CALL

to the

THIRD NATIONAL USLAW LABOR ASSEMBLY

AGAINST the WAR

Cleveland, Ohio

National Assembly, December 1-2

National Labor Conference Against the Iraq War, December 2-3

HELP USLAW BUILD A MOVEMENT THAT WILL

*      END THE OCCUPATION!

*      BRING OUR TROOPS HOME NOW!

*      REDIRECT U.S. DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN POLICIES!

*      SAVE OUR DEMOCRACY!

In contravention of international law and the U.N. Charter, the Bush administration carried out an invasion of Iraq using the pretense that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.  It was a contrived pretext without any basis in reality.  Each subsequent rationale offered to justify the invasion – that Iraq sponsored terrorism, that Iraq had ties to Al Qaeda – has been proven equally invented.

The administration embarked on a new and dangerous path of pre-emptive war without an imminent threat to the United States.  That action has inflamed rather than reduced the threat of terrorism.  As a consequence, we are less, not more secure today than prior to the invasion.  It has brought Iraq no closer to becoming a democratic society, but it did turn it into a breeding ground and training school for terrorists, as it fractured Iraqi society and put it on a path to civil war. 

We recognize the courage of U.S. military personnel, many of whom are members of our unions or members of union families.  They have faced extraordinary danger. They and their families have made huge sacrifices in this war.  More than 2500 have made the ultimate sacrifice while as many as twenty thousand others have been wounded, many disabled – physically and emotionally scarred for life.  The invasion and occupation have caused the deaths of up to 250,000 Iraqi civilians and casualties among soldiers of other nations.  It has laid waste to the entire country.

80% of Iraqis polled say they want the occupation to end and all foreign troops to leave Iraq.  Two-thirds of the U.S. public says the same thing.  In a recent poll, 72% of U.S. troops in Iraq said they want to come home before the year is out – 29% said “immediately”.  Bringing them home is the best means of protecting them while eliminating the principal stimulus to violence in Iraq that has claimed so many innocent lives.

The Bush administration has exploited the Iraq war and national security concerns to create a climate of fear at home, to erode civil liberties and Constitutional rights, and to attack the rights of workers and unions.  The so-called “War on Terrorism” has become a pretext for dismantling our democratic rights and liberties, while militarizing our economy, schools, culture, courts, and so much more.  In effect, Bush and his cronies are waging war at home as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Now they also threaten war against Iran, while making threatening gestures toward Venezuela and Cuba. 

The total financial cost of the war is now projected to reach $1.27 trillion when you include secondary and residual costs like caring for seriously injured and disabled veterans for the rest of their lives.  The financial burden of the war has driven up the annual deficit and has saddled our children, grand children and many future generations with burdensome payments on the national debt. 

The war and occupation have led to cuts in social and human services, health care, education and even benefits for the very veterans of this and other conflicts, while war spending and tax cuts have lined the pockets of immensely wealthy anti-labor corporations and the elite investor class.  The war and occupation have been used to justify deferring or eliminating crucial infrastructure repair and replacement, rebuilding of the Gulf communities devastated by last year’s hurricanes, and preparations to protect vulnerable populations and communities from future disasters. 

While dismantling the social safety net that protects the most vulnerable, the Bush administration has granted tax relief to the most wealthy, privileged and powerful strata.  The “War on Terrorism” has been used to advance an agenda of privatization and down-sizing of public programs that serve working people and the poor.  It has been used to demonize people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent and has been accompanied by xenophobic assaults on immigrants, increasing racism, racial profiling, and discrimination directed at people of color generally and many other actions that undermine the quality and security of our lives and liberties.  The Bush administration, with the complicity of a majority in Congress, has put our democracy at risk.

Following the invasion, the administration quickly moved to privatize Iraqi factories and national resources, while it kept in force a ban on unions in the public sector in Iraq to benefit foreign corporate investors at the expense of the Iraqi people.  The occupation authority and its hand-picked Iraqi leaders  froze the bank accounts of Iraqi unions to deprive them of the resources to organize workers to defend their rights, advocate for their needs, and to protect Iraq’s public resources from being plundered by international corporations eager to score a piece of the privatization pie.

United States Labor Against the War (USLAW) has been at the forefront of the movement to end the criminal occupation of Iraq and to return all troops safely to their homes and families.  In just two years, USLAW has grown into a broad network of unions and other labor organizations that together represent millions of working people.  USLAW affiliates and members played a significant role in moving a number of national unions (AFSCME, AFT, APWU, CWA, GCIU, ILWU, NEA, SEIU, UE, UFM, USWA), and numerous state labor federations, central labor councils, union region and district bodies, local unions and other labor organizations representing millions of union members to adopt resolutions calling for our troops to be brought home.  USLAW was at the center of the effort to secure adoption of a resolution calling for the rapid withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq at the 2005 AFL-CIO convention.  USLAW helped initiate and organize the massive NY City demonstration against the war that took place on April 29 of this year and the September 24 demonstration in Washington, DC last year.

These are laudable accomplishments but they are not enough.  We must build a much stronger movement, one that brings the majority of organized labor into the antiwar struggle, one that mobilizes America’s working class to force the Congress and the administration to end the occupation, return the troops, radically transform U.S. foreign policy, and reorder national priorities to serve peace and human needs instead of militarism and corporate greed.

To that end, USLAW will convene its third National Labor Assembly Against the War in Iraq in Cleveland, Ohio on December 1 in conjunction with a National Labor Conference Against the Iraq War to be held immediately following the Assembly on December 2-3.  We call upon all USLAW affiliates to send delegates to this immensely important weekend of deliberations.  We invite labor organizations that oppose the war and occupation that have not yet affiliated with USLAW to send observers and to take steps to affiliate in order to dramatically increase the size, capacity and influence of USLAW.

Information about USLAW – individual membership and affiliation, and registration for the Assembly and Conference – is available at the USLAW website at www.uslaboragainstwar.org, along with the rules for determining delegate status and the procedure for submitting resolutions. On-line registration and electronic payment of the registration fee is available there, as are registration materials that can be downloaded and reproduced, with instructions for payment by mail.

            U.S. LABOR AGAINST THE WAR                                www.uslaboragainstwar.org

            1718 M Street, NW, #153                                                info@uslaboragainstwar.org

            Washington, DC. 20036                                                   (202) 251-5265