April 21, 2004
I am co-convener of New York City Labor Against the War, which was the first post-9/11 labor antiwar committee established in the U.S. I am also a member of the UFPJ National Steering Committee and the USLAW Continuations Committee.
Founded in September 2001 by an interracial group of elected local union officers and rank and file union members, NYCLAW has played a leading role in both labor antiwar activity and within the broad antiwar movement.
NYCLAW’s founding statement was issued on September 27, 2001, just 16 days after 9/11. Since then, it has been endorsed by some 1500 trade unionists, including scores of union officers, and has been widely circulated in many languages (e.g., English, Arabic, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Turkish), served as a model for similar action elsewhere,[1a] and has been accompanied by a listserv with an equal number of subscribers.
LOCAL LABOR ORGANIZING
NYCLAW has sought to deepen its local roots through a one-day organizing conference on October 19, 2002, attended by more than 100 trade unionists from NYC and beyond; has established affiliated labor antiwar committees in healthcare, teachers, postal and transit; and has initiated and/or supported antiwar resolutions adopted by AFSCME DC 1707 and DC 37; PSC CUNY; 1199SEIU; UAW Region 9A and other unions.
As part of its focus on workers of color, it held a December 12, 2001 forum on civil liberties and immigrant rights attended by about 100 people; in March and September 2002, organized labor solidarity protests in solidarity with immigrant detainees in Brooklyn, that were endorsed by some sixteen labor bodies and attended by nearly 400 people; picketed the May 21, 2002 AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting to protest investment in Israeli bonds; and sponsored NYC Palestinian trade union tour [DATE].
NATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZING
In October 2001, NYCLAW helped convene the earliest labor antiwar network, which included ad hoc committees in the Bay Area, D.C., Albany and elsewhere. In 2001-2002, NYCLAW members brought antiwar resolutions to the international conventions of TWU, AFT and AFSCME.
NYCLAW helped build the first USLAW meeting in January 2003, and has been a consistent and persuasive advocate for broad, unqualified opposition to war and occupation – regardless of UN endorsement – and of USLAW representation for ad-hoc antiwar committees.[2a]
At its January 2003 founding meeting, USLAW adopted NYCLAW’s proposals for the organization’s name and for the essence of its unity statement. The October 2003 USLAW conference adopted NYCLAW’s proposal to support the Military Families’ demand to “Bring the Troops Home Now,” and to retain USLAW’s name.
[Iraq labor tour]
LEADERSHIP IN THE BROADER ANTIWAR MOVEMENT
NYCLAW has also played a leadership role within the broader antiwar movement. It helped establish the New York Coalition for Peace and Justice, which held a 10,000 strong protest on October 7, 2001, the day war began in Afghanistan.
Since that time, it has co-sponsored, spoken and/or coordinated labor mobilization at numerous national and international mass antiwar events, including November 18, 2001 (London), February 2, 2002 (NYC), April 20, 2002 (DC), October 26, 2002 (DC), January 18, 2003 (DC), February 15, 2003 (NYC), Mid March 2003 (NYC), March 23, 2003 (NYC), April 2003 (London), October 25, 2003 (DC), and March 20, 2004 (NYC). Within the movement, it has successfully advocated for united action between ANSWER, UFPJ and all other major antiwar coalitions; for adoption of “Bring the Troops Home Now” and for full inclusion of Arab-Muslims and Palestinians.
In March 2004, PSC-CUNY honored NYCLAW with a “Friend of CUNY Award.”
Michael Letwin, Growth of Labor Anti?War Action Tied to Bush’s Anti?Worker Moves (Labor Notes, 2003), at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/message/1697
1. From 1989-2002, I was full time president of UAW Local 2325, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys. After coming under intense attack for my public position on the war and on Palestine, I was defeated for reelection in November 2002. Support for UAW Local 2325 Antiwar Resolution (April ___, 2003), at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
1a. NYCLAW Inspires Netherlands Labor (Oct 27, 2001), at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. Dorothy Macedo, Labour Against the War (England)(Oct 28, 2001), at <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/message/270>
2. Deidre Mcfadyen, Some Union Heads Oppose ‘Bush War,’ Chief Leader, October 26, 2001, at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. New York City Labor Against War, Socialist Worker, November 16, 2001, at <http://www.socialistworker.org/2001/384/384_11_NYCLaborOnWar.shtml>; Judith Le Blanc, Labor takes a stand for justice, People’s Weekly World, December 1, 2001, at <http://www.pww.org/article/articleprint/226/>
2a. Founding of U.S. Labor Against the War (NYCLAW, January 13, 2003), at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.; Al Benchich, Labor Leaders Launch National Anti War Effort (Labor Notes, February 2003), at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
3. Report on October 10 NYC Labor Against the War Meeting (NYCLAW, October 15, 2001), at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.; Judith Le Blanc, As bombs drop, Americans say: ‘Not in our name,’ People’s Weekly World, October 13, 2001, at <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/message/460>
4. Labor Antiwar Efforts in Three Cities (Oct 17, 2001), at <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/message/203>
5. Mark Daly, Flyer Outrages TWU Leaders, The Chief -Leader, Oct. 31, 2001, at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. Marty Goodman, TWU Antiwar Resolution (October 31, 2001), at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
6. NYCLAW Joins 100,000 in London Against the War (November 26, 2001), at <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/message/383>
7. Statement in Other Languages (December 4, 2001), at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
8. NYCLAW Worker’s Forum: War on Our Rights, at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
9. Tomorrow’s Anti WEF Events (NYC)(February 1, 2002), at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/message/613>
10. a20 Coalition Statement (April 25, 2002), at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. NYCPJ Statement (April 28, 2002), at <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/message/937>; Democracy Now, April 19, 2004, Broadcast of Democracy Now a 20 roundtable, including NYCLAW Co Convener Brenda Stokely and others, at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. REPORT (DC a20) C SPAN Coverage (April 22, 2002), at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. Tim Wheeler, Speakers denounce Bush war on people, People’s Weekly World, April 27, 2002, at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. Tim Wheeler, 100,000 demand No war at home or abroad, People’s Weekly World, April 27, 2002, at <http://pww.org/article/articleview/1083/1/78/>
11. (3/23 Brooklyn & Oakland): Report on Labor Protests (March 25, 2002), at <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/message/713>
12. No Labor Money for Israeli War Crimes! (May 21, 2002), at <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/message/999>