Amidst the brutality of occupied Iraq, a new labour movement is growing - independent trade unions, unemployed movements, women's organisations, and working-class political parties.
In oilfields, oil refineries, railways and factories, workers have organised trade unions and won victories by removing Ba'thist managers or improving wages.
Iraq’s labour movement has different groups with different views. But all the main groups agree that:
- Iraq must gain democratic self-rule, free of US/UK military occupation;
- ‘resistance’ militias are reactionary, offering only an ugly future of communal division, conflict and clerical dictatorship.
At Labour Party conference, the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions helped Blair get his way on Iraq. He will keep backing George W Bush, whose brutal, arrogant, pro-privatisation war and occupation has created the chaos where Islamist militias are gaining support and up to 15,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed so far.
The IFTU's action at the conference was wrong. But we should support Iraq's new trade unions as trade unions. We cannot demand they agree with us on all points before giving them support.
All hopes for real self-determination for the peoples of Iraq - democratic rights, no foreign domination - rely on the Iraqi workers’ movement winning, at the very least, a substantial say in the country.