The Iraqi workers movement is again beginning to organise, despite contending with the difficult conditions of occupation and war, and in defiance of harassment and arrests by the US military.
The First International Labour Conference is being organised in Erbil, Kurdistan, March 13-14. The conference is aimed at unifying the movement, which has had to struggle without resources, computers or office equipment, and in defiance of Saddam Hussein's anti-union laws.
Solidarity greetings and a donation has been sent to the conference from Sydney Stop the War Coalition (StWC).
US Labour Against the War, along with several other US union leaders and three members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, will attend the conference and report back from this historic gathering.
"The unionists in Iraq deserve the praise and respect of all sections of society for their courage and determination to organise this conference under such horrific conditions", StWC's Rob Kennedy told Green Left Weekly.
"People in Iraq and, in fact, any country deserve the right to control their destiny in the workplace, and create their own set of social and economic standards.
"While we support the decision of the Australian government under Kevin Rudd to remove Australian combat troops from Iraq, we do not believe that any troops should be kept in the country under the pretext of 'training' or 'security'.
"StWC's rally on March 21 will clearly demand that all troops be removed from Iraq, and will call on the Australian government to pay reparations for the damage, death and destruction caused during the war", Kennedy said.