Thursday, May 01, 2008


On May 1, all 29 ports on the U.S. West Coast are to be shut down by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in protest against the U.S. war on Afghanistan and Iraq. This is a historic event of international significance: labor action against imperialist war by a major American union. The strategically placed port workers in the ILWU can bring commerce with Asia to a grinding halt, and they?re about to demonstrate it. The maritime employers are already screaming, and you can bet it's got the attention of the warmongers in Washington. All labor should take up the challenge this poses: For workers strikes against the war! Hit 'em where they feel it.

Meanwhile, immigrants' rights groups are once again mobilizing on May Day. We say: everyone here should have equal rights; otherwise the bosses and reactionaries play one group off against another. Full citizenship rights for all immigrants! Mobilize labor action to stop the ICE raids! And on April 30 and May 1, the independent truckers who move cargo to and from the docks may play an important role in a shutdown, particularly in Los Angeles (where immigrant truckers closed the port on May Day 2006) and possibly some East Coast ports.

The imperialist war on Afghanistan and Iraq is also a war on immigrants, minorities, working people and democratic rights at home. As a longshore picketer declared in 2002, the War on Terror is a War on Us. We need to defeat this attack here and abroad, in opposition to both the capitalist war parties. The antiwar movement, whose aim has always been to pressure the Democrats, is at a dead end. But a battle is brewing. Workers, immigrants, opponents of imperialist war: All out on May Day!

The Bay Area ILWU local was the first American union to condemn the war. In April 2003, as invading U.S. troops reached Baghdad, six longshoremen were injured and a union official was arrested as police fired on hundreds of antiwar protesters in the port of Oakland. Now, while Democrats in Congress keep voting for the war budget, while all the presidential candidates of the twin parties of American capital vow to keep U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely and to expand NATO occupation forces in Afghanistan, dock workers have decided to shut down the entire Pacific Coast in the most powerful single action in decades aimed at stopping a U.S. war.

When we broke the story last month, many rubbed their eyes in disbelief. Yes, it's for real. In a notice posted on the ILWU website and printed in the union newspaper, The Dispatcher (April 2008), the union announced: Longshore Caucus calls for Iraq war protest at ports on May 1. The resolution by the union's elected delegates called for this unprecedented labor action to demand an immediate end to the war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East (see ILWU motion, page 3).

The longshore delegates said they were issuing a clarion call with an urgent appeal for unity of action to all of labor to bring an end to this bloody war once and for all. Now it's up to the rest of us. The workers movement and all opponents of imperialist war should follow the lead of the West Coast waterfront workers.

Industrial action by one of the most powerful and militant American unions against a U.S. imperialist war this is not just a couple of labor bureaucrats mouthing empty phrases at an antiwar rally, dock workers are using their muscle. Although it is a symbolic action stopping work for the day shift, on May Day, the international workers day the symbolism is not lost on the ruling class. It is a warning of big trouble on the home front of their imperialist war, a vivid demonstration that American workers have the power to shut down the war machine and that the most militant sectors are ready to use it.

Around the country, a number of labor bodies have endorsed the ILWU action. As of this writing, this includes the San Francisco, Alameda County (Oakland) and King County (Seattle) Labor Councils, Vermont AFL-CIO, Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR), U.S. and NYC Labor Against the War, Oakland and California state teachers unions, and others. Postal workers union locals in San Francisco and Greensboro, North Carolina (NALC) and in New York (APWU) are going to stop work briefly on May 1. At the City University of New York, teach-ins and rallies sponsored by chapters of the union of CUNY faculty and staff (PSC) will be held in solidarity with the ILWU port shutdown. Internationally, the ILWU action has been supported by the International Dock Workers Council, the International Transport Workers Federation, UNITE in Britain, and others.

Endorsements are nice, but action is what's needed working-class action more substantial and a lot more of it, and above all independent of the bosses. What that takes is a fundamental break from the Democratic Party and the pro-capitalist politics that infuse the labor bureaucracy.
Maritime Bosses in a Frenzy

The announcement of the ILWU's upcoming action caught the attention of some in the media. The SF Weekly (12 March) headlined, ILWU to Shut Down West Coast Ports on Socialist Holiday. The article reported that after heated discussion, Union rank and file took a vote and made it official: During the eight-hour day shift on May 1, portside traffic in goods between the U.S. and Asia will cease. The San Francisco Chronicle (9 April) published an article by Jack Heyman, the author of the motion that was passed by the union's longshore caucus, who noted:

This decision came after an impassioned debate where the union's Vietnam veterans turned the tide of opinion in favor of the anti-war resolution. The motion called it an imperial action for oil in which the lives of working-class youth and Iraqi civilians were being wasted and declared May Day a no peace, no work holiday. Angered after supporting Democrats who received a mandate to end the war but who now continue to fund it, longshoremen decided to exercise their political power on the docks.

The New York Times also expressed interest in publishing an article, but rejected it when it referred to the 1919 Seattle dock workers' boycott of U.S. arms being shipped to the counterrevolutionary White Armies to fight the Bolsheviks in Russia.

The prospect of a coast-wide work stoppage has certainly shaken up the shipping bosses, particularly coming just as a new contract is being negotiated. The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) notified the union on April 3 that it doesn't consent to a stop-work meeting or any other effort to disrupt port operations. Subsequently the PMA threatened the union tops with heavy-duty court action if they don't call it all off. The employers are threatening to bring down an injunction under the slave labor Taft-Hartley Law. The bosses' attempt to stop the port shutdown means that a class struggle is already being waged over this issue.

@ Portland Indy Media


Too bad we cannot get everyone to stay home for a week, don't drive, don't work, stay home and watch TV and eat groceries, most of all don't buy gas.

Ah but alas it will never come to pass.

Whats left of the Union membership (that has not been eliminated by fascists since Ray-gun) is there to do our fighting for us, so keep feeding your gas pig SUV's and pretend nothing is wrong.

It will all be over soon.



Saladin said...

It's true DEN, the people have been living in a rose colored bubble for far too long, it is about to pop. I got my first shipment of bulk groceries yesterday and it sure felt good putting them away!

Thank you Mr. Benson for the review, it was refreshingly honest, considering the source. The Zionist ideology is the most hateful, racist and murderous I have ever seen. What is happening in Palestine continues because the US turns a blind eye, is not informed of the reality and our zionist controlled neocon govt. enables them to the tune of 3 billion a year, not including military hardware and dozens of hidden costs. We are paying for the genocide of the Palestinian people and we don't seem to care, however we know all about Tibet, Darfur, Zimbabwe, etc. The Palestinian people have no one. I read an article yesterday about a woman in Gaza whose infant child was torn from her arms and drowned in a tidal wave of raw human waste. Can you imagine living like that? That is the kind of treatment they live with every day. Here is the latest outrage, and this is also nothing new. Watch it if you can, it won't be featured on CNN or FOX.

70 UN resolutions later and they are worse than ever.

Baby Murdering Zionists Slaughter Family Of 5 At Breakfast, Including 4 Children Under 6 Years Old.

Saladin said...

Here is a follow up to the video I posted. Written by a former IDF soldier, those babies had names. I really wish I could post the images I used for the Myspace bulletin I made. My new avatar is one of them.

Our Defense Forces, our war crimes, our terrorism
By Bradley Burston

Author's note: This is the second version of this piece. The first was written, I freely admit, in anger and in suspicion, not least because of the many cases of the unwarranted killings of Palestinian civilians which have gone unreported, underreported, glossed over, or misrepresented in the Israeli media, and because the army was initially unwilling to provide its side of the story, and has been less than completely forthcoming since.

Allow me, if you will, to preface this piece by pointing out to those of you who began your comments "If you had ever served in the IDF ..." to state that it was because I served in the IDF, as a combat medic, as an enlisted man and for 16 years in annual reserve duty, that I wrote what I wrote and felt what I felt. And if what I wrote was an over-reaction, it was for this reason as well.

Allow me to add, as well, that I believe that a tremendous effort has been made by the IDF to limit Palestinian civilian casualties, especially since late 2006, and statistics bear this out. But I still believe that more can, and must, be done in this regard.


I want to apologize for the unforgivable.

It is time for us to stop "understanding" why we kill so many Palestinian civilians. It is time for us to stop explaining away the deaths we excuse as the unfortunate and incidental by-product of a terrible war.

If it had been only an isolated incident, a tragic aberration, I would have kept my peace, said nothing, just moved on.

But the same crime, the same - let's call it by its real name - atrocity, has been committed time and again, under the same circumstances, for the same reasons, with the same indefensible result.

Someone in an IDF uniform, in a position of responsibility, gave an order. We will probably never know who. Nor will we know who loaded the shell into the tank gun, if that was, indeed what happened, or who armed the air-to-surface missile, if that was what happened, who sighted the target, who gave the order to fire, who carried it out.

What we do know is that a mother in Beit Hanoun, a devastated area of northern Gaza from which Qassams and mortars are fired at Israel, was seeing to the breakfast of her four small children Monday morning when their world exploded.

We know that they are all dead.

The army said it fired two missiles at Palestinian militants near the tin shack of the Abu Meatik family, detonating explosives carried by the militants, sparking a "secondary explosion" that struck the home.

Witnesses said that a tank shell sheared through the roof and killed everyone inside, among them Rudina Abu Meatik, 6, her brothers, Saleh, 4 and Mousab, 15 months, and her three-year-old sister, Hana, 3.

We console ourselves, here on the Israeli side of the border, that, unlike the suicide bomber, the box cutter terrorist, the drive-by machine gunner, the Merkaz Harav gunman, the deaths of the children and their mother in Beit Hanoun were a terrible case of bad fortune.

We salve our doubts by stressing - and this is true - that the Israeli army never intentionally targets non-combatants. We protect our fragile consciences by suppressing case after case of Palestinian civilian casualties.

We deflect our guilt by shifting the blame to Hamas, to the Jihad, even - and for this I apologize seventy-fold - to the failure of Palestinian civilians to rise up and stop the terrorists.

We are prepared to excuse it again and again. We excused it when we heard the news today, just as we excused it in November, 2006, when an IDF artillery piece killed 19 people in Beit Hanoun, some of them children still sleeping in their beds when the shell hit.

No more.....

A Special Place In Hell

DEN said...

The Israeli army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, led the long column of marchers, accompanied by some camp survivors carrying the Torah and fellow Israeli troops in uniform.

"Each and every one of us should do our utmost to ensure: Never again," Ashkenazi said.

The Kaddish — the Jewish prayer for the dead — was spoken at a huge stone monument to the camp's victims at Birkenau.

At least 1.1 million people, including Jews, Poles and Roma, perished in the camp's gas chambers or from starvation, disease and forced labor before Soviet troops liberated it in January 1945.

Israel also held observances in memory of Jews killed in the Nazi Holocaust, with sirens wailing and traffic halting for two minutes across the country.


Funny how they can mourn their own but don't give a rip about Palestinians they killed.

Boo hoo me, screw you!

DEN said...

12:08 p.m. May 1, 2008

Port workers at cargo terminals in San Diego and National City joined their counterparts at other West Coast port facilities in a May Day work stoppage to protest the Iraq War.

The 40 scheduled for the 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift today did not show up, said Ron Popham, the maritime director at the San Diego Unified Port District, which operates the two cargo facilities.

National City's 24th Street Marine Terminal was quiet Thursday as longshore workers that handle cargo stayed away from work in a one-day protest against the war in Iraq.
But William Silva, president of Local 29 of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, said the number was 500, counting casual, part-time, fill-in and other union laborers. Silva said 25,000 dock workers from San Diego to Alaska were participating in the work action.

“Today we are standing for the majority of Americans who are against the Iraq War,” Silva said in an interview. “We're Democrats, Republicans and independents, and we're sending a signal to our politicians that it's time to get out of Iraq now.”

Silva said the union supports the troops and wants to bring them home safely.

Must look long and hard to find information about this extremely important statement from the Longshoremen, all that we hold dear in this country is being tossed out by 'Globalization' promoted by fascist money mongers with the blessing of Uncle Sam, Killing our young people for oil.

Just ain't right!


Saladin said...

I have no doubt lunatics like Custer considered the Native Americans militants and terrorists, simply for fighting against their own annihilation. Israel claims Iran wants to wipe it off the map, but look at the Maps and tell me, who is being wiped off?

That image is from my Photo Bucket album.

DEN said...

Cool pics in your album Sal!

Awsome GIF's too.

Everyone must be out watching the Longshoremen protest.

Native Americans were 'in the way' to settling The US by stray Europeans wanting it all for themselves.

Carey said...

It's almost seven o'clock. Do you know where your pastor is?

DEN said...

What pastor?

DEN said...

Would you be eluding to the Wright brother?

*drum roll, cymbal*

micki said...

Well, if I had a pastor, I'd hope s/he was minding his/her business and staying the hell out of politics.

I'd love to see a ballsy politican rip into these churchy holier than thou-types and yank their tax exempt status.

Teach the fuckers a lesson they won't forget!

Saladin said...

Babylon The Great, sitting atop the beast. Church sleeping with government, the foundation of evil. Been that way for millennia. Get used to it, it isn't likely to end any time soon, it's far too profitable, like war.

Wow, what a coincidence!

Saladin said...

This is for you Micki

God misses Washington DC by miles

SUFFOLK, Va., –BobZaguy -- In an unusual display of righteous anger, God aimed at Washington DC with his high wind tornadoes, and missed by over 100 miles! It wasn't clear immediately why He was off-target by such a wide margin, but weather officials at Regent University's Baptist Weather Center were quick to point out that they have documented evidence that this is not His first-ever wide-margin miss with tornado strikes.

After three tornadoes smashed houses, piled cars on each other and injured more than 200 people, Tim Robertson, acting as spokesman for Rev. Pat Robertson called a press conference at Regent University. He said, "We are saddened by this obvious mistake on God's part, but we must advise the politicians and their agents of change in Washington that He will make good on his anger with their sinful ways during this campaign season. He [God] is not happy right now, and Dr. Robertson has been in touch to offer his advice."

Mr. Robertson, who is a son of Dr. Robertson, continued, "Evidence shows that God's tornadic controller is very precise. Even when he does miss the intended target – almost surgically, in this weather event – obliterating some homes while leaving others just a few feet away untouched."

''The only thing I can say is that most of the people of Suffolk were watched over and blessed,'' Robertson continued. "Sadly, there were some who missed the blessing."

''A number of people were quoted as saying that the noise was similar to 'someone shuffling a giant deck of cards or a herd of wild animals coming through. The wind was coming in through the cracks in the windows,' and many said that they felt like they were having a heart attack," Robertson said. "We have sent our Operation Blessing into Suffolk to help sort this out and give help and assistance where ever it is needed."

"The Suffolk tornado was at least an F3 storm, possibly the most strongest storm ever to strike the region," said a meteorologist in Virginia. F3 tornadoes carry wind speeds from 153 to 213 miles per hour, almost a freak of nature, according to the National Weather Service.

But the Baptist Weather Center at Regent University countered that while it was definitely a major storm, it was not in any way a freak. "This devastating tornado strike was really meant for the sinful politicians just up the road in Washington DC. People need to be aware that this slight miscalculation on God's part was in no way meant as a punishment for the people of Suffolk, VA. They were not meant to suffer God's anger at this time."

This past January, Robertson predicted that 2008 would be a year of worldwide violence. When he was asked whether his father's prediction was coming true in Virginia, he said "My father possibly was thinking about this evil situation in Washington and the Democratic primary debates and fights. I can't be sure that this [storm] is a result of any prayer on my father's part. He does pray constantly about Washington politics, both for and against it."