Dead Men Left

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Abdullah Muhsin: his speech

It seems Abdullah Muhsin, London representative of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, has been feeling a little apologetic. His dedicated support for the occupation of Iraq at the Labour Party conference went down a treat with the Labour leadership, but seems to have cut less ice with ordinary trade unionists, who attach more weight to their union's policies than they do to Blair's political career. Meanwhile, IFTU's general secretary will be speaking alongside Stop the War Coalition convenor Lindsey German on "End the Occupation of Iraq" at the ESF, so perhaps Muhsin's sheepishness is understandable.

Muhsin wrote in the Morning Star (subscription needed) that

Mr Galloway's assertion that I offered voting advice to trade unions on the Iraq motions is also untrue... I confined my remarks to urging solidarity with Iraqi workers.

Not, of course, that Blairite bureaucrats like Jack Dromey interpreted his speech this way; Dromey claiming that all 200,000 were now wholeheartedly in support of the occupation and its stooge government. Worse yet, UNISON has helpfully reproduced Muhsin's "Open letter to trade union delegates", in which he concluded:

You have two options before you this week. One would give hope to all those in Iraq who want to see free trade unions and political organisation grow and thrive. In line with UN Security Council resolution 1546 it says that the multinational force is there to help our democracy.

The alternative asks for an early date for the unilateral withdrawal of troops which would be bad for my country, bad for the emerging progressive forces, a terrible blow for free trade unionism, and would play into the hands of extremists and terrorists.

"Obviously not voting advice, that," as Ned Ludd put it. (Hat tip to him for this.)