New York City Workers Stand with the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Communities:
Our Grief Is Not an Excuse for Racism, Islamophobia, Bigotry or War
New York City Labor Against the War, September 2, 2010
As New York City workers and trade unionists, we deplore the attacks on Park51, desecration of mosques, violence and all other forms of racism, Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry.
It is no accident that this hate campaign is taking place in the midst of deepening economic crisis.
In the 1930s, the Nazis scapegoated Jews, Roma people, gays and others to deflect workers’ attention from the banks and corporations responsible for the Great Depression. Ultimately, failure to oppose these policies led to destruction of unions, elimination of all other opposition, and horrific consequences for the entire world.
Today, Newt Gingrich, Sara Palin, and the “Tea Party” similarly scapegoat Arabs, Muslims, immigrants and people of color in order to deflect workers’ fear and anger about record unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness, credit debt, police violence, and attacks on organized labor.
Although pretending to speak for workers, the Tea Party’s corporate puppets oppose our right to organize, collectively bargain or strike.
They attack Social Security, unemployment benefits, health care, workplace safety and environmental protections. They have even blocked compensation for Ground Zero first responders.
Their allies — including racist demagogue Pam Geller, the Anti-Defamation League, Rudolph Giuliani and prominent Neocons — promote bigotry to fuel increasingly unpopular U.S. wars against the Muslim world, while shielding Israeli apartheid from growing international isolation.
Workers, abroad and at home, have long paid the price for these disastrous policies. On 9/11, we suffered blowback from decades of U.S./Israeli war, occupation and colonialism.
9/11, in turn, has been the pretext for an endless bipartisan war of terror. This war has devastated Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen and other countries.
It has left thousands of G.I.s dead or maimed. It has tortured prisoners and undermined civil liberties. It has squandered trillions of dollars.
Now it targets Iran.
For these reasons, it is essential for trade unionists and all workers to stand up in defense of the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities.
Moreover, to eliminate the conditions that breed racism and Islamophobia, we ask New Yorkers to join us in building an ongoing workers’ movement to fight for jobs, housing, schools, national health care, labor and immigrant rights, racial justice, clean environment, and an end to U.S. wars of conquest.
The time to act is now.
(List in formation — *For identification only)
Larry Adams, Former President, NPMHU L. 300*; Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War
Michael Letwin, Former President, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*; Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Labor for Palestine, Al-Awda NY; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-Labor
Brenda Stokely, Former President, AFSCME DC 1707*; Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement
Noha Arafa, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*
Anthony Arnove, NWU/UAW L. 1981*
Tibby Brooks, NWU/UAW L. 1981*
Antonia Codling, Former Executive Bd. Member, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*
Heather Cottin, La Guardia Community College, PSC-CUNY, AFT L. 2334*
Frank Couget, NALC Branch 36, AFL-CIO*
Gregory Dankel, Chapter Chair, PSC-CUNY, AFT L. 2334*
Mike Eilenfeldt, Union @ Cooper Union, AFT L. #6420 NYSUT L. #37-901*; Delegate, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO*
Shelley Ettinger, AFT L. 3882*
Leslie Feinberg, NWU/UAW L. 1981*
Julie Fry, Vice-President, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*
Mike Gimbel, Retired Executive Bd. Member, AFSCME DC 37 L. 375*; Delegate, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO*
Marvin Holland, Director, Community and Political Action, TWU L. 100*
Deepa Kumar, AAUP-AFT, Rutgers University, New Jersey*
Edwin Molina, IBEW L. 3*
Susan O. Morris, Health & Safety Committee & Past Officer, Executive Bd., ALAA/UAW L. 2325*
Anne Pruden, Retiree, SEIU L. 1199*
Nagesh Rao, AFT L. 2364*
Dominic Renda, Chief Shop Steward, CWA L. 1105*
Mimi Rosenberg, Producer Building Bridges, WBAI Radio; ALAA/UAW L. 2325*
Hank Sambach, Secretary, AFSCME DC 37, L. 1930*
Steve Terry, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*
Azalia Torres, Former Executive Bd. Member, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*
Daniel Vila, Independent Workers Movement
Aminifu Williams, UAW L. 980*
Joyce Wilcox, AFSCME DC 37, L. 439*