Commentary on the ESF in London
Lackeys of the occupation disguise as progressives
By Carsten Kofoed, Spokesman of the Danish Committee for a Free Iraq, October 28, 2004.
At the European Social Forum (ESF), which was held October 15-17 in London, not at least Iraq was the subject of excited discussions and very well-attended meetings.
One of these major meetings on Iraq took place on October 15 under the heading "End the occupation of Iraq". At this meeting, Lindsay German from the British Stop the War Coalition, who also participated at the Danish Social Forum in the beginning of October, was scheduled to speak, among others.
So was Subhi Al-Mashadani, General Secretary of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), a so-called Iraqi confederation of trade unions that was established immediately after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003 by forces in and around the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP), which is now part of the US-installed puppet regime headed by the long-standing CIA agent Iyad Allawi. Of the declared confederations of trade unions in Iraq, the IFTU is the only one that has been recognized by Allawi´s Quisling regime.
Just like the other IFTU leaders, Al-Mashadani has not been elected for his post, but he is one of these "leaders" that has been appointed by the collaborationist ICP, whose collaboration with the US did not start with the occupation, but has been going on ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. When Al-Mashadani showed up at the ESF meeting, he was met with loud protests, and he later had to flee the meeting together with his bodyguards without addressing it.
As Sabah Jawad from the Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation (IDAO) correctly put it in his speech at a meeting on Iraq the following day:
"Inviting this organization (IFTU, CK) to a major meeting on ending the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq, by the ESF, is like inviting the British National Party to address a meeting against racism." (1)
The anger towards the IFTU, which due to its collaboration with the occupation in Iraq is smeared in the blood of the thousands of Iraqis who have lost their lives because of the terror war of the occupation force, is fully understandable. And the hatred of the IFTU has surely not diminished by the fact that the IFTU during the British Labour Party conference that was held September 26-30 played an extremely dirty role in successfully convincing trade union delegates from the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) that they should oppose a motion, reflecting the TUC´s own agreed policies (affirmed at the TUC congress two weeks earlier (2)), calling on Blair to set an early date for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.
Thus an "open letter to trade union delegates at the Labour Party conference" from Abdullah Muhsin, Foreign Representative of the IFTU, was distributed during the conference (before the voting on the motion on Iraq which was rejected), where Muhsin also held a passionate speech supporting a continued and time unlimited British participation in the occupation of Iraq. In the months before the conference, the IFTU had been actively involved in trying "to soften" those parts of the trade union movement and the Labour Party that were against or critical of Blair´s policy on Iraq. In his open letter, Muhsin, who has been in exile for more than 25 years and is a prominent member of the ICP, says, among other things:
"I know some of you were against the war in Iraq but be in no doubt – the fall of Saddam has given my country a chance of freedom and progress. (……). There are grave security problems in Iraq, but those causing them are not, as some have wrongly said, "the Iraqi resistance". They are nothing like the French Maquis who bravely resisted the Nazis during the Second World War."
And after having actually admitted his and the IFTU´s support for the illegal war because it removed Saddam Hussein, and then slandered the popular and legitimate resistance of the Iraqi people, Muhsin concluded by urging the continuation of the illegal occupation of Iraq:
"You have two options before you this week. One would give hope to all those in Iraq who want to see free trade unions and political organisation grow and thrive. In line with UN Security Council resolution 1546 it says that the multinational force is there to help our democracy. The alternative asks for an early date for the unilateral withdrawal of troops which would be bad for my country, bad for the emerging progressive forces, a terrible blow for free trade unionism, and would play into the hands of extremists and terrorists." (4)
This ought to speak for itself. According to the IFTU, "freedom and progress" and "free trade unionism" can develop under a brutal, bloody and plundering occupation, and the "progressive forces" in Iraq need the occupiers, their massacres and torture in order to develop democracy in Iraq. It simply does not get more sickening and reactionary than this. The most important thing for Iraqi workers, right here and now, is to get rid of the imperialist occupation force, which is plundering, terrorizing and bombing like crazies in Iraq. This is a prerequisite for peace and for a political development beneficial to the working class in Iraq. The policy of the IFTU is enormous treachery to the Iraqi working class. It is treason, pure and simple.
Nevertheless, both the TUC in Britain (5) and US Labor Against the War (USLAW) in the US (6) are supporting the IFTU politically and financially. Their support has nothing to do with supporting free trade unionism or the working class in Iraq. In fact, it is support for their respective governments´ continuing occupation of Iraq and aggression against the Iraqi people, who, except for the very thin layer of Iraqi Quislings supported by these Anglo-American organisations, want the occupiers to leave Iraq right now.
Collaboration and treason concealed as "political resistance"
In the West, we have to be aware of the fact that the occupation force in Iraq not only form, support and lead military organisations like the new "Iraqi" army, the Quisling police and CIA and Mossad-trained death squads, but also a quite extensive network of political organisations, which in Iraq for the most part have already been revealed as tools of the occupation, but which in the imperialist occupying countries have considerably better conditions for their agent work, because these more or less paper organisations are being presented, in a grotesque manner, as "representatives" of Iraqi workers, unemployed, women or, in short, the Iraqi people, to the Western peoples, who of course are affected by the vehement and mendacious propaganda of the occupation.
These political organisations are "left wing parties" as the ICP, "trade unions" as the IFTU (and the Federation of Workers´ Councils and Unions in Iraq, FWCUI), "unemployed movements" as the Union of the Unemployed of Iraq (UUI) and "women´s organisations" as the Organization of Women`s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), among others. The FWCUI, the UUI and the OWFI are all being led by the Worker-communist Party of Iraq (WCPI), a party that was formed in 1993 in the US and Israeli controlled Iraqi Kurdistan by followers of "the great Marxist thinker", as the WCPI calls its ideological icon, the now deceased Iranian Mansoor Hekmat, whose views on Zionist Israel are surprisingly positive and reconciling for a declared Marxist (7). In Iraq, in the midst of a brutal, imperialist occupation in which the occupiers, as always, have allied themselves with the most reactionary local forces, the WCPI is fiercely fighting not the occupation force, but Islam, which is the religion of more than 95 percent of the Iraqi population and has become a common identity of the popular resistance to the occupation. The enemy of the pro-Zionist WCPI and its front organisations is not the US-led occupation force, but the Iraqi resistance.
All the above-mentioned pseudo-progressive parties and organisations have in common that they are not what they are pretending to be – that is, that they are "against the occupation", and that they are doing "political resistance" against it – because ever since the start of the occupation and just like the occupation force, they have constantly and vehemently been condemning the real and completely decisive resistance to the occupation – the armed resistance – as "terrorism", "foreign elements", "Islamic fundamentalism" and "remnants of Saddam". From these same organisations, there is hardly any talk about, not to say any condemnations of the terror, massacres, daily killings, assaults and torture of the US-led occupation force.
But with this branding of the resistance as terror and the demonization of the popular, legitimate and growing resistance of the Iraqi people against the US super power – the world´s biggest oppressor, war maker and terrorist – the collaborationist organisations enter progressive forums like the ESF to which they due to the support from reformist parties and trade unions are able to get a platform.
In Iraq, the task of these Iraqi collaborationist organisations is to get the Iraqis to accept the occupation and to divert all opposition to it into the so-called "political process", which the US, by means of the collaborators, is completely controlling. In the West, their mission is to hinder a real understanding of the situation in Iraq, of the occupation, of the resistance, its spreading and popular support and consequently weaken and preferably smash any solidarity with the resistance of the Iraqi people among progressives, in the anti-war movements, among trade unionists and workers and in the left in general.
Opponents of the occupation of Iraq must not let themselves be taken in or confused neither by these agents of US imperialism nor by those "opponents of the war and occupation", who are supporting them here in the West. It is important to realize that the political proof of a political organisation in Iraq being really against the occupation and a progressive force in the ongoing national liberation struggle against imperialism is not that it declares itself in opposition to the occupation because this is done even by the open collaborators in the Iraqi Quisling regime. The proof is the organisation´s support for the armed resistance. Among many others, this is the case with the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, whose leader, Abd Al-Jabbar Al-Kubaysi, was arrested by the torturing occupation force on September 4.
Without armed resistance, which in Iraq is being supported by a patriotic political resistance and mobilisation of the population unlike the pro-imperialist "resistance" of the collaborators, the foreign occupation troops and mercenaries will never leave Iraq. And without victory of the popular resistance, which due to its patriotism, anti-imperialism and Islamic identity has far more support in the Iraqi population than all the collaborators and their parties and organisations all together, an Iraq on the premises of the Iraqi people will never be possible. Therefore, rejecting the armed struggle equals dooming Iraq to eternal occupation and US "democracy" like Abu Ghraib. And this is precisely what the "progressive" lackeys of the occupation in Iraq and in the West are doing. All genuine opponents of the occupation support, as a matter of principle and in line with article 51 in the UN Charter, the legitimate resistance of the Iraqi people, including the necessary armed resistance. All anti-imperialists worthy their name wish victory to the Iraqi resistance: a liberated Iraq.
1. Speech of IDAO secretary, Sabah Jawad, at the meeting on Iraq, October 16, 2004, http://www.idao.org/esf-idao.html.
2. Trades Union Congress 2004, resolution 82, http://www.tuc.org.uk/congress/tuc-8494-f0.cfm?theme=congress2004#tuc-84....
3. Open Letter from Abdullah Muhsin, Foreign Representative of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, to trade union delegates at the Labour Party Conference, http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/B1571.pdf.
4. Som note 3.
5. Support the TUC Appeal for Iraq – Iraqi trade unionists speak, http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-8839-f0.cfm.
6. Gene Bruskin Addresses British Labor on Iraq Labor Solidarity, http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org/article.php?id=6232.
7. An interview with Mansour Hekmat of the Iranian Workers-Communist Party, by Safa Haeri (1999), http://www.m-hekmat.com/en/3220en.html.