ILWU Letter, Marxist-Humanist Meeting, General Strike Meeting
- ILWU On EGT Dispute, Marxist-Humanists Meet, General Strike Meeting
January 6th, 2012
The dispute between the Longshoremen and EGT is subject to Taft-Hartley and so any support offered has to take in consideration that the authorities will be using the law to oppose the workers and to support the company. Activists have to be smart in outwitting the corporate class and their flunkies. The police are unfortunately on the side of the bosses, strange, when they are some of the most unionized workers.
On the other hand the Marxist-Humanists are a small group of Marxists who are trying to go back to Marx to come up with answers to today's problems. But they are cognizant of the problems with Marxist-Leninism and the political states that resulted in the 20th century. It could be said they are recreating Marx in the image of the 21st century.
Meantime don't forget to come to the Occupy May 1st General Strike meeting on January 7th. Noon at Corazon del Pueblo, 2003 E. First St, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (that's near Cummings, east of the Golden State Freeway I-5.
I wanted to list some anarchist events around town, but it seems that all anarchist activity has been swept up in the Occupy events, maybe, I am not convinced. I am sure there is a whole anarchist community that is lurking out there somewhere. I have got to get in touch with my roots.
Sometimes it is hard to believe that this is real. I have to shake myself and remember that what for me has been a burden, the weight of decades of wishing and hoping and trying and failing, demonstrations that led nowhere, meetings that went nowhere, are all over, we are in the beginning of the new age. This is what the Maya were talking about the end of the old time, the end of the drudgery of the enslavement of mankind to building massive monuments to strange gods. We are now free to create a world that is ours, are well willing to move out and take it?
ILWU Coast Longshore Division
January 3, 2012
To: All Longshore, Clerk, and Walking Boss/Foreman Locals
Brothers and Sisters:
We are currently engaged in a labor dispute with one of our employers, EGT, in the Pacific Northwest. EGT continues to refuse to return to the negotiating table with Local 21 after walking away from nearly two years of direct contract negotiations over the terms of employment for the longshore workers that EGT would be employing at its new facility in the very location on public port property that longshore workers have been performing longshore work for decades.
We believe that at some point this month a vessel will call at the EGT facility in Longview, Washington. We have been told that this vessel will be escorted by armed United States Coast Guard, including the use of small vessels and helicopters, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the EGT facility and that the facility itself will be protected by a full complement of local law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions.
The purpose of this letter is to inform and prepare the Longshore Division locals for the action that we will take when that vessel calls at EGT's facility.
Locals need to be aware of the narrow path that we must cut through a federal labor law (the Taft-Hartley Act) that criminalizes worker solidarity, outlaws labor's most effective tools, and protects commerce while severely restricting unions. Because Local 21's labor dispute is with EGT, federal labor law entitles the Local to conduct picketing and other collective actions directed at EGT. Further, while the NLRB, which administers Taft-Hartley, sought and received an injunction in federal court on behalf of EGT against the ILWU and its members, the federal court denied the NLRB's motion to ban picketing at the EGT facility in Longview, preserving our First Amendment rights to peacefully picket the company.
The NLRB is currently seeking a second injunction, this time on behalf of PMA, on the theory that any disruption of work by the ILWU on the West Coast docks at the same time that the Union is protesting EGT constitutes a violation of Taft-Hartley. However, we have no dispute with PMA or its member companies. Thus, any showing of support for Local 21 at the time that a vessel calls at the EGT facility must be measured to ensure that the West Coast ports have sufficient manpower so as not to impact cargo movement for PMA member companies. A call for a protest of EGT is not a call for a shutdown of West Coast ports and must not result in one.
In addition, be aware that officers, rank and file, and union supporters have been aggressively arrested or summoned to court by the hundreds for demonstrating against EGT. We were also falsely accused of hostage taking by a local police chief and subject to numerous other false characterizations as criminals and thugs. We are now being methodically and maliciously prosecuted for exercising our free speech rights, prosecution designed to lead to jail time, prohibition on future lawful picketing, and permanent criminal records. In essence, the company that promised good local jobs and then outsourced them is being protected by law enforcement, which means that middle class taxpayer dollars are subsidizing union busting multinational corporate giant EGT's fight against the ILWU and Longview's working community.
The goal of any demonstration that takes place corresponding with the arrival of a vessel will be designed to send the following message to EGT and local and federal law enforcement: EGT is threatening the stability of the local community and the Pacific Northwest grain export industry; and law enforcements' collusion with EGT is destroying the public's trust.
When the time comes, the International Officers and the Coast Committee will communicate with the Longshore Division locals and publicize action that supporters of the ILWU can take to advance the cause against EGT and protest government collusion to protect commerce at the expense of workers and community. We fully understand that the ILWU's labor dispute with EGT is symbolic of what is wrong in the United States today. Corporations, no matter how harmful the conduct to society, enjoy full state and federal protection while workers and the middle class get treated as criminals for trying to protect their jobs and communities. However, please take extreme caution when dealing with supporters of non-ILWU sanctioned calls to action relative to EGT. Everything is at stake for the community of Longview and our members including personal freedom. We welcome outside support for our efforts against EGT but must make effective use of collective power.
We will communicate with the locals as to the estimated time of the arrival of the vessel.
LA Marxist Humanists Meeting
MARX AND THE STATE
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21, 2012
Westside Pavilion, Community Room A
Corner of Pico and Westwood Boulevards, Los Angeles
Community Room A is on 3rd floor, behind food court
Free parking first 3 hours
DC, historian and activist
Kevin Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins
The collapse of most of the statist regimes ruling in the name of Marxism has contributed to the rise of anarchist and left communist currents. The collapse of statist communism has also led to a rethinking of Marxism and an increased sense of separation between Marx and his political heirs, above all Lenin. This meeting will explore Marx's mature writings on the state, especially those on the Paris Commune, wherein he argued for the abolition of both the state and capital.
Suggested reading, from Marx's "Civil War in France":
Sponsored by West Coast Marxist-Humanists, an affiliate of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization
More information: arise@...
Saturday, February 18, 2-4 PM, same location:
The Return(s) of Socialist Humanism and the Need for an Alternative
Barbara Epstein and Kevin Anderson
Barbara Epstein teaches at UC Santa Cruz in the History of Consciousness Department and writes on social movements; her most recent book is The Minsk Ghetto, 1941-1943: Jewish Resistance and Soviet Internationalism. She is currently working on a project on socialist humanism: its rise, decline, and continuing relevance for the left.