HOPI gains support
The Hands Off the People of Iran campaign staged an effective intervention at this week's Scottish Trades Union Congress in Glasgow. Marcila Gharib reports
On the conference floor HOPI member Terry Brotherstone of Aberdeen University and the UCU Scottish executive proposed a successful anti-war composite that sought to defend Iraqi academics killed or forced into exile. Terry argued strongly for HOPI's principles - against imperialism, against the theocracy and in solidarity with Iran's workers, including teachers and academics. An RMT amendment to the motion on the threat of war against Iran stressed the importance of supporting strikes, such as the one at the Vahed Bus company, and expressing our solidarity with workers' leaders like Mansour Ossanlou.
We distributed our leaflet outside conference and at the Stop the War Coalition fringe meeting, where one of the speakers, Tommy Sheridan, once more pronounced his support for HOPI, announcing that he had already signed up to the campaign.
Amongst the other speakers, John Leach of the RMT made some important points regarding the concerns of rank and file members of his union over the war. He said the anti-war motion the RMT had proposed to the conference was not just drawn up by the union officials - it reflects the views of the overwhelming majority of their members. The RMT president also reiterated the support of his union for workers in Iran involved in organising independent trade unions, mentioning in particular Mansour Ossanlou.
Lindsey German in her contribution, while urging opposition to a war against Iran, appeared to quote a section of Yassamine Mather's article in last week's Weekly Worker (without naming it, of course). She said: "In the whole debacle about the plight of British marines and whether they should have sold their story, no-one mentioned that the marines were in the Persian Gulf, not British waters - these are Iraqi, Iranian, Kuwaiti waters. The peoples of that region did not invite British or US forces and their frigates."
She added that the STWC defends the women's movement and other democratic forces in Iran. Supporters of civil society and the internal opposition did not want war, she said, as this would only strengthen the regime and increase repression.