ILWU Convention Resolutions
Two important resolutions passed at the June, 2009 convention of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Both resolutions were introduced by San Francisco ILWU Longshore Local 10.
This resolution instructed the International union officers to send a solidarity message commending the South African dockworkers' union (SATAWU) for their action in refusing to handle cargo on an Israeli ship during the Israeli "massacre in the Gaza War." The motion contrasted with the almost universal silence of the U.S. trade union movement on Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people.
2009 Convention ResolutionCommend South African Dockers
Whereas, the South African dockworkers union in the port of Durban organized a heroic action against the ZIM Lines ship Joannna Russ, on February 5, 2009 protesting the Israeli massacre in the Gaza War and in solidarity with the plight of the Palestinian people, and
Whereas, a report entitled Victory for Worker SolidarityDurban Dockers Refuse to Offload Israeli Goods issued February 6, 2009 by Randall Howard, General Secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) and Patrick Craven of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) stated Israels terror included flagrant breaches of international law, the bombing of densely populated neighbourhoods, the illegal deployment of chemical white phosphorous, and attacks on schools, ambulances, relief agencies, hospitals, universities and places of worship. and,
Whereas, the Durban dockworkers announced that their action was inspired by the ILWUs 1984 anti-apartheid action in the port of San Francisco against the ship Nedlloyd Kimberly from South Africa, and
Whereas, unions around the world have lauded the SATAWU for their action,
Therefore Be It Resolved that this Convention direct the Titled Officers to send a solidarity message commending our brothers and sisters in the South African dockworkers union (SATAWU) for their exemplary action.
This resolution, which characterized the death penalty as a vestige of slavery, linked five high profile cases of capitalist injustice, including that of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Martina Correia, sister of Troy Davis, spoke passionately to the convention about her brother's frame-up and received a standing ovation.
2009 Convention Resolution on Racist Oppression and the Death Penalty
Whereas, the ILWU and the militant wing of the American labor movement, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) grew out of the class struggles in the 1920s and 1930s mobilizing against anti-worker and racist oppression, notably the cases of San Francisco labor organizer Tom Mooney and the 9 black Scottsboro Boys of Alabama, falsely accused of rape, and
Whereas, police, courts and laws have historically been used against working people in our struggle to organize unions and fight back against racist oppression, and
Whereas, the ILWU has a long-standing principle of opposition to racism and to the death penalty, a vestige of slavery, which is the ultimate form of government oppression, and
Whereas, African Americans, Latin Americans and other people of color are disproportionately imprisoned on death row across the country facing execution, and
Whereas, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Troy Anthony Davis, Kevin Cooper, Leonard Peltier and the San Francisco 8 are some of the most prominent victims of these government frame-ups, Jamal and Davis accused of killing police and Peltier of FBI agents on an Indian reservation, and
Whereas, the U.S. Supreme Court recently denied the appeal of Jamal, while Davis and Cooper lost before federal appeals courts, and
Whereas, Martina Correia, sister of Troy Davis, spoke passionately this year at ILWU Local 10s Black History month rally against racist repression and has now initiated a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of executing an innocent person,
Therefore Be It Resolved that the ILWU reaffirms our opposition to the death penalty, supports Martina Correias lawsuit and demands freedom for these victims of government repression, just as we did for Tom Mooney and the Scottsboro Boys in the wake of the Big Strike of 34, on this the 75th anniversary of that momentous struggle.
Posted: 26 July 2009