Labour Friends of Iraq

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Labour Friends of Iraq (LFOI) was created around the time of the Labour Party conference in September 2004. Alan Johnson described the events surrounding its birth in a post on normblog:

Over the last six months a group of people from the Labour Party, trade unions, NGOs, the media and academia have been working with Abdullah Muhsin the UK representative of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions to encourage the labour movement and the left to move on to the task of building solidarity with the democratic forces in Iraq. The TUC has shown the way with fact-finding missions, money and now the launch of the 'TUC Aid Iraq Appeal'. A new group, Labour Friends of Iraq (LFIQ) has been set up - they can be contacted at Labour Friends of Iraq, PO Box 2421, Reading, RG1 8WY - and a website will be launched soon.[1]

Johnson suggested that "This was the month when the British labour movement decided to move on," implicitly linking support for Iraqi trade unionists with the closure of the debate over the invasion.[2]

LFOI issued a founding statement on October 2004:

LFoI includes those who opposed and those who supported military action but are united in supporting Iraq's struggle for democracy and labour rights.
History will not forgive us if we fail to give solidarity to Grassroots Iraq as its long-suffering people seek a federal, democratic, pluralist, and unified Iraq, in which there is full respect for the political and human rights of all.[3]

On the antiwar movement

In a February 2005 post on the LFoI website, Gary Kent wrote that "The SWP's report of the recent TUC conference on solidarity with Iraqi trade unions selects those bits that suit it best."

Its report quotes one official as saying that some people who supported the war were now trying to use the issue of solidarity to justify the occupation and concludes that "The clear and overwhelming message throughout the day was that the anti-war movement will not be thrown off course by the warmongers' efforts to confuse the growing feeling against the occupation."
Actually, it was dominated by trying to understand the politics of the new Iraqi labour movement with few references to Stop the War activity.
It may suit the SWP to divide the labour movement into the unsullied who opposed the war and the "warmongers" who supported it.[4]

The Lenin's Tomb blog subsequently noted that Kent's quotation was actually from a separate Stop the War conference and not the TUC event.[5][6]

Events

On 5 November 2006, LFoI hosted a screening of the film Saddam's Road to Hell at Westminster. Guest speakers included film-maker Gwynne Roberts and Dr Mohammad Ihsan, a Minister in the Kurdistan Regional Government.[7]

Principals

Founding Executive Committee (October 2004)

Jane Ashworth (Chair) | Gary Kent (Director) | Graham Wildridge (Treasurer) | Eric Lee (Webmaster) | Alan Johnson (Publications) | John Slinger | Urmee Khan | Robert G Smith | Simon Pottinger | David Mapstone

Iraqis favored by LFoI

Affiliations

Contact, References and Resources

Contact

Email: info@labourfriendsofiraq.org.uk
Phone: +44 (0)7 774 071 864
Website: www.labourfriendsofiraq.org.uk

Resources

References

  1. Alan Johnson, Moving on at the conference, normblog, 30 September 2004.
  2. Alan Johnson, Moving on at the conference, normblog, 30 September 2004.
  3. Solidarity with Grassroots Iraq, 6 October 2004.
  4. Gary Kent, Socialist Worker's U-Turn, Labour Friends of Iraq, 17 February 2005.
  5. Labour Friends of Iraq attack SWP, Lenin's Tomb, 17 February 2005.
  6. Union speakers salute spirit of unity in anti-war movement, Socialist Worker Online, issue dated 19 February 2009.
  7. Special screening: "The Road To Hell"—Saddam's genocide, by Gary Kent, eustonmanifesto.org, 5 November 2006.