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S.F Labor Council Statement on the Tragic Events of September 11, 2001

The San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO) joins the nation and the
world in mourning the devastating loss of life resulting from the
vicious attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well
as the crashed plane in Pennsylvania. We condemn the criminality of
those attacks and those responsible.

Many of those killed were union members and other workers killed on
the job. Our hearts go out to our sisters and brothers and their
loved ones. We particularly honor the rescue workers who continue to
risk their lives to save others.

No one, in this country or any other, should suffer the fate of the
victims in these attacks. We demand that the perpetrators of these
crimes be brought to justice. The United States has a responsibility
to establish with irrefutable facts the identity of those who were
behind these attacks. The tragic attacks of September 11 should be
treated as a heinous crime rather than an act of war.

As we mourn this tremendous loss of life, we declare our resistance
to efforts to use this tragedy to engage in military actions that can
lead only to more carnage and senseless loss of life. We reject the
idea that entire nations should be punished for the actions of a few.
Bombing raids and military strikes will only fuel an endless cycle of
revenge that can only bring the deaths of more innocent civilians,
both here and around the world.

In the face of such sorrow, we urge all people, particularly members
of the labor family, to stand united against prejudice, hatred and
intolerance wherever it arises. Within our own borders, we call upon
all in our communities to join us in immediately confronting any anti-
Arab, anti-Muslim, anti-Sikh or other anti-immigrant hate speech or
acts of violence, whether in our neighborhoods, our workplaces, or in
the media. We strongly oppose efforts to curtail the rights of
immigrants and refugees, including expulsion of suspect foreign
nationals without due process.

We also declare our resistance to efforts to use this tragedy to
curtail our civil liberties. Militarization of our society inevitably
leads to erosion of civil liberties and workers' rights. We must
remain vigilant in the defense of our democratic principles,
including the protection of our civil liberties. Already proposals
have been put forward to allow increased federal surveillance of
private activities, and there is a strong push for greater use of
racial profiling. In the past, national security has often been used
to justify interference with our rights to freedom of association, to
organize, to strike and to picket. We must redouble our efforts to
fight for justice, and must not allow those who oppose our goals to
use a national crisis as an excuse to assault our civil and economic
rights.

We encourage open discussion as to the origins of this crisis and the
most appropriate response to the atrocities that have taken place -
particularly about the need for a foreign policy that is based on
economic and political justice.

A century ago, Samuel Gompers, first President of the AFL, said that
labor wants more justice and less revenge. Our greatest memorial to
our fallen sisters and brothers will be a world of peace, justice,
tolerance and understanding, underscored by the solidarity of working
people.