Will Hutton backs Iraqi trade union rights

Will Hutton examines the Euston Manifesto and includes the following perceptive comment on why the liberal press has ignored the rise of the new Iraqi labour movement. Hutton says – Because Iraqi reconstruction has been a fiasco, the liberal temptation is to side intellectually with the insurgents. But, for example, trade unions are forbidden to organise in the Iraqi public sector because of the Saddam Hussein ban still in force; the comment pages of the liberal press are hardly full of articles insisting that the Iraq government entrenches union rights. Little space is given to arguments about the wider importance … Continue reading Will Hutton backs Iraqi trade union rights

Second-hand mobile phone solidarity

The TUC has launched an appeal for unions and their members to pass on their used mobile phones to the Iraqi trade union movement as an act of second-hand solidarity. Unions representing workers in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan face incredible challenges in defending working people and rebuilding democracy. One of their requests for solidarity from British trade unionists is the provision of mobile phones – crucial for any union organiser these days, but especially in Iraq where travel can be dangerous and landlines aren’t sufficiently reliable or widespread. But mobile phones can be expensive to buy in Iraq (and UK … Continue reading Second-hand mobile phone solidarity

International trade union movement lambasts interference in Iraqi union affairs

The ICFTU has protested to the Iraqi Prime Minister about his governments labour laws. Mr. Prime Minister, the ICFTU strongly objects against this inordinate interference in the designation of the leadership of the IFTU. Dictating to a union how to organise its leadership elections, and whom not to include in it, is a blatant violation of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 87 on Freedom of Association. Although Iraq did not ratify this convention, it has an obligation as an ILO member to respect the principles enshrined in it. I therefore strongly urge you to ensure that the IFTU benefits of … Continue reading International trade union movement lambasts interference in Iraqi union affairs

Mandela Adviser Seeks Iraqi National Reconciliation

Nelson Mandelas former legal adviser Nicholas Haysom has spent much of the last year attempting to teach the Iraqi political classes about South Africas reconciliation process. The 1991 SA peace accord was signed by 26 political parties and organisations in the face of increasing violence. He is now attempting to replicate this form of settlement in Baghdad. (David Spector)

The Euston Manifesto

The Euston Manifesto is launched today. It is the product of discussions between a variety of bloggers and activists, including some involved in Labour Friends of Iraq, and proposes a Renewal of Progressive Politics. Its conclusion is that It is vitally important for the future of progressive politics that people of liberal, egalitarian and internationalist outlook should now speak clearly. We must define ourselves against those for whom the entire progressive-democratic agenda has been subordinated to a blanket and simplistic ‘anti-imperialism’ and/or hostility to the current US administration. The values and goals which properly make up that agenda – the … Continue reading The Euston Manifesto

Civil war or Civil Society?

With recent reports concentrating on whether there is/will be/ is not a civil war in Iraq the more obvious benefits of reconstruction tend to be ignored. Here is news about over 600 Community Action Groups throughout Iraq and here is how the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific research is attempting to bridge the gap in science and technology, which previously separated Saddam’s Iraq from the rest of the world, by sending over 1,000 students to the most prestigious overseas universities to complete their Doctorates. (David Spector)

Nick Cohen on Kember

Nick Cohen examines the Kember affair and concludes the following – Yet at least Kember and his colleagues made a commitment to Iraq. They may have done no good, they may have put better and braver men in danger, yet they strike me as preferable to the majority of European liberals who have sat out the conflict. Civilians are massacred at random: silence. Al-Qaeda hits as many Shia mosques as it can in the hope of provoking a civil war: silence again. No condemnations of barbarism are offered for fear of giving the smallest support to George W Bush and … Continue reading Nick Cohen on Kember

Three Years On…(Continued)

The third anniversary continues to focus pro and anti-invasion views. Here is a review of Iraqi problems and possible solutions, from both sides of the argument. Dlawer Ala’Alduen at openDemocracy argues that Iraq will only become stabilised once Iran and Syria stop attempting to influence the political and military situation. Senator Edward Kennedy argues that President Bush should immediately convene a summit of Iraqi groups and leaders to support the creation of a broad-based national unity government and encourage the leaders to give the highest priorities to the compromises essential to avoid civil war. The Arab League should be encouraged … Continue reading Three Years On…(Continued)

Johann Hari and his critics

Johann Hari of The Independent says that he was terribly wrong to have supported the war in the first place. He tells us that he had a colossal response to this article and cites as a typical response one from Abdulkhaliq Hussein which says Your article in the Independent today, 20/3/2006, was really disappointing to all of your admirers. You let them down. You changed your mind and switched from pro-war to join the anti-war campaigners, means that you gave in bowed to the aggressors. So instead of blaming the terrorists for this mass killing in Iraq at the hand … Continue reading Johann Hari and his critics