Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Sheraton Hotel success

Success of the Strike of the Sheraton Hotel Workers – Baghdad

The workers of Sheraton hotel – Baghdad, had organized a strike on Sunday 3-3-2007 and Monday 4-3-2007 calling for paying their overdue salaries and other unpaid benefits. The strike was led by the General union of the tourism and hotels' workers, inside the building of Sheraton hotel - Baghdad.The demands of the workers focused on paying the overdue salaries and arrear unpaid benefits of the holidays which amount up to 200.000 Iraqi Dinars (equivalent to 140 US$) in addition other arrears.There were 250 workers which took part in the strike that continued from Sunday till Monday, where the workers gathered daily at about 10:00 am. The administration started negotiations with the delegation from the workers represented by Zamil Abood and Ayad Fadhil, both of whom are members in the executive bureau of the tourism and hotels union. The delegation presented the workers demands to the administration, which agreed to these demands. Consequently, the workers ended their strike after reaching an agreement with the administration.The salaries of the workers of Sheraton, Merdian, and Baghdad hotels and many other hotels were frozen because of the limited business and occupancy of the hotels as result of changing them into military controlled zones and the concert walls built around.The General Union of the Tourism and HotelsFederation of Worker Councils and Unions in Iraq5-3-2007

Iraq Petition

Petition: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop the forced deportation of Iraqi Asylum Seekers back to Iraq, and grant them the right to remain in the UK.


Friday, 16 March 2007

Next meeting

Dear IUSS Supporters,

The next meeting of IUSS will be on Tuesday 20th March, in Borders bookshop's cafe on Buchanon Street, Glasgow at 6pm. Hope you can come along.

Pauline Bradley

Debate on Sky

Dear Comrades hi,

I hope you are all well, and wanted to thank you all for your solidarity messages you sent to me
it was so nice to have your support...

I wanted to let you know that I was on Sky news on a debate about Iraq tonight, please have a look at this link..


Lots of love to you all and thanks for your support and solidarity which keeps me going


Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Iran Report

A report By Organisation for Women's Liberation- Iran
Maryam kousha

An historic 8 March in Iran
Security forces attacked International Women's Day gatherings

Assemblies in different cities
For freedom and equality

People in Iran welcomed 8th March this year by organising many events well ahead of the actual day in different cities all over the country. It culminated in major gatherings on Thursday, international women's day. People were passionate about the day, had prepared manifestos, resolutions and banners demanding equality, condemning gender apartheid and women's oppression. As usual the Islamic regime tried everything to halt and prevent these events. Despite massive paramilitary and secret police presence, many pickets and gatherings took place.

Several thousand people gathered around Tehran University by 4 pm Tehran 's time to start an 8 March rally which was called by 8 March organising committee, endorsed by OWL. However, this gathering was prevented from commencing by the security forces. Islamic Republic had decided to stop any 8 March event to take place. The presence of massive force by Tehran University and in and around Daneshjoo Park , where the rally was to end, and also by Vali-e -asr square, a close by busy shopping area prevented any meetings to take place. Any person who tried to shout slogans was attacked and taken away. Eye witnesses have reported to OWL's 8 March headquarters that around 25 people were arrested by Tehran University and Vali-e-asr square.

Some of the demonstrators then decided to move to another location. Around 6 pm there was report of a large gathering in Mohseni square north of Tehran . The security forces attacked that gathering, as well.

Another 8 March meeting was organised to take place by the Parliament around 2 pm. Around 200 people tried to attend this meeting who were attacked by the security forces, few people were arrested. The organisers managed to read their resolution. The crowd had gathered to demand the release of women activists who were arrested Sunday 4 March.

Tehran University, 8th March 2007
About 1000-1500 people gathered at the university to protest against gender segregation and apartheid, dictatorship and police state. People chanted "socialism rise". A few people made speeches about women's demands and read a resolution clarifying these demands. Pictures of Mansoor Hekmat, the leader of Worker-communist movement were held high and the participants ended the ceremony by singing the "International" song.

About 3000 people gathered in "Vali-Asr square". They were prohibited from starting the 8 th March celebration by the secret services that had a massive presence in the crowd. The participants were waiting to find an opportunity to read their resolution but were stopped.

Allameh University, 4th March 2007
More than 700 people gathered to oppose the new dress code introduced to female students at the university. The students chanted slogans condemning the fascist method of controlling the university. A woman student said "we will not let you to turn the university into your reactionary and fascist arena". A male student said "this new more restricted dress code is not just against females it is against us and all humanity too". The main protest was against limitations of individual freedoms.

While singing protest songs, the students marched out. The slogans chanted were "No to reaction", "they want to cloth us in black again". Paramilitary forces were in the crowd all the time and filmed the event. Some tension occurred.

Cinema and Theatre faculty, 5th March 2007
Students gathered at this faculty to protest against limitations imposed on them regarding their dress code during registration. Despite the conditions put on female students that unless they observe the new more restricted dress code, they would not be registered, the students managed to resist it. They wore their usual clothing to university.

Sharif University, 4th March 2007
The event at this university was loud and full of banners. The protestors sang progressive songs and held banners saying "Freedom, Equality" "Women's freedom is the freedom of society", "women are the main victims of war, poverty and violence", "No to gender apartheid", "we defend teachers' and workers' struggle" and "Students' movement in unity with women's and workers' movement".

Speeches were made by female and male students about the danger of war and the importance of uniting with other social movements for a free and equal society. The ceremony took place despite the pressure by the police. The secret police in the crowd tried to interrupt the speeches but they were isolated. One of the organisers said to them that they can not turn the clock back to the 1980's when hundred thousands were executed.

A manifesto in defence of women's rights was read at the end and 150 years of international struggle for women's rights and freedom and liberation was celebrated.

Esfahan, 8 th March 2007
Two events took place in the city of Esfahan . One in " Boostan Park " and the other in the main library. Women took their veils off for a few minutes to demonstrate their hatred of Islamic rules. They read out their resolution demanding freedom of clothing and condemning gender apartheid.

Sanandaj, 8 th March 2007
Historically, Sanandaj is known as the red city because of its progressive and radical movement. Every year people organise 8 th March seminars. This year, the police and the secret police attacked the ceremony and arrested many people. A gathering in the main city centre was attacked by the Islamic guards, some people were arrested and a few injured. The names of those arrested are: Asoo Saleh, Peyman Nemati, Akoo Kord-Nasab, Sooran Hoseini, Voorya Tdayon, Parviz Poorrezaee, Fateme Zamani, Soraya Mohamadi, Sima Alikhani, and Salah Zamani.
It was reported to OWL's 8 March headquarter that all arrested yesterday, except Peyman Nemati and Salah Zamani were released today.

Kamyaran, 8 th March 2007
In this city too, the presence of police was evident. Tens of people celebrated the day, gathered by the grave of those women who were either victims of honour killing or had committed suicide and read out their resolution in defence of women's rights.

Sagez, 8 th March 2007
This is another city in Kurdistan where many people celebrated the International Women's Day. Women made speeches about their situation and the need to change it. A struggle for women's rights and abolition of gender apartheid was the main theme of all ceremonies.

Tafrash University, 6 th March 2007
A gathering was held at Electrical engineering faculty where many students took part. A female student talked about the limitations facing women in society especially at university. The assembly issued a statement demanding the following: "Freedom of society is measured by the freedom of women", "we will continue 8 th March tradition until all discrimination is abolished", "I am a human before being a woman", and "freedom and equality".

Organisation for Women's Liberation
Live Satellite TV programmes
OWL had live satellite TV programmes broadcast to Iran for 3 days in celebration of International Women's Day. In these programmes, hosted by Ali Javadi and Azar Majedi, many aspects of women's situation in Iran and their struggle for a better, just and equal world were discussed. People in Iran have had enough of political Islam and Islamic Republic of Iran. This sentiment was clearly demonstrated by the phone calls to the programme from Iran and all over the world. Many people called and criticized the immense social, cultural, political and economical pressure women are under in Iran . They talked about gender apartheid imposed on them for 28 years and the need to abolish it once and for all.

The 8th march events organised in Iran were reported on the programme which helped to publicize the celebrations. In a country where freedom of speech and assembly is illegal, many people use the latest technology to make links and try to overcome all limitations and dictatorship.

OWL had a team of dedicated members who well before 8th March and especially on the day, were in contact with many activists in Iran , getting the latest news and publishing news letters by the minute. Thanks to Nasrin Ramazanali, Sharareh Noori, Parvin Kaboli, Karim Noori, Shahla Noori, and Azar Majedi who made up the team and worked hard.
Swedish radio 4 broadcaster went to OWL's office in Gothenburg interviewed Parvin kaboli on 8 march in Iran and taped some of the phone conversation with OWL's activists in Iran .

Teachers' strike and workers' demonstration in Iran
International Women's Day in Iran this year was held at a time when the whole society is going through many changes and upheavals. Teachers' strike for better wages and working conditions was one of the main changes which helped the women's movement and other social movements.

On Monday 5th March, about 100,000 teachers went on strike. On 8 th March 10000 teachers staged a picket outside the Parliament building in Tehran demanding justice and better wages. All along the regime has refused to meet their demands. On 8th March, many students and the women's movement showed their solidarity with the teachers. Many 8 march leaflets were distributed among the demonstrators. There were talks among the demonstrators to join the 8 March demonstration by Tehran University .

On Monday 5 March, several thousand factory workers also joined the teachers to demand their unpaid wages. Many workers' committees have issued 8 March messages to commemorate International Women's Day.

Once again we are witnessing the intensity of social movements in opposition to the regime and for better world for all.

8th March this year in Iran marked a new wave of progressive and passionate desire for radical change, against poverty, inequality, against gender apartheid. It shouted clearly "NO to women's Oppression!"

Women's liberation movement entered a new phase. 8 March began a new chapter in women's liberation movement in Iran . A clear NO to Islamic restrictions, the veil and gender apartheid was wide spread. The call for abolition of all discriminatory laws against women and for freedom and equality was heard in all gatherings. Women's liberation movement in Iran became stronger and more mature. This fact sent shivers down the Islamic Republic's spine. The effect of this movement will not be confined to Iran , it will affect the whole region under the rule of Islam.

This year the whole society was affected by 8 March events. A whole week of ceremonies and meetings in commemoration of 8 March, the demonstrations, the live TV programmes broadcast on satellite TV, which have millions viewers in Iran, Many web logs which started their 8 march preparation from several months ago, posting 8 March manifestos, slogans, posters, video clips and women's news added to this vibrant 8 march mood in the country. Universities around the country staged a clear commitment to women's rights and freedom.

Islamic Republic reaction itself is enough to show the scale, intensity and spread of women's liberation movement and its preparation for a large and vibrant 8 March.

Organisation for Women's Liberation is proud to announce that it worked very hard for 8 march events in Iran and played an influential role in both organising and reporting it.

We reproduce here one of the main 8 march resolutions:

To all participants in 8th March 2007, International Women's Day gatherings

Today we have gathered to protest against gender apartheid and violation of women's rights in Iran ; and to defend the struggle of women's freedom movement for its rights.

We celebrate 8th March at a time when, tens of events and celebrations have already taken place all over the country during the past few days. These events have reflected the demands of women's movement for liberation.

8th March Resolution read by organisers of the 8 th March rallies in Iran
United and in unison, we, women and freedom loving people declare: No to women's oppression!
We protest against gender apartheid which has become institutionalized in Iran ; and demand the abolition of all anti women laws
We support the struggle of people for equal rights between men and women
We condemn any compulsory dress code
We demand the immediate banning of capital punishment and stoning
We strongly condemn any humiliation and violence against women
We condemn domestic and state violence
We demand the immediate release of women political prisoners
We support the teachers' and workers' struggle
We demand the immediate stop to the arrest and deportation of all Afghan residents and declare that all immigrants in Iran must enjoy equal civil rights.
We strongly believe and declare NO to economic sanctions; NO to war; NO to nuclear bombs; Long live freedom, equality and welfare for all

We urge all organisations and supporters of women's and human rights to translate our resolution and show to the world that these are women's demands in Iran . Tell the world that we do are denied the most basic human rights in our own society.


Sunday, 11 March 2007

Campaign against Iraqi Oil Rip Off

Campaign Against Iraqi Oil Rip Off Launched in UK

Shell and BP to be Targeted

Development, environment, human rights and anti-war groups have come together to launch a campaign against the “rip off” of Iraqi oil by western companies.

‘Hands Off Iraqi Oil’ is part of an international coalition, which is also gearing up in the US and Italy, as well as Iraq.

In the UK, The Hands Off campaign comprises radical development charity War on Want, oil industry watchdog PLATFORM, investigative researchers Corporate Watch, long-term Iraq campaigners Voices UK, debt-relief watchdog Jubilee Iraq, anti-occupation network Iraq Occupation Focus and Naftana, the UK support group for the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions.

The launch comes just days after the Iraqi cabinet – under intense pressure from the USA and UK and the International Monetary Fund – approved a draft oil law which would transfer control over the majority of Iraq’s huge reserves from the public sector to multinational companies, for the first time in 35 years.

The law would allow contracts to be signed with the companies, which would give them exclusive rights to extract oil for up to 20 years.

The campaign supports the view of much of Iraqi civil society that the current oil law, and contracts signed under it, would surrender Iraq's sovereignty and economic future to foreign interests. The UK campaign will target British oil majors Shell and BP, warning them to keep their ‘Hands Off’ the spoils of war.

Ewa Jasiewicz, researcher and campaigner at PLATFORM said:

‘Deals signed under this law should be regarded as a form of robbery. Iraq’s oil in this context is war loot, for which hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died. Oil companies pushing for contracts now should be regarded as war profiteers; partners in the stealing of Iraq’s future’.

Louise Richards, Chief Executive at War on Want, said:

‘We stand in solidarity with all workers in the Iraqi oil industry at this crucial time in their struggle. Iraq’s trade unionists have consistently been denied any say in the future of their country’s oil sector, despite their strong and reasoned opposition to privatisation. We salute and support them in their opposition to the theft of Iraq’s oil resources.’

A sister campaign has also been launched in Italy. Another is about to launch in the USA.

Both are co-ordinating with Hands Off in the UK. The Italian campaign is pressurizing Italian oil company ENI to back out of the bidding process for contracts under the law.

Paola Gasparoli, Iraq Project Manager at Un Ponte Per says: ‘

We are asking our government which is the main stakeholder in ENI to oppose any attempt to dispossess Iraq of its’ resources. To allow the sell-out of Iraqi oil whilst sending money for humanitarian aid and reconstruction is more than farcical, it is immoral. Iraq’s oil and gas is not yet privatised – it is now more important that ever to support Iraqi unions and the Iraqi general public in opposing this law’.

The US campaign will target oil company Chevron, including picketing their offices on 20 March, the fourth anniversary of the start of the war.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, trade unions – as well as members of parliament and oil experts – are organising against the oil law. In a recent statement to the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Hassan Jum’a Awad, leader of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions said:

‘I particularly say to America “Hands Off Iraqi Oil”. This wealth belongs to the people of Iraq and the decent people of the world’.

See www.handsoffiraqioil.org for information and updates


PLATFORM – Greg Muttitt 07970 589 611 www.carbonweb.org/iraq

War on Want – Paul Collins 07983 550728 pcollins@waronwant.org www.waronwant.org

Jubilee Iraq – Justin Alexander 07813 137171 mail@jubileeiraq.org

IRAQ – Iraqi federation of Oil Unions Hassan Jumaa Awad al Assadi 00964 7801 001 196 (Arabic Only)

ITALY – Un Ponte Per Paola Gasparoli 0039 333 544 6280 paola.gasparoli@unponteper.it www.unponteper.it

USA – Oil Change International Antonia Juhasz 001 (415) 846-5447 antoniajuhasz@gmail.com www.PriceOfOil.org

Thursday, 8 March 2007

International Womens Day - Death threat to Houzan Mahmoud

On the 8th March it will be International Women's Day. A day
originally proposed by the great socialist Clara Zetkin and yet now
often appropriated by big and small business.It is vital in this of
all weeks we show support for Iraqi socialist and women's rights
activist Houzan Mahmoud, representative abroad of the Organisation of
Women's Freedom in Iraq, who has been threatened by Islamic
fundamentalists. On February 26, 2007, Houzan received an e-mail
signed by Ansar al-Islam, the notoriously brutal jihadist group based
in Kurdistan/Iraq.

The death threat, delivered via e-mail, read:

"With the permission of Great God, we will kill you either in Iraq or
in London by the middle of March, because you are campaigning against
Islam. You should be sent to God for punishment."

Houzan Mahmoud, aged 34, who is currently based in London, is
originally from Iraqi Kurdistan, where she recently led a campaign
against the imposition of Islamic Sharia law in the proposed
constitution. Houzan is resolved to persist in her work, despite
being targeted by Ansar al-Islam.

Houzan says: "I will continue doing what I am doing now, going around
the world cultivating support for women in Iraq and Kurdistan as well
as exposing the violence and gender apartheid that Islamists are
imposing on millions of women in the region."

Comrade Houzan needs your support. Show solidarity by contacting her
at: houzan73@yahoo. co.uk

Friday, 2 March 2007

International unions

International unions

E-appeal against raid on Iraqi unions
On 23 February 2007, US and Iraqi forces raided the head offices of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW), the country's national trade union center. They arrested one of the union's security staff (later released unharmed), destroyed furniture, and confiscated a computer and fax machine. And then they did it again two days later, causing further damage to the union headquarters.

The union is condemning the attacks as unprovoked. It is calling on the occupation forces to issue a written apology, to return all the seized property, and to pay compensation for damages caused. Please show your support by sending off the message below.