Here’s a brief but fascinating report from National Public Radio about the election of a new director by the workers at a state-owned cigarette factory in Iraq, replacing the previous government-imposed director (click on the Iraqi Postcard link to hear it). Seems reasonable enough to me. But wait– the US administrator in Iraq has banned factory elections. It appears the American authorities have decided outside investment and foreign ownership of Iraqi enterprises are the way to go.
But isn’t that something for the Iraqi people to decide democratically? What’s going on here? Are we making the world safe for democracy or for global capitalism? Is it really necessary to the future of Iraq to stamp out any nascent attempts at democratic forms of social ownership?
Now seeking outside investment and privatizing certain state-owned industries may be a perfectly sensible course. But again, aren’t these matters which the people in a democracy are supposed to decide for themselves?