イラク自由会議(IFC)と共につくる平和メディア「SANA」衛星テレビを広島からサポートしています!


by hiro_sana
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カテゴリ:English articles( 8 )

International Declaration of the 40th ZENKO Conference in Osaka 2010

Global capitalism has not only been unable to cope with global depression that was triggered by Lehman Brothers' collapse in September 2008, but it has also invited further crises in Greece and elsewhere. It is now clear to everyone that neo-liberalist lines have failed.

While greatly expanding war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, no support has been gained from Iraqi and Afghan people, and the militarist policies of global capitalism are in a deadlock.

Global capitalism, however, is clinging to its neo-liberalist and militarist lines, and continues to impose them upon workers and citizens of the world. The U.S. maneuvers to stay in Iraq by constructing permanent U.S. military bases there, and tries to secure the Lion's share of Iraqi oil resources. The US has greatly increased its military presence in Afghanistan, and continues to kill Afghan civilians indiscriminately. On the other hand, global capitalism, in order to maximize its profit, continues to attack workers and citizens of the world with dismissals, wage-cuts, and scrapping social welfare system.

It is time for workers, students, and citizens of the whole world to stand in solidarity in their struggles to end the neo-liberalist and militarist lines of global capitalism, and to make history for themselves.

1. In solidarity with IFC and IVAW, let us demand the immediate withdrawal of all the occupying forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and put an end to militarist lines of global capitalism. In order to realize it, let us mount pressure on respective governments to set up inquiry committees on Iraq war.

2. Let us remove all the military bases from Iraq, Afghanistan, Okinawa, and elsewhere around the globe.

3. Let us firmly stand In solidarity with IFC which struggles in pursuit of the establishment of a non-ethnic, secular, and democratic government in Iraq. Let us support SANA Satellite TV that sustains the struggles of IFC.

4. Let us launch an international protest campaign directed toward major oil companies and respective governments to stop illegal looting of Iraqi oil resources.

5. Let us strengthen international solidarity among workers in protest against massive dismissals of workers and deregulatory policies. Let us work hard to strengthen our struggles to abolish temporary work and irregular employment. Let us protest the suppression inflicted upon Iraqi oil workers by Al-Maliki government and the US military, and strengthen international support for Iraqi workers' struggles to abolish anti-worker Decree 150-151, which were enacted under Saddam Hussein's regime. Let us launch international protest campaigns against Panasonic Corporation , which illegally terminates many workers including Mr.Yoshioka.

6.To create peace, let us strengthen the peoples' movement against war and poverty by implementing the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child worldwide.

August 1, 2010

Bryan Casler, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW)
Angela Stoutenburgh, International Socialist Organization (ISO)
Paul Galang, Abakadang Kayumanggi Community Development Foundation (AKCDF)
Ryou Mi Hee, Theatre Troupe Sebyok
SATO Kazuyoshi, Movement for Democratic Socialism (MDS)
MORI Fumihiro, Iraq Peace TV in Japan
YAMAKAWA Yoshiyasu, National Assembly for Peace and Democracy (ZENKO)

Also endorsed by all the other participants in the 40th ZENKO conference held in Osaka

Note; Ryou Mi Hee from Korea stated that in order to make this declaration effective she would invite her affiliated member organizations and groups to discussion and start implementing it wherever it is possible to.
[PR]
by hiro_sana | 2010-08-22 20:29 | English articles
International Declaration of Zenko Conference 2009

Zenko conference was held in Yokohama, Japan, on August 1st and 2nd, with international participants from Iraq, the US, the Philippines, Korea, and Japan, who were gathered together in pursuit of peace and democracy.

We see policies of war and neo-liberalism going bankrupt in the ongoing global depression and in the withdrawal of multi-national forces and partial withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. It is high time that we should win a radical shift in the policies of war and neo-liberalism.

Anti-war movements of the world must achieve the immediate and complete withdrawal of all the occupying forces and establish in Iraq the secular and democratic government that will not hand over its oil resources to global capital. This will pave the way for creating a peaceful world that will never again allow illegal wars that violate international law.

For that sake, Iraqi people are gathering their power around Iraq Freedom Congress (IFC).
IFC, foreseeing a situation where the US military would partially withdraw its troops, held international labor conference in March this year, in an effort to unite Iraqi labor front, and successfully forged solidarity with workers of the world. It is a common task for the global anti-war peace movements to strengthen solidarity with IFC and support its work.

Sana satellite TV has been greatly instrumental in sustaining the activities of IFC. Sana satellite TV is playing an important role in counteracting propaganda made by the al-Maliki puppet regime as well as by Political Islam. The US and the Political Islam that hate this medium have interfered with this TV station in various ways. Sana TV had its staff killed and its office looted and destroyed. It is imperative to support Sana TV and help it to continue and develop its broadcasting.

IFC and Iraqi people who are victims of war, IVAW who chose to work in solidarity with Iraqi people, taking the responsibility as an aggressor in the war, USLAW who are as workers, developing actions to refuse war cooperation, anti-war peace movements of the world; if we can combine all these forces together and struggle in solidarity with each other, victory is possible.

Also, let us abolish “worker dispatch law” which is the root cause of dismissal and poverty, and stop neo-liberalism. Japan and Korea have a common challenge against temporary labor. We should strengthen international solidarity toward abolishing temporary labor.

Together with this, let us support non-defended localities initiatives which protect children and civilians against war worldwide.

We declare as follows;
1.In order to prevent the illegal looting of Iraqi oil resources by global capital, let us stage an international campaign to protest global capital and respective governments.
2. In demand of immediate and complete withdrawal of all the occupying forces from Iraq, let us organize internationally coordinated campaign with actions in the fall of 2009 and in march, 2010.
3. Let us muster support for IFC toward realization of the secular, non-ethnic, and democratic government in Iraq. In helping Sana satellite TV to continue its broadcasting, let us stage an international campaign to raise fund of 14 million yen by the end of February 2010.
4. Let us strengthen international support the Iraqi labor movement which is still suffering under anti-worker law instituted by Sadam regime, especially including decrees 150 and 151.
5. To protect children and civilians worldwide, let us support the community of peace for the children for the development of non-defended localities.
6. By strengthening international solidarity to abolish temporary labor, let us internationally collect signatures for the petition to the supreme court of Japan with the intention of determining the judgment delivered by the Osaka High court in Mr.Yoshioka's case where Panasonic Plasma Display Corporation was condemned for its disguised subcontracting practice.

August 2nd, 2009, Yokohama, JAPAN
Endorsed by Abu Watan (IFC)
Kevin Hussey (USLAW)
TJ Buonomo (IVAW)
Paul Galang (AKCDF)
SATO Kazuyoshi (MDS)
YAMAKAWA Yoshiyasu (ZENKO)
and all the other participants
in the 39th ZENKO Annual Conference
National Assembly for Peace and Democracy
[PR]
by hiro_sana | 2009-09-06 19:44 | English articles

'War is sin' by Chris Hedges

This article is from Truth Out org.

http://www.truthout.org/060209K


The crisis faced by combat veterans returning from war is not simply a profound struggle with trauma and alienation. It is often, for those who can slice through the suffering to self-awareness, an existential crisis. War exposes the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves. It rips open the hypocrisy of our religions and secular institutions. Those who return from war have learned something which is often incomprehensible to those who have stayed home. We are not a virtuous nation. God and fate have not blessed us above others. Victory is not assured. War is neither glorious nor noble. And we carry within us the capacity for evil we ascribe to those we fight.

Those who return to speak this truth, such as members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, are our contemporary prophets. But like all prophets they are condemned and ignored for their courage. They struggle, in a culture awash in lies, to tell what few have the fortitude to digest. They know that what we are taught in school, in worship, by the press, through the entertainment industry and at home, that the melding of the state's rhetoric with the rhetoric of religion, is empty and false.

The words these prophets speak are painful. We, as a nation, prefer to listen to those who speak from the patriotic script. We prefer to hear ourselves exalted. If veterans speak of terrible wounds visible and invisible, of lies told to make them kill, of evil committed in our name, we fill our ears with wax. Not our boys, we say, not them, bred in our homes, endowed with goodness and decency. For if it is easy for them to murder, what about us? And so it is simpler and more comfortable not to hear. We do not listen to the angry words that cascade forth from their lips, wishing only that they would calm down, be reasonable, get some help, and go away. We, the deformed, brand our prophets as madmen. We cast them into the desert. And this is why so many veterans are estranged and enraged. This is why so many succumb to suicide or addictions.

War comes wrapped in patriotic slogans, calls for sacrifice, honor and heroism and promises of glory. It comes wrapped in the claims of divine providence. It is what a grateful nation asks of its children. It is what is right and just. It is waged to make the nation and the world a better place, to cleanse evil. War is touted as the ultimate test of manhood, where the young can find out what they are made of. War, from a distance, seems noble. It gives us comrades and power and a chance to play a small bit in the great drama of history. It promises to give us an identity as a warrior, a patriot, as long as we go along with the myth, the one the war-makers need to wage wars and the defense contractors need to increase their profits.

But up close war is a soulless void. War is about barbarity, perversion and pain, an unchecked orgy of death. Human decency and tenderness are crushed. Those who make war work overtime to reduce love to smut, and all human beings become objects, pawns to use or kill. The noise, the stench, the fear, the scenes of eviscerated bodies and bloated corpses, the cries of the wounded, all combine to spin those in combat into another universe. In this moral void, naively blessed by secular and religious institutions at home, the hypocrisy of our social conventions, our strict adherence to moral precepts, come unglued. War, for all its horror, has the power to strip away the trivial and the banal, the empty chatter and foolish obsessions that fill our days. It lets us see, although the cost is tremendous.

The Rev. William P. Mahedy, who was a Catholic chaplain in Vietnam, tells of a soldier, a former altar boy, in his book "Out of the Night: The Spiritual Journey of Vietnam Vets," who says to him: "Hey, Chaplain ... how come it's a sin to hop into bed with a mama-san but it's okay to blow away gooks out in the bush?"

"Consider the question that he and I were forced to confront on that day in a jungle clearing," Mahedy writes. "How is it that a Christian can, with a clear conscience, spend a year in a war zone killing people and yet place his soul in jeopardy by spending a few minutes with a prostitute? If the New Testament prohibitions of sexual misconduct are to be stringently interpreted, why, then, are Jesus' injunctions against violence not binding in the same way? In other words, what does the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' really mean?"

Military chaplains, a majority of whom are evangelical Christians, defend the life of the unborn, tout America as a Christian nation and eagerly bless the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as holy crusades. The hollowness of their morality, the staggering disconnect between the values they claim to promote, is ripped open in war.

There is a difference between killing someone who is trying to kill you and taking the life of someone who does not have the power to harm you. The first is killing. The second is murder. But in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the enemy is elusive and rarely seen, murder occurs far more often than killing. Families are massacred in airstrikes. Children are gunned down in blistering suppressing fire laid down in neighborhoods after an improvised explosive device goes off near a convoy. Artillery shells obliterate homes. And no one stops to look. The dead and maimed are left behind.

The utter failure of nearly all our religious institutions-whose texts are unequivocal about murder-to address the essence of war has rendered them useless. These institutions have little or nothing to say in wartime because the god they worship is a false god, one that promises victory to those who obey the law and believe in the manifest destiny of the nation.

We all have the capacity to commit evil. It takes little to unleash it. For those of us who have been to war this is the awful knowledge that is hardest to digest, the knowledge that the line between the victims and the victimizers is razor-thin, that human beings find a perverse delight in destruction and death, and that few can resist the pull. At best, most of us become silent accomplices.

Wars may have to be fought to ensure survival, but they are always tragic. They always bring to the surface the worst elements of any society, those who have a penchant for violence and a lust for absolute power. They turn the moral order upside down. It was the criminal class that first organized the defense of Sarajevo. When these goons were not manning roadblocks to hold off the besieging Bosnian Serb army they were looting, raping and killing the Serb residents in the city. And those politicians who speak of war as an instrument of power, those who wage war but do not know its reality, those powerful statesmen-the Henry Kissingers, Robert McNamaras, Donald Rumsfelds, the Dick Cheneys-those who treat war as part of the great game of nations, are as amoral as the religious stooges who assist them. And when the wars are over what they have to say to us in their thick memoirs about war is also hollow, vacant and useless.

"In theological terms, war is sin," writes Mahedy. "This has nothing to do with whether a particular war is justified or whether isolated incidents in a soldier's war were right or wrong. The point is that war as a human enterprise is a matter of sin. It is a form of hatred for one's fellow human beings. It produces alienation from others and nihilism, and it ultimately represents a turning away from God."

The young soldiers and Marines do not plan or organize the war. They do not seek to justify it or explain its causes. They are taught to believe. The symbols of the nation and religion are interwoven. The will of God becomes the will of the nation. This trust is forever shattered for many in war. Soldiers in combat see the myth used to send them to war implode. They see that war is not clean or neat or noble, but venal and frightening. They see into war's essence, which is death.

War is always about betrayal. It is about betrayal of the young by the old, of cynics by idealists, and of soldiers and Marines by politicians. Society's institutions, including our religious institutions, which mold us into compliant citizens, are unmasked. This betrayal is so deep that many never find their way back to faith in the nation or in any god. They nurse a self-destructive anger and resentment, understandable and justified, but also crippling. Ask a combat veteran struggling to piece his or her life together about God and watch the raw vitriol and pain pour out. They have seen into the corrupt heart of America, into the emptiness of its most sacred institutions, into our staggering hypocrisy, and those of us who refuse to heed their words become complicit in the evil they denounce.

--------

Chris Hedges, who spent nearly two decades as a war correspondent for The New York Times and other newspapers, is the author of "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle," due out in July. His Truthdig column appears every Monday.
[PR]
by hiro_sana | 2009-06-07 13:40 | English articles
イラク労働者国際大会にUSLAWを率いて参加したマイケル・アイゼンシャー
さんが、大会の報告記事をLabor Notesに書いています。翻訳してみました。



http://www.labornotes.org/

(以下対訳)

Still Under Occupation, Iraqi Unions Find U.S. Allies

未だ占領下にあるイラク労組、米国の盟友を獲得

— Michael Eisenscher



The First International Labor Conference in Iraq witnessed the rebirth of Iraq’s labor movement after years of repression. Photo: Michael Eisenscher 

イラクにおける第一回国際労働大会が長年の圧制を経てイラク労働運動の再生の舞台となった

The two young members of Iraq Veterans Against the War were nervous about speaking to a crowd of Iraqis, in the Kurdish city of Erbil. They’d seen and done actions in Iraq they would do anything to undo. How would the crowd receive them?

イラクのクルド地域の都市アルビルで、IVAWのメンバーである2人の若者が、イラク人聴衆に対するスピーチを前に緊張していた。彼らは、それを元通りにできるなら、どんなことでもしたいと思えるほどの行為を、イラクで目にし、そして自ら行っていたのだ。

As they finished their presentation to a conference of Iraqi union leaders March 14, an older man rushed the stage. No one knew what to expect—he was an ultra-nationalist who’d lost family members in the six years Iraq has been occupied.

3月14日、イラクの労組指導者が集った大会でのスピーチを終えた時、1人の年配の男性がステージに駆け寄った。みんな何が起こるのだろうと固唾を呑んだ。というのも、彼はこの六年間のイラク占領期間中に家族を失った強硬な民族主義者だったのだ。

The man grabbed the mic and said in Arabic, “I’ve come up here to embrace my comrades from America.” Tears flowed as they all hugged and the room burst into applause.

男性はマイクを掴んで、アラビア語でこう述べた。「私はアメリカからやって来た我が同志を抱擁するためにこの場に出てきた」と。彼ら三人が抱き合った時、涙が頬を伝い、会場は拍手喝さいに包まれた。

REBIRTH

再生

The anti-war veterans were there as part of U.S. Labor Against the War’s delegation to the First International Labor Conference in Iraq, witnessing the rebirth of its labor movement after years of repression.

その二人の反戦帰還兵は、イラクにおける初めての国際労働者大会へ派遣されたUSLAW代表団に加わって参加し、長年の圧制を経てイラク労働運動が再生する現場を目撃することとなった。

As a dozen TV cameras whirred and the conference was reported all over the Middle East, delegates founded a confederation that brought together the powerful Federation of Oil Unions, the Electricity (utility) Union, and the General Federation of Workers Councils and Unions. The conference included 200 delegates from a broad cross-section of the workforce and 15 of 18 provinces.

十台を超えるテレビカメラが中継し、大会が中東全域に報道される中、大会参加団は、強力なイラク石油労組連盟、電力(公益事業)労組、全イラク労働者評議会労働組合連合を結合する連合体を設立した。この大会には、18州中15州から、中官民を横断する幅広い労働戦線を代表する派遣団が、参加していた。

Under both Saddam Hussein and the newly installed regime, Iraq’s unions have struggled for the right to exist. In 1987 the dictator declared public workers “civil servants,” making it illegal for them to unionize. They are 80 percent of Iraq’s labor force.

サダム・フセイン及びその後新たに成立した政権双方の下で、イラクの労働組合は生き残りをかけた戦いを続けてきた。1987年には、独裁者が公共部門の労働者を「公僕」と宣言し、彼らの労組結成を違法化してしまった。彼らはイラクの労働人口の8割を占めているのだ。

That law was on the books when the U.S. invaded in 2003. Paul Bremer, director of the Coalition Provision Authority, ditched most of the Iraqi legal code, but he found one law he liked, and he kept it. That labor law was passed on to the incumbent Iraqi regime, which has enforced it energetically.

その法律は、2003年に米国がイラクを侵略した時にも生きていた。暫定連合当局長官だったポール・ブレマーは、イラクの法律のほとんどを廃棄したが、唯一お気に入りの法を見つけ、それを維持した。その労働法こそ、現政権に引き継がれ、精力的に強制されているのである。

In that way, the situation in Iraq resembles the U.S. labor movement before the Wagner Act of 1935. Workers had no legal protection to organize a union and no legally guaranteed rights, but they organized unions anyway, and the Iraqis have done so as well.

その点で、イラクにおける状況は、1935年のワグナー法成立以前の米国労働運動の状況に酷似している。米国労働者は当時、労組結成のための法的保護をなんら持たず、法的に認められた権利をまったく有していなかったが、それでも彼らはかまわず労組を結成し、イラク労働者もまた首尾よくそうしているのだ。

The government applies the anti-union laws selectively, primarily to weaken labor’s influence in high-value public enterprises, especially oil. At times, including in the last six months, the government has gone beyond simply regulating or repressing union operations.

イラク政府は、基本的には石油関連の高価値の公共事業体における労組の影響力を弱めるために、反労組法を選択的に適用している。時には、過去半年間の出来事を含め、政府は、単に労組の活動を規制し弾圧する以上のことをしている。

It has used the power of the state and the military to invade union offices, destroy equipment, seize records, freeze bank accounts, and on occasion arrest union leaders. The current Maliki government even sought to certify who is entitled to lead unions and tried to impose government-controlled elections. It backed off in the face of massive resistance by workers.

政府は、国家権力と軍事力を使って、労組指導者に干渉し、施設を破壊し、記録を押収し、銀行口座を凍結し、そして時には、労組幹部を逮捕してきた。現在のマリキ政権は、労組指導部の認可制及び労組執行部選挙の政府管理制まで導入しようとさえした。この企ては、労働者の大衆的な抵抗を前に、撤回を余儀なくされたのだ。

Early in the occupation, the U.S. military was involved directly in these actions, but now has subcontracted that job to the Iraqi government. Union leaders were tortured and assassinated in the first years of the occupation by sectarian militias and death squads widely believed to be acting on behalf of the occupation forces.

占領初期には、米軍が直接これらの動きに関与していたが、現在では、イラク政府にこの仕事を請け負わせている。労組幹部は、占領初期、占領軍の意を受けて行動していると広く信じられている諸党派の武装グループや殺人部隊によって拷問を受けたり、暗殺されたりした。

The government’s raids of union offices are a response to organized workers’ demands to change the way the country operates, both on the job and off. Unions have ardently defended public ownership of Iraq’s oil and have fought privatization of government-owned enterprises. They have demanded that the reconstruction not be dictated by foreigners.

労働者からの職場内外での国のあり方を変えてほしいという組織的要求に対して、政府は労組事務所への襲撃という形で応えた。労組はイラク石油の公的所有を懸命に防衛し、国有企業の民営化と戦った。彼らは、国家再建が外国人によってさしずされないことを要求した。

This contradicts the government’s and the U.S. agenda. Right now, the government is demanding that the teachers union hold government-run elections—although its leadership has already been democratically elected. Five hundred teachers turned out for a demonstration in Baghdad March 28.

この立場は政府及び米国の方針と矛盾する。現在、政府は、すでに民主的に執行部選出を終えている教員組合に対して、政府管理下の選挙を実施するよう要求している。500人の教員が3月28日のバグダッドデモに参加した。

STRIKES OVER LIGHTS OUT

The unions are finding remarkable ways to resist the conditions rising from a foreign army’s occupation and help serve the people of Iraq. One challenge has been the fight for reliable electric power.

労組は、外国軍による占領から派生する諸状況に抗し、イラク市民の役に立つために、目を見張るような方法を見出している。一つの取り組みは、安定的に電力供給を求める闘いである。

After the invasion the U.S. military occupied a power station serving four provinces and 5 million people. They declared it a military encampment, which turned it into a target, and resulted in several union members becoming casualties when insurgents attacked the base.

侵略後、米軍は4つの州、人口にして500万人を支えていた発電所を占拠した。彼らはそこを軍の宿営地だと宣言し、それによって発電所は軍事攻撃の標的になり、その結果、何人かの労組員が武装勢力による襲撃の犠牲となった。

The local union at the power station demanded the military leave, but was ignored. The U.S. military decreed that no Iraqis would be permitted in the station after dark—making it impossible to maintain the station 24 hours a day. When some workers tried to enter the station one night to make repairs, they were arrested.

発電所の地元の労組は、軍隊の撤退を要求したが無視された。米軍は、夕暮れ以降はイラク人の発電所内への立ち入り禁止を発令し、そのことによって発電所を24時間体制で稼動させることが不可能になった。ある労働者が夜間に修理のために発電所内に入ろうとしたが、彼らは逮捕されてしまった。

The union called a strike that compelled the military to release its members. That led to more strikes over workplace issues and the demand that the station be demilitarized. The Iraqi government ultimately negotiated for removal of U.S. troops, and today there’s no military presence.

労組はストライキを呼びかけ、軍は、逮捕した労組員の釈放を余儀なくされた。この件によって、職場の諸問題および発電所の非軍事化要求をめぐるさらなるストライキへと発展した。最終的にイラク政府は、発電所からの米軍の撤退を求めて交渉し、現在ではその発電所に軍隊はいない。

All this came without firing a shot—and from a union that is technically illegal. That same kind of power has been demonstrated repeatedly by oil workers, dock workers, and others, responding to the conditions of occupation.

この件は一発の弾丸を発砲することなく実現した。しかも、法的には「違法な」労働組合がやってのけたのだ。これと同様の力が、占領下の諸問題に立ち向かう石油労働者、港湾労働者らによって、繰り返し示されている。

Meanwhile, while the U.S. government pontificates about building democracy in Iraq, it is silent about union rights.

ちなみに、米国政府は仰々しくイラクにおける民主主義の建設をのたまいながら、労組の権利についてはまったく寡黙である。

Iraqi unionists want the same things we want: democracy and the right to run their own affairs, respect for union rights, to rebuild their country without interference. They are eager to meet unionists in the U.S. Civil engineers want to learn how to rebuild infrastructure, and utility workers are thinking about how the power industry should be administered. The moment is ripe for U.S. unions to invite their counterparts

イラクの労働組合活動家は、我々が要求しているものと同じものを要求している。民主主義であり、自らの組合を自ら運営する権利であり、労組の権利を尊重することであり、外部からの干渉なく自国を債権する権利である。彼らは米国の労働組合活動家との出会いを渇望している。土木技術者は、インフラの再建方法を知りたがっているし、公共事業体の労働者は電力産業の運営方法について考えている。米国労組がイラク労組を招待する時は既に熟している。
[PR]
by hiro_sana | 2009-05-27 22:30 | English articles

Iraq Unions Meet by Mark Osborn

イラク国際労働者大会の報告記事です。

イギリスから参加したNoSweatのMark Osbornさんの文章です。

サイトは

http://www.nosweat.org.uk/story/2009/03/30/iraq-unions-meet

Iraq unions meet 

Submitted by mark osborn on March 30, 2009 - 4:04pm.

The conference, included hundreds of delegates from oil and gas, ports, electricity, construction, public sector, transport, communications, education, rail, health care, metal working, journalists, food workers and students. Delegations from the US, the UK, South Africa, Japan, Australia, and Iran were also there.

At this conference three powerful unions, the Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq , the Electricity Association and the General Federation of Workers Councils’ and Unions signed an agreement to create a new union confederation under the conference’s banner “A better world can be made by workers”.

For decades under Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Iraqi labour movement was attacked and workers were stripped of their rights; they were imprisoned, tortured and killed. In 1987 the regime enacted Decree 150 banning freedom of association for public sector workers. By the 1990s the only unions left were pro-regime labour federations, which were used as an instrument of the state to suppress workers’ struggle.

After the 2003 invasion occupying forces abolished all laws of the Ba’athist regime except those pertaining to workers’ rights. What’s the situation now? The fall of Saddam Hussein enabled a tiny space for the labour movement to develop. While class organisation was illegal in that period, that did not mean that it entirely disappeared.

The remnants of political organisations retained memories of class struggle and this history gave inspiration and strength to a re-emerging Iraqi labour movement. At the conference, heroes of the strikes crushed at the beginning of the Ba’athist regime received standing ovations and brought tears to the eyes of some workers.
In recent times there have been struggles and victories: in August 2008 a wave of strikes and  occupations forced the government to retreat on proposed pay cuts for Ministry of Industry workers.

However the Iraqi labour movement faces many challenges. Nazim al-Radi, president of the General Union of Iraqi Ports, explains: “We have been struggling for our most basic needs on one hand, standing fearlessly against all forms of sectarianism and religious agendas that attempt to break workers’ unity – as well as confronting
the occupation’s economic and political agenda on the other hand.”

Violence, particularly against women, is still common. People who can get home safely and have a job count themselves lucky, to a certain extent. As well as larger questions of the occupation and the economy, the labour movemnt also faces internal problems of organisation. People talk of a “dictatorial mindset” filtering through all organisations: chairing, meeting conduct, arriving at decisions, are all having to be rediscovered.

All the unions are tied to external leftist or religious parties. The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions is linked to Islamists; GFWCU and FWCU are linked to different factions in the Worker-communist Party of Iraq; GFIW (which came out of IFTU) is linked to the Communist Party. The Kurdish ruling parties, PUK and the KDP, also have their own unions. 

The purpose of this conference was two-fold: to unite Iraqi unions around basic fights and create space for joint work; and to bring the attention of the international labour movements to Iraq and all the unions that represent Iraqi workers.

The conference overwhelmingly passed a number of resolutions on questions of workers’ rights, international solidarity and public resources. These included the call for immediate enactment of a basic workers’ rights, in compliance with the ILO standards the Iraqi government has signed up for. It also declared: “All sources of energy are the property of the people of Iraq , and no one has the right to privatise or monopolise these resources under any pretext. These resources must be used for the benefit of Iraqis and distributed equally.”

More controversial matters were the question of a secular state in Iraq and the discussion of violence against women. An amendment from the floor suggested the addition of “secular” to a motion “‘to promote and support the establishment of an independent state and the formation of a non-sectarian and non-ethnic government”.
The debate on this motion mainly centred around the definition of “secualar” as opposed to “ anti-religious”. The amendment passed.

Following this, international delegates were removed from the voting and the vote was taken again. Again it passed. Following this, a recount was demanded. For a third time the amendment passed, this time with a greatly improved majority!
At the reading of the final statement, Hassan Juma, President of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, walked out on hearing the word “secular”, taking his delegation with him. In the hotel car park, the leaders of the major unions met: Hassan Juma threatened to pull his union out of the merger, because, he said, his members would be in danger if they returned to Basra having supported a secular state; and so “secular” was removed from the final statement.

A motion on women’s rights was accepted from the floor after Herman Kadhim, a women’s rights activist, reprimanded the organisers of the conference for neglecting this issue. A huge debate raged over whether women were being killed as women in Iraq. A number of men claimed this no longer happened. Some delegates walked out in disgust. Following the debate the motion fell.

Outside of the conference I spoke to a number of women about the issues facing them. People raised the lack of training at work which prevented them from progressing; they also spoke about forced prostitution, the disproportionate effect of sectarian violence on women, and honour killing.

Honour killing was legal under Saddam, but has continued with the perpetrators making deals with political parties to avoid prosecution, or forcing women to burn themselves. The fact that women’s rights and secularism were debated at all is a massive achievement. It is a good thing that there was a serious fight on these issues, because it means these discussions are really being debated on the ground. And the discussion will be taken back to local communities and workplaces.
The debate is alive in Iraq today.

The greatest success of this conference is that it happened. There is a vibrant and varied labour movement in Iraq. To a large extent whether it can survive the dual horrors of occupation and sectarianism and develop a stronger political agenda depends on our solidarity. If Iraqi trade unionists are prepared to risk death to organise, the least we can do is give our wholehearted support.
[PR]
by hiro_sana | 2009-04-06 21:39 | English articles
from People's Weekly World (PWW)
http://www.pww.org/article/articleview/14899



(paste)

At the first International Labor Conference ever held in Iraq, three of the country’s major labor organizations announced the formation of a new labor confederation.

At the close of the two day meeting of Iraqi unions with their international allies, Iraq’s powerful Federation of Oil Unions, the nationwide Electricity Association and the General Federation of Workers Councils and Unions signed an agreement to create a new labor confederation, a step toward unifying the Iraqi labor movement as an advocate for the interests of Iraqi workers.
The conference, held on March 13-14 in Erbil in the Kurdish Region of Iraq, drew more than 200 delegates from unions and federations across Iraq and solidarity delegations from the U.S., the United Kingdom, South Africa, Japan, Australia, and Iran.

More than a year in the making, the conference drew representatives from Iraq’s oil and gas industry, its port union, the electrical generation and distribution industry, construction, public sector, transportation, communications, education, rail roads, service and health care industries, machinists and metal working sector, the petro-chemical industry, civil engineers, writers and journalists, food oil workers, tailors and students. Workers attended from fifteen of Iraq’s eighteen provinces.

The U.S. delegation of six was organized by U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW), a network of 186 local, regional, state and national labor organizations that together represent more than five million union members. It included USLAW National Organizer Michael Eisenscher; USLAW Steering Committee Member Michael Zweig (a leader of United University Professions/AFT Local 2190); Bill Shortell, President of the Central Connecticut Labor Council; Jim Norris, President of United Steel Workers Local 675, representing oil industry workers in Southern California; and two members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, T.J. Buonomo from Philadelphia, and Aaron Hughes of Chicago.

In his address to the conference on behalf of USLAW, Michael Eisenscher said, “We recognize that the Iraqi people and labor movement have paid a terrible price to regain your freedom, to establish democratic control over your own government and over the fate and future of the Iraqi nation. We are painfully aware that it has been the government of the United States that is responsible for so much of the death, destruction, dislocation and suffering that the Iraqi people have endured. It was our government that provided the dictator Saddam Hussein with the means by which he waged war on his own people, as well as other nations of the region. And the working people of our own country have also paid dearly in both blood and money for the transgressions of our government. This conference marks an important step toward full restoration of Iraqi sovereignty, which can only be achieved when all foreign military and mercenary forces depart Iraqi soil, all foreign military bases are closed, and the territorial integrity of Iraq is fully respected by all the nations of the world.”
The conference was greeted by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) via video recording from Washington, DC, who expressed his support for the Iraqi labor movement and reiterated his long-held belief that the invasion and occupation of Iraq constituted a gross violation of international law and that all U.S. troops should be promptly and completely withdrawn.
Hassan Juma’a Awad, President of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Union, condemned efforts by the U.S. to privatize Iraq’s oil industry through production sharing agreements that could cede control over Iraq’s oil to foreign corporations for as long as a generation. Speaking for his 25,000 members, he called for Iraq’s oil to remain under the control of the state oil company for the benefit of the Iraqi people. The conference adopted a strong resolution that described the proposed draft oil and gas law, promoted by the U.S., as “hostile to the interests of the working class and consequently all Iraqis.” It declared, “All sources of energy are the property of the people of Iraq, and no one has the right to privatize or monopolize these resources under any pretext. These resources must be used for the benefit of Iraqis and distributed equally.” It called for participation of representatives of the workers in the development of the oil and gas sector.

The conference also adopted another resolution that called for immediate enactment of a basic labor law that complies with International Labor Organization standards for the protection of the rights of workers to organize, collectively bargain and strike in unions of their own choosing, free of government interference. The U.S. Occupation Authority and Iraqi government continue to enforce Saddam Hussein’s antiunion labor law that bans unions for all public workers and employees of public enterprises, including its oil industry.

Another resolution called for an independent Iraqi state with a “non-sectarian, non-ethnic” government. It said, “One of the major steps to bring stability, peace and security in Iraq is to form a government that defines people on the basis of human identity, regardless of their ethnic, religious or sectarian background.” Other resolutions addressed the global economic crisis and privatization.

A dramatic moment in the conference occurred when T.J. Buonomo, a former U.S. Military intelligence officer, and Aaron Hughes, a former U.S. Army sergeant, took the stage to deliver their remarks. It was the first time that veterans of the U.S. military had returned to publicly acknowledge crimes committed against the Iraqi people and to apologize for their role in the economic and military occupation of Iraq. They said they were not there to ask forgiveness, but rather to take responsibility and to demonstrate their solidarity with the Iraqi people. They denounced the manipulation of intelligence, bribing of Iraqi journalists, the torture of Iraqi prisoners, the suppression of worker rights, and attempts by the U.S. government and multinational corporations to control Iraqi oil. The response was immediate, powerful, and heartfelt. One Iraqi union leader who had been considered a staunch nationalist rushed the stage to embrace the veterans. Another proclaimed that their statements had removed a great wall between the Iraqi and American people. The veterans received a standing ovation.

Summing up his estimate of the conference, Samir Adil, conference coordinator and president of the Iraq Freedom Congress, said, “This conference represents a major advance for both the unification of the Iraqi labor movement and strengthening of the international movement in solidarity with the Iraqi people in the context of the global economic crisis and consequent global and regional political changes.”

The Iraqi government considered the conference of sufficient importance that it sent an official observer, Adnan Muhammed Kadar, Minister of Labor of the Kurdish Regional Government, who welcomed the delegates. Also attending was Hardy Shakar, representative of Bang Kee Moon, UN General Secretary.

The conference created an “International Front Against Wars, Economic Blockade and Violation of Trade Union Rights” as a coordinating body to continue its work in the coming years.

Arabic and Kurdish media provided extensive coverage of the conference, including reports broadcast across Iraq and the Middle East.

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[PR]
by hiro_sana | 2009-03-18 20:00 | English articles
Dear all peace loving friends

Please circulate this piece of info far and wide!

On the 6th anniversary of the invasion and occupation
of Iraq, 'Winter Soldier : Accusation out of Conscience'
will be screened for the first time in Hiroshima.

Iraq Veterans Against War (IVAW) → http://ivaw.org/

It is a documentary that covers a public hearing held in
the outskirt of Washington DC, where US war veterans
testified about what they truly experineced in their tours
to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The documentary was directed by a Japanese independent film
journalist, Mr.TABO Juichi, who has been active in reporting on
the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

I hope you will come and see this film with your friends!

HINADA Seishi
Iraq Peace TV in Japan・Hiroshima
http://hirosanatv.exblog.jp/
Iraq Peace TV in Japan 
http://peacetv.jp/

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◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆
On the 6th Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq War
'Winter Soldier :Accusation out of Conscience'
First Screening in Hiroshima on March 21st
◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆
■Date:March 21, 2009 (Saturday)
    1st show 14:00~15:20
    2nd show 16:00~17:20
■Venue:Aster Plaza (Middle Conference Room)
4-17, Kako-machi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi
TEL:082-244-8000
※5 minutes' walk southward from Peace Park
   http://www.cf.city.hiroshima.jp/naka-cs/
■Film
  [Winter Soldier~Accusation out of Conscience]
(80 minutes' English film superimposed in Japanese)

First Chapter「Collapse of Combat Morale」
  Second Chapter 「Scenes at the Gun Point」
  Last Chapter「Prison in the Name of Troops」

 ※Produced by Winter Soldier Production Committee
Headed by Mr.Tabo Juichi
   http://wintersoldier.web.fc2.com/wintersoldier.html

■Entrance Fee:500 yen
■Organizer:Iraq Peace TV in Japan・Hiroshima
     http://hirosanatv.exblog.jp/
■Affiliation:Iraq Peace TV in Japan
http://peacetv.jp/
■Contact:Cell Phone 090-8602-4232(Hinada)
◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆

( end )
[PR]
by hiro_sana | 2009-02-25 23:27 | English articles
from the Chugoku newspaper

http://www.hiroshimapeacemedia.jp/mediacenter/article.php?story=2008101013234556_en

(paste)

by Uzaemonnaotsuka Tokai, Staff Writer

A touring exhibition on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima will open in Iraq on October 9 and travel to ten different locations in the country. Subhi Albadry, Central Council member of the Iraq Freedom Congress (IFC), which promotes peace and democracy in Iraq, held a press conference in Hiroshima on October 6 to announce the news.

Mr. Albadry stressed that even now, five and a half years after the start of the Iraq war, people are dying daily and the economy is still in a dire state. In regard to the touring exhibition organized by IFC, with 65 photo panels, he commented, “We would like to convey the tragedy of Hiroshima to the Iraqi people through photographs so the citizens of both places can work together to create a world free of war.”

Mr. Albadry came to Japan on September 26 to report on current conditions in Iraq, including the damage done by air raids and the deteriorating security climate. He visited Hiroshima at the invitation of a citizens group, which distributes, over the internet, programs provided by a satellite TV station that IFC set up. At a meeting with citizens, Mr. Albadry spoke about the plight of his country where terrorist attacks and human trafficking have become widespread.

(Originally published on October 7, 2008)
[PR]
by hiro_sana | 2008-10-17 20:35 | English articles