The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Conditions for workers in Iraq

Dec 1, 2003

For the Iraqi population, the current war is not about Saddam Hussein, it is about survival. An estimated seventy% of the population has no work. There is no system of unemployment.

For those working, the average wage is only $60 per month, at a time when the war and occupation have caused the price of everything to rise – food, fuel, housing that isn't destroyed. If wages were no better before the war, the workers had subsidies to their wages in the form of food and housing allowances. This support has been eliminated by the Coalition Provisional Authority that controls Iraq.

The Bush administration is trying to turn over state-run industries – such as the airlines, health care and telephones – to private corporations. If these plans go through, thousands more jobs will be eliminated.

The one thing the Coalition Authority did maintain from Saddam Hussein's regime was his 1977 ban on labor unions and his 1987 ban preventing workers in state-owned enterprises from bargaining for contracts or forming unions. And Paul Bremer's administration this summer added a legal prohibition on all strikes.

Of course, given all the prohibitions against strikes in this country and all the elimination of jobs, none of this should come as a surprise. This is the "democracy" the U.S. is trying to export to Iraq.