Monthly Archives: October 2003

Bush Lies–We Die — March on Oct. 25, 2003

Bush Lies–We Die
March on Oct. 25, 2003
End the Occupation of Iraq! Bring the Troops Home Now!

Who Pays For Bush’s War Of Oil & Empire in Iraq?

G.I.s.  Already almost 300 dead, 1,500 wounded — mostly workers and people of color from our communities.  $1 billion per week for another Vietnam war, with no end in sight.

Iraqis. Up to 8,000 dead, 20,000 wounded; a despised U.S. occupation so that union-busting companies like Halliburton, Bechtel and Verizon get multi-billion dollar contracts to plunder Iraq.

Workers at Home. The very same corporate thieves get huge tax cuts, while slashing our wages, jobs, schools, housing, transit and health care, while trampling on the right to strike, Verizon workers, civil liberties and immigrants.

What Can We Do?

Millions of workers around the world — including labor bodies that represent one-third of union members in the U.S. — have opposed Bush’s war for oil and empire. Iraqis demand an immediate end to U.S. occupation. Our friends and family in the military want to come home now.  It’s up to NYC to:

Educate.  Hold a union or community meeting, with speakers from groups like NYCLAW, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Military Families Speak Out.

Take a Stand.   Join the 1,500 trade union endorsers of New York City Labor Against the War (see other side).  Organize a NYCLAW committee in your union.  Propose a resolution to support U.S. Labor Against the War.

March on October 25.  Get your union to send buses to the mass demonstration in DC to Bring the Troops Home Now!

For More Information

Please join us at NYCLAW meetings, the first Monday of each month, 6:30 p.m., at AFSCME DC 1707, 75 Varick St., 14 Floor (1/2/A/C/E to Canal St.).

Or contact:  New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW), PO Box 233, Prince St. Station, NY, NY 10012-3900, nyclaw@comcast.net, 917.282.0139.

[Union Labor Donated–9/19/03]

March In DC, Oct. 25, 2003 — End the Occupation of Iraq! Bring the Troops Home Now!

[Download formatted flyer: 10-25-nyclaw-flyer]

March In DC, Oct. 25, 2003
End the Occupation of Iraq! Bring the Troops Home Now!

Who Pays For Bush’s War Of Oil & Empire in Iraq?

*G.I.s. Already almost 300 dead, 1,500 wounded – mostly workers and people of color from our communities. $1 billion per week for another Vietnam war, another $87 billion more on the way. And no end in sight.

*Iraqis. Up to 8,000 dead, 20,000 wounded; a despised U.S. occupation so that union busting companies like Halliburton, Bechtel and Verizon get multi billion dollar contracts to plunder Iraq.

*Workers at Home. The very same corporate thieves get huge tax cuts, while slashing our wages, jobs, schools, housing, transit and health care, while trampling on the right to strike, civil liberties and immigrants.

What Can We Do?

Millions of workers around the world – including labor bodies that represent one third of union members in the U.S. – have opposed Bush’s war for oil and empire.

Iraqis demand an immediate end to U.S. occupation. Our friends and family in the military want to come home now. It’s up to NYC to:

*Educate. Hold a union or community meeting, with speakers from groups like NYCLAW, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Military Families Speak Out.

*Take a Stand. Join the 1,500 trade union endorsers of New York City Labor Against the War (see other side). Organize a NYCLAW committee in your union. Propose a resolution to support U.S. Labor Against the War.

*March on October 25. Get your union to send buses to the mass demonstration in DC to Bring the Troops Home Now!

For More Information

Please join us at NYCLAW meetings, the first Monday of each month, 6:30 p.m., at AFSCME DC 1707, 75 Varick St., 14 Floor (1/2/A/C/E to Canal St.).

Or contact: New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW), PO Box 233, Prince St. Station, NY, NY 10012 3900, nyclaw@comcast.net, 917.282.0139.

[Union Labor Donated-9/19/03]

NYCLAW Flyer: March in DC, Oct. 25, 2003

[Download the formatted version: 10-25-nyclaw-flyer.doc]

March In DC, Oct. 25, 2003
End the Occupation of Iraq!
Bring the Troops Home Now!

Who Pays For Bush’s War Of Oil & Empire in Iraq?

*G.I.s. Already almost 300 dead, 1,500 wounded – mostly workers and people of color from our communities. $1 billion per week for another Vietnam war, another $87 billion more on the way. And no end in sight.

*Iraqis. Up to 8,000 dead, 20,000 wounded; a despised U.S. occupation so that union-busting companies like Halliburton, Bechtel and Verizon get multi-billion dollar contracts to plunder Iraq.

*Workers at Home. The very same corporate thieves get huge tax cuts, while slashing our wages, jobs, schools, housing, transit and health care, while trampling on the right to strike, civil liberties and immigrants.

What Can We Do?

Millions of workers around the world – including labor bodies that represent one-third of union members in the U.S. – have opposed Bush’s war for oil and empire.

Iraqis demand an immediate end to U.S. occupation. Our friends and family in the military want to come home now. It’s up to NYC to:

*Educate. Hold a union or community meeting, with speakers from groups like NYCLAW, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Military Families Speak Out.

*Take a Stand. Join the 1,500 trade union endorsers of New York City Labor Against the War (see other side). Organize a NYCLAW committee in your union. Propose a resolution to support U.S. Labor Against the War.

*March on October 25. Get your union to send buses to the mass demonstration in DC to Bring the Troops Home Now!

For More Information

Please join us at NYCLAW meetings, the first Monday of each month, 6:30 p.m., at AFSCME DC 1707, 75 Varick St., 14 Floor (1/2/A/C/E to Canal St.).

Or contact: New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW), PO Box 233, Prince St. Station, NY, NY 10012-3900, nyclaw@comcast.net, 917.282.0139.

[Union Labor Donated-9/19/03]

Call to a National Labor Assembly for Peace (USLAW)

http://www.labornet.org/news/0803/chicaganti.htm

CALL to a NATIONAL LABOR ASSEMBLY for PEACE
OCTOBER 24-25, 2003 in CHICAGO

Dear Sisters and Brothers:
The undersigned trade unionists invite you to join us for a National Labor Assembly on the issues of peace, prosperity, security, democracy and justice.  Its purpose will be to forge an ongoing labor coalition that will challenge the U.S. foreign policy of permanent war and its consequences for working families both here at home and abroad.  The Assembly will be held in Chicago on the evening of October 24 and all day on October 25, 2003.

In the months preceding the invasion of Iraq, hundreds of local, state and national unions, central labor councils and other labor organizations took official positions opposing war on Iraq.  This led to the founding, on January 11 in Chicago, of U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW).  On February
27 the AFL-CIO Executive Council adopted its own resolution opposing Bush’s unilateral and preemptive military action.  By the time the invasion of Iraq was actually launched on March 20, labor organizations representing almost one-third of all organized workers in the U.S. were on record opposed to the war.

U.S. troops are now committed to an indeterminate occupation of that war-devastated country.  All the important questions about Iraq’s future remain under a cloud, including what role the Iraqi people will have in shaping their own future and whether Iraqi workers will enjoy internationally recognized labor rights, including the right to organize freely, to bargain collectively and to strike.

Despite its rhetoric about liberation, it is increasingly clear that the Bush administration is motivated more by global ambitions and corporate interests than by the freedom of Iraqis.  Consistent with its belligerent posture and preemptive war doctrine, threats of military action against other countries continue to emanate from the administration.  Its announced decision to resume development of tactical nuclear weapons will escalate the arms race, making the U.S. and the whole world less, not more, secure.

Our nation is in the midst of its worst economic crisis in decades. Organized labor and working families are under a relentless assault from the Bush administration on every front.  Government has become a willing ally of big business in attacking unions and the right to organize and bargain. More than 180,000 federal workers have lost the right to union representation in the name of “national security.”  While the social safety net is being shredded, the administration is massively cutting taxes for the wealthy.  It has undermined cherished democratic ideals and eroded Constitutional rights with measures like the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act.  The budget for the military and prisons continues to grow, while social programs and public sector jobs and services are being downsized, outsourced, privatized or eliminated.  Schools are being shuttered and teachers laid off by the thousands, veterans benefits are being slashed, millions are jobless, many millions more are without health care and adequate housing. In communities of color, among immigrants and the poor, these cuts will have a disproportionately painful impact.  Children will suffer their worst effects. The $200 billion being spent to topple Saddam Hussein and reconstruct Iraq could have been spent addressing these urgent needs.

The stakes at this moment in history are high.  For many trade unionists who did not oppose the war earlier, the relationship between a militarized foreign policy and its effect on our domestic economy are becoming painfully clear.  “National security” has become the cover for gutting many of the social and economic gains won by working people during the 20th century. The Administration is using the power of the US military to boost Bush’s image in the face of the disastrous results of his economic policies.

This administration presents the most serious threat to the economic and social well being, civil liberties and civil rights,  security of the nation and peace in the world of any in memory.  Bush’s defeat in the 2004 election is of paramount urgency. However, in seeking his defeat, we must assure the defeat of the policies he has promoted so that no matter who is elected, it will be politically impossible to pursue them.  We believe organized labor can defeat these policies only by making the connection between the militarization of U.S. foreign policy and the militarization of our society, the curtailment of civil liberties and encroachment on our Constitutional rights, and the bankrupting of government services at all levels.

We propose to create a voice within the labor movement that is an energetic advocate for policies that strengthen international institutions so that conflicts between nations can be resolved through diplomacy rather than war. We seek a U.S. foreign policy that promotes global economic and social justice, not the use of military force.  We want our government to meet human needs, not cater to corporate greed.

INITIATING SIGNATORIES
(list in formation)

ORGANIZATIONAL ENDORSEMENTS
1199 New England SEIU
AFSCME Dist. Council 1707, NYC, by President Brenda Stokely
AFT Local 2121, San Francisco, by President Allan Fisher
Arabs Building Community – Bay Area (CA) Labor Committee
Bay Area (CA) Labor Committee for Peace & Justice
California Federation of Teachers, by President Mary Bergan
Chicago Labor Against the War, by Treasurer Larry Duncan
Coalition of University Employees (UC – CA) Anti-war Caucus
Washington, DC Metropolitan Labor Council, by President Joslyn Williams
King County (Seattle) Labor Council, by Executive Secretary Steve Williamson
Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, Local 1521, by the Executive Board
Massachusetts Labor for Justice With Peace
Pride at Work by Co-President Nancy Wohlforth and Executive Director
Marta Ames
PSC-CUNY/AFT Local 2334, by Senior College Officer Nancy Romer
San Francisco Labor Council, by Secretary-Treasurer Walter Johnson
SEIU Health Care Workers Local 250 (CA) by President Sal Rosselli
United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers, by General Secretary-Treasurer Bruce Klipple
United Educators of San Francisco, by the UESF Executive Board

INDIVIDUAL ENDORSEMENTS
(organizations and titles for identification only)

Amatullah Alaji-Sabrie, President of Local 3, Coalition of University Employees (UC – CA)
Thomas Balanoff, President, SEIU Local 1 and International V.P. of SEIU
Alan Benchich, President, UAW Local 909, Warren, MI
Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union
Gene Carroll, Director of Union Leadership Program, ILR, Cornell University
Miguel Contrerez, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
Alice Dale, President, SEIU Local 49 and International V.P. of SEIU Portland
Art Doherty, President, Philadelphia Area Local APWU, V.P. Philadelphia CLC, V.P. PA State Federation of Labor
Maria Elena Durazo, President, HERE Local 11, Los Angeles; VP of HERE
David Foster, Director, United Steelworkers of America, Region 11 (MN)
Fred Hirsch, Vice President, Plumbers & Fitters Local 393, San Jose
Claudia Horning, Statewide President, Coalition of University Employees (UC-CA)
Marty Hittelman, Vice President, CA Federation  of Teachers
John Kirk, Chief Grievance Officer, AFT Local 1493, San Mateo County Community College Faculty
Nancy Lessin, USWA 9358 (Boston); Co-founder of MFSO
Zev Kvitky, President, United Stanford Workers; Vice-President, SEIU Local 715
Charles Lester Political Director, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
Michael Letwin, Co-Convenor, NYC Labor Against War
Elena Marcheschi, Chicago Labor for Peace, Prosperity & Justice
Eliseo Medina, Executive V.P., SEIU Western Region
David Novogrodsky, Executive Director, Professional & Technical Engineers Local 21, San Francisco
Debby Pope, Director of Communications, Chicago Teachers Union, AFT #1
Charley Richardson, SEIU 254 (Boston) and Co-founder, MFSO
Louie Rocha, President, CWA Local 9423, San Jose
Wendy Thompson, UAW President 235, Detroit
Jerry Tucker, Executive Director, United Health Care Workers, St. Louis
Howard Wallace, Executive Committee, San Francisco Labor Council; Former National Co-Chair, Pride at Work
Gerry Zero, President, Teamsters Local 705, Chicago

The Future of the Anti-War Movement: Opposing the Occupation

http://mawad.com/maass10232003.html

October 23, 2003
The Future of the Anti-War Movement
Opposing the Occupation

By ALAN MAASS

October 25 marks the first national mobilization of the antiwar movement since the invasion of Iraq began. The demonstrations in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco come after the systematic lies of the Bush administration have been exposed–and with the occupation of Iraq facing increasing resistance, including armed attacks.

Opinion polls show a majority of people in the U.S. opposed to Bush’s demand for $87 billion to fund his occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. “So many of the things that we were pointing out before the war have become more known–that all this was based on misrepresentations, distortions, sometimes outright deceptions–that it’s time for people to take it back into the streets,” says Dave Cline, president of Veterans for Peace and a founder of the Bring Them Home Now campaign launched this summer.

At the same time, sponsors of the October 25th demonstrations agree that these protests won’t approach the size of the ones before the war–when literally millions of people around the world took to the streets for one of the days of action on February 15. This has led to some “concern” among activists, in the words of Medea Benjamin, a cofounder of the women’s peace group Code Pink.

“I don’t see the same level of energy out there,” Benjamin says. “I think people are confused about whether things would be worse if U.S. troops leave. I think people are demoralized that the huge protests that we did organize didn’t have the effect that we wanted. So I think those two things combined mean that our movement doesn’t have the same momentum that it did before the war.”

Activists throughout the movement are dealing with these same questions. The Bush administration’s swaggering victory celebration after Baghdad fell to U.S. troops unleashed a tide of propaganda that put the antiwar movement on the defensive. The White House has since been set back on its heels itself.

But activists across the country report that the growing doubts about the occupation and the anger at the administration’s lies have so far not translated into renewed growth for the antiwar committees and coalitions that organized the outpouring of protests before the war. One common attitude is cynicism about the impact of protests–since the Bush administration ignored millions of protesters around the world before the war.

Nevertheless, Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of the antiwar coalition United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), believes that the majority sentiment isn’t to give up. “A lot of activists get it that we’re up against a formidable power here–the power of the U.S. government, the U.S. military, the U.S. corporations, the mainstream media,” Cagan says.

Rania Masri, a writer and activist who works with the Institute for Southern Studies and serves on the steering committee of UFPJ, agrees. “To think that a mere one protest, no matter how large, could stop the war is somewhat naive,” Masri said. “Maybe it resulted in a different kind of a war. Maybe it resulted in the Bush administration being more hesitant about another war afterwards. Maybe it resulted in a very strong political statement that we need to be making.

“We don’t know. But what we do know–and this is what I think as activists we have to recognize–is that if we don’t act, we know what’s going to happen. By not acting, we’re supporting the policies.”

* * *

ANOTHER FACTOR affecting the state of antiwar organizing is the disagreements between different wings of the movement about how to approach the occupation.

Groups with very different political beliefs and strategies could come together before the invasion around the common demand of “no to war.” But many liberal and pacifist organizations now believe that some sort of continued occupation of Iraq is necessary–maybe under the United Nations (UN) flag, or even a U.S. presence with different priorities. The result, says Michael Letwin, co-convener of New York City Labor Against the War, is that “there’s been a certain number of people in the antiwar movement who do not feel comfortable and who aren’t necessarily mobilizing–or if they are mobilizing, they aren’t very enthusiastic about it.”

UFPJ and International ANSWER, the largest national antiwar coalitions and co-sponsors of the October 25 demonstrations, are agreed on the call for an immediate end to the U.S. occupation–and the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. “We recognize that as American occupiers, we are not the ones who will improve the situation,” says Rania Masri. “We are only making the situation worse, in so many different ways. It’s like a spokesperson for Military Families Speak Out put it so marvelously–that there’s no right way to do a wrong thing. There’s no right way to improve the occupation of Iraq.”

Even bigger differences exist over what should happen after the U.S. leaves–especially the role of the UN. The pacifist American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is supporting the October 25 protests as a member group in UFPJ, but Michael McConnell, AFSC’s regional director for Chicago, says that his office hasn’t mobilized for the demonstrations beyond advertising them to members.

To McConnell, the occupation is “a much more complex situation” than what existed before the war. “AFSC’s position is that the UN should be overseeing the transition to a new government in Iraq,” he said. “But obviously, that’s a bit harder to mobilize around than stopping the war before it starts–or even ending an occupation. At least from our perspective, it’s more complex at some level than just a slogan.”

But to Elias Rashmawi, who is on the national steering committee of the Free Palestine Alliance and the International ANSWER coalition, support for UN mandate in Iraq means setting a “goal of internationalizing colonial control.” “For the antiwar movement to sustain itself, it actually requires clarity,” Rashmawi says. “I think the struggle within the movement in terms of defining politics, will start taking shape in the next phase, and I think the size of the movement will be reflective of that sort of discussion.”

Michael Letwin thinks that the UN Security Council’s unanimous vote in favor of a U.S.-backed resolution last week will help clarify issues for activists. “The fact that the UN has just come out and endorsed the occupation unanimously really will, I think, accelerate that process of people having to figure out which side of this thing they’re on,” he said. “Because it’s even less possible to view the UN as some benign alternative to U.S. occupation. Now it’s one and the same.”

Leslie Cagan says that differences around questions like the role of the UN should not prevent different organizations from coming out to demonstrate on what they do agree on–and that the movement has to figure out how to discuss these political questions as they develop. “You don’t get agreement unless you open up the debate,” Cagan says. “And that’s part of what the job of a mass movement is–to open up debate.”

Or as Rashmawi puts it, “In order to have a more organized movement, I think that the politics need to be at the front.”

* * *

SOME ASPECTS of the organizing for October 25 mark an unmistakable step forward for the antiwar movement. After issuing competing calls for demonstrations in the past, ANSWER and UFPJ are working together on this national mobilization–a sign, says Cagan, of “a certain level of maturity in the movement that we agree the crisis of the occupation is bigger than whatever the differences exist between us.”

And since the summer, the most dynamic antiwar organizing has taken place among the families of U.S. soldiers–and even the soldiers themselves. The coming together of military families with different antiwar veterans groups to launch the Bring Them Home Now campaign in August will make for a stronger working class base for the movement, says Dave Cline. “It grounds us in the reality of this country, and hopefully, that will help advance the common cause,” he said.

And while organizing on campus may have started slower than some activists expected, the national “Speaking Truth to Empire” tour sponsored by the Campus Anti-War Network (CAN) has drawn good turnouts–ranging into the hundreds in some places. Kirstin Roberts, a Midwestern representative on the CAN coordinating committee says that these audiences want answers first–which is why they aren’t necessarily drawn to protests immediately.

“Once they get an explanation and get pointed toward activism and mobilizing and organizing as one of the things they need to do, you find people are signing up to get involved, are signing up to get on the bus to Washington, are signing up with their local antiwar committees,” Roberts says. “To me, it feels not like the decline of the movement, but more of a rebuilding phase of the movement, and on a different kind of a basis.

Likewise, Dave Cline believes that the October 25 demonstrations can mark the beginning of a new phase of the antiwar movement, organized with a clearer sense of how to answer the political questions it will face. “I think we’re at the beginning of a new cycle,” Cline says. “What happened before the war was a cycle that culminated in February 15. And on March 20, Bush said forget about it. He never intended to consider our views. That was one wave of the movement. We’re at the beginning of the second wave, and hopefully, it’s with a more profound consciousness about what we’re up against.

Alan Maass is the editor of the Socialist Worker. He can be reached at: alanmaass@sbcglobal.net

Forum: Let’s Talk About Really Supporting Our Troops & Vets

[Download formatted flyer: nyclawa18]

Let’s Talk About Really Supporting Our Troops & Vets:
End the Occupation of Iraq–Bring the Troops Home Now!

A Forum Presented by Veterans and Military Family Members

Moderator: Ben Chitty (USN 1965-9, Vietnam 1966-7, 1968)
Member AFT Local 2334 and Veterans for Peace

Saturday, October 18, 2003, 4-6 p.m.
AFSCME District Council 1707
75 Varick Street (at Canal), 14 Floor Auditorium

In Iraq: 3-4-5-6 soldiers killed every week . . . another 12-15 wounded . . . another 20-30 so sick they leave by medevac. Now Bush wants $87 billion more for his war — on top of the $90 billion already spent.

Meanwhile: Congressional Republicans propose reducing combat pay and family separation allowances, and making veterans disability compensation harder to get

Meanwhile: The Pentagon refuses to verify baseline medical data for deployed troops (even though more than 200,000 veterans from Desert Shield and Desert Storm are already rated disabled), denies that depleted uranium may be hazardous, and claims to be exempt from FDA and EPA regulations

Meanwhile: One in three women veterans report being abused or raped, and domestic violence in military families occurs at twice the national average

Meanwhile: The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to close seven veterans hospitals (including the Manhattan V.A. Medical Center on 23rd Street)

Sponsored by: New York City Labor Against the War
For more information: 718.997.3734 workdays 9-5, or nyclaw@comcast.net

Labor Goes to the Movies Film Series: Battle of Algiers Gillo Pontecorvo (1965)

Labor Goes to the Movies Film Series
Sponsored by the Professional Staff Congress

FRIDAY October 17, 2003
Battle of Algiers Gillo Pontecorvo (1965)

“How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas.” –Pentagon screening flyer, August 2003

Presenters:
Ervand Abrahamian, Distinguished Professor, Dept. of History, Baruch College
Michael Letwin, New York City Labor Against the War

Algerian rebels fight for independence from French rule in this gritty and remarkably realistic documentary-style film. The guerrillas expand their assault into the casbah, while the French attempt to crush the growing movement. There aren’t simple heroes and bad guys; the colonizers are smartly portrayed and the rebels use some of the master’s tools. The contemporary resonance of the story of an imperial power fighting to hang on to its empire in the Middle East should not be missed. The Pentagon recently screened the film to officers and civilians.

Co-sponsored by New York City Labor Against the War

Center for Worker Education (CCNY)
99 Hudson Street 6th Floor (1/2 to Franklin Street, A/C to Chambers)

6:00PM Suggested donation: $2.00
REFRESHMENTS AND LIGHT SNACKS WILL BE SERVED

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Friday evenings: Nov. 14: Harlan County, U.S.A.
(Barbara Kopple, 1976) Dec. 12: Modern Times
(Charlie Chaplin, 1936) Jan. 24: 1900 Special Saturday screening
(Bernardo Bertolucci, 1976) Feb. 20: Finally Got the News
(League of Revolutionary Black Workers, 1970) Mar. 12: Portrait of Teresa
(Pastor Vega, 1979) April 23: Blue Collar
(Paul Schrader, 1978) May 14: CUNY films Films made by PSC members.

All screenings at the Center For Worker Education

See the PSC website for more details about the series http://www. psc-cuny.org