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US Labor Against the War: Defeat Bush at any Cost
Write-in "Doug Mann" for School Board
by Doug Mann, 29 Oct 2004, Submitted to the Star-Tribune for publication 28 Oct 2004
Labor Must Lead the Antiwar Movement, Break with the Democratic Party.
by Doug Mann
"In the short term, our responsibility is to make the guns and butter issue central to our political work during the next 18 months. The logic of our position -- that the policy behind this war and the war itself are the worst possible things for working families and the world -- dictates that we do everything we can to get rid of the warrior who created the problem and the policies he is pursuing...- [OPENING REMARKS BY CO-CONVENOR BOB MUEHLENKAMP April 26 Meeting Of Expanded Continuations Committee In Chicago, IL] -- Message from US Labor Against War http://members.tripod.com/educationright/id254.htm
USLAW was established as an ad hoc committee to mobilize opposition to the invasion & occupation of Iraq by the labor movement. USLAW's Continuation Committee has "decided" to transform USLAW into an ad-hoc committee to support any candidate who is eventually nominated by the Democratic Party to run against Bush in 2004.
In his opening remarks to the April 26, 2003 USLAW CC meeting, Bob Muehlenkamp also stated,
"Most important, we laid the basis for stopping the next war. One of the principles of our trade union work is that a struggle can only begin at the level the last struggle ended. Think about what we would have to do to stop the next war following from this policy of
unilateral and preemptive war if we had not already built this U.S. and worldwide antiwar movement."
The wing of the antiwar movement that opposed an invasion and occupation of Iraq without UN approval were following the lead of "antiwar " Democrats who not only didn't oppose, but in fact supported critical steps taken by the Bush administration to prepare for an invasion and occupation of Iraq. That is not a very effective way to prevent a war or stop it in its early stages. I elaborated on this point in another, shorter comment entitled "Labor's Antiwar Movement" http://educationright.tripod.com/id256.htm
Language in the draft statement presented at USLAW's founding conference reportedly called for opposition to Bush's "policy of unilateral and preemptive war," but a motion from the floor was passed which removed language opposing an invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US without UN approval.
The statement adopted at the founding conference in January put USLAW on the record against the invasion / occupation of Iraq by the US. Period. And based on a poll of the membership prior to the April 26 CC meeting, USLAW coupled its position against the invasion / occupation of Iraq with a clear demand on the US government to immediately (and unilaterally) withdraw from Iraq: "Bring the Troops Home Now!"
At its April 26, 2003 meeting, one of the USLAW CC's "decisions" [appended to this message] was "1. That USLAW calls for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq and, instead, for reconstruction of that war-devastated country under the auspices of the United Nations."
The USLAW CC's anti-occupation stance is meaningless in-as-much-as the reconstruction of Iraq under UN auspices can only take the form of a US occupation under a UN flag. The USLAW CC's formula is a bridge to the position taken by liberal Democrats in the US Congress, who, with just a few exceptions, quickly voiced their support for the invasion and launched a campaign for "a more ambitious, comprehensive and compassionate reconstruction of Iraq than the one the Bush administration is likely to embrace" [from an editorial in the American Prospect, quoted immediately below in an article posted at Labor Advocate Online on March 22, 2003]
In an article entitled "Iraqi Troops Aren't the Only Ones Surrendering: Liberals, Union Bureaucrats Run Up White Flag Without a Fight," Bill Onasch wrote,
"When a resolution praising Bush's handling of the invasion of Iraq came before the House of Representatives only ten Democrats and one independent summoned up enough courage to vote no... The Senate vote was unanimous. A whole lot of good all our faxes and e-mails did for us with this group.
"Meanwhile the central organ of liberal Democrats, The American Prospect, did some quick caving as well. The web editor issued a joint statement with the editor of TomPaine.com. on their online sites. They explained,
“Liberals held a wide variety of views on the necessity of war during the months leading up to invasion. We were no exception: One of us fully supported the administration's war plans while the other was critical of the president's unilateral course. But that is all in the past. War is now a reality. And it seems to us that the only moral and practical option for liberals is to begin immediately campaigning for a more ambitious, comprehensive and compassionate reconstruction of Iraq than the one the Bush administration is likely to embrace—while supporting the war effort that will lay the groundwork for such plans to be enacted.”
Labor must lead the antiwar movement, and break with the Democrats.
April 8, 2003
APPENDIX: Decisions of the USLAW CC
1. That USLAW calls for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq and,
instead, for reconstruction of that war-devastated country under the
auspices of the United Nations.
2. That USLAW will issue a Call to a National Labor Assembly for
peace, security, prosperity and justice on Oct. 24 and 25, 2003 in
Chicago to establish an ongoing coalition of labor organizations
dedicated to challenging the militarization of U.S. foreign policy
and calling instead for policies that promote social and economic
justice both here at home and around the world. The Assembly can
consider whether to retain the USLAW name or change it to something
more in line with the new mission statement.
3. That the primary purpose of such a coalition will be to provide
information and educational materials to union members and other
workers about the connection between the militarization of U.S.
foreign policy and the crisis facing working families and the labor
movement, and to mobilize them to change the foreign and domestic
policies of our government.
4. That this coalition will require a new Mission Statement (draft
included as a separate attachment) and quite possibly a new name, as
will be decided at the National Labor Assembly in October.
5. That between now and October 24, USLAW will undertake the
Conduct regional meetings of labor organizations that were opposed to
the war on Iraq to explore further with them the question of an
ongoing coalition within the U.S. labor movement connecting U.S.
foreign and domestic policies.