I was just over at the Indymedia site looking for new information on the Zapatista info meeting held on Wednesday night (found nothing) and was frustrated by a long set of comments referring to UFPJ and USLAW as sell-out, democratic party insiders supporting a pro-occuapation labor tour of the USA. I have plenty of criticisms of UFPJ and its choices, especially regarding how it handled the 2004 convention protests, but this discussion of USLAW's tour as "pro-occupation" is a real misprepresentation of a tour, which includes not just the IFTU, but two other labor organizations in Iraq: The General Union of Oil Employees and the FWCUI, both of which the ISO has described favorably in the same bulletin in which they denounce the IFTU.
I had the feeling, when reading the ISO's attack on the IFTU as pro-occupation that there was a certain misrepresentativeness in the posting. I wrote a long post about it on this blog under the headline "What's Behind the Conflicts," which apparently didn't clue people in that it was about the IFTU controversy. I attended the meeting and the IFTU people were asked repeatedly whether they opposed the occupation and what steps they saw leading to that, and every time the answer was that they opposed the occupation and supported immediate withdrawl. However, as ISO people have pointed out, mainly because of sources in the London SWP, the IFTU played an instrumental pro-occupation role there in October 2004, when courting the support of the British labor party. The critiques of the IFTU as playing political games seem merited to me. However, if the two other major labor organizations in Iraq agreed to be on a tour with them, is it possible that their position has actually changed? I found no recent sources linking the IFTU to pro-occupation forces. Everything was almost a year old.
Since ULSAW included IFTU as one of three groups, I think it's more important to ask, what is the reason for denouncing USLAW as if they are the backers and promoters of IFTU instead of covering the actual tour, mentioning the presence of independent groups on the tour, etc.
It seems to me that there is a terrible fear that the more broadly based anti-war groups will cave in to the fear of the two-party system and become democratic party puppets. Based on what I read on the marxism-list, I found what I believe is a message from Stan Goff, posted by Carlos Rivera: Watch it, after this tour the anti-war movementis going right and the slogan will be: "Listen to the Iraqis." And everyone that opposes that will be called a "sectarian". Of this I am as sure as that water gets you wet...Complete with a media blitz in the NYT and The Nation.
Want to bet? No? You know you'll lose."
I know a lot of folks in USLAW and none of them seem to me to be either the nimble wheeler-dealers of the Democratic party, nor do they seem simply to be its idle pawns. If we want to keep larger anti-war mobilizations from becoming pro-occupation mobilizations, it seems to me that the answer is to participate in anti-war organizing in a way that builds an anti-war movement. Does attacking the most widely recognized movement (instead of perhaps offering constructive criticism in the proper spaces for that) as secretly a sell-out imperialist force do that effectively? I don't see how.