Labor and the Iraq War
The following article comes as no surprise to those of us who were down at Camp Casey Detroit as 47,000 union workers and their families marched by in the Labor Day Parade. No wonder they were so open to our message and eagerly waved the "No War" signs we passed out by the dozens. We should also not be surprised that the mainstream media has kept this anti-war sentiment and official resolution passed at the AFL-CIO convention quiet. It bodes ill for the continuation of Bush's war(s).
Labor and the Iraq War
Written by Charlotte Dennett
Monday, 19 September 2005
There's an old adage among investigative journalists: if you want to know what's really going on, ask the workers.
If you want to know what's really going on in Iraq - to American soldiers, to their families back home, to Iraqi women - read this column, and learn what I did at the historic AFL-CIO convention held this summer in Chicago.
If you find yourself hesitating, your mind's eye imagining a smoke-filled room full of union toughs battling over issues that have no relevance to your life, believe me: this convention defied all stereotypes.
Predictably, the mainstream media would have you believe that the only thing that happened at the convention was negative: the much anticipated (and widely decried) walkout and disaffiliation, before the convention began, of two of the nation's largest unions, the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters. True, the defection cast a temporary pall over the AFL-CIO's 50th anniversary celebration. But something else happened that caused the remaining 2,000 delegates to stand tall and walk with a spring in their step. For the first time in the history of the trade union movement, they voted nearly unanimously to break with the federal government over a foreign war while it was still being fought. They passed a strongly worded resolution against the war in Iraq, and demanded that American troops be brought home, not merely "as soon as possible," but "rapidly." And rapidly, according to one of the makers of the motion, was to be interpreted as "immediately."
"Our soldiers," the resolution read in part, "come from America's working families. They are our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, our husbands and wives. They deserve to be properly equipped with protective body gear and up-armored vehicles. And they deserve leadership that fully values their courage and sacrifice. Most importantly, they deserve a commitment from our country's leaders to bring them home rapidly. An unending military presence will waste lies and resources, undermine our nation's security and weaken our military."
The mainstream press did not cover the resolution, even though the convention hall erupted with cheers and applause when it passed with resounding "ayes" and only one "no." I asked the New York Times reporter why he neglected it. "The AFL-CIO isn't as important as it used to be," he replied smugly, then confessed, perhaps realizing that his comment belied why he was there at the convention, "and besides, my editors told me to focus on the split." continue reading article...