Five Resolutions for the USLAW Labor Assembly for Peace, Scheduled for Chicago, October 24–25
The first two resolutions reprinted below, both from the San Francisco Labor Council, are taken from the web site Labor Tuesday for October 14, 2003. The other three, from Chicago and California respectively, were posted on the Internet during the first week of October.
Document 1 (addressed to the AFL-CIO):
“We Will Not Be Closed-Mouthed on U.S. Foreign Policy”
Whereas, the Bush Administration is spending a minimum of $4 billion per month for the occupation of Iraq and $1 billion per month for the occupation of Afghanistan; and
Whereas, the Bush Administration has just requested an additional $87 billion from Congress for the occupation of Iraq; and
Whereas, the AFL-CIO Executive Council is refusing to address the interconnection between U.S. expenditures for a disastrous foreign policy and the closing of schools, health care clinics, etc.—i.e., the underfunding of all public services—to the detriment of the public and workers; and
Whereas, the AFL-CIO Executive Council apparently made this decision based on the concept of “unity,” forgetting that Labor participated in the great Civil Rights Movement and present defense and organization of immigrant workers, even though some sectors of Labor were hostile to these heroic efforts; and
Whereas, the AL-CIO has declared its intention to unseat Bush and educates workers about the enormous tax cuts for the rich, the millions of jobs going overseas, NAFTA, GATT, etc., its failure to criticize the Bush administration’s reckless, militaristic empire-building is to ignore the huge fat elephant in our living room; and
Whereas, leaders of the Iraqi Union of the Unemployed were recently arrested by the Occupation for demonstrating against staggering unemployment; and
Whereas, no weapons of mass destruction have been found or will be found in Iraq, and our Occupation is obviously not what the Iraqi people want;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Labor opposes the foreign policy disasters led by the most right-wing president in memory; and
THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that Labor raise its voice to demand an end to these illegal occupations, the return of our troops, and the relinquishing of U.S. power to a United Nations mandate whose task it would be to return to Iraq and Afghanistan the sacred sovereignty that is the right of all nations.
—Adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council on September 22, 2003
Document 2: Resolution of the San Francisco Labor Council—for Presentation at the USLAW Labor Assembly for Peace in Chicago, October 24–25, 2003.
IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF ALL U.S. & ALLIED FORCES FROM IRAQ
Whereas, the San Francisco Labor Council took an early position opposing the Iraq war and occupation, and helped to found U.S. Labor Against the War [USLAW];
Whereas, USLAW was founded to oppose the war, and took a strong position opposing the occupation of Iraq, as expressed in the demand, “Bring the Troops Home Now.” On the basis of these positions, USLAW has been an effective force in building the antiwar movement within the House of Labor;
Whereas, the U.S., British, and all colonial occupying forces must leave Iraq, without preconditions. It is the brutal U.S./UN sanctions and U.S. war that are the primary reasons Iraq went in 13 years from being a comparatively prosperous and modern society that provided for the basic needs of its people, to an impoverished country wracked by sanctions and war. Their immediate departure must be our unambiguous demand;
Whereas, the Occupation forces are the main source of the problem, and cannot be part of the solution. Only when the foreign occupiers are gone will Iraq be in a position to rebuild its society as a sovereign and independent nation. The people in Iraq want the U.S. occupation to end, and the U.S. soldiers in Iraq want to come home;
Whereas, during the Vietnam War the San Francisco Labor Council, along with the mainstream of the antiwar movement, raised the unambiguous demand, “Out Now” and “Bring the Troops Home Now”;
Whereas, Veterans for Peace, at their recent national convention in San Francisco, adopted three resolutions calling for immediate withdrawal of all occupation forces from Iraq, and this is also the demand raised by leaders of the rapidly growing movement of Military Families who are speaking out against the war and occupation;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO, reaffirms our commitment to building a movement for immediate withdrawal of all U.S. and allied forces from Iraq; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council submit this resolution for adoption at USLAW’s National Labor Assembly for Peace being held in Chicago, October 24-25, 2003.
—Adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council, September 22, 2003, by unanimous vote.
Document 3: Resolution Passed by Chicago Labor Against War (CLAW):
“The National Organization Launched at the National Labor Assembly for Peace Must Remain Independent and Non-Partisan”
On October 8, the regularly scheduled meeting of Chicago Labor Against War (CLAW) elected five delegates for the National Labor Assembly for Peace and passed the following resolutions.
WHEREAS, labor in the U.S. needs to be in the forefront of building a united and powerful mass movement to oppose militarism and empire-making abroad and to end attacks on human and economic rights domestically; and
WHEREAS, the current government policy of permanent, universal war represents a continuity and deepening of the last 50 years of U.S. foreign policy, including wars in Korea and Southeast Asia, the overthrow of democratically elected regimes throughout the world, invasions of Central America, the NATO/U.S. war in the Balkans, and recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; and
WHEREAS, all U.S. governments in recent memory have carried out these wars and foreign interventions in the interests of U.S. corporations; and
WHEREAS, all U.S. government administrations in recent memory, and not just the Bush administration, have carried out attacks against organized labor, unorganized workers, minorities and the unemployed--including passing legislation supporting NAFTA, GATT, FTAA, WTO, and IMF policies; and
WHEREAS, organized labor must defeat such policies so that no matter who is elected in the political arena, such policies will be politically impossible to pursue; and
WHEREAS, an ongoing movement to end war and defend labor must be created that is not politically limited or bound to any of the political parties that have catered to the interests of Big Business; and
WHEREAS, such a movement must appeal to the broadest numbers of workers and labor organizations that come from a variety of political traditions;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Labor Assembly for Peace and the national labor organization that emerges from this Assembly must remain non-partisan and politically independent with respect to the upcoming presidential election; and further
BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Labor Assembly for Peace and the national organization that emerges from this Assembly challenges ALL the candidates and politicians to embrace our peace and justice agenda, beginning with calling for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq.
—PASSED, Oct. 8, by Chicago Labor Against the War
Document 4: CLAW Resolution “For the Immediate Withdrawal of All Occupation Forces from Iraq and In Support of the Right of the Iraqi People to Self-Determination”
WHEREAS, the U.S.-led military invasion and occupation of Iraq, which caused thousands of deaths and great suffering by innocent people, and which broke U.S. Constitutional law and International Law, is now even being viewed in Washington, D.C. as fraudulent; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. invasion was opposed by millions of U.S. demonstrators and by important sectors of organized labor, including USLAW, and the occupation is now openly opposed by the Iraqi people with mass demonstrations in the streets; and
WHEREAS, this occupation is imposing extreme hardships on U.S. soldiers and their families while over a billion dollars is being cut from veterans' benefits, even while $4 billion a month is being spent on the occupation, creating massive profits for connected war profiteers such as Bechtel and Stevedoring Services of America; and
WHEREAS, Chicago’s Teamsters Local 705, among other labor bodies, has called for “the immediate withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq”; and
WHEREAS, the Iraqi economy is being privatized and looted by U.S. multinational corporations, with the directives of the IMF and World Bank and under the supervision of the occupation forces;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we support the right of Iraqi people to run their country as they decide, based upon the principle of national sovereignty, and free from all foreign intervention and occupation; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support the right of the Iraqi workers to form trade unions of their own choice to defend their interests against the predatory multinational corporations, just as we support the implementation of all ILO Conventions ratified by previous Iraqi governments—particularly ILO Conventions 87 and 98; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. government and its coalition accomplices, as well as corporations which have profited from the war industry, must provide to a sovereign Iraq financial reparations to repair and restore damaged and destroyed infrastructure and services and impacts on humanitarian needs caused by the recent war of occupation and the years of sanctions, which caused the deaths of 1.6 million Iraqi people; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the National Labor Assembly for Peace and the national labor organization that emerges from this Assembly calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and foreign military forces from Iraq, and opposes any foreign occupation of a sovereign Iraq.
—PASSED, Oct. 8, by Chicago Labor Against the War
Document 5: Why We Should Keep the Name “U.S. Labor Against the War”
USLAW was founded to oppose the war, and took a strong position opposing the occupation of Iraq, as expressed in our demand, “Bring the Troops Home Now.” We have linked this with our opposition to the war against working people here at home. In sum, we oppose Bush’s two-front war against working people, here and abroad. On the basis of these positions, USLAW has been an effective force in building the antiwar movement within the House of Labor.
The war is not “over.” Bush’s “endless war” is still in high gear, in Iraq and around the world. The commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq, Ricardo Sanchez, has warned, "This is still wartime,” and [stated that] “resistance to the occupying troops was strengthening and warned Americans to brace for more casualties”; that “U.S.-led forces are engaging resistance groups 15 to 20 times a day”; that “the resistance was showing signs of improved organization and [operating] under a broader, more regional control.” Yet Gen. Myers of the Joint Chiefs says, “We’re in this for the long haul” (L.A. Times, Oct 3, 2003).
The two-front war on working people is intensifying, so why do we choose this moment to take “against the war” out of our name??? Bush is pushing for $87 billion more for the Iraq occupation, and the Democrats are going along with more than two-thirds of it: the two-thirds that are directly going to the military for the purpose of keeping the U.S. troops in harm’s way, being killed and killing the Iraqi people. When you strip away the pious words, what these politicians of both parties are really saying is: “Keep the troops there” in harm’s way, with no end in sight, just like Vietnam!
The war at home. It’s not difficult to imagine what that money could do for the workers and the poor here at home: health care, education, affordable housing, jobs to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure. And it is the worker/taxpayers who will bear the costs that continue to mount to keep the Occupation and the troops there to rip off the loot for Bechtel, Halliburton, and the others cited in the USLAW report on the Corporate Invasion of Iraq. Bush’s war-on-the-world is the elephant in the living room: it is the biggest single factor in the rapid decline in the living standards and democratic rights of working people we are seeing today, particularly affecting women and people of color, who are most impacted by war. We need to stay focused like a laser against the war.
Our name is out there, and accurately reflects our position. Our reputation in the labor and antiwar movements, even internationally, is associated with our name. Why change it, in favor of a less specific, “U.S. Labor for Mom and Apple Pie” type of name that sounds like a thousand other organizations?
—Passed by Labor Committee for Peace & Justice, S.F. Bay Area, 10/5/03