On the Iraq demonstration on 19 March, AWL members helped Iraq Union Solidarity with a bucket collection to raise money for the new trade unions in Iraq. We also sold our new pamphlet, “Solidarity with Iraqi workers”. (which you can buy online here).
The pamphlet answers those on the left who have dismissed the Iraqi labour movement as “Vichyists” or “quislings”, taking the military (Sunni-supremacist) “resistance” and not the working class as their standard by which to measure all other forces. It also replies to those who use awareness of the reactionary nature of the “resistance” as a reason to flip over into support for Bush and Blair.
The pamphlet aims to reinstate the basic idea of independent working-class politics: that the working class can and must set its own political aims, and pursue them even when the wealthy classes are divided, instead of collapsing into support for whichever upper-class faction we consider to be the “lesser evil”.
The National Union of Teachers conference over the Easter weekend, where an AWL-inspired amendment on Iraq, arguing for priority to support for the Iraqi labour movement, was kept off the conference floor both by the dominant right wing and by the mainstream left, shows that there is much work yet to do in this debate.
In the coming weeks AWL members across the country will be taking the pamphlet to everyone we can reach who is interested in the politics of Iraq, and asking them to study its arguments.