2003.02.26: New York City Council Hearings On An Antiwar Resolution (NYCLAW)

NYCLAW Testimony at NY City Council

NY Post, March 5, 2003

COUNCIL KOOK-FEST

They lent their voices – some whiny, some paranoid, others simply clueless or ill-informed – in support of a wildly divisive proposal to have the New York City Council adopt a resolution opposing war with Iraq. . . . After a while, cries for everything from affordable housing to a living wage competed with talk of war. Michael Letwin, of New York City Labor Against the War, seized the opportunity to wield this humdinger: “The threat to the people of the United States is not Iraq, it’s our government.”

[ Full text: http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/69958.htm ]

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New York City Council
Hearings On An Antiwar Resolution

Testimony of Michael Letwin
Co-Convener, NYC Labor Against the War
Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attys.
February 26, 2003

My name is Michael Letwin. I am Co-Convener of NYC Labor Against the War, and Former President of UAW Local 2325/Association of Legal Aid Attorneys.

We are here in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s courageous opposition to the Vietnam War, and we are not alone.

In the United States, unions with at least 5 million members–one-third of organized labor–have come out against the Bush administration’s war on Iraq, and the number grows every day.

In New York City alone, some 30 labor bodies with approximately half a million union members endorsed the massive February 15 antiwar protest in New York City. These included some of the largest unions and labor bodies in the city: 1199SEIU, AFSCME DC 37 and 1707, CWA District 1, PSC-CUNY, TWU Local 100, UAW Region 9A and the Working Families Party With or without UN approval, this war is a weapon of mass distraction–from oil, from U.S. empire, and from a crumbling economy at home.

It will further victimize the Iraqi people, who have suffered horribly through ten years of U.S. war and sanctions.

Working people in this country will pay: with our sons and daughters in uniform; with destruction of our social services; with unprecedented attacks on labor, civil and immigrant rights; with further blowback from terrorist attacks.

The threat to working people isn’t Iraq, but our own government.

Nothing makes this clearer than recent events right here in New York.

The Bush administration’s plan to spend hundreds of billions to control Iraqi oil, together with massive tax cuts for the rich, has nearly bankrupted our state and city. The Bloomberg administration is slashing human services and tells municipal workers–like poorly-paid day care workers–to forget about raises.

One federal court upheld the city’s blatantly unconstitutional denial of a march permit for February 15, and the same week another federal court repealed restrictions on NYPD political spying. These rulings reflect a broad attack on civil liberties, immigrant and labor rights–all under the guise of 9/11.

Labor’s message to this Council is simple: No War–No Way.

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