Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Call for Labor Solidarity with the Justice Movement

Oct 8 th rally - Romero, Huey and other families speak to ATU rally

To: The Executive Board and Membership of ATU 1555
Attn: Chris Finn, ATU 1555 Recording Secretary,
Who could forget that scene, the afternoon-evening of August 1st, 2013.   Emanating from a 1,000 strong rally and march of BART workers and their supporters, these chants rocked BART headquarters!!    The workers felt their power then.  But due to the inaction of the bureaucratic and reformist leadership, due to the lack of a delegated, rank and file Strike Committee that meets daily, this sense of power we all shared has been allowed to dissipate into inactivity.  We are watching a prime fighter become disabled from fighting.   Labor, Black & Brown (LBB) believes also that “An Injury To One, Is An Injury To All”, and were honored to have the ILWU Local 10 come to Vallejo and make that real.
What brings us to this point in history involves  Jared Huey, 16 years old, who was murdered by the Vallejo Police on June 20, 2012, and  Mario Romero, 22 years old.  Mario was murdered by the Vallejo Police on September 2nd, 2012.   As you are aware, the families of these two youths are fighting for justice, have united with other Bay Area families, and have been seeking the active support of the union movement.    On February 26, 2013, the ILWU Local 10 responded to the call for assistance by Cynthia Mitchel, mother of Mario Romero, and Mike Huey, father of Jared Huey.  A “Labor – Community Press Conference” was convened on the steps of Vallejo City Hall.  Those  present included 15 ILWU Local 10 members,  the Black Riders Liberation Party (BRLP), Labor  Black & Brown (LBB),  members and supporters of the Romero and Huey  families and the family of Guy Jarreau, (killed by Vallejo Police, December 12, 2010).   A spirited press conference was convened, and afterwards, an impromptu, orderly and disciplined shut down of the Vallejo City Council meeting took place.  (See ILWU – Vallejo 2-26-13 on You Tube)
    LBB noted at the ILWU Local 10 Executive Board on Feb 12, 2013, that there is “…the need for a rank and file United Front consisting of labor, workers organizations in general, with the Black and Brown community organizations and the youth.”  This need has not gone away, but has become more urgent today, as illustrated by the events around the current BART negotiations/strike.
    Labor Black & Brown has been providing advice to the families in Vallejo, as well as the folks in Stockton (James Rivera – murdered July 27, 2010) and Manteca (Ernest Duenez –  murdered June 8, 2011).  Specifically, we advise them to seek out the unions or groups of workers – especially those engaged in active struggles – for a joint united battle against our common enemy, this capitalist system.   LBB understands that when the power of the labor movement is joined by Brown and Black Power in the class struggle, ALL of that power is increased, exponentially.  
    This will become apparent when community protests against police violence are joined by militant contingents of workers, union and non-union, perhaps even developing towards joint labor, Black and Brown defense guards.   When we organize and witness workers’ picket lines bolstered by mass community support, we will begin witnessing that power – labor, Black and Brown power.   The power of the masses  who are conscious and united for the class-struggle.   This is what we have in mind when we suggest that the BART unions engage in and join the fight against Police, La Migra/ICE terror, and supporting the community with Union Power just as the BART workers want and need the community to support them.
     That 1,000-strong August 1st BART rally – march??  When we arrived at BART headquarters, remember when those chants went up??  For about 5 minutes!!! :  STRIKE!  STRIKE!  STRIKE!  STRIKE!.... UNION POWER!  UNION POWER!  UNION POWER!  UNION POWER! ! ! !  . . . .   In your mind’s eye, add about 1,000 or more Brown and Black people from the community, mad about Oscar Grant, mad about Ernest Duenez, mad about Mario Romero and Jared Huey, mad about the service cuts, the lack of opportunity, the latest “immigration” atrocities and the many other attacks and indignities our communities are suffering. . . .   We start determining what is possible.
    When Cynthia Mitchel and Mike Huey came down from Vallejo to the 1,000 strong August 1st BART Union rally, Chris Finn, ATU 1555 recording secretary and main union organizer for the function, told Cynthia, Mike and LBB that there wasn’t enough time  to fit them into the speakers schedule.   Wow!  They came all the way from Vallejo to share their trials, tribulations, pain, and to express their thanks for the very able assistance we got from the ILWU Local 10.  On a basic level, is this solidarity?  …An embarrassing political blunder?   …A bureaucracy?  
    The workers movement should be about honesty and learning from our mistakes.  So we contrast this unfortunate incident with our meeting and action with the ILWU Local 10 and stress that fighters in the workers’ movement  should  learn  more useful  political habits, like the ability to change plans when a unique opportunity presents itself.   Chris, you are a likable enough guy, I don’t get it, you behaving like bureaucratic habit.  “Not enough time” ??  The Unions -- the ATU 1555, SEIU 1021 & AFSCME 3993 were the shot callers for when or what time the march left city hall (Oscar Grant Plaza) for the BART Headquarters.  I am certain, that those good union folks, assembled that afternoon, would gladly abide a three or four minute non-delay to hear Cynthia and Mike describe the goings on in Vallejo and explain their efforts to join with other families victimized by police murders, in what should become a nation-wide movement.  
    Anyway, what Vallejo has to report, that rally of union workers needed to hear.  The stone-walling by city officials.  The harassment by the Vallejo Police.  The surveillance.   The intimidation.  That cabal of the Vallejo establishment trying to isolating the resistance of these good people.   Race-hating Nazis nibbling around the edges…. 
    Union workers need to hear from the parents of James Rivera, murdered July 22nd, 2010 and their call for a “General Strike in Stockton, May 31 (2012).   The mainstream media wouldn’t cover it.  Why would our union allies shunt away families who desire and actively seek united action with the unions? 
    We urge ATU Local 1555 not to turn away from, or censor out the battles occurring in the outlying areas of the Bay.  These working class families have been, pretty much by themselves, working against the formidable powers of police departments and this system they protect.  From Stockton, Manteca, Vallejo, Oakland, and also Southern California, “victims” of police killings are becoming intransigent resistors.  The unions need to do some aggressive outreach and actual, factual solidarity -- it will be an outreach that will be very welcome.  And perhaps, for the unions and for us all, an answer to Wisconsin.
    These families, from Manteca, Stockton, Vallejo (and anywhere else) should be welcomed to the speakers platform to tell their stories.  Labor Black & Brown would like to speak and educate about Political Strikes (like ILWU Local 10 on Oct. 23rd, 2010)  and workers defense guards (like UAW Local 6 in 1975).  In our opinion Union Outreach and Support Rallies work best with the grass roots from the communities and union rank and file speaking from an OPEN MIKE.  We need less officials speaking and more ideas from the people!
    Please communicate with us to discuss any aspect of what we have addressed
In Solidarity, Charles DuBois for Labor, Black & Brown

When they shoot us down – We shut them down!
For More OCT. 23rds!  Unions, Organize Political Strikes against Police Murderers.
Victory to the BART Workers and Their Unions! 
For Rank and File delegated Strike Committee that meets daily, to assess and co-ordinate strategy and political tactics.   Convene these meetings before October 10th.
Organize mass union-community picket lines to inform and inspire union

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