June 4: Portland Labor Mobilizes to Stop Fascist Provocation

The Internationalist website published a report on the June 4 Portland Labor Against the Fascists mobilization. Read the article here.

The June 4 rally of white-supremacist and outright fascist Trump supporters in Portland, OR was protected by triple lines of heavily armed police. However, it was surrounded by far greater numbers of furious protesters outraged by this brazen provocation barely a week after the double murder by a local Nazi. One of three protests, a mobilization called by Portland Labor Against the Fascists, brought out several hundred union members and supporters, including members of at least 14 area unions.  The labor mobilization stood its ground to the very end, with non-stop chants and speeches that reverberated throughout the area for over six hours until the last of the racist and fascist scum exited on buses protected by the police. This marks the first significant working-class action in the U.S. against white supremacists in decades. June 4 points to the potential for organizing workers defense guards that could send the fascist vermin scurrying back into their holes. It was an important first step in bringing out the power of the labor movement in defense of working people, immigrants, Muslims and all those targeted by the all-round reactionary offensive coming out of Washington. And it sharply posed the need for a workers party fighting to overthrow the capitalist system that breeds fascism, and to replace it with the liberating rule of the working class.

Painters Local 10 forms anti-racist mobilization committee

At the monthly membership meeting March 15, Painters and Drywall Finishers IUPAT Local 10 voted to establish an anti-racist mobilization committee, joining similar efforts in other local unions to prepare to put into practice the resolution to “Stop the KKK and All Racist Groups.” This comes in the context of increasing racist and fascist threats across the Northwest, including the arson of a mosque in Bellevue, WA in January to the appearance of fascist graffiti in Portland earlier this month.

We reprint below the statement of the newly-elected chairman of the Local 10 committee, a journeyman painter with many years in the industry.

Sisters and Brothers, we are bound by oath to oppose racism within our ranks wherever and whenever. Our Constitution states:

To unite into one labor organization all workers eligible for membership, regardless of religion, race, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, or sexual orientation

We also have an non-negotiable moral duty to extend this oath to our brothers and sisters outside our ranks. Not only is this a moral duty but also a clear opportunity to strengthen Union ranks and reverse the slow poisoning of our Institution. Racism past and present has driven a wedge between all workers which severally weakens the power of a united front (the basic fundamental factor in organized labor). It only serves to benefit those that profit from our labor and consolidate the corrupt power of corporate America. We must grab this opportunity presented to us by the current political climate of heightened racism and put all our institutional support behind the anti-racist movement. Both the labor and anti-racist struggle are inextricably intertwined. None should take priority. We as Union will reap huge benefit from fighting and finally eradicating racism. I will go as far to say that our very survival depends on it.

In light of this urgency, I here by purpose that we form our own Anti-Racist Mobilization committee. A committee that will stand shoulder to shoulder with other Anti-Fascist Committees formed by our brothers and sisters of different  trade unions. We will work to encourage fellow Unions to adopt the same principles and fight, we will reach out to all those organizations that have taken up this struggle in solidarity,  we will mobilize to support those who are increasingly under attack by racist elements, and we will show by example that Union brothers and sisters have the moral fortitude to not shrink from an oath bound duty.

ICE Out of our Schools! NYC Education Workers Prepare to Defend Immigrant Students

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February 28 – Educators and students gather in Brooklyn, NY outside meeting of Panel for Education Policy (PEP) to support and organize to defend our students.

This update from Class Struggle Education Workers describes some of the efforts being made by class-struggle unionists to defend immigrants at NYC public schools and universities. It’s time for unions in the Portland area to take similar measures.

CSWP at ICE Out of Oregon Protest

CSWP and IUPAT Local 10 banners at ICE Out of Oregon protest, 6 Mar 2017
CSWP and IUPAT Local 10 banners at ICE Out of Oregon protest, 6 Mar 2017

Class Struggle Workers – Portland participated in the “ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the deportation gestapo) Out of Oregon” protest on Monday. We were joined by a contingent from Painters & Drywall Finishers Local 10.

CSWP says it is urgent for the unions to take action now to defend immigrants from deportation. The Trump regime is hated and unstable, but the bipartisan attack on immigrants won’t be ended by appeals to the Democratic Party or liberal platitudes about allegedly American values (this country was founded on slavery and genocide, not democracy, love and rainbows). The multi-racial, multinational working class has the power to drive the ICE gestapo out of Portland and other cities with mass protests backed by strike action.

IUPAT Local 10 at the March 6 “ICE Out of Oregon” protest.
IUPAT Local 10 at the March 6 “ICE Out of Oregon” protest.

Portland May Day 2016: Class Struggle Contingent

May Day in Portland, 2016: the Class Struggle contingent brought together Carpenters, Ironworkers, Stagehands, Teachers, IWW “Wobblies” and other pro-working class elements under the day’s only banner that called for “Full Citizenship Rights for all Immigrants,” on this workers’ holiday that was revived in the U.S. by the mass protests of immigrant workers ten years ago.

The goal of the Class Struggle contingent was to fight for May Day as it should be: International Workers Day, a day for the class struggle against the capitalist system. Our contingent was the only participant in Portland’s May Day that sought to mobilize the unions and the militant workers. And while there were some radical-sounding words to be heard from the platform, one of the main sponsors of the event was the “Working Families Party,” a scam operation with which the union bureaucracy seeks to get workers’ votes for the Democratic Party of our class enemy. The Class Struggle contingent’s banner said “Break with the Democrats and Republicans! For a Class-Struggle Workers Party!” We distributed many copies of our article against Bernie Sanders from Bridge City Militant No. 1. We were the only group at May Day that had anything to say against the ruling party of bloody, racist U.S. imperialism.

A spokesperson for the Internationalist Group, part of the Class Struggle Contingent, was interviewed by KOIN 6 TV news and got right to the point: “We think that capitalism has long outlived its usefulness, and we think that we need a workers revolution in America.” That’s what May Day, and the class struggle, is for.

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Pickets Confront Anti-Abortion Rally

On Sunday, January 17, CSWP initiated a spirited picket line that shouted down an anti-abortion “youth rally” at a swank Portland Pearl District caterer. Union Carpenters, Ironworkers, Painters, Stagehands, Teachers, Wobblies, Portland Solidarity Network supporters and others turned out. CSWP placards and chants demanded “Free Abortion On Demand” and “Labor: Defend Abortion Clinics.” Union militants intend for this action to be the beginning of organizing more solid and active labor defense of abortion rights. Speakers soapboxing at the picket emphasized the need to mobilize labor’s power in defense of the right to free abortion on demand, independent of and against all capitalist parties, Democrats and Republicans alike.

CSWP pickets anti-abortion rally, 17 January 2016.
CSWP pickets anti-abortion rally, 17 January 2016.
Flier for 17 January 2016 picket of anti-abortion rally
Flier for 17 January 2016 picket of anti-abortion rally

Support Pasco Teachers: Down with Washington’s Slave-Labor Law!

SEATTLE, Washington – Schools here remain closed today, Friday, September 11 on the fourth day of the strike by public school teachers, the first in 30 years. While the Seattle strike has grabbed national attention, teachers in the southeastern Washington city of Pasco have been on strike since September 1, and are still out in defiance of a court order. As in public schools across the country, teachers have been squeezed by low wages, lack of basic classroom supplies including textbooks, overemphasis on standardized testing, and a dictatorial administration that will not allow teachers, parents or students any input in curriculum development.

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Pasco, WA teachers voted overwhelmingly in August to strike.

On Friday September 4, Franklin County Judge Alex Ekstrom ordered the teachers to return to work Tuesday, after the Labor Day weekend. Under Washington State’s slave labor laws, strikes by public employees are illegal. While the school board refuses to meet with union representatives, the court is set to fine the local union two thousand dollars per day, and individual union executive board members an additional $250 per day. But Pasco teachers courageously refused to bow to the slave-labor injunction and are continuing their strike as of Friday. (A court hearing is scheduled for today to begin imposing the draconian fines.)

Pasco is the largely immigrant city where Antonio Zambrano Montes, a Mexican agricultural worker, was shot down in cold blood by police last February. On Wednesday, the Franklin County prosecutor outrageously announced that no charges would be brought against the cops who gunned down the unarmed Zambrano in a hail of 17 bullets, despite cellphone video recording of the murder seen by millions. However, there may still be a coroner’s jury hearing. Class Struggle Workers – Portland and the Internationalist Group have actively supported protesters in Pasco, who have been hit by a number of arrests. A CSWP fundraiser was held in July to raise money for their defense. A demonstration against this racist injustice will be held in Pasco tomorrow.

Pasco and Seattle teachers are fighting for decent education for their students, and are now standing for the fundamental freedoms of all workers. They must have the support of working people and the labor movement throughout Washington and the country. Smash the slave-labor law! Victory to the teachers!

Pasco teachers continue strike on September 8 despite injunction.
Pasco teachers continue strike on September 8 despite injunction.

Contributions and messages of solidarity should be sent to the Pasco Association of Educators, 2318 W Court St, Pasco, WA 99301.