NYCLAW Speech at Million Worker March, D.C.
[The following messsage from New York City Labor Against the War was presented at the October 17 Million Worker March by Michael Letwin, NYCLAW co-convener, and former president of UAW Local 2325/Association of Legal Aid Attorneys.]
Ever since 9/11, New York City Labor Against the War has resisted the exploitation of our suffering at Ground Zero as a cynical pretext for the war of terror, conquest and empire waged by both the Bush administration and Democratic politicians on working people abroad and at home.
So we are proud to participate in the Million Worker March initiated by Clarence Thomas of ILWU Local 10, and proud that one of the march’s co-chairs is Brenda Stokely, president of AFSCME DC 1707, and a co-convener of NYCLAW.
Now the Million Worker March may not have support of AFL-CIO or John Kerry. But it is part of a much greater power: worldwide resistance to empire.
We have seen that resistance as ordinary Iraqis in Falluja, Najaf and Sadr City fight a brutal U.S. occupation of bombing and torture that has left tens of thousands of Iraqis and G.I.s dead and maimed.
We have seen resistance in Jenin, Ramallah and Jabaliya, where, like David against Goliath, Palestinians armed with rocks oppose tanks, Apache helicopters and F-16s — provided through U.S. tax dollars and union pension funds — in order to end Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing, and for right to return to their homes throughout historic Palestine.
We have seen resistance as the largest mass protests in history have taken place across the globe.
We have seen it in the establishment of U.S. Labor Against the War and in the growing number of unions — including AFSCME, APWU, CWA, MHU, and SEIU — that have gone on record against the war in Iraq.
We have seen it in the work of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Iraq Veterans Against the War.
And we certainly saw it last Wednesday when, after nearly 1,100 G.I. deaths, an entire platoon of the 343rd Quartermaster Company from Rock Hill, South Carolina, refused to carry out orders for a suicidal convoy in Iraq — a courageous act that foreshadows the kind of G.I. revolt which crippled the U.S. war machine in Vietnam. We send these G.I.s a special salute.
In other words, the Million Worker March is part of a growing worldwide movement that will:
**End U.S. occupation of Iraq and Bring the Troops Home Now.
**End imperial wars and occupations in Afghanistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Colombia, Korea, Haiti, Puerto Rico — and everywhere else.
**Fight against the war being waged at home against workers, immigrants, civil rights and civil liberties.
Let’s let all the G.I.s know that we want them home now!