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.

4 de junio: ¡Fuera fascistas de Portland!

English version here.

Sindicalistas y defensores de los derechos de los inmigrantes dicen 4 de junio: ¡Fuera fascistas de Portland! Después de las elecciones de noviembre pasado, los ataques racistas aumentaron enormemente. La lista de los que son blancos de ataques de los racistas incluye a inmigrantes, musulmanes y judíos, afroamericanos, latinoamericanos, lo mismo que a los defensores de los derechos la mujer, los gays y las lesbianas. Muchos de los ataques han sido encabezados por grupos de choque fascistas como el Ku Klux Klan y por bandas de supremacistas blancos de la “derecha alternativa” [alt-right]. A principios del mes, cientos de elementos de esta calaña realizaron un mitin frente a un monumento en Charlottesville, estado de Virginia homenajeando los estados “confederados”, defensores de la esclavitud, que fueron derrotados en la Guerra Civil norteamericana. Luego marcharon con antorchas a la manera de los nazis alemanes. Para el 10 de junio, los fascistas han anunciado que realizarán acciones ominosas contra los musulmanes en una veintena de ciudades alrededor del país. Ahora, algunas de estas bandas amenazan con montar una provocación racista en el centro de Portland, el domingo, 4 de junio. Fingen defender la libertad de expresión. ¡Mentira! Estos abusivos y asesinos racistas buscan aterrorizar a la población agrediendo a los más vulnerables. Cuando el grupo Patriot Prayer (rezo patriótico) y otros se presentaron en Portland el 29 de abril, lo hicieron blandiendo bates de béisbol y palos, mientras portaban cascos y alardeaban con la bandera de los esclavistas y de los terroristas del KKK. Ahora, un tal “Based Stickman”, así tildado por su afán de golpear salvajemente a palos a manifestantes, también va a presentarse en Portland. El veneno racista que estos desgraciados escupen desemboca en linchamientos. Hay que pararlos. Los fascistas son enemigos mortales de la clase obrera. Aplastarían a los sindicatos para imponer una dictadura ilimitada de los patrones. Por eso, sindicatos locales de Portland y de la región noroeste de Estados Unidos han decidido usar su poder para pararlos. El Local 10 del IUPAT (pintores), el Local 28 del IATSE (tramoyistas), el Local 1503 de los Carpinteros, el Local 483 de los Laborers, los docentes universitarios del Local 3544 de la AFT, el IWW de Seattle, los Roofers (techadores) de Los Angeles, junto con el Consejo Regional de Carpinteros del Noroeste y la AFT Oregon (sección estatal del sindicato magisterial) aprobaron en resoluciones su disposición a “unirse a la comunidad sindical y de lucha por la justicia social para movilizarse en contra del peligro que las provocaciones del KKK y otras organizaciones racistas y fascistas representan para todos nosotros.” Ya es hora de pasar de las palabras a la acción. Portland es de los trabajadores de todas las etnias y nacionalidades. Somos numerosos y tenemos el poder social que puede parar en seco a los racistas y fascistas. Actuemos antes de que sea demasiado tarde. ¡Todos y todas a la calle el 4 de junio! Domingo 4 de junio, 12:30 p.m. en punto Terry Schrunk Plaza SW 3rd Ave. y SW Madison St. Movilización para parar a los fascistas ¡Su provocación racista es una amenaza para todos nosotros! Sindicalistas de Portland Contra los Fascistas pdxlaboragainstfascists@gmail.com (503) 683-1894
Haz clic aquí para descargar en formato PDF.

Sindicalistas y defensores de los derechos de los inmigrantes dicen

4 de junio: ¡Fuera fascistas de Portland!

Después de las elecciones de noviembre pasado, los ataques racistas aumentaron enormemente. La lista de los que son blancos de ataques de los racistas incluye a inmigrantes, musulmanes y judíos, afroamericanos, latinoamericanos, lo mismo que a los defensores de los derechos la mujer, los gays y las lesbianas. Muchos de los ataques han sido encabezados por grupos de choque fascistas como el Ku Klux Klan y por bandas de supremacistas blancos de la “derecha alternativa” [alt-right]. A principios del mes, cientos de elementos de esta calaña realizaron un mitin frente a un monumento en Charlottesville, estado de Virginia homenajeando los estados “confederados”, defensores de la esclavitud, que fueron derrotados en la Guerra Civil norteamericana. Luego marcharon con antorchas a la manera de los nazis alemanes. Para el 10 de junio, los fascistas han anunciado que realizarán acciones ominosas contra los musulmanes en una veintena de ciudades alrededor del país.

Ahora, algunas de estas bandas amenazan con montar una provocación racista en el centro de Portland, el domingo, 4 de junio. Fingen defender la libertad de expresión. ¡Mentira! Estos abusivos y asesinos racistas buscan aterrorizar a la población agrediendo a los más vulnerables. Cuando el grupo Patriot Prayer (rezo patriótico) y otros se presentaron en Portland el 29 de abril, lo hicieron blandiendo bates de béisbol y palos, mientras portaban cascos y alardeaban con la bandera de los esclavistas y de los terroristas del KKK. Ahora, un tal “Based Stickman”, así tildado por su afán de golpear salvajemente a palos a manifestantes, también va a presentarse en Portland. El veneno racista que estos desgraciados escupen desemboca en linchamientos. Hay que pararlos.

Los fascistas son enemigos mortales de la clase obrera. Aplastarían a los sindicatos para imponer una dictadura ilimitada de los patrones. Por eso, sindicatos locales de Portland y de la región noroeste de Estados Unidos han decidido usar su poder para pararlos. El Local 10 del IUPAT (pintores), el Local 28 del IATSE (tramoyistas), el Local 1503 de los Carpinteros, el Local 483 de los Laborers, los docentes universitarios del Local 3544 de la AFT, el IWW de Seattle, los Roofers (techadores) de Los Angeles, junto con el Consejo Regional de Carpinteros del Noroeste y la AFT Oregon (sección estatal del sindicato magisterial) aprobaron en resoluciones su disposición a “unirse a la comunidad sindical y de lucha por la justicia social para movilizarse en contra del peligro que las provocaciones del KKK y otras organizaciones racistas y fascistas representan para todos nosotros.”

Ya es hora de pasar de las palabras a la acción. Portland es de los trabajadores de todas las etnias y nacionalidades. Somos numerosos y tenemos el poder social que puede parar en seco a los racistas y fascistas. Actuemos antes de que sea demasiado tarde. ¡Todos y todas a la calle el 4 de junio!

Domingo 4 de junio, 12:30 p.m. en punto
Terry Schrunk Plaza
SW 3rd Ave. y SW Madison St.

Movilización para parar a los fascistas
¡Su provocación racista es una amenaza para todos nosotros!

Sindicalistas de Portland Contra los Fascistas
pdxlaboragainstfascists@gmail.com (503) 683-1894

página de Facebook

Horrible asesinato doble por un nazi antimusulmán

English version here.

 ¡Movilizar el poder de la clase obrera!
¡Fuera fascistas de Portland!

Es cuestión de vida o muerte
Es hora de definirse: ¡Todos a la calle el 4 de junio!

Declaración de la iniciativa sindical de Portland contra los fascistas

Menos de un mes después de la realización de un mitin racista en East Portland, y nueve días antes de la anunciada provocación fascista a realizarse en el centro de Portland, el mortífero terrorismo racista ha asestado un golpe en la ciudad. El asesino estuvo presente de manera prominente en el mitin racista del 29 de abril. Ahora, dos valerosos hombres que lo enfrentaron están muertos, y un tercero se encuentra herido de gravedad. Musulmanes y judíos, afroamericanos, asiático-americanos, latinos, junto con los defensores de los derechos de la mujer, los gays y las lesbianas: todos están en la mira de los racistas asesinos. Ya lo hemos dicho: las concentraciones fascistas son el punto de partida para el espantoso terror racista. Incumbe a nosotros, los trabajadores, parar a los fascistas ya.

Se ha convocado una movilización de sindicalistas y de las y los que se oponen al terrorismo racista para el domingo 4 de junio, para movilizar el poder de la clase obrera tras el llamado de ¡Fascistas fuera de Portland!

La tarde del viernes 26 de mayo, Jeremy Joseph Christian, un varón blanco de 35 años, comenzó a gritar insultos racistas y amenazas de muerte a dos jóvenes mujeres que se encontraron en el tren ligero MAX en el centro de Portland. Una de ellas es negra y la otra es una musulmana que portaba un velo (hiyab).

Cuando de manera heroica tres pasajeros del tren intentaron proteger a las mujeres, Christian sacó un cuchillo, los degolló y escapó en la parada Hollywood. Dos de los hombres murieron por las heridas sufridas, mientras que el tercero requirió cirugía por la gravedad de sus lesiones. Poco después, el atacante fue detenido por la policía y está acusado de homicidio agravado.

Christian es un fascista local bien conocido. Múltiples videos lo muestran amenazando a manifestantes durante el festival de odio en Montavilla Park en East Portland el 29 de abril. Ahora la misma organización con la que estaba entonces dice que pretende realizar una concentración provocadora en el centro de Portland a las 2 p.m. el domingo 4 de junio. Incluso están invitando a un violento provocador fascista tristemente célebre para hacer clara su amenaza.

A principios de la semana, antes del último ataque, activistas sindicales del área de Portland lanzaron un llamado urgente para una “Movilización para parar a los fascistas. ¡Su provocación racista es una amenaza para todos nosotros!” Los organizadores enfatizaron: “Fingen defender la libertad de expresión. ¡Mentira!…. El veneno racista que estos desgraciados escupen desemboca en linchamientos. Hay que pararlos”.

En los próximos días se dirá mucho acerca del estado mental aparentemente perturbado del asesino. Pero ¿qué era lo que lo motivaba para atacar a dos jóvenes mujeres, una negra y otra musulmana, al gritarles “¡Bájense del autobús y lárguense del país porque no pagan impuestos aquí!”? Se trata de un claro reflejo del racismo asesino que viene de Washington y que se intensifica en todo el país.

Hace un mes, la policía acompañó al fascista Christian alrededor del parque mientras hacía saludos nazis y amenazaba a los manifestantes. El Portland Mercury (27 de mayo) informa: “Unos cuantos oficiales de la policía presentes el 29 de abril parecían estar familiarizados con Christian, pero no se sintieron amenazados por él”. Al final de la marcha de los racistas, la ciudad les proveyó un autobús municipal para transportarlos de regreso.

La misma policía de Portland atacó la marcha anual del Primero de Mayo por los derechos de los inmigrantes con gas lacrimógeno y granadas aturdidoras, acusando a los “anarquistas” cuando fue la policía la que aterrorizaba a los manifestantes, entre los cuales arrestó a 25 personas. A pesar de la palabrería que sobre la “diversidad” y la “unidad” profieren el alcalde y los políticos de los partidos patronales, el hecho es que tanto ellos como su policía están protegiendo a los fascistas.

El área de Portland es bastión de un poderoso movimiento obrero construido sobre el principio de que “un golpe contra uno es un golpe contra todos”. Los fascistas son cuerpos de choque que buscan dividir, conquistar y derrotar a la clase obrera y destruir los derechos de todos nosotros. Para parar el letal terrorismo racista y fascista es necesario –ahora, no en un futuro indeterminado– movilizar el poder de la clase obrera.

Un día antes de los asesinatos de Portland, el ILWU, sindicato de los trabajadores portuarios, paró labores en Oakland, California, paralizando los muelles, para protestar en contra de unas horcas, que representan una amenaza de linchamiento, que aparecieron en una de las terminales más grandes. El Primero de Mayo de 2015, el Local 10 del ILWU paró el puerto y marchó hacia la alcaldía de Oakland para exigir el fin del terrorismo policíaco. Ese mismo día, sindicalistas del área de Portland marcharon tras una manta que decía: “Trabajadores contra los racistas asesinatos policíacos”.

Éste es el poder que debemos movilizar para parar a los fascistas en Portland. Hacemos un llamado a todos y cada uno a tomar partido y unirse a la movilización sindical/negra/inmigrante a las 12:30 p.m. el domingo, 4 de junio, en Terry Schrunk Plaza (SW Tercera Ave. y SW Madison) para impedir que los aspirantes a Hitler organicen más acciones de terror asesino. ¡Todos a la calle el 4 de junio! ¡Fuera fascistas de Portland!

–27 de mayo de 2017

Sindicalistas de Portland Contra los Fascistas
pdxlaboragainstfascists@gmail.com
(503) 683-1894

Descargable en formato PDF aquí.

Hideous Double Murder by Muslim-Hating Nazi: All Out on June 4!

en español aquí

Mobilize Labor: Fascists Out of Portland

It’s A Matter of Life and Death

Take a Stand: Come Out on June 4

Statement by Portland Labor Against the Fascists

Less than a month after a race-hate rally was held in East Portland, and nine days before they plan to stage a fascist provocation downtown, murderous racist terror has struck in Portland. The murderer was prominently present at the April 29 racist rally. Now two brave men who stood up to him are dead, and a third was seriously wounded. Muslims and Jews, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, along with defenders of women’s, gay and lesbian rights: all are targeted by the murderous bigots. As we have emphasized: fascist rallies are a staging ground for hideous racist terror. It’s up to us, the working people, to stop the fascists now.

A mobilization of unionists and opponents of racist terror has been called for Sunday, June 4 to bring out labor’s power behind the call: Fascists Out of Portland!

On Friday afternoon, May 26, Jeremy Joseph Christian, a 35-year-old white man, began screaming racist insults and death threats at two young women he encountered on an MAX light rail train eastbound out of downtown Portland. One of the women is black and the other is a Muslim who was wearing a head scarf (hijab).

When three fellow passengers heroically sought to protect them, Christian drew a knife, slashed their throats, and escaped at the Hollywood transit stop. Two of the men died of their wounds, while a third required surgery for serious injuries. The attacker was taken into custody by police shortly after, and is charged with aggravated murder.

Christian is a well-known local fascist. Multiple videos show him menacing counter-demonstrators at a racist hate-fest in Montavilla Park in East Portland on April 29. Now the same outfit he was with then says it intends to stage a provocative rally in the center of downtown Portland at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 4. They’re even bringing in a notoriously violent fascist provocateur to make the threat clear.

Earlier this week, before the latest attack, Portland-area union activists issued an urgent call to “Mobilize to Stop the Fascists: Their Racist Provocation Is a Danger to Us All!” Organizers emphasized: “They pretend to defend ‘free speech.’ This is a lie… The poisonous race-hatred they spew out spawns lynchings. They must be stopped.

In the coming days much will be made of the killer’s apparently deranged mental state. But what possessed him to lash out against African American and Muslim young women, yelling “Get off the bus and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here”? This is clearly a reflection of the deadly racism coming out of Washington and escalating across the country.

A month ago, the police shepherded fascist Christian around the park as he gave Nazi salutes and threatened protesters. The Portland Mercury (27 May) reports: “A few Portland police officers on April 29 appeared to be familiar with Christian, but not threatened by him.” At the end of the racists’ march, the city provided a bus to take them back.

The same Portland police attacked the annual May Day immigrants’ rights march with tear gas and flash-bang grenades, blaming “anarchists” when it was the police who were terrorizing the marchers, arresting 25. Despite the talk of “diversity” and “unity” from the mayor and politicians of the bosses’ parties, the fact is they and their police are protecting the fascists.

The Portland area is home to a powerful labor movement built on the principle that “An injury to one is an injury to all.” The fascists are shock troops in the drive to divide, conquer and defeat the working class and destroy the rights of us all. To stop the deadly racist and fascist terror it is necessary – now, not at some indefinite future time – to mobilize the power of the working class.

The day before the Portland killings, ILWU longshoremen at the Port of Oakland, California walked off the job, paralyzing the docks to protest nooses, a threat of lynching, that were found at one of the largest terminals. On May Day 2015, ILWU Local 10 shut down the port and marched on Oakland city hall to demand an end to police terror. That same day Portland-area unionists marched behind a banner saying “Labor Against Racist Police Murder.”

This is the power we must bring out to stop the fascists in Portland. We urge one and all to take a stand and join the labor/black/immigrant mobilization at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 4 in Terry Schrunk Plaza (SW 3rd Ave. & SW Madison St.) to stop the would-be Hitlers from organizing more deadly terror. All out on June 4! Fascists out of Portland!

–May 27, 2017

Portland Labor Against the Fascists
pdxlaboragainstfascists@gmail.com (503) 683-1894

printable PDF version

All Out on June 4: Fascists Out of Portland!

en español aquí

Labor, Immigrant Rights Defenders Say June 4: Fascists Out of Portland! Since the November election there has been huge rise in racist attacks. Immigrants, Muslims and Jews, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, as well as defenders of women’s, gay and lesbian rights and others on the bigots’ hit list have been targeted. Many of these assaults have been spearheaded by fascist action groups including the Ku Klux Klan and “alt-right” white supremacist gangs. Earlier this month, several hundred of them staged a racist rally at a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, imitating the German Nazis’ parades with flaming torches. On June 10, fascists have announced ominous anti-Muslim actions in more than 20 cities around the country. Now some of these outfits are threatening to stage a racist provocation in downtown Portland on Sunday, June 4. They pretend to defend “free speech.” This is a lie. These racist bullies and killers seek to terrorize the population by going after the most vulnerable. When “Patriot Prayer” and others showed up in Portland on April 29, they were brandishing baseball bats and heavy sticks, wearing helmets and flaunting the Confederate battle flag of the slave owners and KKK night riders. Now “Based Stickman”, who gets his name from swinging his stick at people plans to make an appearance as well. The poisonous race-hatred they spew out spawns lynchings. They must be stopped. Fascists are the deadly enemies of the working class. They would smash the unions and pave the way for an unfettered corporate dictatorship. That is why Portland-area labor has resolved to use our power to stop them. Painters (IUPAT) Local 10, IATSE Local 28, Carpenters 1503, Laborers Local 483, AFT Local 3544 (graduate teaching fellows) as well as Carpenters NW Regional Council and AFT Oregon have passed resolutions declaring their readiness to “join with the broader labor and social justice community in mobilizing against the clear and present danger that the provocations of racist and fascist organizations pose to us all.” Now is the time to put these resolutions into action. Portland belongs to the working people of all races and nationalities. We have the numbers and the power to stop the racists and fascists in their tracks: we must act before it’s too late. All out on June 4! Sunday June 4, 12:30 p.m. sharp Terry Schrunk Plaza SW 3rd Ave. & SW Madison St. Mobilize to Stop the Fascists Their Racist Provocation Is a Danger to Us All Portland Labor Against the Fascists pdxlaboragainstfascists@gmail.com (503) 303-8278
Click for a printable file.

Labor, Immigrant Rights Defenders Say

June 4: Fascists Out of Portland!

Since the November election there has been huge rise in racist attacks. Immigrants, Muslims and Jews, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, as well as defenders of women’s, gay and lesbian rights and others on the bigots’ hit list have been targeted. Many of these assaults have been spearheaded by fascist action groups including the Ku Klux Klan and “alt-right” white supremacist gangs. Earlier this month, several hundred of them staged a racist rally at a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, imitating the German Nazis’ parades with flaming torches. On June 10, fascists have announced ominous anti-Muslim actions in more than 20 cities around the country.

Now some of these outfits are threatening to stage a racist provocation in downtown Portland on Sunday, June 4. They pretend to defend “free speech.” This is a lie. These racist bullies and killers seek to terrorize the population by going after the most vulnerable. When “Patriot Prayer” and others showed up in Portland on April 29, they were brandishing baseball bats and heavy sticks, wearing helmets and flaunting the Confederate battle flag of the slave owners and KKK night riders. Now “Based Stickman”, who gets his name from swinging his stick at people plans to make an appearance as well. The poisonous race-hatred they spew out spawns lynchings. They must be stopped.

Fascists are the deadly enemies of the working class. They would smash the unions and pave the way for an unfettered corporate dictatorship. That is why Portland-area labor has resolved to use our power to stop them. Painters (IUPAT) Local 10, IATSE Local 28, Carpenters 1503, Laborers Local 483, AFT Local 3544 (graduate teaching fellows) as well as Carpenters NW Regional Council and AFT Oregon have passed resolutions declaring their readiness to “join with the broader labor and social justice community in mobilizing against the clear and present danger that the provocations of racist and fascist organizations pose to us all.”

Now is the time to put these resolutions into action. Portland belongs to the working people of all races and nationalities. We have the numbers and the power to stop the racists and fascists in their tracks: we must act before it’s too late. All out on June 4!

Sunday June 4, 12:30 p.m. sharp

Terry Schrunk Plaza, SW 3rd Ave. & SW Madison St.

Mobilize to Stop the Fascists
Their Racist Provocation Is a Danger to Us All!

Portland Labor Against the Fascists

pdxlaboragainstfascists@gmail.com (503) 683-1894

Facebook event page

It Will Take Hard Class Struggle To Defeat “Right to Work”

From Bridge City Militant No. 4 (Spring 2017)

The labor movement in the United States is under full-scale attack, and its leaders are laying down and playing dead. They have no plans to fight the rightist capitalist onslaught spearheaded by Donald Trump. Worse yet, having been burned by their support for Democrat Hillary Clinton, top labor leaders are doing everything they can to play ball with labor-hater Trump.

In an interview with Fox Business Network, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka praised Trump’s cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and his talk of rebuilding infrastructure. “If he does something that’s good for the economy and workers, we’re going to be behind him,” he summed up, adding lamely: if not, not. Others were totally positive. When Trump called construction union leaders to the White House in late January, the head of NABTU (North America’s Building Trades Unions) Sean McGarvey crowed, “The respect that the President of the United States just showed us… was nothing short of incredible…. We have a common bond with the president.”

Laborers’ International Union president Terry O’Sullivan issued a press release saying “LIUNA is ready to work with the new Administration in the coming years to strengthen our country.” Doug McCarron, president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, was downright fawning. After Trump declared “I love Doug,” McCarron gushed to the media the president’s inaugural speech was “a great moment for working men and women in the United States.” But behind the love fest, working people will get screwed by a president who has declared that wages in the U.S. are too high, has fought unions at his Las Vegas hotel and elsewhere and supports union-busting “right to work” laws.

Various commentators have argued that the construction union leaders are being played. For sure. But then they are also getting played when they regularly back the Democrats. Labor will always get screwed so long as it is chained to the parties of capital. But forging those chains is how the sellout labor bureaucrats got in office, and how they got where they are today: facing the abyss.

The paralysis of union tops in the face of threatened “right-to-work” legislation or a potential Supreme Court decision that would do the same to public sector workers, is a declaration of bankruptcy. It demonstrates again that their fundamental loyalty is to the capitalist system, not the working people they claim to represent. What’s needed is to build a fighting opposition inside the labor movement based on a program of sharp class struggle, against the suicidal class collaboration of the present pro-capitalist labor bureaucracy. There’s got to be a clean sweep, or the unions are going down.

“Right to Work” and Racist American Capitalism

A year ago, labor unionists breathed a sigh of relief as the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 4-4 tie vote, killed Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association by letting stand the ruling of the appeals court. Funded by deep-pocketed anti-union “think tanks,” the lawsuit sought to cripple the unions financially by outlawing the “agency shop,” the requirement that employees at an organized workplace pay union dues or an equivalent. The target was public sector unions (representing 35% of the workforce) which because of their political connections have been able to withstand the union-busting onslaught that has decimated labor in the private sector, where union membership is down to 6%.

Now anti-union forces are gearing up for another attempt with a new Supreme Court. Meanwhile, in January Kentucky enacted a double-whammy “right-to-work” law coupled with a “no-right-to-strike” provision for public employees. Missouri passed its “RTW” law in February (it already had a public sector strike ban). And on February 1, a bill for a National Right to Work Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by two of the most reactionary Congressmen in the country, Steve King of Iowa and Joe Wilson of South Carolina. If neither of them is formally part of the right-wing Republican Freedom Caucus it is because this pair stands even further to the right.

Wilson is a Tea Party asset and a virulent immigrant-basher whose main claim to fame was to yell “you lie” (about immigration reform) at Barack Obama during a 2009 presidential address in Congress. Steve King is, if anything, an even more unabashed racist, sporting a Confederate battle flag on his desk, claiming Obama favored blacks and saying that “white people” have a “superior culture.” He declares that Islam is “antithetical to Americanism,” says that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” and wants to eliminate citizenship for all those born in the U.S. in order to produce an “America that’s just so homogeneous that we look a lot [sic] the same.”

It’s no wonder that spewing out such garbage, King is a hero of fascist and fascistic “white nationalists.” He is not only opposed to gay marriage, but even to civil marriage. And it’s entirely predictable that such a race-hater would also be a labor-hater. The fact is that the campaign for open-shop “right to work” laws, now threatening a nationwide offensive, was championed from its beginning by racist ideologues who oppose unions because in order to be effective, the unions must organize black and white workers together.

“Right to work” as a deceptively-named political movement was launched in the 1940s in Texas by a prolific right-wing political organizer named Vance Muse. Muse’s modus operandi was to rake in funds from some of America’s most powerful capitalist families – the Sloans (General Motors), Pews (Sun Oil), and Duponts, along with leading southern grandees – while hobnobbing with fascist groups like the Klan and “silver shirt” leader Gerald L. K. Smith. Muse organized a Georgia convention of a “Southern Committee to Uphold the Constitution” in 1934 chaired by former National Association of Manufacturers president John H. Kirby and featuring Smith and other fascists.

Two years later, Muse launched the Christian American Association in Texas. According to the Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas Online, “The Christian Americans worked for passage of right-to-work laws in sixteen states,” starting with Florida and Arkansas. According to “Limiting Labor: Business Political Mobilization and Union Setback in the States” by Marc Dixon in the Journal of Policy History (Vol. 19, No. 3, 2007):

“The Christian American Association was the first in the nation to champion the ‘Right-to-Work’ as a full-blown political slogan. Vance Muse became intrigued by the use of the Right-to-Work term in a 1941 Labor Day editorial in the Dallas Morning News that called for an open-shop amendment to the constitution. After traveling to Dallas and consulting with the editor, Muse was encouraged to use and promote the idea of Right-to-Work. This became their primary cause and they campaigned extensively for Right-to-Work legislation throughout the country, and especially within Texas.”

Muse and the fascist forces he mobilized with industry backing opposed unions because, in Muse’s words, the agency shop meant that “from now on, white women and white men will be forced into organizations with black African apes whom they will have to call ‘brother’ or lose their jobs.” (Gerard Colby, Du Pont Dynasty: Behind the Nylon Curtain [1984]) Muse was joined in his efforts by his older sister Ida Darden, who was notable as the publicity director of the Texas Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage in 1916, and the editor of the Southern Conservative newspaper from 1950 to 1961, which campaigned against unions, civil rights, modern art and Hollywood movies.

Christian American lobbying led to laws in Texas limiting picketing and other union activities. But while far-right and fascist organizations such as Muse’s groups were early and strident advocates of open-shop laws, they were not alone. Dixon writes that by 1947, when “right to work” was made law in Texas, its major backer was the Texas Manufacturers Association, headed by Herman Brown of the Brown & Root construction firm. By this time, the TMA kept its distance from Vance Muse and allied far-right groups. And the anti-labor forces were not the only ones to make racist appeals. In opposing “open shop” laws, Harry Acreman of the Texas AFL “invoked race as an issue, arguing that Right-to Work would end segregation in southern workplaces,” as Dixon noted.

Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1930s New Deal, labor officialdom has been in the Democrats’ pocket. While the Republicans opposed unions outright, FDR sought to hogtie them with government control, from the 1934 Wagner Act to the WWII War Labor Board. The kept labor bureaucracy went along with its wartime no-strike pledge, while the government jailed the Minneapolis Teamster leaders and Trotskyists for opposing the imperialist slaughter. Since a mainstay of FDR’s “New Deal coalition” were the Southern Dixiecrats, in opposing anti-labor legislation the craven union misleaders appealed to these racists for support. That doomed the postwar attempt to organize the South (Operation Dixie), which could have succeeded had the CIO fought Jim Crow segregation.

That was when employers’ “right-to-work” drive could have been stopped cold. Instead, you got the “open shop” South, a bastion of anti-unionism. And under the Democratic administration of Harry Truman, the 1948 Taft-Hartley Act was passed outlawing the closed shop and banning communists from union leadership positions. Although the AFL and CIO tops claimed to oppose that “slave labor” law, they refused to strike against it, meekly submitting to the dictates of capital. Meanwhile, as part of the anti-Soviet Cold War, liberal Democrats purged the unions of the “reds” who had built them, laying the basis for the subsequent witch-hunting associated with Republican senator Joseph McCarthy. And McCarthy’s chief witch-hunter, Roy Cohn, was the mentor of Donald Trump.

Forge a Class-Struggle Leadership of Labor to Defend All the Oppressed

Today, the drive to roll back the remaining gains of the industrial unions that were born in the class struggles of the 1930s is intensifying in the context of a political crisis of U.S. imperialism. A bogus “democracy” elevates a fake-populist billionaire and woman-hating media personality into the Oval Office. Once ensconced, Donald Trump promises a skeptical Wall Street (which considers him unreliable and favored Democrat Hillary Clinton) mountains of golden loot from the federal treasury, while throwing a few crumbs to some gullible labor fakers. His arch-racist attorney general Jeff Sessions vows to ratchet up police repression. And whipping up anti-immigrant hysteria, he reinforces the key structural element of American capitalism since it was founded on chattel slavery: the division of American workers along race-color lines and the brutal racial oppression of black people.

So how do the AFL-CIO leaders plan to fight the threat of national “right-to-work” legislation or court-ordered “open shop” rules that would cripple unions? Answer: they don’t. There are no plans for mass mobilization, besieging Congress and the Supreme Court or jamming Wall Street to shut down the center of world financial capital. At most they talk of stepping up “education” campaigns to convince workers to join the union. Even at that level union leaders remain beholden to the bosses, relying on dues check-offs which give management the power to turn off the financial spigot whenever it wants. In New York City, the United Federation of Teachers won’t get union dues subtracted from salaries in January until March. A class-struggle leadership would collect the dues itself.

The only way to defeat this anti-labor onslaught is not to seek a new “New Deal Coalition” that would continue to subordinate the working class to one party of racist U.S. imperialism, but to drive out the pro-capitalist bureaucracy that chains the unions to the Democrats and forge a class-struggle leadership of labor that defends all those oppressed by capitalism.

In the Pacific Northwest, CSWP has played a leading role fighting the threat of “right-to-work” union-busting. In September 2013, Wyatt McMinn, vice president of Local 10 of the International Union of Printers and Allied Trades (IUPAT) and a CSWP spokesman was arrested and threatened with a year in jail for protesting a meeting of the union-hating Freedom Foundation. The class-struggle unionist, a founder of CSWP, was eventually found not-guilty, a victory for labor solidarity and the more than a dozen union and labor councils that endorsed his defense.

Two years later, in the fall of 2015, as Friedrichs loomed at the Supreme Court, members of CSWP, elected from their unions as delegates to the Oregon state AFL-CIO convention, brought a motion that “area unions should prepare a major region-wide stop-work action against this effort to impoverish workers.” The resolution won significant support but was shot down by the state AFL leadership, which has repeatedly refused to fight union-busting with industrial action, instead devoting itself to lobbying Democrats. One of their main arguments is that opinion polls show “the public” as being hostile to unions. But as the experience of the 2011 labor uprising in Wisconsin against an anti-labor governor showed, once unions began acting like defenders of workers, public support soared … and then plummeted when protests were called off in favor of voting for Democrats.

As we wrote in Bridge City Militant No. 2 (Winter 2016),

“Above all, every union needs to begin preparing to fight the coming union-busting onslaught in the streets and in the workplaces. We need to form committees in every local and every workplace to prepare to tie up metro Portland like the workers in Wisconsin shut down Madison in 2011 – but Wisconsin shows that we can’t let the fight be diverted into the dead end of electoral support for the Democrats or any capitalist party. We need a class struggle workers party: not just a vote-getting apparatus but a party to organize and lead the fight for the oppressed and exploited, using the powerful weapons that our class has.”

The AFL-CIO tops went on to throw millions of dollars to Hillary Clinton and her pro-“right to work” vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine. This set the stage for a demagogue like Donald Trump to reap protest votes from workers and the unemployed suffering the ravages of the capitalist economic crisis, and the bipartisan job-killing policies implemented by Obama that have devastated the industrial “rust belt.” Class-struggle unionists called instead to break the Democrats’ stranglehold on labor, and in August 2016 Painters Local 10 passed a groundbreaking resolution calling for “No Support to the Democrats, Republicans, Or Any Party of the Bosses,” and instead “call[ing] on the labor movement to break from the Democratic Party, and build a class-struggle workers party.” This, and not belly-crawling before Congress, the courts and the capitalist politicians, is the way to bust the union-busters! ■

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.