[Marxism] ILWU leadership and Thomas (Re: An informative piece by my son, Ali)

Mine Doyran mine.doyran at verizon.net
Sat Apr 10 20:47:57 MDT 2004


http://www.counterpunch.org/tonak04102004.html

>Clarence Thomas, from the International Longshoreman >and Warehouse Union
Local 10, was fully fired up as he >took the stage. The ILWU, being one of
the more militant >unions in the United States, has traditionally supported
>anti-war protestors in the Bay Area. Having been >threatened military
action by Bush during contract >negotiations a year ago, the Longshoreman
know first->hand how bitter the fist of the state tastes.

I would like to see a "radicalized" and anti-imperialist ILWU leaderhip. But
is there any solid evidence suggesting this possibility? ILWU leadership,
including the Secretary-Treasurer Clarence Thomas, a person cited above, was
hardly in favor of the mobilization against Taft-Hartley and imperialist
war. At his best, Thomas is a social democrat. Indeed, in a labor strike,
Thomas told workers to continue shipping and load material because "we live
in the real world." At a workshop on “Labor and the War,” Clarence was also
cited as "speaking against the IG’s call, saying “the reality of the
situation is that we have to do it,” i.e., load war materiel"
(.http://www.internationalist.org/bayarealeabor1202.html. )

Certainly, we are not expecting Counterpunch writers to offer a full blown
analysis of capitalism. It is said that the article is intended to be
"informative". But we need to understand what stands on the way of class
struggle. So that we can be better aware of  nationalist/social democratic
opportunitism (of people like Thomas) The following information from the
Internationalist, a left wing/Trotskyist publication at the Bay Area,
complains about the divisive role of Clarance Thomas in a following link.
http://www.internationalist.org/bayarealeabor1202.html.  There are also
excerpts from the article at the end of this message.

Mine Doyran

----

 "a revolutionary career does not lead to banquets and honorary titles,
interesting research and professorial wages. It leads to misery, disgrace,
ingratitude, prison and a voyage into the unknown, illuminated by only an
almost superhuman belief."

Max Horkheimer

http://www.internationalist.org/bayarealeabor1202.html

"This was made clear in the opening session when ILWU press spokesman Steve
Stallone said that while the PMA told the public the lockout was the union’s
fault, “the ILWU made news and scored a lot of PR points by continuing to do
a certain amount of the work,” including shipping “critical cargo” to Alaska
and Hawaii and “continu[ing] to work the military cargo so that the
government couldn’t get on our case about that.”

"Our speaker was met with loud applause from part of the audience, booing
from others, and an “answer” from ILWU Local 10 Secretary-Treasurer Clarence
Thomas, who said hot-cargoing war goods is not possible because “we live in
the real world.” At an earlier workshop on “Labor and the War,” Thomas spoke
at length against the IG’s call, saying “the reality of the situation is
that we have to do it,” i.e., load war materiel. This is the same kind of
logic as the ILWU International’s bowing down to Taft-Hartley with only pro
forma verbal protest



Mine Doyran





Further info can be obtained at:

 http://www.internationalist.org/bayarealeabor1202.html

Strike Against Taft-Hartley!
Hot-Cargo War Materiel!

Yet overall the conference was a talk shop for union bureaucrats who wanted
to blow off steam but opposed any real mobilization of the power of labor
against Taft-Hartley and imperialist war. This was made clear in the opening
session when ILWU press spokesman Steve Stallone said that while the PMA
told the public the lockout was the union’s fault, “the ILWU made news and
scored a lot of PR points by continuing to do a certain amount of the work,”
including shipping “critical cargo” to Alaska and Hawaii and “continu[ing]
to work the military cargo so that the government couldn’t get on our case
about that.” In fact, workers picketed the docks during the lockout, and a
union leadership worth its salt would have seen to it that nothing moved and
that the docks were shut down tight.

In the perfunctory plenary discussion at the end of the conference, an
Internationalist Group speaker (the only person to speak from the audience
in opposition to the bureaucrats), said that “a love-in where everyone says
a lot of hot air about solidarity” would accomplish nothing. What’s needed,
he said, is to organize class-struggle action like “ripping up this contract
promoted by Bush and the Pentagon, striking against Taft-Hartley, backed by
a mobilization of all labor, and hot-cargoing war goods instead of boasting
about loading them like Steve Stallone did in the opening session” –
whereupon this spokesman for the ILWU International burst into enraged
heckling. (Earlier, Stallone stormed off the stage when the Tate Lyle worker
criticized the sellout ILWU contract proposal.)

Our speaker was met with loud applause from part of the audience, booing
from others, and an “answer” from ILWU Local 10

Yet overall the conference was a talk shop for union bureaucrats who wanted
to blow off steam but opposed any real mobilization of the power of labor
against Taft-Hartley and imperialist war. This was made clear in the opening
session when ILWU press spokesman Steve Stallone said that while the PMA
told the public the lockout was the union’s fault, “the ILWU made news and
scored a lot of PR points by continuing to do a certain amount of the work,”
including shipping “critical cargo” to Alaska and Hawaii and “continu[ing]
to work the military cargo so that the government couldn’t get on our case
about that.” In fact, workers picketed the docks during the lockout, and a
union leadership worth its salt would have seen to it that nothing moved and
that the docks were shut down tight.

In the perfunctory plenary discussion at the end of the conference, an
Internationalist Group speaker (the only person to speak from the audience
in opposition to the bureaucrats), said that “a love-in where everyone says
a lot of hot air about solidarity” would accomplish nothing. What’s needed,
he said, is to organize class-struggle action like “ripping up this contract
promoted by Bush and the Pentagon, striking against Taft-Hartley, backed by
a mobilization of all labor, and hot-cargoing war goods instead of boasting
about loading them like Steve Stallone did in the opening session” –
whereupon this spokesman for the ILWU International burst into enraged
heckling. (Earlier, Stallone stormed off the stage when the Tate Lyle worker
criticized the sellout ILWU contract proposal.)

Our speaker was met with loud applause from part of the audience, booing
from others, and an “answer” from ILWU Local 10 Secretary-Treasurer Clarence
Thomas, who said hot-cargoing war goods is not possible because “we live in
the real world.” At an earlier workshop on “Labor and the War,” Thomas spoke
at length against the IG’s call, saying “the reality of the situation is
that we have to do it,” i.e., load war materiel. This is the same kind of
logic as the ILWU International’s bowing down to Taft-Hartley with only pro
forma verbal protest.

Thomas was echoed by a spokeswoman for the International Socialist
Organization, who after lauding Thomas for speaking “passionately and
eloquently” said, “I don’t think it’s a question right now of stopping the
military cargo.” At another workshop, the ISO responded to an IG comrade’s
call for strike action and hot-cargoing by saying, “You have to learn to
walk before you can run.” While presenting this patronizing view of the
organized working class as toddlers, social democrats like the ISO sure know
how to crawl before the bourgeoisie.

We print below the intervention

At an earlier workshop on “Labor and the War,” Thomas spoke at length
against the IG’s call, saying “the reality of the situation is that we have
to do it,” i.e., load war materiel. This is the same kind of logic as the
ILWU International’s bowing down to Taft-Hartley with only pro forma verbal
protest.

Thomas was echoed by a spokeswoman for the International Socialist Organizat
ion, who after lauding Thomas for speaking “passionately and eloquently”
said, “I don’t think it’s a question right now of stopping the military
cargo.” At another workshop, the ISO responded to an IG comrade’s call for
strike action and hot-cargoing by saying, “You have to learn to walk before
you can run.” While presenting this patronizing view of the organized
working class as toddlers, social democrats like the ISO sure know how to
crawl before the bourgeoisie.

We print below the intervention





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