Labor at October 26 DC Antiwar Rally
Clarence Thomas, ILWU Secretary-Treasurer, Local 10 of the Longshoreman’s union in San Francisco provided a further perspective. “You are the true fighters for social justice and peace,” he said, noting in addition that his union was one of the first to come out in opposition against war with Iraq. “Let the Iraqis make regime change, not Bush,” he continued. He reminded us that his union’s refusal to unload cargo from South Africa had been an initial provocation that led to the end of Apartheid there. Additional support had been offered in 1999 when his union shut down in support of the WTO and also supported the freeing of the political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. He referred further to Bush’s threat to use the military to unload cargo if the current alleged slowdown in cargo unloading persists. “Hands off the dock! Stay out of Iraq!” he warned. . . .
Close to two hundred different labor organizations so far have endorsed the protest marches on October 26. Michael Letwin, president of UAW Local 2325 in New York and also Legal Aid Attorneys, representing the organization NYC Labor against War, spoke next. “So many workers died in the illegal, immoral war in Vietnam,” he said. 1200 unionists signed a petition opposed to terror wars in Africa, Iraq, and anywhere else, he continued. “In recent weeks alone, other unions are protesting the war all over the country.” He referred to 400,000 workers who protested in England recently and said that we can make this country work as they did.