Fundraiser for Jack Heyman
Saturday September 27th|
7pm to 3am $5
ILWU Hall 2435 NW Front Ave
Huge Bash in support of ILWU Local 10 Business Agent Jack Heyman
Eight Bands Including: (INSIDE) too machines, DJ Riddim w/ Proxy, Destiny, Apprentice, and Justin Monroe; (OUTSIDE) The Pinkos, Paternil, 6 million $ band
When police opened fire on a peaceful anti-war protest at the Port of Oakland on April 7, many demonstrators and nine longshore workers were injured.|
Police used "less lethal" riot control weapons. The manufacturer's instructions clearly warn that shooting directly at people, which police did, can be lethal.
Thirty protesters and a longshore union official were arrested in the unprovoked police attack. On May 12, anti-war demonstrators successfully returned to the port to reassert their First Amendment rights to protest.
This time port employers delayed ship arrivals to avoid any conflict and police did not attack demonstrators. The Bay Area has a long history of dock protests. At an Oakland Coliseum rally in 1990, Nelson Mandela credited a San Francisco dock action in 1984 with sparking the U.S. anti-apartheid movement. In 1997, before he was mayor, Jerry Brown marched in a picket line in support of dockworkers in Liverpool, England. Today, he hypocritically defends the police shooting protesters in a picket line. Even police videos refute their justification for shooting, that the demonstrators threw rocks, bottles and blocked trucks in the port.
Last year during longshore contract negotiations, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) representing shippers closed all terminal gates, locking out longshore workers and shutting down all U.S. West Coast ports from Canada to Mexico for ten days. Longshoremen protested by organizing picket lines, rallies and marches. After the PMA lockout, President Bush invoked the Taft-Hartley Act, forcing longshoremen back to work under employers' conditions. Mayor Brown did not object to the ports being closed then by maritime employers, nor did he object to Bush imposing what the labor movement calls the "Slave Labor" Act.
In the post-9/11 world every event is measured in "national security" parameters. Last June, in an unprecedented act of government intimidation of unions, Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made phone calls to ILWU President Spinosa warning that dock actions during longshore contract negotiations would threaten "national security."
Politicians of both parties are jumping on board President Bush's "war on terror," lest they be branded unpatriotic. Meanwhile, draconian legislation like the Homeland Security Act, USA Patriot Act and Transportation Security Act, which eviscerate civil liberties, fly through Congress without serious debate. These patriots argue paradoxically that nowadays democratic rights have to be suspended in order to protect them.
The state of California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (CATIC) spied on protesters and union officials before the police attack. In an Orwellian twist Mike Van Winkle, a spokesman for CATIC who has since been removed from that job, explained, "You can almost argue that a protest (against a war ... against ... international terrorism) is a terrorist act." Even more chilling, Van Winkle extends terrorism to include any action that has an "economic impact. Are union picket lines or civil rights demonstrations to be banned in this war on terror?
National security was the excuse for government spying on former ILWU President Harry Bridges, the target of an unsuccessful redbaiting campaign to deport him. Today, spying on Oakland longshore officials whose union has been outspoken against the war and occupation in Iraq is no less reprehensible.
Yet, when it comes to probing the awarding of billions of dollars in reconstruction contracts in Iraq to corporations like Bechtel and Halliburton, that's taboo. Bush handed Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) a $4.8 million contract to run the port of Umm Qasr. The Port of Oakland demonstrators were protesting SSA's war profiteering. Clearly, this was a war for imperial might not civil rights.
The "Blue Ribbon Committee" set up to probe the latest Oakland police atrocity will have as little effect in curbing "excessive police force" as the Civilian Police Review Board did in curtailing the OPD's racist Riders. Perhaps, Jerry Brown in his possible run for state attorney general could host a radio program similar to his former KPFA show "We the People," this time renamed "We the Police."
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