Debate On CTW's Non-Position On The Iraq War
From: Neal Bisno firstname.lastname@example.org
Organization: SEIU 1199P
A point of clarification is in order, on the nature of the CTW Coalition that
Anna Burger (I for one have never seen or heard her referred to as Anna
Burger Price) chairs.
This is a brand new formation of unions with varying political identities,
coalesced around a commitment to the labor movement's growth. This
objective is of course critical to the anti-war movement and all of other
working class movements for peace and social justice, because a shrinking
labor movement has less and less ability to influence US foreign policy or
any other aspect of our national politics.
That being said, the CTW has at this point developed few structures for
debating and deciding policy issues in any area, even issues related to
its own internal operation and strucuture. It is really a work in
progress dedicated to answering the question of how to launch innovative
campaigns to organize millions of unorganized workers in key sectors of
the US economy.
Comparing Anna Burger's comments regarding the CTW coalition's position on
the war to racist politicians' pronouncements on states rights and slavery
is a major cheap shot and demonstrates a thin understanding of the brief
history and current structure of the coalition she leads.
Within her own union, SEIU, Anna Burger has played a critical role in
moving support for USLAW. Without her work and support the resolution
largely drafted and spearheaded by our local union endorsing the USLAW
program and calling for an end to the war in Iraq would not have gotten
debated and overwhelmingly passed at SEIU's last Convention in 2004.
The questions of how to promote a strong and clear labor voice against the
war and overcome the official labor movement's reluctance to incorporate a
critique of this illegal and disastrous war and occupation into its
political work are important ones, but in pursuing that discussion it is
important to understand the nature and structure of the CTW coalition
before blithely and unfairly attacking public comments made by its leaders.
Pennsylvania's Health Care Union-SEIU District 1199P
On Sat, 07 Jan 2006 email@example.com wrote:
As a point of information, CTW coalition chair Anna Burger Price - when
asked about CTW's position on the most recent U.S. war and occupation -
said the CTW did not have an official position. She said that CTW
would leave the decision up to affiliates and locals, and then went on
to say that a number of them had taken anti-war/occupation and
This abdication of responsibility by the leader of the second largest
US labor federation is not the least bit surprising, but is absolutely
disheartening: it smacks of the "states' rights" position during the
slavery debate and/or the "vote your conscience" position of the
current conservative leadership of the Democratic Party. It also flies
in the face of the interests of the CTW and its membership.
The whole point of organizations, it seems to me, is to develop unified
positions, based on the interests of the membership, and then work to
see that those positions are promoted and become powerful enough to
implement - or at least negotiate - into the mix of things.
The war/occupation of Iraq in particular and the militarization of the
U.S. economy in general, referred to by Sam Weinstein (supporting more
than 700 military bases in more than 130 countries) are financially
bankrupting this nation for generations, undermining material living
standards for all but the rich.
Not to mention human body county, destroyed families, ruined
communities, pollution,immorality, indecency or abandonment of
responsibility for each other (especially our class). All of that went
out the door w/ the Bomb, the Cold War and the National Security State
- which is now at its most pervasisve level and on the verge of
yielding true totalitarianism. Side issues all in the official houses
of labor. It's hard to figure which is worse: active censhorship or
denial of reality.
Happy New Year