Forwarded from Chris Gavreau

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Feb 28 13:10:14 MST 2003


Dear List,

I would like to raise an idea with those of you who are veterans of both
the anti-Vietnam war movement and the labor movement. Many of us are now
active in the new labor against the war movement.  Many, many of these
activists have a very good handle on the contemporary situation in the
region and are quite confident about their arguments re: international
labor solidarity. The time is ripe to introduce the most interested and
active to a broader vision of the history of working-class struggles in
the region.  What we need is a pamplet, something like "What U.S.
unionists need to know about labor history in the Middle East."

This could be an anthology of articles, taken from previously published
sources, or articles  that were commissioned.  It would begin the
process of preparing them to deal with the question of what would really
need to happen to create democracy for the Arab working classes and help
them understand the relationship between imperialism and the defeat of
working class agenda under the radical and not so radical nationalist
regimes that came to power. It could include chapters on the pre-1948
situation in Palestine, the oil workers in the Iranian revolution, the
pre-1960 Iraqi working class upsurge, etc.  This is not an area of
expertise for me, but I have been preparing a labor hand-out for the
Labor Art and Mural Project's new Palestine project and it suddenly
seems bizarre that we do not have such a tool.

I think such a pamphlet would be most effective if published by USLAW or
a regional group or even someone like Monthly Review, and think this
would be possible if it were written from a socialist, but non-sectarian
angle, noting differences of analysis, but strongly telling the story
and heroic episodes in a way that veteran US labor activists could
relate to. I suppose that for many of you, it would seem strange to put
in a lot of effort and not have such a thing function primarily as a
recruiting tool for whatever group you might be building.  Still, I feel
strongly that such a pamphlet, which could of course be on-line, would
be a real contribution to deepening the discussion in labor.  It also
strikes me that we should be utilizing scholars of mid-east working
class history as resources for labor forums or educational events
associated with our regional labor antiwar groups.  Any takers?

Chris Gauvreau
Labor ARt and Mural Project
--

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