Iraq

We received this request for international protests against the new labour Law being introduced in Iraq under the pressure of the IMF. It is clearly against the interests of workers in Iraq and openly defends the right of capitalists to brutally exploit the workers.

All the 223 oil workers at Shiwashok oil company in Kurdistan Iraq have begun an open-ended strike since 05:00 this morning, August 1, 2011, which has stopped the work of the entire field.

In today's [April 8] demonstration on Tahrir Square (Baghdad), the youth marched towards the bridge in order to cross to the Green Zone, and chanted the slogan of “Ousting the System”. The security forces – under the "General Commander of the Armed Forces" Mr. Nouri Al Miliki gave orders to detain and torture all the organizers of the demonstration. Division 11 of the Iraqi army (army intelligence) took pictures of all the demonstrators including the OWFI women. The same division used civilian cars to arrest tens of demonstrators into detainment.

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.