Category Archives: Imperialism

Military Intervention vs. Maritime Union Power

UPDATE: Jan. 24 – Settlement reached between ILWU and EGT. Rank-and-file longshore workers approved the agreement that requires all EGT work to be dispatched from the Local 21 hiring hall. ULP charges and other litigation has been dropped, but damage claims against ILWU totalling $300,000 still stand. And EGT is not required to keep workers on the job if there is no grain to move. While EGT will employ ILWU labor, as part of the agreement its lease with the port has been amended so that EGT is not obligated by the port authority to hire members of any union at the terminal. The pact reopens negotiations for a labor contract and the union must must ask all outside supporters, including Occupy, to call off all picket actions unless collective bargaining talks break down.

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January 21, 2012

Published at Common Dreams.

For the first time in 40 years, the U.S. Armed Forces will be deployed to intervene in a labor dispute, facilitating a scab operation against union dockworkers at the Port of Longview in Washington.

In the long dispute between International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 21 and EGT Development, the international conglomerate is now poised to make its first grain shipment from its new $200 million export terminal, violating its contract with the publicly-owned port and the union’s jurisdiction on the waterfront.

But it may take an army to cross the picket line. Read the rest of this entry

The Fight for Jobs and Justice, Then and Now

September 8, 2011

Published at Common Dreams and Counterpunch.

It’s not everyday that the president of the United States talks about the last fight that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. waged at the end of his life – a piece of history that is generally excluded from the tributes to the nation’s most revered civil rights leader. 

Under fire from members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other Black leaders for not doing enough to help Black communities bearing the brunt of the Great Recession, the first African American president responded to critics last week by reflecting on the forgotten legacy of King, who spoke out against U.S. imperialism and fought for economic justice in the last years of his life.

Speaking on the Tom Joyner radio show last Tuesday, President Obama pointed to the new memorial on the National Mall recently built in King’s honor and remembered his fight for jobs and justice.

“It’s always important to remember that when King gave the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, that was a march for jobs and justice, not just justice,” Obama said. “And the last part of his life, when he went down to Memphis, that was all about sanitation workers saying, ‘I am a man,’ and then looking for economic justice and dealing with poverty.” Read the rest of this entry

Raising the Roof on the Backs of Workers

August 1, 2011

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A new jobs program has finally been negotiated by the White House and Congress to put millions of unemployed workers and the poor back to work – sort of.

The manufactured “crisis” around raising the debt limit is reaching its conclusion and it is now clear that a national default will be averted by employing the misery of workers and poor families to prop up the ceiling. The jobs will offer no pay or benefits. They will further sap millions of people already drained by the economic crisis that erupted in 2008, wringing even more savings from their suffering.

All in all, they will be horrible, non-paying but important jobs vital to capitalism’s survival. Read the rest of this entry

Reconciling Anti-Imperialism and Democracy in Libya

June 24, 2011

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Preface: Since starting this website, I am sad to report that I’ve yet to receive any hate mail. So, partly in the interest of attempting to change that and partly for the sake of expressing my views on the subject, I offer a brief commentary here about the US-led NATO war in Libya, based on a Daily Kos article linked below.

A recent article in the Daily Kos describes a forum organized by A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) to discuss the war in Libya and Western intervention there. The A.N.S.W.E.R. forum was part of a larger tour in which former congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney presented her observations after returning from a kind of pro-Qaddafi “fact-finding” mission in Libya . The author describes a situation in which anti-Qaddafi Libyans were allegedly barred from the event by A.N.S.W.E.R. organizers. The article is well-worth reading in its own right. But it also speaks to the larger dynamics at work in the debate on the left about Libya. Read the rest of this entry

Profit Against People and the Planet

June 3, 2011

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Some Favorite Articles this Week from a Favorite Website

The race for profit is the singular driving force behind capitalism. There is no altruistic motivation that trumps the private thirst for accumulating capital from what should otherwise be the public domain. That domain consists of two fundamental components: natural resources and the human labor that works off of those resources. Today, the corporate drive for profit necessarily runs roughshod over these two forces. It operates with a spectacular disregard for the well-being of both human and natural resources.

A conflict between labor and capital that erupted in the early 1920s in West Virginia between coal miners and bosses marked the largest insurrection in U.S. history after the Civil War. The Battle of Blair Mountain saw thousands of armed miners descending from the mountains and battling the hired thugs of the coal companies in Mingo County. The companies used violence in the form of goons that murdered and terrorized workers, strikers, organizers and their families – all in the name of preventing the workers from organizing a union and to keep the United Mine Workers union out of southern West Virginia. Martial law and the use of violence – as was touched upon in the last SubterraneanDispatcher article – revealed the bloody measures that both bosses and the state resort to in order to protect the wealth of a few. Read the rest of this entry

Patriotism and the Celebration of Murder

May 2, 2011

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Nationalism is a powerful force. It has the power to make ordinary people abandon basic human values and it can overshadow moralism with a mere soundbite or an image. It deifies the symbolism of a country, it purports to exist beyond the realm of politics, and it’s employed by political leaders to command allegiance and respect for some of the most heinous policies and atrocities carried out in the name of the nation.

Human compassion is killed under the weight of patriotism’s blind arrogance. And so nationalism can unify an entire nation in celebrating the assassination of one person. It does so by dehumanizing others and making a population forget about the millions of innocent lives destroyed in order to kill one man. Read the rest of this entry