[Marxism] ILWU leadership and Clarence Thomas???

Jon Flanders jonathan.flanders at verizon.net
Sun Apr 11 19:42:04 MDT 2004

> This explanation makes sense. It seems that the "fear of isolation"
> prevented the ILWU from "fully" opposing the shipment of war material. In
> order to avoid a confrontation with the administration, they had to offer
> concessions.  Has this anything to do with the upper ranks of the union as
> well? I mean, was the decision to continue shipping  a matter of realism or
> ideology?

See David's explanation for an on the spot detailed explanation of the
ILWU's internal politics.
> The world socialist web site (on Taft-Hartley Law) seems to imply that the
> ILWU  somewhat became the administrative arm of the Democratic party. For
> example, the article says that the union "agreed in principle to the
> elimination of one thounds jobs". It also says that it used the Democratic
> party as a mechanism of "appeal" in their confrontation with Bush.
> http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/oct2002/ilwu-o10.shtml

Again, David is correct as to the politics of the ILWU and *all other US
unions* at this time. Without a doubt the ILWU attempted to use their
influence in the Democratic Party to defend themselves. Check out any
picket line in any major strike and you will find Democratic politicians
showing up.

I think it was pretty amazing that the ILWU did as well as they did with
their strike, given the timing. Yes they made concessions, but at least
they fought. You are not going to see anything better than this out of
the US labor movement right now.

> Still wish they had alternative class organizing tactics though...

Mine, the US working class lags behind most of the world's workers in 
political consciousness, for reasons that have often been discussed on
this list. I am sure Clarence Thomas and other people like him wish they
could have done more than they did. I know from personal experience that
we can't leap over the harsh reality of the current political level of
the workers. Union activists and leaders have to face this up close.
Dealing with it is a little harder than writing critiques for the WSW.

Jon Flanders

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