of the bourgeoisie during its internecine conflicts to oblige all humanity to divide up into only two camps is motivated by a desire to prohibit the proletariat from having its own independent ideas. This method is as old as bourgeois society, or more exactly, as class

Self-determination and democracy in Iraq

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2005 - 20:55

By Barry Finger

The demand for national liberation, for the right of self-determination of a people, is understood by socialists to be a demand for radical, consistent democracy.
This at once separates us from those who, such as the Buchananite paleocons, place the inviolability of the national principle above all other considerations and who may consistently oppose imperial interventions on that basis.

Yet, this demand on the part of socialists for the right to self-determination may even seem self-contradictory insofar as the final aim of socialism is an international political and economic

Is Iraq another Vietnam?

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2005 - 20:52

Chris Reynolds answers some questions

How is Iraq today different from Vietnam in the late 1960s?

In Iraq there are workers’, unemployed, and women’s movements which oppose both the US and other occupation forces and the Islamist and neo-Ba’thist militias which fight them. Socialists’ main duty is solidarity with those workers’, unemployed, and women’s movements.

There was no “third force” like that in Vietnam?

Anti-Stalinist socialists in the USA like Irving Howe, who were dissatisfied with just saying “US out now” because they saw that meant Stalinist victory which would crush all

Solidarity with Iraqi workers

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2005 - 20:46

At the end of 2004 and beginning of 2005 there was a strike wave in Iraq, which affected many sectors of industry. The fledgling labour movement is beginning to raise its head.
But it is still organisationally weak. It faces many dangers, both from the US/UK occupation which keeps Saddam’s labour laws on the books, and from the Islamist and neo-Ba’thist “resistance” gangs, which have killed and kidnapped trade unionists.

Despite the urgent need for solidarity, it was only after a lot of dawdling and fumbling that the British labour movement began to organise for the Iraqi workers. The biggest

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