Saturday, March 18, 2006

As one Iraqi put it, ‘We didn’t invite the troops in but we’d like a say on when they go.’

Labour Friends of Iraq on the left' betrayel of the Iraqi Labour movement,
Sadly, parts of the left have not just sat on their hands but have smeared the new unions as collaborators, stooges and Quislings.

This hostility arose because Iraqi unions didn’t embrace calls at the 2004 Labour Party conference for a rapid withdrawal of troops. As one Iraqi put it, ‘We didn’t invite the troops in but we’d like a say on when they go.’

The Iraqi unions have accomplished something that some left-wingers here have signally failed to do – they can walk and chew gum at the same time.

They can oppose the invasion and seek the eventual withdrawal of troops but also recognise that the UN sanctioned political process – which has seen three popular votes with increasing participation, not least from Sunnis – might deliver a new dispensation in which unions can help to retrieve both the territorial as well as the economic sovereignty of their country.

The bile directed at the Iraqi labour movement is a betrayal of elementary principles of internationalism and is one of the most shameful points in the history of the British left.

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