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

Mine Doyran mine.doyran at verizon.net
Sat Apr 10 22:15:08 MDT 2004

David, if you pay close attention, I was talking about Clarence Thomas, the
Treasury-Secretary of the ILWU--  a person cited in the article as some kind
of a radical. This information is simply *inaccurate*. Thomas is a social
democrat at best-- a figure of class reconcilation. He might have done some
good things in the past. Yet what he said to workers during the strike ("the
reality of the situation is that we have to do it," i.e., load war
materiel") is a clear example of opportunitism.You may not agree with it,
but that is the reality of what he said.

Further, I was NOT saying anything about the union itself. By contrast, I am
raising the issue of "what needs to be done" to get more mobilization
against imperialist warfare and related issues, without being caught by
domestic Keynesian pretentions. That needed to be clearly raised in the
article.. It does not help if a union organizer tells workers to continue
"to work the military cargo so that the government couldn't get on our case
about that."

I was also NOT  talking about-whether "the radicalization needed for real
hot-cargoing war goods is not  there." I think that the radical POTENTIAL is
there, except that it needs to be unfolded, with a full realization of the
prospects and obstacles to class organizing. Whatever the problems with the
Internationalist magazine (ultra-left wingism secterianism,spartacism, btw),
it did a fair job of exposing Thomas. I think that we need to be aware of
such figures.

The article is ok but it really needs an "understanding" of political
economy. It is good a descriptive analysis of social movements. It needs to
be expanded, however. What is the state of class organizing in the U.S.?
What are the issues at stake? What are obstacle to its full realization?
What is the relationship between national and international organizing,
domestic-international class dynamics, as it relates to cargo shipping,
nationalism, war etc...These questions were left unanswered (which I was not
expecting to be answered in the Counterpunch anyhow) I was simply correcting
a misinformation about ILWU leadership.


Mine A. Doyran
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Political Science
Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy
University at Albany, S.U.N.Y.
135 Western Avenue, Milne Hall
Albany, NY 12222
mine.doyran at verizon.net
"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

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Red Net" <dwalters at igc.org>
To: "marxism-digest" <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2004 11:27 PM
Subject: [Marxism] ILWU leadership and Thomas (Re: An informative piece
bymyson, Ali),

> I had the opportunity to participate on this Rally/March/Picket. The
> article in Counter-Punch is very accurate. I think the article from the
> Spartacist spit-off Internationalist Group is pie-in-the-sky, however.
> The radicalization needed for real hot-cargoing war goods is not
> there...yet. It would be tactically suicidal for Local 10 and 34, with
> maybe 2,000 members between them, to try it actually implement such a
> tactic on their own...they would of been smashed and no one would of
> come to their rescue, least of all the *other* big local in the Port of
> LA/Long Beach whose membership is 5 times as big and is far to the
> right politically than that of Local 10s.
> First, not all of Local 10 is anti-war. Far from it. At union meetings
> where militants can push an action, yes, but among all the working
> members on the docks? I don't think so. Only the Portland area Local
> has, to my knowledge, passed anti-war resolutions. But it's the LA
> local, which could quickly, and easily break any Local 10 strangle-hold
> on military cargo.
> If Local 10 did so, they would have my support, the support of USLAW,
> atni-war activists and some other Bay Area locals of the AFL-CIO but
> that's it. But for this to happen, a continuing education of the
> Local's membership would indeed have to take place, and it's happening,
> but clearly not the IG's expected pace. The IG, BTW, has no one in
> Local 10, which should come as no surprise.
> Clearance Thomas, from my viewpoint and only last year meeting him, is
> newly radicalized by events surrounding the last ILWU contract. This is
> true for other long-standing militants in Local 10. The fact that
> Thomas went to Iraq and came back to give his local, his International
> and the entire Bay Area labor movement an education in what imperialism
> is doing in Iraq is to be commended, not condemned just because he
> doesn't meet the IG's standard of "anti-Imperialism".
> David Walters
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> Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
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