So whose democracy was it anyway?

IssueNovember 2008
Feature by Linda Rogers

Greg Muttitt’s presentation about the politics of Iraqi oil at the Peace Festival produced both righteous anger and inspiration.
The Iraqi people are embroiled in an intense struggle against the privatisation of oil reserves and production. The fight put up by trade unionists and the Iraqi people to maintain ownership of their oil has so far been a surprising success and a cause for hope.
A law banning trade unions, which dates back to the days of Saddam Hussein, has never been repealed. With unemployment rife, union members whose wages support a large family risk everything, even their lives.
Their struggle has progressed whilst under pressure from the IMF, which controls funds for reconstruction. And, of course, it has progressed in the face of threats from the USA, whose troops occupy the country.
The Iraqi economy is almost entirely founded on oil. The proposed oil law could result in some 40% of oil reserves and 90% of production being handed over to foreign control in perpetuity. Before the law has even been passed, the process of making contracts between Iraqi ministries and multinational oil companies is under way.
The obstinacy of the Iraqi parliament in resisting this law will, by hook or by crook, be circumvented. The campaign group Platform maintains that no long-term contracts should be signed until Iraq is free from occupation and its people can make truly democratic decisions for themselves.

Topics: Iraq
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