Washington State AFL-CIO Opposes Iraq War & Patriot Act
According to a message posted on the Internet on August 28, the following is the text of Resolution #6 adopted by the Washington State Labor Council at its August 19-22, 2002, convention in Spokane, Washington.
WHEREAS, President Bush’s ever-expanding “war on terrorism” has been cynically used to justify a $48 billion hike in next year’s military budget, bringing it to $383 billion, in addition to the $15 billion bailout of the airline industry and $25 billion in tax refunds for corporate America; and
WHEREAS, Congress is forcing union members and other working and poor people to pay for this war drive and subsidize corporate profits by raiding the Social Security Trust Fund and cutting funding for economically distressed states and vital government programs such as subsidies for low income housing and services to the homeless; and
WHEREAS, the billions spent on armaments, domestic repression and bailouts could be better used to provide retraining programs and jobs to the 800,000 workers across the nation who lost their jobs after September 11, and to plug the $50 billion deficit in state and local budgets that has resulted in a major loss of union jobs and cuts in essential socials services such as fully staffed libraries, education, quality public transportation with reliable access services to the disabled, providing clean water and air, healthcare and treatment for the mentally ill; and
WHEREAS, in the aftermath of September 11 over 1,000 immigrants were imprisoned in detention centers, thousands of airport workers(many of them immigrants of color) were fired simply because they were not citizens, and Muslims, people of Middle Eastern descent, and other immigrants suffered increased violence sparked by racial profiling by the INS and FBI; and
WHEREAS, the federal “USA PATRIOT” anti-terrorism act and similar state measures undermine labor’s right to organize and fight anti-immigrant attacks and other union-busting tactics by expanding the government’s ability to detain non-citizens based on mere suspicion, to conduct telephone and Internet surveillance and secret searches, and to define people engaged in political protest as “domestic terrorists;” and
WHEREAS, the national AFL-CIO’s uncritical support for this profit-driven war has derailed labor opposition to increased military expenditures, corporate subsidies and government spying and provided political cover for Democrats to jump on the anti-terrorism bandwagon; and
WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO's support for the war has led to the callous withholding of solidarity from labor's working class and poor alliesin other countries who are suffering and dying as a result of this conflict; therefore, be it
RESOLVED that the Washington State Labor Council expand its efforts to defend civil liberties by taking the following actions and urging the AFL-CIO to do the same:
* Campaign for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act and defeat of similar “anti-terrorism” measures in state legislatures;
* Pressure local and state law enforcement to refuse to cooperate with FBI spying on political, union, and anti-globalism activists or comply with INS harassment of Arabs and other immigrants and people of color in the U.S.;
* Demand the immediate release of the hundreds of Middle Eastern, Arab, and other immigrants who are still being detained without due process and/or legal justification; and be it finally
RESOLVED that the Washington State Labor Council urge the AFL-CIO and its affiliates to oppose the U.S. government's open-ended “war on terrorism” and participate in rallies, marches, and other activities to pressure President Bush and Congress to stop the war and redirect money from corporate handouts and the military budget to assist laid-off workers, restore and expand public services, and promote global justice by providing humanitarian and economic aid--administered by unions--to our brothers and sisters in other countries.