The Militant encourages working people and youth to actively solidarize with the fight of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union against union busting by EGT Development in Longview, Wash., one of the central battlefields in the U.S. class struggle today.
EGT is acting as the vanguard of the capitalist assault on longshore workers in the U.S., seeking to set a precedent for marginalizing and weakening the ILWU. The U.S. ruling class—employing its cops, courts, news media and government from the local to the federal level—is united in backing the EGT bosses, who have imposed a virtual lockout by disregarding the union’s agreement with the Port of Longview.
The ILWU—a union of nearly 60,000 workers—is being smeared as thugs and criminals, slapped with massive fines, and threatened by the Coast Guard and other agents of the capitalist government. More than 200 union members and supporters have been framed up on various charges for standing up to the bosses’ union-busting campaign.
EGT is preparing to load the first West Coast ship without ILWU labor in eight decades. The union will have between a few days to a few hours notice. The ILWU is organizing a protest to coincide with the event, with time and place to be announced. All those who back this fight are encouraged to join in the action under union discipline, to help broaden out support for the fight and make it harder for the bosses and government to victimize the longshore workers.
The protest is being organized to advance the fight under the current relationship of class forces. It will be among many important solidarity actions, past and future, in an ongoing battle that will continue for some time.
Anarchists and ultraleft sectarian forces associated with some “occupy” groups on the West Coast have been planning a provocative action when the scab ship arrives that, if carried out, would give the bosses’ government a handle to deepen its assault on the ILWU. Couched in solidarity with the union’s fight, these forces seek to further their own political agendas, without regard for the consequences for the longshore workers and the ILWU. If you support this labor struggle, then follow the lead of the workers’ union leadership and do no harm.
“Please take extreme caution when dealing with supporters of non-ILWU sanctioned calls to action relative to EGT,” Robert McEllrath, ILWU international president wrote Jan. 3. “Everything is at stake for the community of Longview and our members.”
Indeed, a lot is at stake, not just for tens of thousands of longshore workers, but for the broader working class.
Spread the word widely about the longshore workers’ battle. Discuss it with your coworkers and all who are repelled by the assaults of capital today. Organize solidarity, build the coming protest, raise financial contributions, gather messages of solidarity.
Prepare now, on what is likely to be short notice, to join the ILWU in Longview, to march alongside them and to help make the coming protest as disciplined—and effective—as possible.
Back ILWU struggle against union busting!
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