Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/365/5997

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 October 2004

Labour and war

Union Leaders' Rebellion Fizzles Out

THE UNION leaders' threatened revolt against Blair on Iraq at the Labour Party conference evaporated quicker than you could say 'stitch-up'.

Ken Smith

Content with defeating the leadership on rail renationalisation and housing earlier in the week, and general promises of improved workers' rights, the main union leaders voted with the submissive constituency delegates not to inflict a defeat on Blair on Iraq.

The resolution calling for a timetable for withdrawing the troops, was lost with only 28% of conference delegates voting in favour.

Union leaders have been able to use the weakness of the anti-war movement's arguments over how to end the occupation to avoid a showdown with Blair.

In particular, the fact that most of the anti-war movement does not put an alternative which addresses the concerns many working-class people have about the prospect of inter-ethnic or religious conflict and a civil war if the troops are withdrawn.

The Socialist Party supports the withdrawal of the troops. But in contrast to the rest of the Left in the anti-war movement, we also point out that on a capitalist basis, one consequence of a rapid withdrawal could be a bloody ethnic or religious conflict.

This is why a democratic and equitable solution to Iraq's problems is only possible with the working class in the lead, uniting all groupings on the basis of a socialist and democratic programme.

Arms twisted

A LOT of arm-twisting and emotional blackmail was conducted before the vote. Blair himself had a 30-minute meeting with the Amicus union delegation. Abdullah Mushin of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions was taken to the Transport and General Workers' Union delegation to warn them that if troops were "pulled out too soon, trade unionists in Iraq could die in a civil war. " He also warned of the "Balkanisation" of Iraq in urging British trade unions to allow the troops to stay.

This may have touched genuine concerns amongst some. But Abdullah Mushin conveniently glossed over other equally crucial question facing trade unionists in Iraq, which can only be addressed by the removal of the occupying forces and allowing the Iraqi people to decide their own future.

The imperialist powers have detained and imprisoned most of the genuine Iraqi trade union leaders and destroyed their structures and offices since occupying. Paul Bremer and the interim government reintroduced Saddam's 1987 Labour laws banning strikes. Over a dozen trade unions are still not granted legal status by the puppet government.

At the same time, how many trade unionists died in Iraq because of the invasion and how many trade unionists in Iraq actually support the continuation of the occupation?

During the conference debate, foreign secretary Jack Straw said of the continuing occupation that it was the Iraqi people's call. "If they say we leave, we leave." This is like a landlord saying he's willing to hand over the deeds of a property any time the tenants ask for it.

Would Straw be prepared to act in the same way towards requests from the people of Fallujah to stop the bombing of that city immediately, or to straight away grant any requests to be released from those who have been wrongly imprisoned and tortured?

The big four unions ignored all these glaring contradictions and - displaying less critical faculties than the United Nations secretary general or even the Tory party leader - used their votes to shore up a liar and allow the continued oppression of the Iraqi people.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 9 October 2004:

Strike Back At Job Cuts

Don't Let The Fat Cats Bury The Big Cat

Reject Agenda For Change!

Your Questions Answered

"We're Not Faceless Bureaucrats"

Building Support Amongst Other Trade Unionists

Can Blair See Out A Third Term?

Union Leaders' Rebellion Fizzles Out


Socialist Party feature

Forty Years of Fighting For Socialism

European Social Forum


International socialist news and analysis

Troops, Bulldozers And Resistance

As Politicians Talk - Sectarian Divisions Deepen

Tweedledum Or Tweedledee?


 

Home   |   The Socialist 9 October 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Labour:

triangleAnti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangleBlairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

triangleTUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

triangleCorbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

War:

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangleComprehensive account of bloody conflict

triangleKurdish referendum declared illegal

triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

Iraq:

triangle'From Militant to the Socialist Party' - new book now available

triangleHow Blairism sank its claws into the Labour Party

triangleAttacks ratchet-up Syrian conflict and fuel tensions between powers

Troops:

triangleSocialist inbox

Unions:

triangleAfter the budget - unions must launch pay fight

Anti-war:

triangleTories Out demo - Photos

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

6/12/17

Transport

Arriva bus strikers stand firm

6/12/17

Pensions

BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

6/12/17

PCS

Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

6/12/17

Newham

School staff strike against privatisation

6/12/17

Rail

Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services

6/12/17

PCS

PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

6/12/17

North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters

6/12/17

Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest

6/12/17

Coventry

Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

6/12/17

TUSC

TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

6/12/17

Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

6/12/17

Kirklees

Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle11 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

triangle11 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas Quiz

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2