Stewart A. Alexander for U.S. President
Peace and Freedom Party
May 22, 2007
Anti-war protesters were on the picket line this past weekend at the SSA (Stevedoring Services of America) shipping terminals in Oakland, California to protest the Iraq War and the lack of funding for schools in Oakland. The picketers demanded that the U.S. get out of Iraq and called on other unionists throughout the United States to mobilize in action to stop the war.
The May 19th action which began in the early morning before the first day shift of ILWU Local 10 longshoremen and women, as well as longshore clerks of ILWU Local 34, was organized to encourage the dockworkers to honor the picket line which they are allowed to do under their contract.
As a result of a political educational campaign in the ILWU Local 10, most workers were fully in support of the picket and did not cross the line.
Newly elected Democratic Mayor Ronald Dellums had also sent a letter, to the Port Action Committee that organized the picket, which declared that the war "had been a blunder" and said he opposed the war.
The picket line, which swelled as the morning went on, was manned by a large number of teachers and leaders of the Oakland Education Association (OEA) who were not only angry about the Iraq War, but to protest the role of port companies like SSA and American President Lines (APL) that are profiting off the war and are operating privatized docks in Iraq.
The picket was also organized to protest the fact that West Oakland students, who live next to the port, have some of the worst conditions in the schools while the port of Oakland does $33 billion in business annually.
OEA President Betty Olsen Jones pointed out that while Oakland is making a tremendous income from the port operations, and could help to provide funding for the schools, they refuse to help.
As a result of the crisis in the schools, the state has taken over in a trusteeship and is proceeding to privatize the schools with charters including a military charter set up by former mayor and now California Attorney General Jerry Brown.
Many of the Black longshore workers were angry that a Black community in Oakland is not benefiting from the massive income the port is making. Presently the Oakland Education Association is supporting a $20 tax on each container that comes into the port that would go to the schools in Oakland so the education system would benefit from being home to the fourth largest port in the United States.
The cost of the war and the lack of funding for the Oakland schools is another example of the sacrifice and financial burden the Iraq War is creating for working class people and students; and how big corporations are earning their billions from Bush's war.
Stewart Alexander, a presidential hopeful with the Peace and Freedom Party, applauds this action and support the unions, the teachers and the community. "Even though Bush will not listen to the American people or the world community, this action has significant lessons for successful workers actions against the war nationally and internationally."
For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander for President; Iraq War: Counting the Cost; Senator Reid was Right, the War is Lost; Democrats Waffling on Iraq War.