As well as organising our own meetings, paper sales, discussions with people interested in our ideas and so on, and as well as our work in the trade unions, AWL also helps build campaigns with a more specific focus.
One of the main ones we are engaged in at present is Iraq Union Solidarity. From immediately after the US/UK invasion and the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, AWL began to seek contacts and allies for the task of building a support network for the new Iraqi trade-union movement whose emergence we considered both likely, and essential if the peoples of Iraq were to assert their rights against both the legacies of the old dictatorship and the impositions of Bush and Blair.
It was not easy, in part because the new Iraqi union movement is - like many trade-union movements world-wide - divided into different federations, rather than collected in a single equivalent of the TUC. We have also had to combat outright hostility from some on the left who have denounced Iraqi workers' organisations as “Quislings”, “Vichyists”, or at best “Islamophobes”.
With others, however, we assembled a loose network called the Iraqi Workers' Solidarity Group, and finally a get-together at the end of an official TUC conference on the Iraqi unions, in February 2005, decided to launch Iraq Union Solidarity.
IUS has won affiliations from 25 union branches and Trades Councils; sent speakers to several others; done large mail-outs; organised fringe meetings at union conferences and other events; maintained a website which publishes all the information available in English on the Iraqi unions; and held regular monthly organising meetings.
Its plans for the coming months centre round fringe meetings at this year's union conferences, and running a tour with the DVD, soon to become available, produced by US Labor Against the War from the tour of Iraq last year by union leaders from all of Iraq's three main federations.
On 18 March IUS will be at the anti-war demonstration, as at previous ones, with its banner and with buckets to collect money for the Iraqi unions. Come and help us! Meet 11:20 outside Westminster Tube, opposite Big Ben.