Elections in 18th century England were very jolly affairs. Instead of long and tedious speeches about wars and taxes and the like, politicians invited voters to the tavern to get them drunk on election day and buy their votes for what were known as "rotten boroughs" - small rural places that nobody had ever heard of and where few people lived, yet were entitled to vote and send representatives to His Majesty's Parliament.

In what was probably the largest demonstration in Iraq since the US invasion in 2003, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis marched in Baghdad this past Saturday to demonstrate against the US occupation. While most bourgeois news agencies were focused on the wedding of Prince Charles and what’s-her-name, The LA Times did report that some 300,000 people filled the streets of Baghdad (most other news agencies, if they reported the demonstration at all, claimed that there were “thousands”). The demonstration, organized by followers of Muqtada al-Sadr and held on the second anniversary of the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime, filled the capital’s al-Fardous square with chants of “No to America,” and “No to the occupation”.

 

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.

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