[Marxism] David Bacon on Labor in Occupied Iraq
sankara83 at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 24 18:18:04 MST 2004
Iraqi union label:
An interview with David Bacon
February 21, 2004
America is today, as it has been throughout nearly all of its history, a
nation at war overseas, as well as against elements of its own population.
Activists like California-based David Bacon, and organizations such as the
one to which he belongs, U.S. Labour Against the War (USLAW) are, in terms
of the Bush Doctrine, enemy elements within enemy elements. Seven Oaks
Charles Demers recently sat down with Mr. Bacon at the Canadian Autoworkers
hall in New Westminster.
SEVEN OAKS: You were recently on a delegation to Iraq?
BACON: Yes. I went with the former secretary-treasurer of the San Francisco
longshore union, Clarence Thomas. The two of us were sent by U.S. Labor
Against the War to go to Iraq in October, make contact with the new unions
that have been organising there and find out about the conditions of work,
and the wages, and the general condition of Iraqi workers under the
S.O.: Thats not the Clarence Thomas that Canadian readers will think youre
BACON: No, we call Clarence the real Clarence Thomas.
S.O.: The real Clarence Thomas, okay. Were definitely not encouraged to
talk about class in terms of our own political situations here in North
America. How do people in North America react when you start talking to them
about Iraqi workers or the Iraqi working class?
BACON: First of all, I think, people are very interested in finding out what
is happening to workers in Iraq. Its, I think, sometimes a surprise,
certainly a surprise for workers in Canada and the U.S. to find out that
there are unions in Iraq, and even to think about Iraqi people as being
workers, partly because the images that were getting from the media from
Iraq are all about war, essentially. And, Iraq is being shown to us as sort
of like a place of terrible destruction -- which in a lot of ways, it is --
but in which theres no sense of what life is like for ordinary people
there, or working people. And Iraq is a huge country of 24 million people,
with Baghdad as a city with 5 million people and, by and large, those people
are pretty completely invisible, and so the first reaction that were
getting is interest, because were telling a story that people have not
heard before. And then, I think that people in both Canada and the U.S. are
finding that there are things they can recognise very easily that are going
on with Iraqi workers, that they can recognise from their own experience.
Full interview: http://www.sevenoaksmag.com/features/01_iraq_bacon.html
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