US dockworkers’ May Day strike against Iraq war


This video from the USA says about itself:

Oakland injuries from police brutality against protest. Video evidence of injuries suffered by protesters shot by police at protest on April 7, 2003.

From British daily News Line:

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

US Longshoremen show the way with strike action on May Day to stop the war in Iraq

DOCKWORKERS of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have decided to stop work for eight hours in all US West Coast ports on May 1, International Workers’ Day, to call for an end to the war with Iraq.

The motion carried by the dockworkers calls the war an imperialist war for oil in which the lives of working-class youth and Iraqi civilians are being sacrificed and that therefore they have declared May Day a ‘no peace, no work’ holiday.

The Longshoremen oppose both the Republicans and the spineless Democrats, who oppose the war but who vote to finance it, and have decided that they have to show where they stand on the issue.

The Pacific Maritime Association, the West Coast employer association of shipowners, stevedore companies and terminal operators, have declared their opposition to the stand taken by the dockers, and will be running to the Bush regime to use the state to take action against the dockworkers.

In 2002, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and before the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration threatened that if there were any of the usual job actions during contract bargaining, then troops would occupy the docks because such actions would jeopardize ‘national security’.

The PMA employers locked out the longshoremen and shut down all the West Coast ports for 11 days. but the ‘security’ issue vanished without trace.

Bush, however, invoked the Taft-Hartley Act, forcing the dockers back to work under conditions favourable to the employers.

This set the scene of one of the biggest battles between workers and the state in the US since the end of the Second World War.

When the US-UK armies invaded Iraq, hundreds of protesters demonstrated on the Oakland docks, and the dockworkers being men of principle refused to cross their picket lines.

Their action was met by a savage police attack, made without warning. Police in riot gear opened fire, shooting protesters and longshoremen alike with allegedly non-lethal weapons – wooden dowels, rubber bullets, pellet bags, concussion grenades and tear gas.

A UN Human Rights Commission investigator described the Oakland police attack as ‘the most violent’ against anti-war protesters in the United States.

These workers are now going to take strike action and march on May 1, international workers day, against the imperialist war in Iraq, and they must have the support of the trade unions not only in the US, but all over the world.

The British workers and youth marched two million strong against the war in Iraq. The so-called democratic Blair government simply ignored their massive protests and launched a savage attack on Iraq, knowing full well that the Iraqis did not have any weapons of mass destruction with which to retaliate.

Over a million Iraqis have been killed and wounded since that savage attack took place.

The only way to stop this war is through strike action, building up to a general strike to bring down the various warmongering imperialist governments.

The British trade unions must follow the example of the US dockworkers.

Monday, May 1 is international workers day and it is definitely the day to stop work and march, at the same time as the US dockworkers, to stop the war in Iraq.

Otherwise, if a real struggle is not begun against imperialist war, it is only a matter of time before the US and the UK attack Iran and perhaps devastate a chunk of central Asia using weapons of mass destruction, with the loss of another million or so innocent lives.

Iraq War Costs Skyrocketing, But Congress Unable To Scrutinize Spending, by Jason Leopold: here.

6 thoughts on “US dockworkers’ May Day strike against Iraq war

  1. http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174917/oops_our_bad

    Catch 2,200 9 Propositions on the U.S. Air War for Terror
    By Tom Engelhardt

    Let’s start with a few simple propositions.

    First, the farther away you are from the ground, the clearer things are likely to look, the more god-like you are likely to feel, the less human those you attack are likely to be to you. How much more so, of course, if you, the “pilot,” are actually sitting at a consol at an air base near Las Vegas, identifying a “suspect” thousands of miles away via video monitor, “following” that suspect into a house, and then letting loose a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone cruising somewhere over Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, or the tribal areas of Pakistan.

    Second, however “precise” your weaponry, however “surgical” your strike, however impressive the grainy snuff-film images you can put on television, war from the air is, and will remain, a most imprecise and destructive form of battle.

    Third, in human terms, distance does not enhance accuracy. The farther away you are from a target, the more likely it is that you will have to guess who or what it is, based on spotty, difficult to interpret or bad information, not to speak of outright misinformation; whatever the theoretical accuracy of your weaponry, you are far more likely to miscalculate, make mistakes, mistarget, or target the misbegotten from the air.

    Fourth, if you are conducting war this way and you are doing so in heavily populated urban neighborhoods, as is now the case almost every day in Iraq, then civilians will predictably die “by mistake” almost every day: the child who happens to be on the street but just beyond camera range; the “terrorist suspect” or insurgent who looks, at a distance, like he’s planting a roadside bomb, but is just scavenging; the neighbors who happen to be sitting down to dinner in the apartment or house next to the one you decide to hit.

    Fifth, since World War II, air power has been the American way of war.

    Sixth, since November 2001, the Bush administration has increasingly relied on air power in its Global War on Terror to “take out” the enemy, which has meant regular air strikes in cities and villages, and the no less regular, if largely unrecorded, deaths of civilians.

    Seventh, in Afghanistan and especially in Iraq (as well as in the tribal areas along the Pakistani border), the use of air power has been “surging.” You can essentially no longer read an account of a skirmish or battle in one of Iraq’s cities in which air power is not called in. This means (see propositions 1-4) a war of constant “mistakes,” and of regularly mentioned “investigations” into the deaths of “militants” and “insurgents” who, on the ground, seem to morph into children, women, and elderly men being pulled from the rubble.

    Eighth, force creates counterforce. The application of force, especially from the air, is a reliable engine for the creation of enemies. It is a force multiplier (and not just for U.S. forces either). Every time an air strike is called in anywhere on the planet, anyone who orders it should automatically assume that left in its wake will be grieving, angry husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, relatives, friends — people vowing revenge, a pool of potential candidates filled with the anger of genuine injustice. From the point of view of your actual enemies, you can’t bomb, missile, and strafe often enough, because when you do so, you are more or less guaranteed to create their newest recruits.

    Ninth, U.S. air power has, in the last six and a half years, been an effective force in a war for terror, not against it.

    Who’s Counting?

    What does this mean in practice? It means something simple and relentless; it means dead people you might not have chosen to kill, but that you are responsible for killing nonetheless — and even if you don’t know that, or are unwilling to acknowledge it, others do know and will draw the logical conclusions.

    What does this mean in practice? Consider just a typical collection of some of the small reports on air strikes in Iraq that have slipped into our world, barely noticed, in recent days:

    Six U.S.-allied Sunni fighters from the “Awakening” movement were reportedly killed in strikes by an AH-64 Apache helicopter on two checkpoints in the city of Samarra on March 22. (“The U.S. military denied the checkpoint it attacked… was manned by friendly members of the so-called awakening councils and said those killed were behaving suspiciously in an area recently struck by a roadside bomb… It… said the incident was under investigation… AP Television News footage of the aftermath showed awakening council members loading bodies into a pickup.”)

    Fifteen people in a single family were reportedly killed by U.S. helicopters in the city of Baquba in northern Iraq on March 23rd. (“The US military forces were not available to comment on the reports…”)

    In Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown, five civilians, including a judge, Munaf Mehdi, were reportedly killed and ten wounded from strikes by “fixed-wing aircraft” in a “battle with suspected al-Qaeda Sunni Arab militants” on March 26. (“Preliminary assessment,” according to the U.S. military, “indicates that despite coalition forces’ efforts to protect them, several civilians were injured or killed during the ensuing gunbattle.”)

    According to the Iraqi police, a U.S. plane strafed a house in the southern city of Basra, killing eight civilians, including two women and a child on March 29th.

    According to Iraqi police sources, five people, including four policemen were killed and three wounded when U.S. helicopters struck the city of Hilla in southern Iraq. According to another report, two police cars were also destroyed and an ambulance fired upon.

    A U.S. F/A-18 carried out a “precision strike” against a house in Basra, reportedly killing at least three civilians, two men and an elderly woman, while burying a father, mother, and young boy in the rubble on April 3rd. (“‘Coalition forces are unaware of any civilians killed in the strike but are currently looking into the matter,’ the military said… Associated Press Television News showed cranes and rescue workers searching for survivors in the concrete rubble from the two-story house that was leveled in the Shiite militia stronghold of Qibla.”)

    In most of these cases, the facts remain in dispute (if anyone, other than the U.S. military, even cares to dispute them); the numbers of dead may, in the end, prove inaccurate; and the equivalent of he says/she says is unlikely to be settled because, most of the time, no reporter will follow up or investigate. Such cases generally follow a pattern: The U.S. military issues a brief battle description in which so many militants/insurgents/terrorists have been taken out from the air; local officials or witnesses claim that the dead were, in part or whole, ordinary citizens; the U.S. military offers a denial that civilians were killed; if the story doesn’t die, the military announces that an investigation is underway, which no one generally ever hears about again. Only on rare occasions, in our world, do such incidents actually rise to the level of real news that anyone attends to.

    There may be an Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website and an Iraq Body Count website, but there is no Afghan version of the same, nor is there a global body count (www.gbc.com) to consult on such War on Terror civilian deaths from the air. Usually, when such events recur, there aren’t even names to put with the dead bodies and the reports themselves drop almost instantaneously beneath the waves (of news) without ever really catching our attention. Even if you believe that ours is the only world that really matters, that we are the only people whose lives have real value, that doesn’t mean such deaths won’t matter to you in the long run.

    After all, what we don’t know, or don’t care to know, others care greatly about. Who forgets when a loved one is suddenly killed in such a manner? Even if we aren’t counting bodies in the air-war subsection of the President’s Global War on Terror, others are. Those whom we think of, if at all, as “collateral damage” know just what’s happened to them and to their neighbors. And they have undoubtedly drawn the obvious conclusions.

    Our “Strike Weapons” and Theirs

    Here’s the sorry reality: Such occurrences in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the “arc” of territory that the Bush administration has, in a mere few years, helped set aflame are the norm. Our “mistakes,” that is, are legion and, in the process of making them, our planes, drones, and helicopters have killed villagers by the score, attacked a convoy of friendly Afghan “elders,” and blown away wedding parties. For us, “incidents” like these pass by in an instant, but not for those who are on the receiving end.

    The attacks of 9/11 are usually not placed in such a context. We consider ourselves special, even unique, for having experienced them. But think of them another way: One day, out of the blue, death arrives from the air. It arrives in a moment of ultimate terror. It kills innocent civilians who were simply living their lives.

    This happened to us once in a manner so spectacular, so devastating as to make global headlines. But small-scale versions of this happen regularly to people in that “arc of instability” — and, if there were to be a global body count organization for such events, it would long ago have toted up a death toll that reached past that of September 11, 2001.

    Let’s remember that, after 9/11, Americans, from the President on down, spent months, if not years in mourning, performing rites of remembrance, and swearing revenge against those who had done this to us. Do we not imagine that others, even when the spotlight isn’t on them, react similarly? Do we not think that they, too, are capable of swearing revenge and acting accordingly?

    The above list of incidents covers just a couple of weeks in one embattled country — and just the moments that made it into minor news reports that I happened to stumble across. But if you read reports from Iraq carefully these days, few describing U.S. military operations in that country seem to lack at least a sentence or two on air operations — on what is really a little noticed “air surge” over that country’s cities and especially the heavily populated slum “suburb” of eastern Baghdad, Sadr City (once known as Saddam City) largely controlled by Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia. With perhaps two and a half million inhabitants, if it were a separate city, it would be the country’s second largest.

    Here, for instance, are a few lines from a recent Los Angeles Times piece by Tina Susman on escalating fighting in Baghdad: “American helicopters fired at least four Hellfire missiles and an Air Force jet dropped a bomb on a suspected militia target… A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Steven Stover, rejected Iraqi allegations that U.S. airstrikes and gunfire have killed mainly civilians. ‘There might be some civilians that are getting caught, but for the most part, we’re killing the bad guys.’ ‘We’re very precise,’ he said, adding that many airstrikes had been called off when it was not possible to get a ‘clean hit’ that would avoid hitting noncombatants.” Or this from Sameer N. Yacoub of the Associated Press: “The U.S. military said one of its drones launched a Hellfire missile during the night at two gunmen shooting at government forces in a different part of Sadr City.” Or this: “Three US airstrikes in northeastern Baghdad have killed 12 suspected gunmen and wounded 15 civilians, Iraqi police and US military say.”

    Each of these came out while this piece was being written, as did this: According to the AP, air strikes in a remote province of Afghanistan aimed at a warlord allied with the Taliban may have killed numerous civilians. (“Other provincial leaders said many civilians were killed in the hours-long clash, which included airstrikes in the remote villages of Shok and Kendal… U.S. officials and the Afghan Defense Ministry have denied that any civilians were killed.”)

    Whatever happened in these latest air attacks, the deaths of civilians are not some sideline result of the War on Terror; they lie at its heart. If your care is safety — a subject brought up repeatedly by Senators who wanted to know from U.S. commander General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker this week whether the surge had made “us” safer — then, the answer is: This does not make you safer.

    And yet, don’t expect this counterproductive way of war to end any time soon. After all, the Air Force already has underway its “2018 bomber,” due for delivery the same year that, according to the chief American trainer of Iraqi forces, Lt. Gen. James Dubic, the Iraqi army will theoretically be able to guard the country’s frontiers effectively. And don’t forget the 2018 bomber’s successor, “a true ‘next generation’ long-range strike weapon” that “may be a traditional bomber or an exotic ‘system of systems,’ with features such as hypersonic speed.” Maybe by then, the Iraqis will actually be successfully defending their borders.

    Until then, think of the U.S. air war for terror as a Catch 2,200 — every application of force from the air resulting in the creation of a counterforce on the ground, another kind of “strike weapon” for the future, while those collateral bodies pile ever higher. Perhaps, by 2018 or 2035, worldbodycount.com will be operative.

    Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute’s Tomdispatch.com, is the co-founder of the American Empire Project. His book, The End of Victory Culture (University of Massachusetts Press), has been updated in a newly issued edition that deals with victory culture’s crash-and-burn sequel in Iraq.

    [Note: The invaluable website Antiwar.com was especially invaluable this time around when it came to tracking news accounts of recent U.S. air attacks. Please note, though, that the dates given in the piece for the attacks are approximate. All I had were the datelines on news stories, which may not reflect the actual day of each attack.]

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  2. http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=41971

    IRAQ: Five Years On, Fallujah in Tatters
    Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail*

    FALLUJAH, Apr 14 (IPS) – Fallujah remains a crippled city years after the November 2004 U.S.-led assault.Unemployment, and lack of medical care and safe drinking water in the city 60 km west of Baghdad remain a continuous problem. Freedom of movement is still curtailed.

    Fallujah has suffered more perhaps than any other city through five years of occupation. But it got a great deal worse in 2004.

    The city suffered two devastating U.S. military attacks during 2004. Many of the buildings were destroyed, or heavily damaged. Several collapsed under the heavy bombing, and were never rebuilt. The heaps of concrete slabs and piles of rubble remain where they were.

    “We wonder why we have been targeted by Americans since the first days of the occupation,” Dr. Mohammad Abed from al-Anbar University told IPS. “This city sacrificed thousands of its citizens through five years of occupation just because they said ‘no’ to a project that threatens their country’s future.”

    Now a less visible form of destruction is being spread, he said. “The new wave of destruction is represented by tearing the social tissue apart. The Americans are paying tremendous amounts of money to get people of Fallujah to fight each other.”

    The road into Fallujah from the main Amman-Baghdad highway is safer today, but nobody is allowed into Fallujah who is not from the city and can prove it by providing elaborate identity documentation. That can only be obtained by undergoing biometric identification by the U.S. military — a process which includes retina scans, body searches and finger-printing before issuance of a bar-coded ID badge.

    The city remains sealed. Many residents refer to it as a big jail.

    “Being sealed for five years, Fallujah has lost all aspects of natural life,” Ahmad Hamid, a former member of the city council told IPS. “A man who has lived most of his life mixing with British and American people told us in 2003 that we could not reach any agreement because they (Americans) look at Fallujah as a centre of Iraqi people’s unity. He told us Iraq would be divided into regions, provinces and even tribes, but we in the council did not listen to him.”

    The city remains tense in the face of power struggles and turf wars between tribal chiefs and Awakening group commanders, in Fallujah and in other areas of the volatile al-Anbar province. Disputes between the Iraqi Islamic Party and Awakening groups are also creating security tensions. The Awakening forces are former resistance fighters that the U.S. pays to be now on its side.

    Beyond security, the health situation in the city is particularly difficult. A study conducted by two civil society organisations and the administration of Fallujah General Hospital over a two-year period was submitted to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Mar. 4.

    The hospital administration and the two groups, the Conservation Centre of Environment and Reserves in Fallujah and the Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq, say that in 2006 they found “5,928 new illness cases that were unknown before in Fallujah,” over 70 percent of which were “cancers and abnormalities” in children below 12 years of age.

    “In the first six months of 2007 there were 2,447 cases, more than 50 percent of these cases were children. Simply, this means that most of the victims are children, and this will threaten the new generation in this city.”

    “Now we face death of all kinds,” said a doctor at Fallujah General Hospital. “In addition to all known diseases, new ones are invading us. Blackwater fever for instance was an unknown disease in our area, but now it is spreading like fire in a forest. We have no medicines to give our patients, and the black market is flourishing.

    “Our best doctors fled the city for fear of being detained by American and police forces just because they helped civilians during the two sieges of 2004. They are now considered terrorists or at least terrorist supporters, when they should have been decorated with medals for their heroic work in helping their people.”

    Medically speaking, “the siege is total,” a doctor who gave his name as Dr. Kamal told the press recently, speaking of the lack of drugs, oxygen, electricity and clean water at Fallujah General hospital.

    U.S. military officials say reconstruction is under way, and that aid is being provided to hospitals. People see little of that.

    “The brutal destruction of Fallujah by the American army was not followed by any reconstruction, as if the city is being punished for its attitude against the occupation,” said an engineer in Fallujah, Kaltan Fadhil.

    Water and electricity supply, health facilities and roads were provided “in a way that only made some people who collaborated with Americans richer,” he said. “It was no more than repainting some buildings to make them look nicer for a while, and then new contracts were announced to rehabilitate what was already rehabilitated.”

    (*Ali, our correspondent in Baghdad, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who has reported extensively from Iraq and the Middle East) (END/2008)

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  3. The Campaign for Peace and Democracy Invites You to Attend
    New! We will have singing by the Raging Grannies,
    with a new “No Bases” song written especially for the event!
    Also please note that the forum is at 6:30pm
    (some previous notices gave an incorrect time)
    David vs. Goliath
    Opposing U.S. Military Bases Abroad
    Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 6:30 pm
    CUNY Graduate Center
    365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th Streets)
    Manhattan
    NOTE NEW LOCATION
    Concourse level C202/203
    No charge

    Special speakers:
    Jan Tamas
    No to Bases Initiative in the Czech Republic

    Olivier Bancoult
    Chagos Refugees Group for the people of Diego Garcia

    Frida Berrigan
    Senior Program Associate, New America Foundation

    JAN TAMAS – Spokesperson of the Czech Opposition to a U.S. Radar Military Base
    Washington has proposed to install interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar military base in the Czech Republic, representing a new expansion of U.S. global military power and an escalation of the arms race with Russia. In the Czech Republic, 70% of the country’s population is opposed to accepting the radar. A potent grass-roots movement has formed in opposition led by Mr. Tamas, chair of the Czech Humanist Party.

    OLIVIER BANCOULT – Leader in the struggle against the U.S. military base in Diego Garcia. Between 1965 and 1973, 2,000 native people were deported from the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean to allow the construction of a US military base on Diego Garcia, the archipelago’s largest island. The Chagossians were dumped in Mauritius, 1200 miles from home, without jobs, education, or homes; most have lived in poverty since. As the leader of the Chagos Refugees Group, Mr. Bancoult continues to wage a legal battle seeking restitution & return to the islands.

    FRIDA BERRIGAN is Senior Program Associate of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. Previously, she served for eight years as Deputy Director and Senior Research Associate at the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute at the New School in New York City. Ms. Berrigan is a columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus and a contributing editor of In These Times magazine.
    SPONSORS:
    United for Peace and Justice, Peace Action NYS, Campaign for Peace & Democracy, Humanist Movement, The Center for Place, Culture, & Politics & Department of Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center, Granny Peace Brigade, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and Brooklyn for Peace.
    Co-sponsored by The Nation.
    for more info call 212-868-5545 or email cpd@igc.org

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  4. Pingback: United States military spying on pro-peace groups | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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