Labour Friends of Iraq have produced an open letter to the Stop the War Coalition calling on them to end their support for the murderers of trade unionists and give their backing to genuine, progressive Iraqi organisations.
The document, which can be read in full on the LFIQ website also contains some questions for the STWC leadership and it will be very interesting to see if they break their silence over the recent campaign of murder against Iraqi progressives and finally speak out.
LFIQ are asking for supporters to add their name to this open letter and you can do so via the email address on their site.
Here are the questions put to the STWC:
Was Hadi Saleh, despite his 5 years in detention under Saddam, his subsequent exile, and his heroic work in building the underground Workers Democratic Trade Union Movement and the IFTU, a “quisling” and a “collaborator”? We doubt the decent people who are the STWC members think he was.
Were StWC wrong to have referred to Hadi’s comrade, Abdullah Mushin as a ‘collaborator’? Do you now unreservedly retract these words? Will you release a public statement to this effect? We are sure, if only out of political expediency and with hindsight, you wish you had not used this language. Now is the time to put pride aside and make the difficult but brave decision to correct this mistake.
Do StWC condemn unequivocally the ‘resistance’ for its brutal slaying of Hadi Saleh?
The ‘resistance’ murders people who help the UN backed elections. Do StWC leaders view these murders also as legitimate acts by the “resistance”? Do StWC leaders support attacks on Polling Booths. We doubt the decent people who are the STWC members want to see the elections derailed by a wave of terror.
Who do the StWC view as ‘legitimate targets’ that may be attacked by ‘any means necessary’? Does StWC view as ‘legitimate targets’ all who join the Iraqi Police, work for the Iraqi Election Commission, work on rail reconstruction (for US contractors) or even dentists who include soldiers amongst their patients? We doubt the decent people who are the STWC members think they deserve to be killed, or even to be condemned for working in reconstruction.
The StWC leaders have a moral responsibility to speak out now
Previous statements by StWC leaders have been picked up around the world. The Arab Press reported George Galloway’s attack on the IFTU as ‘quislings’. This charge circulates among the ‘resistance’ in Iraq, as did the view of the StWC leaders that the ‘resistance’ are akin to the French Resistance of the 1940s. Now that the ‘resistance’ is torturing and murdering trade unionists StWC have a moral responsibility to speak out clearly and loudly as a collective in condemnation of the ‘resistance’.
If the StWC leaders do not respond adequately to these questions and do not stand unequivocally with Hadi’s comrades against Hadi’s killers then the movement should ask itself why it continues to fund StWC.
Labour Friends of Iraq also make a positive statement of what they think the left should be doing:
Rather than back the Ba’athists and the fundamentalist-terrorists of the resistance we should support the progressive democratic forces in Iraq. We should support the UN-backed elections and constitution-building process. We should make solidarity with the free Iraqi trade union movement, the women’s groups and the democratic political parties. We should argue for a Marshall Plan for Iraq and continue to oppose every measure taken by the occupation authorities that is not in the interest of the Iraq people, from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment to violence against civilians.
We should call for the speedy reconstruction of Iraq in the interests of the Iraqi people. The US have $18b ring-fenced for reconstruction and they should spend it on schools, roads and hospitals under the direction of the elected Iraqi Transitional Assembly. We should support – as all Iraqi do – the speedy withdrawal of the coalition forces as part of a political settlement that gives the Iraqi people a future.