imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Labor and Patriot Acts I and II:

by Emile Schepers Saturday, Sep. 20, 2003 at 1:22 PM
pww@pww.org 212-924-2523 235 W 23st., NYC 10011

A case for political action President George W. Bush heads the most viciously anti-worker, anti-labor administration we have seen in a long time. He and his corporate backers are hell-bent on blocking any new advances for labor and on rolling back existing labor rights.





A case for political action

President George W. Bush heads the most viciously anti-worker, anti-labor administration we have seen in a long time. He and his corporate backers are hell-bent on blocking any new advances for labor and on rolling back existing labor rights.

Last year’s use of a Taft-Hartley injunction against the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) in the name of “national security” is but one example of Bush’s readiness to use the force of the state against labor. So, too, was the stripping of 170,000 federal employees of their unionization rights under the pretext of enhancing “homeland security.”

Yet another illustration was the performance of Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao at the February meeting of the AFL-CIO Executive Council where she launched into a vicious attack on the International Association of Machinists for alleged corruption, clearly signaling that unions were fair game for government snooping, investigation, and intimidation. “In all my years ... I’ve never seen a secretary of labor who’s so anti-labor,” AFL-CIO President John Sweeney told reporters at the time.



Labor, Bush clash on many fronts

Organized labor and the Bush administration will continue to clash on several vitally important matters:

s The economy. Every aspect of the Bush economic program represents a danger to the interests of working people, and thus economic issues top labor’s challenge to the Bush agenda.

s The rights of immigrant workers. Organized labor has correctly seen the organizing of immigrant workers, be they with or without papers, as essential to its own growth and survival, and the necessity of the legalization of the undocumented so that organizing can proceed without their being intimidated by management because of their legal status.

The Bush administration has pulled out of talks with the Mexican government on this subject, even as it steps up attacks on the foreign born across the board. It has barred non-citizens from working at airports and cracked down hard on the undocumented.

In response, several unions have launched large scale mobilizations in defense of immigrants’ rights such as last year’s SEIU-sponsored “Reward Work” campaign and this fall’s projected Immigrant Workers’ Freedom Ride, initiated by the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union. Both show the priority the labor movement has assigned to this issue.

s Peace. The Bush administration’s “preemptive war” doctrine, along with the shift of federal spending from domestic needs to the military, threatens the interests of working people in fundamental ways, and thus will motivate labor to step more and more to the forefront in the antiwar movement. Labor opposition to the Afghanistan war was small-scale, but picked up steam with the buildup to the war with Iraq. The emergence of the U.S. Labor Against the War coalition, with its call for a Labor Assembly for Peace to take place in Chicago on Oct. 24-26, is a development of profound historical importance.



Labor and civil liberties: some background

When government went after the foreign born in 1919, organized labor was the real target. In the period immediately following the First World War, the Russian Revolution and postwar unemployment produced a “Red Scare” in ranks of the ruling class worldwide.

President Woodrow Wilson’s attorney general, Mitchell Palmer, used tactics not unlike those of Attorney General John Ashcroft to go after foreign-born union agitators as “Bolshevik terrorists.” But the Palmer raids and the other repressive measures taken by the Wilson administration and its successors did not just target the foreign-born, they were used to stop undermine 1919 steel strike, for example, thus hurting both native born and foreign-born workers.

So, too, with the McCarthyism of the 1940s and ’50s. Although the Hollywood persecutions and blacklist got much of the headlines, they were not motivated by the fear of “communist” ideological influence in film scripts, but by the post-war upsurge in the ranks of labor.

Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee postured about hunting down spies and subversives. But their real prey were left-wing labor activists and leaders. McCarthyism destroyed whole unions (such as the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers portrayed in the film “Salt of the Earth”) and did so much damage to the labor movement that it did not recover, even partially, for a generation.



Today’s assault on freedoms

And so it is today. Under the Bush administration, constitutional rights and civil liberties are once again under vicious attack. New, repressive instruments are being forged that can and will be used against unions and union members.

Consider a few aspects of the USA Patriot Act, a law that poses great dangers for labor. The Patriot Act created the new category of “domestic terrorism.” It defines “terrorism” as actions that are intended “to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.” This definition is so vague and broad that all sorts of acts by union members both here and abroad – nonviolent picket lines, demonstrations, rallies, civil disobedience and strikes – could conceivably be characterized by the government as acts of terrorism punishable by law. Resisting the boss becomes “terrorism.”

Under this pretext, unions and union activists could be subjected to an array of surveillance, wiretaps, detention, seizure of assets and denial of due process rights.

Nor is that all. As some labor activists have noted, the draconian measures available to a repression-minded government under the Patriot Act might combine with the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Controlled Organizations) Act that allows prosecution based on association with any organization that is believed to be harming someone else’s economic interests through illegal pressure tactics.

Further, in the area of international labor solidarity, a union could be accused of providing material support to foreign labor organizations designated as “terrorist” by the State Department.



And now comes ‘Patriot Act II’

The Bush administration is not yet finished with its attacks on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. On March 7, the Center for Public Integrity revealed that the Department of Justice is developing what has come to be called “Patriot II,” tentatively titled The Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. Patriot II goes well beyond the USA Patriot Act to include the following shocking items:

s The government would give itself the right to effectively revoke the U.S. citizenship of people it accuses of consorting with terrorists and deport them. This would include not just non-citizens, but U.S. citizens as well, both born and naturalized. One clause of the draft legislation states that people could be deported even to areas without an organized form of government (Antarctica? The moon?).

s The power of the attorney general to deport the foreign born without due process would be increased even more. Essentially, he would be able to simply declare that any non-citizen is a security threat and throw them out of the country without further ado.

s Existing court orders limiting political spying by police would be abolished. This would unleash local police for wholesale abuse of constitutional rights against organized labor and everyone else. Recent experiences with dockworkers in Charleston, S.C., show that local authorities, given these powers, would be able to use them to further the interests of employers and employer-linked political forces.

s Public access to information about dangerous conditions in industry would be severely restricted, under the pretext of not allowing potential terrorists to have such information. Unions and environmentalists would also have trouble getting such information and government whistle-blowers who released such information to the public could be prosecuted.



Mounting a fightback

If these attacks on the Constitution are to be defeated, the first step is to build a firewall strong enough to stop any new legislation from being passed. Patriot Act II has, by the very nature of its proposed measures, given the game away to major sectors of the U.S. public, and they are voicing their opposition. In response, Attorney General John Ashcroft has made a nationwide tour, stumping for its support, and President Bush used the Sept. 11 anniversary to plug for the passage of such repressive laws.

Patriot Act II can be stopped, but not without hard work and struggle.

Secondly, it is not too early to be fighting to repeal the USA Patriot Act (‘Patriot I’). This effort is already well underway. To date, more than 160 city and town councils, plus three state legislatures (Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont) have passed resolutions calling for the defense of the Constitution and the repeal of the USA Patriot Act. Baltimore, Detroit, Oakland, San Francisco and Denver are among cities that have approved such resolutions, while Chicago and many others are working on similar resolutions. These resolutions can all be read on line at www.bordc.org.



Labor’s defense of freedoms

The dangers of Patriot Acts I and II has not gone unnoticed in the ranks of organized labor. The AFL-CIO has deplored the legislation as well as the Homeland Security Act, and unions are adopting their own resolutions. Not surprisingly, the ILWU was among the first to act. In an article in the November 2001 ILWU Dispatcher, Washington Representative Lindsay McLaughlin invoked the fighting history of his union to point out the dangers the Patriot Act. He wrote:

“The first President and leader [of the ILWU] for 40 years, Harry Bridges, was an immigrant. The government tried to deport him. It tapped his phone, locked him up and tried to destroy the ILWU and the movement it represented. But after a couple of decades of harassment and court battles, justice prevailed. If the government had had these new ‘anti-terrorism’ police powers at its disposal during his trials, does anyone believe Bridges and the union would have prevailed? The attorney general will use this law to get rid of immigrants with political views he doesn’t agree with. Count on it.”

And this before Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told the ILWU that it was undercutting the war against terrorism by its stance in negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld threatened to send troops to control the docks!

Several unions, along with a wide range of civil liberties organizations, are co-sponsoring a conference on defeating the Patriot Acts set for Oct. 16-18 in Washington, D.C.

The San Francisco Labor Council named a committee to study the issue. Committee members consulted with civil liberties experts and issued a detailed report on the ways in which these laws can and will be used against organized labor if they are not stopped. The concluded:

“The proposed Patriot Act II, coupled with the Patriot Act I and RICO, creates the legal architecture for a police state in the United States. The purpose of this legislation is to allow for U.S. global expansion unhindered by organized domestic opposition. These laws and proposed legislation are clearly intended to prevent resistance to U.S. corporate control and allow preemptive attacks on those organizations and individuals the government considers a threat.”

Emile Schepers is the program director of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights. He can be reached at pww@pww.org



Originally published by the People’s Weekly World

www.pww.org





Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy