Iraq

Last Friday was Iraq’s Day of Rage, where 70,000 came out on the streets in cities all over the country. Here we publish an account of what happened, that was sent to us by the president of the OWFI, the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq.

The wave of revolution that started in Tunisia is now also reaching Iraq, where the Kurdish areas had already flared up last week. But the protests are not limited to these areas. On Friday an anti-government rally named the Day of Rage, was organised in Baghdad and other cities with thousands taking part.

There have been reports that an uprising has started in Sulaymaniyah, the capital of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Reports indicate that the security forces have used brute force to suppress the protests and nine or ten people have been shot and killed. We know that street protests have taken place on two consecutive days (16th and 17th February).

We received this note from the FWCUI in Iraq about the ongoing struggles to defend the right to form a union. The invasion of Iraq was presented as a way of establishing “democracy”. Well, one fundamental democratic right is the right to form a union!

The invasion of Iraq was supposed to establish a western-style “democracy”. But when it comes to basic trade union rights there is no such democracy. Union offices are raided, closed down, union assets are confiscated and union activists are victimized. Here we have the latest example of “democracy” at work in the Ministry of Electricity. But the workers are resisting as the photos provided here demonstrate.

Last month’s killing of the journalist Sardasht Osman in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq was clearly aimed at silencing dissent under the Barzani regime that controls the Kurdish area of the country. It also highlights the limits of this bourgeois regime and the need for a socialist perspective in the region.

The administration of the Cotton Industries issued – based on a ministerial warrant – an order to transfer the unionist Falah Alwan from the company. The decision came as a result of the strike of the workers of the Cotton Industries Company which started on December 13, 2009.

Part of the process of creating a so-called western style “democracy” in Iraq is the passing of laws that restrict trade union rights. One of these involves the direct intervention of the state to decide who can and who cannot represent the workers, imposing an official union over the tops of the existing unions created by the workers. Here we publish a statement of the FWCUI for the information of our readers.

The workers in the leather production achieved a historic victory, when the administration agreed to pay safety benefits after more than fifty days of strike. The strikers have not responded to any promises made by the administration, but instead insisted in the fulfilment of all of their demands.

The workers in the leather industries achieved a historic victory when the administration officially agreed to pay all back safety benefits, and write out checks for other worker back pay. The workers maintained the integrity of their strike for forty-seven days, not allowing doubt or division to creep up on them.

The militancy of the Iraqi leather industry workers is forcing management to make concessions, but the workers have been holding out until they get all their demands. The strike, the longest since 1931, is having an impact on other groups of industrial workers who are looking to the leather workers as an example to follow.

Although we do not necessarily agree with every position of the Worker-communist Party of Iraq, we are making available one of their latest statements which highlights the sectarian logic behind the latest electoral reform in Iraq where people will be represented in parliament according to their ethnic background rather than their political affiliations. This helps to strengthen and deepen ethnic conflict, not solve it.

We received this news item on a significant strike in the Leather Industry in Iraq. Some 1,500 workers have been on strike for more than 40 days and they need international support and solidarity. The duration of this strike marks a new record in the strike history of the workers’ movement in Iraq. We publish it for the interest of our readers.

There is much talk in the media about the “building of democracy” in Iraq. This brief report about how the present Iraqi government treats oil workers reveals the real interests that it defends. Oil worker trade union activists need your support.

We received these short news items on significant labour struggles in Iraq in the oil industry in Basra, and a gathering of the Electricity workers in Nasiriyah. We publish them for the interest of our readers. They show that the Iraqi labour movement is beginning to recover from the devastation of recent years and achieving important victories.

We received this small news item from the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, which highlights how so-called "anti-terror" laws are used in Iraq to harass trade union activists, whose only crime is to defend the interests of Iraqi workers.

We have received this appeal from workers in Iraq against the victimisation of an Iraqi trade unionist in the oil industry. Please send message of protest to the Iraqi authorities and copies to the address provided here in the appeal.

Formally speaking Bush has gained control of Iraq, and now the puppet Iraqi government has been granting oil concessions to the major multinational oil corporations. But all this comes at a heavy price in political terms...

When the coalition forces marched into Baghdad in March 2003, the imperialists were full of confidence. The things they were going to do! Intoxicated by the power of their military machine, they predicted a glowing future for Iraq and the Middle East. How different things are now!

Five years after the invasion of Iraq all the lies cooked up by Blair and Bush at the time have been exposed for what they were. They cannot hide the terrible suffering and destruction they have inflicted on the people of Iraq. And to make things worse they have even failed in their avowed aim of establishing what they define as a "democracy".

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