6 thoughts on “International labour conference to stop Iraq war in San Francisco, USA

  1. Hi Kitty, My brother in law is a member of local 10. I was friends with many old timers from the port of SF. In fact, many friends and family work as longshoremen, merchant seamen and teamsters on both the East and West coast.

    This is a terrific article. Local 10 has a long history of refusing to handle cargo destined for war zones or oppressive regimes. However, I do have some criticism. I haven’t heard a word of this until I read it here. What remains of Bay Area labor tends to keep itself well insulated. Union officers will talk to each other, but exclude their members for fear of stirring up controversy, or losing control of the membership. “Labor” events tend to be publicized exclusively to paid union officers. They are also usually attended exclusively by paid union officers.
    I belong to a very undemocratic union that holds very few meetings and does nothing to educate the membership. ILWU is thousands of times better, but still likes to do things from the top down.

    Good to know that Bay Area labor is trying to stop the war, but sad to learn about it from a blogger who is thousands of miles away.

    Jon, member Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1575

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  2. Hi Jon, thanks you for this interesting reaction! You, of course, know much better than I do how trade unions work in your area. In a sort of “defence” of the ILWU locals: they do publicize the anti war conference on the Internet, the announcement is at the top of http://www.transportworkers.org/ . Maybe the announcement is very recent. There is still months till October 20 to involve more people for the conference. Can you bring it up in your union? Will you and/or your brother in law be at the conference? All best wishes to you!

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  3. Lawrence of Arabia Had It Right
    Posted by: “G. Myrick” garymyrick@sbcglobal.net
    Wed Aug 8, 2007 8:45 am (PST)

    T. E. Lawrence, British agent from the London newspaper, The Sunday Times, August 1920:

    “The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia (Iraq) into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. We are today not far from a disaster”.

    ———————————————————-

    Lawrence of Arabia Had It Right About Iraq
    Excerpted from the article by Robert Fisk

    The Independent
    Jul 19, 2007

    Back in 1929, Lawrence of Arabia wrote the entry for “Guerrilla” in the 14th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. It is a chilling read-and here I thank one of my favourite readers, Peter Metcalfe of Stevenage, for sending me TE’s remarkable article-because it contains so ghastly a message to the American armies in Iraq.

    Writing of the Arab resistance to Turkish occupation in the 1914-18 war, he asks of the insurgents (in Iraq and elsewhere): “. suppose they were an INFLUENCE, a thing invulnerable, intangible, without front or back, drifting about like a gas? Armies were like plants, immobile as a whole, firm-rooted, nourished through long stems to the head. The Arabs might be a VAPOUR…”

    How typical of Lawrence to use the horror of gas warfare as a metaphor for insurgency. To control the land they occupied, he continued, the Turks “would have need of a fortified post every four square miles, and a post could not be less than 20 men. The Turks would need 600,000 men to meet the combined ill wills of all the local Arab people. They had 100,000 men available.”

    Now who does that remind you of? The “fortified post every four square miles” is the ghostly future echo of George W Bush’s absurd “surge”. The Americans need 600,000 men to meet the combined ill will of the Iraqi people, and they have only 150,000 available. Donald Rumsfeld, the architect of “war lite,” is responsible for that. Yet still these rascals get away with it.

    ….

    Oh, how we miss Lawrence. “The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern (guerrilla) commander,” he wrote 78 years ago, accurately predicting al-Qa’ida’s modern-day use of the internet. For insurgents, “battles were a mistake … Napoleon had spoken in angry reaction against the excessive finesse of the 18th century, when men almost forgot that war gave licence to murder”.

    True, the First World War Arab Revolt was not identical to today’s Iraqi insurgency. In 1917, the Turks had manpower but insufficient weapons. Today the Americans have the weapons but insufficient men. But listen to Lawrence again.

    “Rebellion must have an unassailable base … in the MINDS of men converted to its creed. It must have a SOPHISTICATED ALIEN ENEMY, in the form of a disciplined army of occupation too small to fulfil the doctrine of acreage: too few to adjust number to space, in order to dominate the whole area effectively from fortified posts.

    “It must have a friendly population, not actively friendly, but sympathetic to the point of not betraying rebel movements to the enemy. Rebellions can be made by 2 per cent active in a striking force, and 98 per cent passively sympathetic … Granted mobility, security … time, and doctrine … victory will rest with the insurgents, for the algebraical factors are in the end decisive, and against them perfections of means and spirit struggle quite in vain.”

    ***

    Read this at http://news.independent.co.uk/fisk/article2768261.ece

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  4. Pingback: US trade unionists against the Iraq war | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: US workers against the Iraq war | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: British government Iraq war cover-up | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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