From the Shop Floor to Gaza, Palestine Solidarity is a Labor Issue (UAWD)

Video online here.

Hosted by our Palestine Solidarity and Peace Economy Committee, the event’s main panel features manufacturing and Arab American workers organizing for Palestine Solidarity on the shop floor, within their unions, and how they’re building a movement and overcoming barriers as they’re told this isn’t the “right kind” of solidarity for labor. UAWD members also share a vision for what a just transition to a peace economy could look like for UAW members and other weapons manufacturing workers. We also hear from special guests, including community organizers and leaders of the 1973 Arab Autoworker Wildcat, about the legacy of anti-imperial organizing and how organizing in our unions can strengthen our collective efforts. GUEST SPEAKERS Layla Elabed, Michigan’s Vote Uncommitted Campaign Zena Ozeir, Dearborn Attorney and Organizer Alan Amen, 1973 Arab American Workers’ Walkout Jerome Scott, League of Revolutionary Black Workers SHOP FLOOR ORGANIZER PANEL Jessie Kelly, UAW Local 160 Marcie Pedraza, UAW Local 551 Mary Saba, UAW Local 4811 Paul Stauffer, UA Local 63

0:03 / 2:07:07

From the Shop Floor to Gaza, Palestine Solidarity is a Labor Issue

Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD)

Hosted by our Palestine Solidarity and Peace Economy Committee, the event’s main panel features manufacturing and Arab American workers organizing for Palestine Solidarity on the shop floor, within their unions, and how they’re building a movement and overcoming barriers as they’re told this isn’t the “right kind” of solidarity for labor. UAWD members also share a vision for what a just transition to a peace economy could look like for UAW members and other weapons manufacturing workers. We also hear from special guests, including community organizers and leaders of the 1973 Arab Autoworker Wildcat, about the legacy of anti-imperial organizing and how organizing in our unions can strengthen our collective efforts. GUEST SPEAKERS Layla Elabed, Michigan’s Vote Uncommitted Campaign Zena Ozeir, Dearborn Attorney and Organizer Alan Amen, 1973 Arab American Workers’ Walkout Jerome Scott, League of Revolutionary Black Workers SHOP FLOOR ORGANIZER PANEL Jessie Kelly, UAW Local 160 Marcie Pedraza, UAW Local 551 Mary Saba, UAW Local 4811 Paul Stauffer, UA Local 63


0:05okay so hello everyone um I’m Andrew Bergman a member of the uwd Searing committee a longtime UAW member uh from

0:13higher ed uh from local 5118 and newly an auto worker member at uh UAW Local 22

0:21as a GM worker at factory zero here in Detroit and as they both said along with Jesse Tamar I’m also a co-chair of uaw’s

0:28Palestine solidarity and peace economy committee um and before we get started

0:33let me change my background for a second so you all can check it out

0:38um we want to uh just let you know a little bit about what uwd as Jess said

0:46unite all workers for democracy is um many of you here from the UAW many of you are here from outside the UAW I’ll

0:54Spight myself for a second so you can check out this background It’s a Wonderful background tomorrow made of

1:00many of our members and campaigns that we’ve uh you led for the the past few

1:05years so yeah uwd is a is a rank and file caucus um leading the reform

1:10movement I’m wearing the shirt as well um in the UAW uh where we’ve been led by

1:16uh some incredible Auto Workers who have been a part of the struggle for for decades um folks on this um uh in this

1:25wonderful image like like Martha gvat and and Mike Canon and others who have who have been uh fighting for um reform

1:32and for Rank and foul power in the UAW um and yeah what what we’ve done in recent years uh is to um especially you

1:41know fight for direct elections when one member W vote in the UAW and then run um

1:46the members United slate uh and and and win sweep sweep those elections and bring um a wonderful uh new group of

1:54leaders into the Union who um amongst other reforms um Led Led the uh the

1:59stand strike uh which with Sean Fain at the helm uh so yeah so so our movement

2:04has been um you know picking up pace but you know besides the leaders we elected our our primary focus is the rank and

2:11file and at bringing change you know to a local level um from from the bottom up

2:17and so yeah if you’re if you’re a member here of the UAW and you want to learn more um please send us a message you can

2:24feel free to DM us and um if you are not a member of UA WD but would like to

2:31become one you can just check us out at and you can join at

2:37jooin um so yeah really excited to have all of you uh members of the UAW and not

2:44but we want to make sure you you sort of know um where where we’re coming from um

2:50and with that I’ll hand over to to Mark hey again so um just a reminder

2:58again that the event will be be recorded and I wanted to just once again share uh

3:04The Rundown so that you know what’s coming up um in the event um so I’ll stop sharing right now

3:11but uh you’ll see all these amazing speakers and panelists um and there will

3:16be an opportunity for dialogue and questions from you um during the panel

3:22or sort of after the beginning of the panel um so just a just a few words um

3:28you know if Union me MERS and organizers we all know that division is a classic management tactic that tries to pit

3:36workers against each other and on a global scale the same thing happens the

3:41ruling class divides Us by Language by religion by nationality Etc and those

3:47divisions and the violence that is used to uphold those divisions really serves

3:52capitalist interests and corporate profit even before the current crisis in Gaza we knew that Israel uses occupied

4:00territories as a testing ground for the weapons and the intelligence system that they later sell for billions of dollars

4:07and at the same time the US provides Israel 3.8 billion per year so that Israel can purchase weapons from us

4:14weapons manufactur meanwhile workers thousands of whom are UAW members at companies

4:21like General Dynamics and caterpillar are making weapons and parts for weapons

4:27without always knowing or having any say in where the output of their labor goes

4:32and for what purpose their labor is being used some parts workers don’t even know if their products are going into

4:39rockets that go to space or rockets that are used to kill people but ultimately

4:44workers are making weapons and military equipment and doing scientific research that eventually kills other workers and

4:51their families in other parts of the world so this moment with the extreme

4:57crisis and genocide in Gaza shows us the need for an internationalist labor movement a movement that understands

5:04that the imaginary lines they call borders are just one more way that the ruling class and capitalists try to

5:11divide us and that we have a collective self-interest in global Unity of the working

5:18class yeah thanks Samar and so you know I just told you about uwd and and now we

5:25just want to briefly say before we bring on our our first speaker that this event is happening because of the commitment

5:32uh that the UAW membership so Rank and file um members of the UAW across the country uh made to organizing for

5:39Palestine Liberation uh both within the UAW and across the labor movement um and

5:44that happened at our membership meeting uh last year in December since then we’ve built our UAW Palestine solidarity

5:51and peace economy committee focusing on educating ourselves about Israeli apartheid and the ongoing genocide in

5:57Palestine how workers here in the US contribute to that conflict and how we as Rank and file union members can take

6:04the lead in cutting the Imperial ties toar described that link corporate profits here to the slaughter of

6:09Palestinians we’re also committed to learning about examples of transitions away from harmful Industries and

6:15advocating for a just transition for workers away from weapons manufacturing and towards a peace economy which you’ll

6:21hear more about later from Jesse our committee has brought together UAW members from higher ed active

6:28manufacturing workers and retired Auto Workers who spent years building a radical vision of internationalist

6:34unionism from the shop floor our organizing has been built on the idea that we can only be successful by

6:40building deep ties between workers within our communities and across the working class which is why we’re so

6:46excited to welcome you all here today if the strength and knowledge of arab-american communities can be brought

6:52together with the growing Rank and file union movement we can redefine what workingclass solidarity means and win a

6:58better world for all of us from the shop floor to gazi and so with that I would like to

7:06I’m GNA look through the attendee list here to find her I’d like to uh

7:12introduce one of those incredible retirees that has those Decades of experience Martha graat uh uaw’s retiree

7:20representative who I’ve been honored to serve with uh on the steering committee and learned from um for years Martha is

7:27a UAW Local 869 member who spent decades leading shop floor struggles that span

7:33issues from workplace grievances to International solidarity she has been a historian and mentor to so many of us in

7:39the UAW Rank and F movement and before we hear from the other guest speakers uh we’re welcoming her here today to give

7:46us some context on the ongoing state of Palestine solidarity organizing and the labor movement thanks so much Martha

7:52take it away well thanks thanks for having me and thanks everyone for coming

7:58uh in December UAW passed a resolution at our membership meeting and it said in part

8:06uwd is committed to the liberation of all workers from exploitation and

8:12oppression in the US and around the world and sees the struggle for

8:17Palestinian Liberation as one part of our mission which is focused on building

8:23shop floor Rank and file movement within the UAW and this mandate from our membership

8:31led to the creation of this committee the Palestine solidarity and peace

8:36economy working group to some in internal UAW education programs that

8:43some of you attended and now this public forum uh we’re acting today in the best

8:51tradition of social justice unionism for example the uaw’s

8:58solidarity work that helped bring down apartheid in South Africa and brought

9:04Nelson Mandela to Detroit decades earlier after the

9:09victory of the Flint sitdown strike in 1937 the UAW women’s auxiliary supported

9:17the fight against fascism in Spain adopting children who were made orphans

9:23by the Spanish Civil War and there are many many examples in between

9:29what we’re doing now in our efforts to put an end to a partide in Palestine is

9:37part of our bro a broader effort to turn our unions around because for too long

9:43they’ve been at best neutral or more often worse on the struggle in Palestine

9:52they’ve supported the Israeli apartheid state giving billions to that state by

9:58investing our hard earned uh dues money

10:03and also uh allowing our Pension funds to be invested in Israeli war

10:10bonds the movement to reverse this outrageous situation is not a new one

10:17we’ll hear later about a historic action by Arab Auto

10:23Workers excuse me and supporters in 1973 but it has accelerated now because

10:31the genocidal character of the Zionist state has been exposed before the eyes

10:37of the whole world with over 33,000 Palestinians killed a majority of them

10:44civilians and a huge number of them children the killing of seven

10:50International relief workers and their Palestinian driver just underscores the

10:56goal of the Netanyahu government which is to bomb and starve the Palestinian

11:01people into submission but we are in solidarity with that struggle that shows no sign of

11:10submitting now unions representing some 9 million workers a majority of all

11:16union members in the United States have called for a ceasefire in Gaza this is a

11:22historic shift and the UAW was one of the first to call for a ceasefire first

11:30announced to the news media by UAW region 9A director Brandon M Mania and

11:37then again by UAW president Shan Fain himself and these are both uh ieb

11:44members at uwd campaigned for and we applaud their actions but credit must

11:50also be given to rank and file UAW members who pushed our leaders who

11:56called and emailed to stress the importance of of coming out strongly for

12:01Palestine UAW labor for Palestine did a lot of work for that we

12:08need to build on these achievements to raise worker solidarity with Palestinian

12:14Liberation to a much higher level a growing number of labor for Palestine

12:21organizations have sprung up and they are centering the call and we also in

12:27our resolution centered the call from 30 Palestinian unions and worker

12:34organizations our Palestinian Union siblings have workers around around the

12:39world to quote to refuse to build weapons destined for Israel to refuse to

12:46transport weapons to Israel to pass motions in their Trade union to this

12:53effect to take action against complicit companies involved in implementing in

12:59Israel’s brutal and illegal Siege especially if they have contracts with

13:05your institution and five pressure governments to stop all military trade

13:11with Israel and in the case of the US funding to it uaw’s resolution draws

13:19attention to this call now there’s a new Mayday call from the Palestinian General

13:26Federation of trade unions the PG ftuu criticizes World unions

13:33especially us unions for having quote retreated to verbal positions

13:40without taking measures on the ground or pressuring excuse me the decision makers

13:48to stop this war of extermination limiting Union activities

13:54to conferences and statements and not delving deeply into the need to

13:59guarantee humanitarian Aid or influencing International public opinion

14:05to expose the truth about Zionist crimes and the practices of the Allied

14:11countries that continue to support Israel so clearly our unions do have to

14:18do more uh but what we’ve done is really phenomenal we need the solidarity of the

14:26whole Global working class in ions and not to amplify the slogan from The River

14:34To The Sea palistine will be free thank

14:43you thank you so much Martha for highlighting the efforts of rank andile

14:48workers in the UAW and Beyond and thank you to all of you here fighting against

14:53depression and genocide I want to acknowledge all the Great Links and and comments that are being posted in the

14:58chat so pay attention to those as ways to connect um now we have the honor of

15:04introducing some really amazing activists and movement Elders who have been instrumental in changing the

15:10narrative in the US on Palestine and have done really tough but necessary

15:15work in the name of solidarity and Liberation so first I’d like to welcome Lila Alid an organizer with we the

15:23people in southeast Michigan she’s a proud daughter of Palestinian immigrants and her father harby alabed worked on an

15:30assembly line at the Ford Flat Rock Assembly plan Laya was the leader of Michigan’s vote uncommitted campaign and

15:38has been working closely with organizers in other states to extend the campaign to their primaries in fact I just

15:44submitted a blank ballot here in New York thanks to your um great campaign

15:50and we’ve asked her to speak about the uncommitted campaign and its successes thank you so much for joining us today

15:57and please correct me if I also if I mispronounced any part of your name thank you thank you so much and thank

16:04you so much for having me um my name is Leila alabid I’m first generation

16:10Palestinian ameran um my parents are from the West Bank and I currently have

16:17family um that still live in the in the West Bank um from majority from my

16:23mother’s side of the family um I’m a longtime organizer

16:28Within um the Dearborn and Detroit communities um working across a number

16:34of issues local issues and Statewide issues um and the very first time I was

16:40ever involved in electoral politics was as a kid um and um you know uh uh

16:50watching my sister my older sister Rashida as she organized in her community um the Arab American and

16:57Muslim American community and kind of tagging along um to build political

17:02power among Arab American and Muslim American communities um by registering uh Arab Americans and Muslim

17:09Americans to vote for the first time and a gov push and a lot of people ask like

17:16how myself and you know my siblings especially Rashida um how we you know

17:22got involved in politics and you know you know all of that and what I can say

17:27is it’s largely due to the fact that our Our Father um who came to this country

17:33from Palestine um became a citizen and became a member uh of the UAW um when he

17:41worked for Ford Motor Company um and that’s really where he learned um this

17:47discipline around democracy uh and and utilizing the vehicle of democracy

17:53through the Democratic party and he really instilled those values into all

17:58of his children into all 14 of us and my sister Rashida jokes that you know on our 18th birthdays it wasn’t you know

18:06happy birthday it was okay go register to vote um and and it’s very it’s very

18:11much true um that he really really instilled in this value um of voting and

18:17using The Ballot Box um uh a as a way to um voice what we wanted uh and and

18:26largely that was through the Democratic Party so as an organizer um and as a

18:33Palestinian and Muslim American um I’ve been organizing a long time in my

18:38community and after October it has been extremely hard um to continue doing this

18:47work and building power in these communities without talking about what is happening and azda as our community

18:55is being directly affected by what’s happening there we are losing love to ones we are losing family members and we

19:01are losing friends and it’s not just those of us who have family in Palestine and occupied West Bank or in razza our

19:08community is largely affected by by what is happening because of how it affects the region from south of Lebanon to

19:15Yemen to Syria to Iraq um it largely

19:21affects this community um and so I was hosting house meetings uh to be totally hon Hest I was

19:29hosting house meetings around uh dte’s uh rate hikes um and our

19:36utility um and the the the discussion kept coming back to what’s happening in

19:44gazda what do we do how do we continue or putting pressure on this

19:49Administration for a ceasefire um because we’ve done demonstrations we’ve done rallies we’ve

19:57marched um we’ve done diin we’ve called our electeds we’ve emailed our electeds

20:03um we’ve uh done everything possible um and still at this point we are so many

20:11uh months into um this genocide and we are thousands of Palestinians murdered

20:18by um by Netanyahu and his right-wing government um as a capital as a as a

20:24collective punishment um and so the conversation kept going back to you know

20:30what do we do in November because as Palestinians as Muslim Americans and as Arab Americans living here we feel a

20:37deep betrayal not just BEC not just by uh Biden himself but the Democratic

20:43party as Arab Americans and Muslim Americans have largely flexed our political power through the Democratic

20:50party um through and that’s examples of you know Rashida Abdullah hamud um all

20:57who ran their race as Democrat and so you know there’s there’s

21:03these conversations and not only that we feel a deep betrayal as it was largely

21:08the Muslim and arab-american community that rallied behind Joe Biden during his 2020 race based on the promises that he

21:17would fight fascism that he would fight against authoritarianism that he could we could count on him to give Muslim

21:24Americans in this country and Arab Americans in this country something to hope for where we wouldn’t be demonized

21:30and dehumanized with something like a Muslim travel ban only to watch our president under a Democratic party align

21:39himself with the most fascist and authoritarian government Benjamin Netanyahu and the is

21:48is right-wing Israeli government who we can make clear parallels to Trump and

21:54and the whole Mega um mega folks and so the fact that we were seeing and still

22:03we are seeing till now that Joe Biden would rather align put his put his

22:09presidency at risk put our democracy at risk to align himself with a genocidal

22:15Maniac like Benjamin Netanyahu is a deep deep betrayal not just for AR Americans

22:21and Muslim Americans but a deep betrayal to to to Democrats who before the

22:28uncommitted campaign was even into fruition already 70% of his

22:36base hold support a permanent and immediate ceasefire 6 66% of American

22:45voters support a permanent and immediate ceasefire we do not want our tax dollars

22:50being used for weapons and bombs that are killing people an entire people in

22:59Palestine we do not want to see our taxpayers used to destroy ancestrial

23:06land and so you know because of all these conversations and because we needed to

23:14continue putting pressure on this Administration to save as many lives as

23:19possible on both sides and we knew all media coverage was being switched over to uh covering the

23:27elections this is the bread and butter of mainstream media is elections and so

23:33what we were seeing by our Communications experts um was

23:39that mainstream media was pulling out of covering Gazza on the ground covering

23:45what was happening with the protest with uh ceasefire movements and they were all

23:51turning that towards the El the 2024 presidential election and so we said how

23:56can we uh continue highlighting what is happening and continue using the vehicle

24:04of mainstream media to put that pressure on Joe Biden and his administration and the

24:11Democratic party and so that is when the um change the theory of change around

24:17Michigan’s uncommitted option came into play and this is not a New Concept this

24:23was the uncommitted um uh uh campaign

24:28something that was used during Barack Obama’s um presidential run in 2008

24:35against Hillary Clinton when he was not on the primary ballot in Michigan and so

24:41what his C the Barack Obama Campaign was able to do was able to mobilize black

24:46voters young voters bipac voters to vote uncommitted as a way to embarrass the

24:51Hillary Clinton campaign and it worked it largely worked and so we just took that same theory of change and said we

24:57would use this vehicle in Michigan where there’s a large community that are being

25:02directly affected by what is happening and we know how strong the ceasefire

25:08movement is in Michigan and we’re going to use all these ingredients to send a clear and strong message to President

25:15Joe Biden his administration and the Democratic party that they were going to be in trouble in November if they did

25:21not change course now if they did not change policy now and the two main demands we have through the uncommitted

25:29vote and through the uncommitted movement is we need a permanent and immediate ceasefire not a humanitarian

25:35PA not a temporary ceasefire but an immediate and permanent ceasefire a

25:41lasting ceasefire that would save lives on both sides and what we also needed is

25:47we needed to stop sending our millions of dollars of tax pay taxpayer funds to

25:55the Israeli military that are carrying out genocide before our eyes in

26:012024 and it’s not and it was and so you know we so we came together largely a

26:07lot of um the the Michigan organizers Michigan uh activists Michigan political

26:15strategist um and we were able to um we were able to uh uh launch listen to

26:24Michigan the uncommitted movement and it was incredibly successful we had a margin of victory of 10,000 uncommitted

26:31votes and that was the margin of victory that um Donald Trump won against uh

26:37Hillary in in that race and so we said if we could get 10,000 votes we could

26:42show that President Biden was going to be in trouble come November because

26:48Michigan is a pathway to the White House and that is very important you

26:54cannot win your like you need Michigan to win your

26:59presidency and what we saw through our movement that was Multicultural multifaith

27:06multi-generational multi-racial is that Michigan is pro Palestine Michigan is

27:13pro- ceasefire Michigan is anti-war and Michigan is pro peace we were able to win over one over

27:20101,000 uncommitted votes we were able to get out of 83

27:26counties in Michigan 7 73 of those counties voted at over 10% uncommitted

27:34votes and we want two delegates we won two delegates in the sixth district and then the 12th

27:41District and what we were able to do we we we never set out to win delegates

27:46throughout this we just wanted those 10,000 votes to send that message and we did that resoundingly with over 101,000

27:55votes and then we won two delegates in the sixth and 12th congressional district and now we are going to send

28:00those delegates to the DNC to represent Michigan voters who said they were

28:06anti-war and they are pro peace and pro ceasefire and now we have seen this movement grow we are at over a million

28:14protest votes humanitarian votes Across the Nation in States M Minnesota

28:21Washington Wisconsin Hawaii Missouri Colorado Rhode

28:26Island Connecticut Georgia New York all of these states have utilized some form

28:34of a unifying vehicle to tell the president we need an immediate ceasefire

28:40now and what I want to make clear is this movement is really about saving

28:46lives this is an extension of the ceasefire movement this is the political arm of the ceasefire movement because

28:51like I said we’ve hit the streets we marched we rallied we did die-ins we did demonstrations we wrote letters and we

28:58spoke the language of our electeds and we used The Ballot Box to carry out a

29:04human humanitarian vote and a protest vote and it was incredibly

29:09successful in Michigan alone we were able to mobilize

29:1443% of non-voters and unlikely voters to vote in the Michigan primary

29:21uncommitted what we did that the Democratic party was unable to do

29:28is that we were able to mobilize voters to come out and vote who would likely

29:34would have stayed at home and what we’ve shown is that

29:40President Biden needs to listen to his core constituency needs to listen to

29:48michiganders and he needs to change course now or he is going to be in serious trouble come November he is

29:54risking his presidency to Donald Trump to a fascist in order to align himself

30:01with another fascist and we cannot have that as Democrats we should be

30:07appalled as American voters we should be appalled at this as people we should be

30:14appalled and disgusted that our country and our government is complicit in a

30:19genocide an ongoing genocide in 2024 we cannot allow this to happen and that is

30:26what the uncommitted movement is about it is not a anti-biden or prot Trump

30:31campaign in all honesty I believe that this this is a gift to Joe Biden and the

30:38Democratic party because we are literally telling them now that they are going to be in serious trouble and we’re

30:44giving the numbers to say Hey you are going to be in trouble in November if

30:50you don’t change course and you don’t change your policy and I’m not going to say that every voter who has voted

30:55uncommitted is not going to vote for Joe Biden or is going to Jo vote for Joe Biden especially within the Muslim and

31:02Arab American Community where we do not vote in a monol and there has been a deep betrayal

31:08in this community by by President uh Joe Biden

31:13and and uh his administration that we are now at over

31:1830,000 Palestinians murdered we are at over

31:2413,000 Palestinian or children murdered and we are seeing the complete

31:29destruction of Gaza with over 2 million Palestinians displaced and

31:3680% of their ancestrial land and homes destroyed so yes there is a deep

31:43Betrayal on this community who no matter what happens they cannot see themselves voting for for Joe Biden and this

31:51community knows firsthand what it means for another four years of a trump presidency Trump was not a a friend to

31:59this community but we are being asked to choose between bans or

32:05bombs and what I think is going to be important come November if we don’t have the things

32:11that we have demanded a permanent ceasefire and the end of uh this unrestricted flow of military aid um to

32:19Israel is we are going to shift these efforts to support our ceasefire

32:24champions We are going to support people like Corey

32:30Bush the squad members in order and and hopefully get even more people more

32:36electeds like Rashida like Corey Bush into office into Congress and in our uh

32:44State legislation so I I know I’m probably going over time but thank you again I could literally talk about this

32:51for like two more hours but thank you again for for having me um and I do want

32:57to say that the uncommitted movement movement was endorsed by uh UAW labor

33:03for Palestine and in Washington state they were uh this movement was um

33:09endorsed by Washington State’s largest um Union uh labor

33:16union thank you so much Le thank you for your incredible um organizing and and

33:22and for your your remarks and for the context on what’s been going on so so appreciative of everything that you’ve

33:29been um doing um okay uh I’m now uh

33:35excited to welcome uh Zanna oir a lifelong Dearborn resident who’s been a Palestine

33:42solidarity organizer for 15 years and as a member of us PCN the US Palestinian

33:47Community Network in addition to her activism here in Dearborn in Detroit she’s been an attorney in the community

33:54and worked for the domestic violence program at access the Arab Community Center for economic and social services

34:00providing free legal assistance to survivors of domestic violence welcome Zena thanks so much for being here oh

34:08and I said that but I did not bring her on yet apologies

34:13[Music] um thanks so much for being here

34:23Z hi everyone sorry I had a minor freak out because the screen went away when I

34:29flicked join as panelist but it’s so great to be here with you all um a big

34:34thank you to the organizers of the event and uh to the other panelists my name is

34:39Zanna ozer I’m a Lebanese American um woman from Dearborn and I am first

34:47generation or second generation based on how you define it um I was the first generation born here in the US um and

34:55ever since I can remember I have been um you know aware of the cause for

35:02Palestinian Liberation um in part because my mother’s family is from the south of Lebanon um and the village is

35:10called bashid and it was occupied by Israel until 2001 um and so this is

35:17something that is very personal to me um and my first memory of um being involved

35:23in a protest was um after the massacre in cona in 19 1996 which was in southern

35:29Lebanon where um the Israeli occupation forces targeted a unan compound where

35:34civilians were taking refuge and um over a hundred people were murdered um most

35:40of whom were children and so that’s my earliest memory of going with my great aunt um to a protest in Dearborn and um

35:48I’ve been doing that work ever since um as Andrew said I’ve been an organizer in

35:54Dearborn in Detroit for around 50 years now um one of the things that I’ve been

36:01very passionate about aside from Palestine solidarity work is building Arab and black solidarity um and

36:07building the connections between communities um and above all I’m a student of history and I do want to

36:15honor uh and thank Jerome Scott and Alan Aman who are also panelists um today for

36:21their work um you know I’ve studied the the history of um their time in the

36:28unions and so I do want to pay homage to them um and pay homage to the fact that

36:34Detroit has a long history of working class uh organizing and um

36:39building and so you know the reality is Israel is and always has been a violent

36:46genocidal settler colonial state um it was founded upon the E ethnic cleansing

36:51of Palestinians um even before 1948 and the US backed Israeli genocide of GDA is

36:58a continuation of that ethnic cleansing um that and it’s very much F fundamental

37:04to the character of the Israeli State um and the immediate Focus as you know we

37:10have talked about is um organizing efforts around the ceasefire um because

37:18every day that this genocide continues is the loss of hundreds of Palestinian lives um but this can’t be the only

37:25focus and um so I do appreciate that this panel is taking place to talk about

37:30other ways that we can resist um and support Palestinian Liberation um this

37:36emergent Global mass movement for a ceasefire has to be situated within the larger framework of centering the

37:45permanent end of the sieg onza and working in solidarity with Palestinians

37:50to realize their Collective Liberation um from Zionist occupation and I believe

37:55labor is key in that that fight um and there is a lot of power that can be

38:02leveraged um within labor organizing

38:07and so I think that you know this the conversation around ceasefire is

38:13immensely important we do need a ceasefire a permanent ceasefire immediately um but I do think that it’s

38:20important to um keep into context you know why and how this movement has grown

38:26so quickly and pay attention to um you know not falling into the traps

38:33of getting folks on board to organize from a place of sympathy versus a place

38:39of solidarity because um you know right now as we are watching this Mur this

38:44genocide take place in front of our eyes um you know folks have a lot of sympathy

38:49but that’s not the same as solidarity and so I think that we have to do everything in our power to stop the

38:55genocide but once that’s over we have to do everything in our power to support Palestinians in their struggle for

39:01Liberation um and it’s my deep belief that sovereignty and self-determination

39:07of the Palestinian people is incompatible with the Israeli State because um you know they’ve made it

39:12clear they they don’t and will not allow an independent Palestinian state to exist in historic Palestine um and as we

39:19can see that the 17-year long Siege on GZA and the occupation of the West Bank are perfect examples of that um there is

39:27no way forward in that reality and um we have to work as hard as we can

39:33to keep this movement alive and move Beyond

39:39ceasefire and you know Zionism goes hand inand with imperialism and it’s why the

39:45United States supports Israel in the way that it does um and it’s completely upended and destabilized Palestine as

39:52well as the surrounding countries um and so you know in order to resist this we

40:00have to fight a multi-front war we have to be using everything in our Arsenal to

40:06resist against this um and you know the Palestinians have made cons continuous

40:12calls for international solidarity including the Palestine Trade union um

40:17and so I do you know want to encourage folks to continue that fight through your locals through um Union organizing

40:25and through working with Community organizations who are protesting who are

40:30going to the weapons manufacturers and trying to shut things down um and you

40:36know the uaw’s call for a ceasefire was a testament to the organizing power of the rank and file um but then soon

40:43thereafter Shan feain endorsed Biden and so I think you know that is a huge contradiction um and it does show you

40:50know the rift between the working class and the rank and file versus those in

40:55power um and I I commend the vote uncommitted c campaign I think Leela and

41:01others are doing amazing work um I think that’s one tactic that we’re that is

41:06being utilized that is an important tactic um that sent a clear message to the administration that being said I

41:13think it’s important to think about how we pivot once the general election

41:18approaches because um you know those votes are power and I think it would be

41:23a disservice to the movement for Palestinian um for us come November to vote for

41:29Biden in the general election um and personally in my opinion I do not care

41:35what Biden does right now it will not rehabilitate him um in my eyes for

41:42aiding and arming the genocide in vza um he has played an active role and you

41:49know I don’t think that that can be discounted um and so even if he were to

41:56call for a CE ceasefire right now um it doesn’t change the fact that over 33,000

42:02resin alone that’s not even counting the folks in the West Bank who have been murdered um by the Israeli military and

42:12settlers um you know he has supported this and he has continued to allow the

42:18intentional starvation of the remaining population in Gaza um so I think the message now um as we do continue on with

42:26the uncommitted votes I think that is important um but the message should be

42:31that b Biden will not get our votes and I think that um you know we have to

42:38recognize our power in electoral politics but we also have to recognize the limits um as Leila said like we have

42:46we are being forced to decide between bans and bombs and honestly I don’t want

42:51either um and I don’t want to be forced into a position where that is where um

42:57you know that choice lies for me and so I think you know for us as organizers as

43:03folks with a conscience that means we have to Pivot to other forms of organizing aside from electoral politics

43:13um and so with with that I think that you know

43:20talking about how the labor unions can be involved in the boycott divestment

43:26and sanctions movement and how we can work to stop um the weapons manufacturing is immensely important and

43:34um you know I think that the US political establishment

43:39serves the same interests as Israel and the Imperial interests and like they are

43:45never whether it’s Trump or Biden um they’re never going to willingly undermine their relationship with Israel

43:52so you know ultimately could we work towards empowering a third party but at

43:58the end of the day we are still within the Empire um and we would have to have a complete shift in our political scope

44:05and our interests as a nation um and that is that is work that will take a

44:12long time to change so I think we do need to use our Collective power in ways

44:17that directly Target those who are funding the genocide you know these are

44:22our tax dollars that are funding it our government policies are enabling it and our factories are manufacturing the

44:28weapons that are being used to slaughter residents and meanwhile domestically inequality is growing in Detroit and

44:35across the country um you know there’s no affordable housing no affordable medical care um our schools are

44:42underfunded um and these corporations that are supporting the genocide and are

44:49funding it are profiting from um our government’s policies and so

44:56I I know this might sound like a bleak Outlook when I put it this way but I do

45:02think there’s also a lot of progress that needs to be acknowledged I do think that seeing such a mass mobilization for

45:08the ceasefire movement is a huge shift and I think that that has shifted political um the general public view of

45:16Palestine and has has shifted the dynamic and so I think it is now that we need to take advantage of that and just

45:24context um for that uh um there are some figures that could help us show how the

45:30Palestine solidarity movement has helped shift liberal opinion um you know from

45:35the radical stance you are able to shift the mainstream um views so back in 2002

45:43um Democrats sympath sympathize more with Israel um than with Palestinians by

45:49a margin of 30 34 points and then by as early as like early 2023 that has

45:55shifted to favor the Palestinian struggle um by 11 points and um in

46:03November Democrats under the age of 35 were more sympathetic to Palestinians by

46:0958 points and so that is something that you know the generational shift is a

46:14huge um is a huge thing that needs to be utilized and needs to be understood

46:20because there is and if we look at our political leaders um in this country the

46:26the huge um divide in um you know the people um

46:32that they represent and them and I think a lot of that is generational you have these uh folks you the two oldest um

46:39presidential candidates ever you know um so there is um that divide as well as

46:46the generational divide and we can see that in our um and our candidates for

46:52this election um but yeah so there has been a major shift we see that in the um

46:59universities as well and so I will just end by saying um the there have been

47:06also there’s been a lot of movement with trade unions um across the world who have endorsed BDS and so um I think that

47:14there is so much power to be built there um I will encourage you all to um work

47:20towards moving BDS forward you can pass BDS resolutions through your local union

47:25you can organize with Community organizations who are working on other consumer boycotts um you know get your

47:33National to join BDS which I know you all are working on so um there’s a lot

47:38of work to be done but I’m also very hopeful because um of work like this and events like

47:46this thank you thank you thank you so much Zena and um again I want to point

47:51to all the great comments in the chat you you gave such inspiring words that folks just chimed in in the chat so be

47:57sure to check it out um now it’s my pleasure to introduce Alan Aman he’s the

48:04third generation Auto worker from UAW Local 600 in Dearborn Michigan um he was

48:11instrumental in organizing the Arab American worker walk out in 1973 um that Arab American caucus which

48:19he was part of wanted to pressure the then UAW president uh Leonard Woodcock

48:24and demand that the UAW divest from Israeli Bond and ishmail Ahmed who is a

48:30amazing Community organizer and a comrade of Allens described the action this walk out like this she said the UAW

48:38arab-american caucus wanted to point out the hypocrisy of this leader who was Woodcock who would force his

48:45constituency to finance the murder of their brothers and sisters back home

48:50with their Union duws and so Allan continues to advocate for Palestinian

48:55Liberation till this and we’re so glad to get here to tell us about the 1973 walk out what it was like

49:02for the workers and how it was born out of a deep out of deep Community ties

49:08within their Union so take it away

49:22Ellen Andrew he may need help uh unmuting and

49:33I hit the unmute is it working you can hear you now Al okay I’m sorry about that I thought I

49:42had clicked on it but what I was saying was uh my

49:47compliments to the uh these Dynamic people who were uh the presenters before

49:53me and uh to Martha Gravette too for all the work that she’s done over the years

50:00magnificent I want to thank you for the opportunity to be with you and uh yeah I

50:07have some history about what happened uh back then and uh I guess it’s because

50:15I’ve lasted a long time there was uh uh there were quite a few people that were

50:21involved in the U organizing and uh the

50:27and pulling off the walk out uh that effectively changed the direction the

50:34UAW was going in in regard to um how it was supporting the state of Israel not

50:40we didn’t stop it from doing that but uh we were able to achieve U some success

50:46in taking away one of the major um flows of Revenue to the state of Israel uh

50:54back in uh 1973 what happened

51:01was I think in in fact it might have been U subsequent to Woodcock being

51:07identified as the recipient of the benth Anti-Defamation League humanitarian of

51:13the Year award um and it came out that he was being recognized for uh the fact that

51:21the UAW had purchased large amounts of Israeli defense bonds there was also uh evidence that

51:28there was funding uh of a Walter Ruther chair at the time whitesman nuclear

51:33Research Center I shouldn’t say nuclear research it’s the time Whitman Institute but they do nuclear research as part of the the

51:42program there when we were made aware of that it

51:48obviously uh upset uh many of us and when I say us uh by that time um after

51:58the 67 uh conflict and uh after filing a a lawsuit

52:04in federal court uh in the city of Dearborn

52:09um against the city of deborn for violation of civil rights and that they were attempting to destroy our entire

52:16neighborhood the neighborhood had become uh much more active and much more aware

52:23of uh what was going on uh in the world and in the

52:30community we wanted to do something uh we organized there was just

52:36a handful of us back in the days when uh I and ish and my brother and U um other

52:42people uh were involved in in uh trying to figure out what are we

52:48well how could we address this situation the first thing we had to do was to get the Arab workers aware involved and

52:55organizing them for uh some action what we did was we started

53:02working within the community the lines of communication within the community the ethnic and religious Lines within

53:08the community everything from uh the uh

53:15uh the religious and ethnic groups The Village groups the banina rala I mean

53:21some of the women May recognize those organizations uh the Community we

53:29had had a demonstration uh we called it m Middle East Liberation day we were allowed to

53:35march in our own neighborhood that was fortunate we got a license to march in our own neighborhood so we had developed

53:41some energy and some activism toward those issues and um I described it once and I

53:47got uh actually I was told this was a good way to describe it but we worked

53:53within the social and uh the sociopolitical ethnic religious

54:00construct of the community to develop uh like you would an octopus

54:06tentacles that would reach out to the plants and and and develop caucuses in the plants caucuses that would uh

54:14primarily be uh initiated by Arab workers but would reach out to the black workers and the white workers and the

54:20plant and uh we consulted and and it advised the a lot of the uh uh people

54:28that were doing that kind of work in the plant uh I was no longer in the plant at the time um ish had was no longer in the

54:36plant and uh some of the other uh people that were involved in this nuclear uh

54:43organization so but we worked with the workers who

54:49were very much committed to what we were trying to do and we’re willing not only

54:57uh to stick their necks out and uh but put the work in and they developed

55:03coalitions among the workers in the plants and were able to uh feed them

55:09information we had uh developed a kind of a a slogan you know the UAW was

55:17buying bonds and we said from bonds to bombs to bondage and that was the

55:24reality of what their union dues were doing doing and they were doing it uh uh

55:29to the Palestinian people without any uh uh objection or any word

55:37uh raised by any of the leadership uh within the

55:43UAW the night that Leonard Woodcock

55:49was going to receive his Ben ith anti defamation League humanitarian of the

55:55Year award and I repeat that because it really sticks with me

56:00sometimes uh that was the night that we organized and and targeted for the walk

56:06out thousands of workers walked out we actually shut Dodge main which is a huge

56:12plant we shut it down that night and we rallied in front of cobal

56:17Hall we picketed cobal Hall Leonard Woodcock refused to cross our picket

56:24line because we’re all W people and they they snuck them in the

56:30back door where they bring in the uh supplies and material and

56:36uh after picketing the entire dinner and

56:42then marching from there to Kennedy square and rallying and having an opportunity as

56:48the media was covering it to explain what our uh what our issues

56:53were and we were we had sold the Define the issues and I think you you really

56:59have to narrow the issue down uh to its uh most basic

57:04points and what rallied a lot of the workers uh black and white workers

57:10beyond the the Arab issue was the very fact that union dues were flowing to an

57:17a foreign country they were paying union dues and the money was going out of the country when there was so much need and

57:24so much want uh within our own ranks uh within the the communities in which

57:29these people uh these workers were living so uh there was this natural

57:36opposition to that uh particular action and they were I think that that was probably the

57:44key to to building the coalitions to begin with and the Coalition was effective because like I said enough

57:51people joined walked out the plant shot uh I was one of the the

57:56spokespeople that was appointed to uh be the media person so I was pretty much

58:03involved in in what was going on and the media they kind of cornered Leonard

58:08Woodcock uh as he was trying to leave again through the back door and I still remember the image here

58:16was this Union president the international president uh kind of breaking a sweat and uh when asked about

58:24the the action that was being taken and in in workers uh uh striking in effect

58:31the Union uh he he explained he took a couple of minutes explaining that he

58:37supported the state of Israel he believed in the state of Israel Israel and so on and then right at the end he

58:43punctuated his statement with however the UAW will no longer purchase any

58:48Israeli defense and that was such a satisfying

58:54victory that we immediately got uh part of what we wanted we

59:03subsequently we then by that time the caucuses had actually set up a

59:08headquarters in a building it was uh uh called the Hashi Hall in the community

59:14in which I grew up and I grew up with the the local uh 600 and the Union as

59:19part of my family part of the institutions we relied on uh very much a pro-union person but uh willing to take

59:28action against the union because you know this is after the 60s the the

59:35violence of 68 the changes that were happening so it was no longer you know my country right or wrong but my country

59:42kind of attitude and a lot of the the people that we were aligned with felt

59:47the same way and felt the same way about the union you know my union and I support her but not right or wrong it’s

59:53got to be right you can’t be doing these things and uh solidarity

1:00:00house sent uh Walter darash and his uh Financial secretary Bob King and I

1:00:07differentiate that’s not the Bob King that ultimately ended up down at solidarity house and president there was

1:00:12actually two Bob Kings at Local 600 at the time to meet with us to resolve these

1:00:19issues uh and we gave him a list of

1:00:24Demands and dorus looked over the list nodded showed it to his financial

1:00:31secretary who nodded and handed it back and said is this it and my heart sank a

1:00:41little bit after all these hives of where we had gone and the reason my heart sank is I knew if he accepted it

1:00:47so quickly we sure changed ourselves we asked for too little it should have been

1:00:52enough to at least get an argument out of them but he immediately agreed went into a diet tribe that seemed to last

1:00:59forever with every expletive in the book threatening us up to and including murdering us if we ever involv uh or or

1:01:08obstruct or or you know f word with the Union again

1:01:16so we were put on warning and he stormed out for the people who are aware of the

1:01:22geography of the south end our headquarters was right across the street from the UAW so we had to look at each

1:01:28other all day every day and I think it kind of got uh the the leadership of of

1:01:34the local a little bit upset however we did continue the caucus

1:01:41on we had some success there were uh some elections at the at the uh Rouge

1:01:47one in particular Ernie Lofton was running for president of the frame plant and he needed help to get over the top

1:01:56and we we talked with him he aligned our himself with

1:02:01us uh he told us he was absolutely in agreement the UAW should never have

1:02:06spent any money there we supported Ernie he won his race he ended up eventually a vice president down at solidarity house

1:02:13and was a great friend of uh of the things that we did uh later on you could

1:02:21just wrap up in the next minute or two alen that would be awesome thank you yeah the actual work CAU is kind of

1:02:26dissipated a little bit after that although we did have some success threatening a strike against the AFL

1:02:33CIO uh when they were sponsoring the hist group we didn’t pull off that

1:02:39strike but we got the Metro Detroit AFL CIO to support uh and pay for the largest Pro

1:02:47Palestinian demonstration that had ever been done in the western world and we got that done so that’s

1:02:53it thank you so much Al I’m sorry to uh cut you off there we’re uh we’re we’re a

1:02:59little we’re a little over uh in our program time so we had we had aimed just to let everyone know because we’re past

1:03:06the hour mark now we as Mar said in the beginning we had aimed for an hour and a half hour 40 minutes um and we’re a

1:03:13little over so we want to encourage folks to say for for the panel at the end after uh Jesse gives some brief

1:03:18remarks but thank you so much Allan your your history of struggle uh your did the connection you had to the the sort of

1:03:26the the shop floor from the community is an inspiration that I hope we can build on here uh in in Detroit and Dearborn so

1:03:32so thank you so much um uh yeah and now I will uh sorry give me one

1:03:40second um so I’m now um really excited to to

1:03:47welcome um one more sort of organizer um from that time who uh who played a

1:03:53critical role um give me one second so I can ask him to

1:03:59join us um and uh yeah that’s that’s Jerome Scott uh Jerome was an organizer

1:04:06with the league of revolutionary black workers in Detroit the radical organization that brought a militant class conscious approach to the UAW in

1:04:13the 1960s and 70s uh the league expressed solidarity with Palestine in a period when the labor leadership was

1:04:20fully supporting Israel as Alan just described uh and played a role in supporting the Arab workers

1:04:26um in the 73 walk out at Dodge main that we just heard about um Jerome’s on the

1:04:31board of the general Baker Institute which has been a great Ally of UAW here in Detroit and he currently Works uh

1:04:38with the league of revolutionaries for new America um and I personally think

1:04:43the UAW and the rank and foul union movement more broadly has so much to learn from the black radical tradition

1:04:49that Jerome and the league came from and developed and so I’m really grateful um

1:04:54to you uh Jerome for you to share your outlook on the struggle that we’re a part of today thank

1:05:00you well thank you first of all I really appreciate having the

1:05:06opportunity to speak with youall today I think that this is a very very important

1:05:12struggle it for Palestine and Palestinians uh I also think it’s a very

1:05:18important struggle for the working class in the United States so first of all let

1:05:23me just give you a little bit of History I was working at the Chrysler

1:05:29Corporation I started working there in uh 1967 you know and’ 67 of course was a

1:05:37hell of a year internationally that was the war in the Middle East broke out in

1:05:43′ 67 and that was the first time that we began to get an understanding of the

1:05:48relationship between the UAW and Israel and the fact that the UAW was using our

1:05:54du’s money to support the state of Israel and and we were we got so

1:06:01interested in that because you know it was something that we had no idea about

1:06:07that we decided that we needed to find out what was going on in Palestine and so we eventually sent uh representatives

1:06:15to the Middle East to meet with the PLO really fundamentally to try to figure out what was going on and how we

1:06:22could be in solidarity with the Palestinian people and one of the things that they advise

1:06:29us which we have kept with us like I have kept with me for my for

1:06:35the my entire life is that our internationalism our working class

1:06:42internationalism the best way to express it is by stopping the US state from

1:06:48being able to support the state of Israel in its military adventures in the

1:06:54Middle East that if we could organize in the United

1:07:00States to the point where we could actually prevent you know the United States from continuing their their

1:07:07support for Israel that would be an act of international solidarity that could not be matched and and we have held on

1:07:14to that you know that that is our task and when we look at the struggle that’s

1:07:20developing uh struggle the genocide that’s developing in Palestine right now

1:07:27and particularly in Gaza you know the one thing that I think we have to

1:07:33really uh agree with and understand some of the former P panelists already spoke to it that going back to the way things

1:07:41were before this genocidal war is not good enough you know that were already

1:07:49slow genocide happening in Gaza before this out andout war broke out so we

1:07:55can’t just go back to the way things were before this uh open genocidal War

1:08:03Began we have to be thinking about how we going to really Liberate the Palestinian people help them liberate

1:08:10themselves really you know because that’s that’s the heart of the struggle and so I go back to that advice that the

1:08:17PLO gave us in 19 uh 67 and that was we

1:08:22have to do something here to stop the United St it it’s we have to support a

1:08:30ceasefire an immediate ceasefire of course but that should only be the

1:08:35beginning of our struggle not the end of it because we have to continue to fight

1:08:41to really prevent this state apparatus from supporting genocide all over the

1:08:47world you know and and a lot of uh you know like the major question that that

1:08:53have been asked here is is this a question for labor to get into I think

1:08:59that it is a absolutely a question of Labor to be into why well first of all

1:09:06the the war in Palestine is a war against the working class of the Palestinian people it is part of the

1:09:13international war against the working class throughout this world and therefore is not just something that we

1:09:22should be sympathetic to this is something that we know is coming toward

1:09:27us as well you know so we better stop it now and and to emphasize again the only

1:09:34way that we can really stop it and really set the basis for the liberation of Palestine is by setting the basis for

1:09:42the liberation of the working class here in the United States and really what

1:09:47that means in its Essence is that we have to be thinking about what kind of

1:09:52organization of society would not allow this kind of genocide to go on not only

1:09:59in our in the name of the United States and in with the support of the United

1:10:04States but how can we be supporting the murder of all these women and children

1:10:12in Palestine you know and so so we have to stop our state from being the major

1:10:18supporter of this effort of the uh Israeli State and this really 100-year

1:10:25effort effort of the zionists to create this state and to remove the Palestinian

1:10:31people from that area another question that keeps coming up to me is why do the

1:10:36United States keep supporting this genocide you know I think and and why does Joe Biden do it you know and every

1:10:44time I hear that I think you know this is more than a Joe Biden

1:10:49question this is a a question of the ruling class of this country you know

1:10:56we should Center in on Joe Biden because he’s the president but we cannot lose sight of the fact that Joe Biden

1:11:03represents the ruling class of this country and the decision of supporting

1:11:08the state of Israel or not is not really his alone he’s a part of that decision

1:11:15but it is a ruling class decision and as we all know the ruling class decisions

1:11:21in this country as well as throughout the world are decisions that will protect capitalism and make sure that it

1:11:29is able to maximize its profits so we got to we got to really understand this

1:11:35problem not just as a problem of individuals making decisions but as a

1:11:40class problem you know that if if if we’re going to help support the struggle

1:11:47to end this war immediately and support the struggle to liberate Palestine we

1:11:52have to look at this as a CLI situation we we have to be able to stop the ruling clients of this country from being able

1:11:59to make the kind of decisions that they’re making and the only way that we can do that is through a revolution in

1:12:05this country and and I know that’s a far off notion but let’s let’s not just be

1:12:10limited to what we can do today we got a plan for what’s going to happen over the

1:12:15next 10 20 30 years you know and and and so that you know I was and that’s what I

1:12:23wanted to say about that I was has to say a little bit about the history of uh the league of revolutionary black

1:12:29workers as you as you might know there was a wildcat strike in in 1968 at Dodge

1:12:37man in which out of that strike came became uh known as drum an organization

1:12:44of drum Dodge revolutionary union

1:12:51movement and it was out of that struggle at Dodge Maine that the League of revolutionary black workers were

1:12:57established in n in 1969 one year later and the thing that that propelled

1:13:05the league of revolutionary black workers was this notion that black

1:13:10workers and other workers of color were at the point of production if we could control the point of production we could

1:13:18have we could really express our power as workers and force not only the

1:13:24companies uh to to do the right thing and and and

1:13:30protect workers in their facilities but we could also excuse me we could also use that

1:13:38power to uh really pro project outward

1:13:43into the community and into society as a whole to say that if we stop production

1:13:48at these plants if we shut down the economy of the Auto corporation what

1:13:54will that due to the rest of the economy you know that would be a real expression of our power of workers at the point of

1:14:01production so the league of revolutionary black workers decided that we would concentrate on uh organizing

1:14:07workers at the point of production and we would concentrate on understanding our

1:14:13International um solidarity in trying to make sure that

1:14:19we can prevent our ruling class from doing what they really want to do

1:14:24internationally and that’s what I call on people today you know I really

1:14:29support the previous panel members in their demands to stop this genocidal war

1:14:36in their demand to support the liberation of Palestine and added to

1:14:41that our demand to liberate the United States working class because that will

1:14:47be the way in which we can stop not only this genocidal effort but the efforts

1:14:53that go on throughout the world today that the United States is mainly behind

1:14:59and I thank you all for allowing me to say those few things and hopefully we

1:15:05will see our pathway of unity you know to make sure that we can get our job done thank

1:15:12you thank you so much derome and thank you to all of our guest speakers for for providing the context to understand how

1:15:19this broader Community struggle for Palestine Liberation um led by just regular people with radical IDE and how

1:15:25it fits into our workplaces and our Union I can’t tell you guys how much I appreciate you it’s incredible um so

1:15:32with that being said I would like to take this opportunity uh to talk a little bit about a just transition um

1:15:38and what that could mean for our uh weapons manufacturing workers so in December of 2023 the UAW International

1:15:46executive board announced that the union would be joining for a growing number of Labor organizations and calling for a

1:15:52ceasefire in Israel and Palestine in addition to this statement the UAW

1:15:57executive board voted to take it a step further and form a divestment and just transition working group to study the

1:16:03history of Labor or I’m sorry to study the history of Israel and Palestine um

1:16:09the Union’s economic ties to the conflict and in my opinion the most exciting part to explore how to achieve

1:16:15a just transition for us workers setting out on this path is significant because

1:16:20the UAW represents hundreds and thousands of workers at weapons Manufacturing ing facilities that send

1:16:26weapons to Israel military such as General Dynamics and caterpillar but what would it mean for

1:16:33workers to actually make this idea a reality a just transition for weapons manufacturing workers could allow them

1:16:39to use their skills and abilities to contribute to society in a meaningful way with positive impacts ensuring that

1:16:46workers are protected and don’t have to choose between putting food on their table or building weapons that kill

1:16:51children in Gaza and Beyond this idea could be groundbreaking in an impactful

1:16:57way for labor unions to help improve our whole society achieving a just transition will require workers coming

1:17:04together challenging their bosses and the billionaires who profit from the violent conflicts abroad and continue to

1:17:10feed the US and Israel war machines but unfortunately as I’ll discuss in a few

1:17:15minutes there have been examples of workers proposing changes in production to avoid losing their jobs um but in

1:17:22these examples um they’re coming together to challenge management roll back their control over production and

1:17:28work towards a just transition during the times when weapons are in demand the broad idea of a just

1:17:36transition however is no foreign term to UAW members and the term has recently taken on a life of its own as Auto

1:17:43Workers fight for a fair transition into electric vehicles much like Auto Workers weapons manufacturing workers can demand

1:17:50a just transition that protects their jobs and their standard of living while having a say in and what their labor is

1:17:55used for and while direct struggles against weapons producers have been attempted

1:18:01this is not a revolutionary idea many activists have been fighting for decades for a just transition for weapons

1:18:07manufacturing workers um throughout the whole entire nation um in government funded plans they just call it an

1:18:14economic conversion the concept acknowledges that we can shift away from the decades Lo the decade long boom bust

1:18:22cycle of weapons manufacturing to produce things that benefit society that we will always

1:18:28need the idea of a conversion plan already has roots inside of the UAW

1:18:34Walter Ruther started calling for negotiated peace and fully coming out against the Vietnam War in

1:18:401968 he recognized quickly that ending the conflict in Southeast Asia would

1:18:45have economic R ramifications within the US much like the situation that we find ourselves in today so Walter Ruther

1:18:52argued then that weapons manufact in contractors who at the time were employed 3.8 million American

1:19:00workers should be required to avert layoffs and provide good workingclass union jobs by converting their

1:19:07operations to civilian production this argument still holds true today Walter

1:19:13was was quoted saying the Anvil in which piece is hammered out should not be on the heads in the back of displaced

1:19:19defense workers and their families to make this conversion possible Walter called on Congress to pass legislation

1:19:26requiring weapons manufacturing to put 25% of their after tax profits into a

1:19:32federally managed conversion fund which would be used to pay for the retraining

1:19:37and family benefits and pay of the workers during the the period of the economic

1:19:43adjustment although you although the UAW didn’t win this Walter’s idea had laid a

1:19:49foundation for what a dra just transition to a peace economy could look like and his idea was the predecessor to

1:19:56later calls from unionists in the fossil fuel related Industries for a just transition and through to uh um achieve

1:20:03a green economy um ultimately as Rank and file

1:20:11unionist we believe that workers themselves should drive their own struggles but we’ve got some ideas for

1:20:17protections that workers could demand and fight for within contract negotiations to roll back Management’s

1:20:23rights and win control for adjust transition in their Union contracts one of these ideas is the ability to refuse

1:20:30to use their labor to contribute to genocide free from punishment and retaliation this would mean that workers

1:20:36could refuse a particular job on the line and must be transferred to another job or within the company or a job

1:20:44bank another idea is the job banks for displaced workers these workers could

1:20:49volunteer their time serving the community doing service work on behalf of the company workers with would still

1:20:55re receive their paycheck um while they use their efforts and energy into helping the local communities instead of

1:21:00destroying communities in other countries we could demand protection

1:21:06from layoffs including two years of supplemental unemployment pay full health insurance and tuition assistance

1:21:12should any cancellations of the defense contracts with Israel or elsewhere impact the weapons business this

1:21:18provision could protect the workers pay and benefits and provide tuition assistant to help workers enter new

1:21:24fields of work another idea is an expanding grievance procedure that recognizes

1:21:31local protest against overseas genocide as a health and safety concern these workers could ultimately

1:21:38grieve and then strike over this concern this draws from successful Community

1:21:44labor organizing of the black thebat actions where Longshore workers in some cases

1:21:50have refused to cross community picket lines signing contractual safety protections resulting in boats with

1:21:55Israel shipments going unloaded and these would all go hand inhand with the long-term provision we

1:22:01could ask for and that’s that weapons manufacturing workers pay into a conversion fund or help

1:22:08commitments or make commitments to use manufacturing power to help contribute to the infrastructure of our

1:22:15society some of these demands such as job Banks and supplemental unemployment pay have been W in the past in other

1:22:22contexts like in the Auto industry to avoid layoffs and they can be one again

1:22:27for the workers to tap into their full power and make it up in this fight but weapons companies could certainly resist

1:22:34this loss of control and we need an unprecedented wave of worker militancy coordinated

1:22:41with Community organizing and solidarity to be able to start to win this fight

1:22:46although there has been examples of worker-led conversion fights that have been centered around averting layoffs

1:22:51fighting for more sustainable work these ideas can be implemented as we fight for a conversion from a war economy to a

1:22:58peace economy it also leaves room for us to carve our own path what a just transition could look like for our

1:23:05workers so I want you to ask yourselves today what could our society look like if we took on this fight for a peace

1:23:11economy in the name of class Consciousness and solidarity and how can we draw an inspiration that we just

1:23:18heard from some of our guest speakers like Alan Allen and the 1973 Arab

1:23:23American workers walk up out because they taught us that the community organizing can extend into the plant and

1:23:29anchor military action and that we shouldn’t see workers who have the most direct material connection to weapons

1:23:36Productions at odds with us in the community in fact the ability to shut down that production could serve as the

1:23:43most powerful Community lever that we have but for more information on just

1:23:49transition and the examples that I cited above um you can read a book called the

1:23:54six stops of the National Security tour rethinking War economy by Maron plumton

1:24:00it’s a really great book where she um really dives into some of these examples uh there’s also a pre-recorded

1:24:07educational s session that dives deeper into the concept of adjust transition and shows how close this is to the UAW

1:24:13you can view the presentation by visiting the link in the chat if you reach out to me or Andrew or tomorrow we

1:24:20can make sure to get you that link to after today’s event and with that it’s my pleasure to introduce our panelist of

1:24:26rank and file union members who are actually starting to make these goals a reality and they’re doing organizing on their very own

1:24:35floor so our panelists today are going to be Mary gerana sabba of UAW Local

1:24:414811 she’s a filmmaker and a labor historian of all of the Arab world Paul

1:24:47stoffer a UA member at Local 63 and a rank and file organizer and then Marcy pazza who has

1:24:55been electrician for 25 years and is a member of local 551 and she’s from the southeast side of

1:25:01Chicago she’s also an environmental justice activist and a rank and file organizer after a brief introduction

1:25:08from each of our panelists about themselves in their efforts we’ll have two questions for each of them before

1:25:14opening it up to a question and answer session with all of you in the in the

1:25:19webinar please use the Q&A feature to ask your questions and Andrew and tomorrow will help make sure that we get

1:25:26these questions answered for you if you have any problems with the Q&A feel free to message me Andrew or tomorrow so I’m

1:25:33going to go ahead and start with the questions um first I’m wondering if you could introduce yourselves and spend a

1:25:40minute or two telling us about the efforts you’ve LED on the shop floor for Palestinian Liberation do you want to go

1:25:46ahead and get started Marcy yes thank you can everyone hear me

1:25:53yes we can glad to be here and it was so inspiring hearing the previous panelists um

1:25:59definitely fired up um like Jesse said I’m rcy Pedraza I’m an electrician at Fort Chicago assembly plant UAW Local

1:26:07551 and just uh I’ll try to be really brief we um uh passed a resolution back

1:26:13in January um you know thankfully uh you know everyone knew about the call for a

1:26:19ceasefire by the international in December but I felt like we could take it a step further by uh following the

1:26:25Palestinian trade unions demands which Mark uh Martha spoke of earlier the five

1:26:31demands so I basically copied and pasted um from other UAW locals resolutions and

1:26:38the Palestinian trade unions call and um presented it to our our local membership

1:26:43at our meeting you know right beforehand I didn’t have a lot of time to organize around this I just went around because

1:26:49we had committee meetings before our union meeting and I spoke to some folks about it say hey I’m going to you know

1:26:55propose this resolution I appreciate your support and thankfully I got um my

1:27:01union Brother Scott hollison to second or to agree to second the motion for me because we all know Robert’s Rules of

1:27:07Order if we don’t have a second we won’t get a vote or any discussion so um you

1:27:13know with some uh the points that I that um were mentioned before I also uh just

1:27:20you know wrote up and I can probably share it in the chat or in the screen share later um you know and just to make

1:27:27it relatable to to workers you know and that might not know about this and and I

1:27:32first started uh organizing around pales Palestinian Liberation almost 20 years

1:27:38ago I went to my first rally in DC with of the Arab American Action Network and I was on a bus with a bunch of great

1:27:45women and children mostly and I learned so much from them and that just you know

1:27:50fueled my my interest to to also uh stand ins solidarity uh with them and

1:27:56you know as we know uh Chicago has the I think the highest population of Palestinians in the country so these are

1:28:03our neighbors you know my neighbors and and my community um you know they’re

1:28:09like just very important part of the the community that that I even live and work

1:28:14in so um and I just wanted to to tell you know my fellow union members that

1:28:20this issue is it affects us as workers because as We Know our tax dollars are paying for this genocide it’s funding

1:28:27this genocide and you know while the government says they don’t have money for the unhoused or public education or

1:28:33the fix our infrastructure or Universal Health Care yet they have billions of dollars to send to Israel for for this

1:28:41genocide and and this needs to stop so I know that workers are worried about jobs

1:28:46you know but these companies are profiting from this genocide and it’s our tax dollars that are paying for this

1:28:52um we just had a trip to South Bend IND IND against a corporation called AM General who makes Humvees for the

1:28:59Israeli military um and it was you know it’s I’ve been to down marches in

1:29:04downtown Chicago in New York City and it was great to see a smaller demonstration of about a 100 people or so you know

1:29:11just shows that people all around the country are are paying attention now and you know hopefully people you know we’re

1:29:19trying to wake everyone up and and listen that we don’t sit and be complacent anymore it’s time we do make

1:29:26a just transition to a peace economy where we can make things that are better for our planet like High-Speed Rail

1:29:31electric buses freight trucks solar panels wind turbines and other green infrastructure we shouldn’t have to

1:29:37choose between good union jobs and our Consciousness we cannot continue on this path of war and Destruction for the sake

1:29:44of our planet and all of its inhabitants so we call for a permanent ceasefire and end the US backed Israeli genocide in

1:29:50Gaza and now we call on other labor unions to do the same because we don’t cross picket lines We join them thank

1:29:58you thank you so much um and I just also wanted to make reference that in the

1:30:03chat Michael was kind enough to uh go ahead and drop that resolution that Marcy was talking about um

1:30:11Paul thanks comrades yeah great um well first of all thank you for having me um

1:30:17uwd um I’m probably the first plumber to ever be on a UAW panel I’m sure a lot of you are wondering why I’m here but um

1:30:24yeah I do I I basically am a third-party contractor um that works at I do

1:30:30industrial Plumbing Service at the Caterpillar plant in East pori in Illinois um and it’s all it’s unionized

1:30:36it’s UAW workers and uh it’s the plant that builds uh the d9r bulldozers that

1:30:42get sent to Israel that have been used in the genocide in Gaza and and they’ve been caterpillars and partners with the

1:30:48Israelis for decades I think since the 80s or 70s or something like that so they’ve been longtime Partners in the

1:30:53ruction in Palestine and uh being in the plant now and even seeing them producing

1:30:59dozers you know with the with the dark green paint you know being up close and personal with them uh it you know it

1:31:05makes your stomach drop and uh so yeah I wanted to get involved I wanted to try

1:31:10to see what we could do to um you know push uh push for divestment you know

1:31:16follow the BDS call and uh push for a just transition you know I one of the one of the easier aspects of uh of

1:31:24organizing a cat particularly with that um you know it’s not like a weapons manufacturer where if we ask the workers

1:31:30to stop producing for Israel then there’s nothing left to produce you know whe that would be their argument at

1:31:36least but luckily um defense Contracting is just a small part of cat’s um profit

1:31:42base I think it’s only like 10% of their business goes to defense spending um but

1:31:47the majority of that or the rest of it is all Mining and construction so then we get back to uh just transition for

1:31:53environmental ISS and things like that so that’ll be a big part of our organizing down the line too but um so

1:31:59what we’re doing now is we’re still flying we’re still talking to workers and um we’re really fortunate that uh

1:32:06you know we we it’s a pretty it’s a pretty um it’s a very diverse and a very

1:32:11um a very uh um politicized Rank and file I think you know uh they almost

1:32:18went on strike in the spring or last spring 2023 and um there was a a pretty

1:32:24big contingent of rank and file workers who pushed uh the uh the union to take a better contract um so they’re they’re

1:32:31there and um for me it’s I think it’s been very easy talking to uh workers

1:32:37about what’s going on there everyone seems really receptive of um the plight of the Palestinians and and um I there’s

1:32:45a couple points we bring up a lot um I I I liked um Zena’s point about um

1:32:50organizing from a place of sympathy versus from a place of solidarity that really stuck with me because um they

1:32:57workers over there too that are being oppressed you know they they’re workers too I one of the things that we put on

1:33:02our Flyers is that um the CEO caterpillar Jim upbe made 26$ 20.6

1:33:07Million last year um versus the average Palestinian pay is $32 a day so who do

1:33:13you think you have more in common with you know who are you g to listen to and um you know I I tell a lot of people

1:33:20that uh you know one boot is on uh your neck from pillars and the other their other boot is on the Palestinians neck

1:33:26at the same time too they’re they’re trying to take your uh share away while they’re profiting and rewarding their

1:33:32shareholders off of selling weapons to the Israelis you know to hurting other workers um so yeah and then I I always

1:33:39bring up um at the beginning of 10 you know right after 107 there was the the Palestinian workers are there cheap

1:33:45exploitable labor Supply in Israel I think a lot of people don’t pay attention to that um so that it didn’t

1:33:51really come up a lot because the the you know but there was uh like 3,000 something workers who were conf uh

1:33:57confined they were working in Israel as 107 event was occurring and uh they were

1:34:02detained and tortured for a month you know just for being Palestinian workers in in Israel um and if that was us there

1:34:09if you know if we were workers in Palestine that would have been us we would have been there too and uh so all

1:34:14all these things resonate with workers they understand Injustice and they understand being oppressed and uh so

1:34:20yeah everyone’s really receptive and uh it’s it’s it’s going really well so far and uh yeah I’m just so honored to be on

1:34:27this panel man what an incredible group of people uh some of my Mor models in organizing I can I can talk about I a

1:34:34lot of my co-workers not know uh know not to ask me about you know Union business and stuff because I’ll just talk about UAW and uh TDU and and drum

1:34:43for like an hour and a half they’ll they’ll just tell me to shut up so it’s it’s amazing to be on a panel with this group of people um hopefully we can be

1:34:50emulating that into Building Trades sometime soon but as as of right now I’m happy to be here with you all today so I

1:34:56appreciate it honestly Paul it’s an honor to have you I think you’re doing incredible work and um I just want to

1:35:02encourage everybody to look in the chat section and you can um find an article that Paul wrote in in these times which

1:35:08was incredible um Mary hi everybody and I just yeah what

1:35:15an honor to follow Paul and Marcy I my name is Mary germano SAA and I’m um well

1:35:22I’m Palestinian in Le and a rank and file member of UAW 4811 at the University of California we’ve

1:35:29just changed our name uh and you might be familiar with UAW 2865 which was

1:35:35formerly the name of our local as the First Union Local in the US to pass a

1:35:40BDS resolution and that was 10 years ago that was back in 2014 um and that resolution passed with

1:35:46overwhelming support and it was actually overturned by the UAW International executive board at the time and

1:35:54and so you know thankfully we are in a slightly different situation right now with a with a an executive board that

1:36:00past a ceas fire resolution a historic cees FR resolution as a result of of our organizing um I you know I also will be

1:36:10a little bit brief and I I want to say that it’s I really want to Echo some of the

1:36:17things that Paul and Marcy said just a couple minutes ago which is that

1:36:24in that drive 10 years ago which I um and in the organizing work that we

1:36:30have been doing right after the start of this genocide so just to sort of say I’ve been involved in uh drafting a BDS

1:36:37pledge for the UW broadly and uh we also

1:36:43most recently this past week our chapter at the University of California Berkeley just passed a resolution committing to

1:36:50bargaining around boycott divestment and sanctions from from companies which are profiting from the from the occupation

1:36:57of Palestine and specifically military contractors like loed Martin and um and

1:37:04and that resolution passed overwhelmingly uh in fact we didn’t they didn’t even count the votes because it passed sort of so clearly there were a

1:37:11few hundred people in the room and and and you know I I just think that overwhelmingly what we found is that

1:37:17when people understand when they know what’s going on when we’re able to talk to our co-workers about Palestine it’s a

1:37:23human issue it resonates people you know people are watching what’s happening they see and it just it’s just logical

1:37:30to do the right thing and and and you know I think that that this kind of question

1:37:36of of a just transition is so important not only in thinking about the weapons

1:37:43plants because you know of course as has been said this this deal with sending money

1:37:49to Israel is that they the military funding to Israel is that they have to buy the weapons from us plants right and

1:37:54a lot of those plants are unionized and a lot of those plants are unionized UAW just to kind of repeat that point and

1:38:01but the thing is that that the university itself is also one big weapons shop it’s not just that the

1:38:08weapons are made in in these weapons shops and then sent and it’s sort of this like class divide right University

1:38:15workers are also participating largely in this in this kind of sort of system

1:38:21of of deeply entrenched military militarism especially in in the science and technology engineering and

1:38:29Mathematics and just for reference the University of California in the year 2022 alone had

1:38:37$295 million of research funding from the Department of Defense right that’s just in one year and and so it’s really

1:38:46all along the supply chain it’s incredibly important that we start these conversations

1:38:54not only just right now with the urgency of ending the genocide that’s happening

1:38:59but also in sort of seeing our our shared humanity and and seeing the ways that we’re all so deeply invested in in

1:39:06in militarism and and and I I’ll just sort of say you

1:39:12know really really briefly I’ve been involved in in various kinds of organizing around Palestine pretty much

1:39:18since I was a child but you know I I remember back in 2004 and five or three

1:39:23whatever right after the war and it o started when people that I had gone to high school with and members of of our

1:39:29of our community groups our movement communities had family members going to war night do right and particularly

1:39:35folks from immigrant and workingclass communities and a lot of people would say oh well you know they don’t have a

1:39:40choice they just they have to go to the military they don’t have a choice and I don’t think I knew what to

1:39:46say at the time and the thing that I you know have realized is that is that as movements we need to give people a

1:39:53choice we need to organize to be able to give each other the choice to divest from the

1:39:58military machine at all levels right we have a moral obligation to organize our workplaces and our communities to refuse

1:40:04to participate to answer the call from the Palestinian trade unions to not cross that picket line and to refuse to

1:40:10send weapons to Israel and and more broadly speaking to refuse to continue this cycle of investing in death and in

1:40:18corporate profit lines going forward all of us together we we can make that we can make this

1:40:25change and in fact we we have to yeah absolutely thank you so much

1:40:31Mary um I love I love the way you worded that um so I’m gonna uh go ahead and ask

1:40:37the next question which is what brings you as a worker to the issue of Palestine Liberation are there any

1:40:43concrete or material ways in which you and your co-workers are impacted by the partide and the genocide in Palestine um

1:40:50Paul do you want to go ahead and get started with this question sure yeah so um I’ve uh I know I’ve been I’ve been a

1:40:58a supporter of Palestine when I was in undergrad I was a member of SJP um so I’ve always been and that was

1:41:04you know a long time ago now 10 years ago so um but then when I became a plumber I uh you know this is still

1:41:11something I don’t hear about either and whenever I get a chance to talk about it I I I want to bring it up to people because even in uh among Palestinian

1:41:18supporters it’s not really talked about widely but when I became a plumber I learned about um

1:41:23the level of apartheid uh that uh impacts their water systems and their Wastewater systems and how how badly

1:41:30even prior to October 7th um 96% of the water supply in Gaza was unfit for human

1:41:35consumption because the Israelis had just bombed in Gaza they uh bomb their

1:41:40wastewater treatment plants and so raw sewage was spilling right into the Mediterranean and then that feeds their

1:41:45aquafer so uh even prior to that they were only getting um yeah they that the

1:41:50water wasn’t safe for human consumption but that’s their only source of water there so um yeah and the Israelis have a

1:41:56history of uh in the West Bank too they they’re not allowed to dig Wells they’re not allowed to collect rainwater um and

1:42:03then right next door you know Israelis will be swimming in swimming pools so it’s it’s eye opening you know if if I I

1:42:09don’t understand how people can deny uh the Palestinians living under an aparte system when when they they can’t even

1:42:16drink water or uh you know they don’t even have proper access to sanitation there and then um I I think everyone

1:42:23seen the statistics uh prior to October 7th um they they shut down obviously the

1:42:29electrical systems and the and the water systems that were going in to Gaza and um now gazin are only getting by on two

1:42:35to three liters of water a day whereas the who recommends that you people need

1:42:41a minimum of a 100 liters a day um so two to three liters is is a half a gallon and that’s for drinking that’s

1:42:47for bathing that’s for cleaning that’s so it’s um and that that was from a couple months ago so it’s probably less

1:42:53than that now so that’s um that’s my direct connection to it from my work but beyond caterpillar uh obviously that’s

1:43:01but uh oh the other thing I wanted to bring up with that which I thought was funny too is that um it’s such a major

1:43:06issue there and uh the caterpillar Foundation it’s their nonprofit Wing their big um Spiel is providing Safe

1:43:14Drinking Water Access around the world that’s what they tout and uh meanwhile they’re supplying uh you know one of the

1:43:20major Water Crisis crises uh in the world as they speak so it’s it’s um it’s

1:43:26another opportunity for me to um you know another point that we can use be like look look they’re denying water to

1:43:33the Palestinians while you know they’re painting themselves in this positive light and their with their foundation work here too so um it’s helpful in that

1:43:41respect but yeah it’s just so blatant but that that’s my direct connection to

1:43:46it thank you so much um Mary do you have any comments on that I just to

1:43:55say I am you know I’m directly impacted by this situation my father’s family was

1:44:00displaced in 1948 by Israel my mother’s family was displaced in 1982 by Israel I

1:44:06Was Myself bombed by Israel in 2006 in Lebanon uh my partner’s family lost Lo

1:44:12he lost nine members of his family in the current genocide who were Sheltering in a church uh in Gaza early

1:44:20on but you know again I I guess I’ll just say we’re we’re all we are all

1:44:26impacted by this in the in the ways that Marcy and and Paul have have drawn out

1:44:31and you know if it’s something that we can’t sort of see in a daily

1:44:37way I just I just keep repeating all of the that that this Gaza is being used as

1:44:44a test case for for future uh future situations of figuring out what to do

1:44:50with with climate change I mean this is sort of the the corporate L fossil fuel driven model

1:44:56for thinking about how to repress descent and how to get people to just kind of give in and and Palestinians are

1:45:03really you know showing us the way forward and and not in saying

1:45:11no yeah absolutely Marcy uh yeah as I mentioned um I first

1:45:19got you know um involved with this at um our bus trip to DC and then you know

1:45:25other subsequent marches and rallies but just as an activist in general you know

1:45:31I come from the southeast side of Chicago and we’re the work I do with the southeast environmental task force we’re

1:45:37fighting constantly fighting toxic polluters trying to dump on us in our in our neighborhood in our backyards

1:45:43literally across the street from a high school my daughter’s school and a park

1:45:48and just seeing the similarities in in what’s going on all over the world I mean we know this is the direct result

1:45:54of capitalism imperialism you know they want to control us they want us to fight against each other they want workers on

1:46:01in factories to fight against uh skilled trades they want skilled you know all of us to fight against academic workers but

1:46:08we’re all workers right and just you know Paul just made me think of uh the

1:46:13fight for for clean water like in in my neighborhood well in Chicago now we have the highest amount of lead service lines

1:46:20in the country and you know we’ve seen this before in Flint and in other areas of the country in the world um and you

1:46:27know the city says it’s going to take years or years and years to replace these lead service lines and because

1:46:33right there’s no money but we know there’s money it’s just where is the money going um so that’s how I just

1:46:41continue to fight awesome um I want to encourage

1:46:47anybody that has any questions to go ahead and put them in the Q&A um we do actually have one that came through the

1:46:53audience um that I’m going to direct towards Mary and then um we have just a

1:46:58few more um I think we’re going to be running another like 15 to 20 minutes if that’s okay with everybody I just think

1:47:04that this is really compelling and we love you guys to stay so um Mary the

1:47:10question is what can we do as union workers and Americans to help the effort on an individual level are there boyot

1:47:17lists are there established forms to contact local and state representatives to be heard about this issue

1:47:24yeah thank you Julian for that question and and I will direct you to the BDS national movement uh website which the

1:47:31BDS Campaign which has lists of of products that you can boycott and

1:47:38you know as as union workers so there’s there’s a you know of course there’s different things at different levels

1:47:43that we can do as union workers we can pass resolutions in our and I’m going to put the resolution from um that we just

1:47:51passed this last week resolutions to call on our employers to divest from

1:47:58Israel and to divest from military companies um and people profiting from

1:48:03from the occupation and and of course that’s also something that we can do at a local and state level right there’s

1:48:09lots of people going around right now passing ceasefire resolutions at City levels which is very exciting and important and galvanizing like it’s

1:48:15getting a lot of people involved and at the same time like how much of that public money is also invested in

1:48:21companies like C I don’t know cater caterpillar uh locked Martin General

1:48:27Dynamics right all of these companies that have made a killing off of off of killing people and and so and

1:48:35so that I think is the next step right the the call from the Palestinian trade unions is not just to make past symbolic

1:48:43language but it is to do things that make a direct economic impact on on the

1:48:49occupation on Israel’s ability to continue its genocide and without the

1:48:54support of the US none of this would be possible right they just don’t have they don’t have the money uh and and yes I

1:49:00would also direct you to adala campaign and the the US US PCR campaign for

1:49:06Palestinian rights also has established forms to contact local and state representatives but certainly getting

1:49:11involved locally is an incredibly important way to to kind of move forward

1:49:18with with BDS yeah thank you so much um so I have

1:49:24another question for all of our panelists um what challenges have you faced while trying to organ organize

1:49:30around this on the shop floor um how have your co-workers reacted and how do you respond um Marcy do you want to go

1:49:38ahead and get started with that oh sorry I was answering a question in the chat um oh you’re fine if you

1:49:44wanna if you want to take a minute and answer it live that’s no it’s fine I typed in the the link or not the link

1:49:50but about the documentary on who about um Trouble On Tap about the lead service

1:49:56lines um so just you know as far as talking to co-workers about it I know

1:50:01it’s not easy but we need to keep having these discussions you know it’s hard to just come up you know talk to somebody

1:50:07like hey have you heard what what happened and you know across the world last night you know um it’s not

1:50:12necessarily the most uplifting conversations but you know as far as what what happened in our un the union

1:50:19meeting um the resolution did pass overwhelmingly there was a some push back there were a couple members that

1:50:25that wanted more information or didn’t want you know didn’t support this and and definitely voted against it just a

1:50:32couple I think and then you know after that um just from seeing posts on social

1:50:37media um there were some hateful comments and things that I just didn’t

1:50:43have the energy to address because you know I’d rather Focus my energy on

1:50:48positive things and actions and work than you know fighting an Internet troll

1:50:54but but they’re out there and we still need to talk to them if if we can and we’re

1:51:00not going to change everyone’s Minds you know but if for the sake of humanity and

1:51:05and all of us if we’re true you know citizens of this planet we need to talk

1:51:10to each other and work together otherwise we will never never make

1:51:16change yeah that’s absolutely right um Paul what about you sure yeah um yeah you know to me uh

1:51:26talking to the workers about Palestine is is the the best part it’s the easiest

1:51:32I mean not easy it’s hard to mobilize workers but like they understand they’re people they’re receptive like I was talking about earlier and you know I

1:51:38think everyone has this idea of um you know the Maga Republican that you’re going to come up to at the plant and

1:51:44they’re oh you know we Israel’s our Ally blah blah blah and uh most workers

1:51:50aren’t as politically activated you know and you’re GNA get something like that definitely but most people uh are just

1:51:55regular people trying to get through their work day you know and they’re they they’re not watching the news every day they’re not totally up to date on what’s

1:52:02going on and so our role is to Advocate and organize and and to educate you know

1:52:08um and when those people are extremely receptive of what we have to say and what’s going on so that part is is great

1:52:15you know mobilizing them is a challenge but um the hardest part for me obviously and then on top of um being an outsider

1:52:21at the plan you know I’m not a full-time UAW member and I’m not in the plant full-time so that’s that’s challenging too but beyond that um I I’ve it’s been

1:52:30really challenging for me and kind of surprising for me um working with uh the lack of a class class Consciousness in

1:52:37like Progressive Pro Palestinian circles uh in the community and I uh I spent a

1:52:44lot of time thinking about it but um it you know other people might be running into these issues as well but um I had

1:52:51to I had to some of these or other organizations you know um and everyone’s got their own

1:52:57focuses and stuff like that but uh when I brought up this opportunity to uh you

1:53:03know make material change right where right here where the d9s are built in their own backyard you know we can hit

1:53:09Israel where it hurts financially and and materially um and a lot of people don’t see the value of it talking to

1:53:16workers that you know even some people were like well you know can’t we just talk to Caterpillar or management you

1:53:21know can’t like they still have one of their big headquarters there and it’s like well you know what’s the benefit of talking to the workers you know they

1:53:27don’t really have a lot of power like don’t we want to talk to the decision makers and uh man you just you just want

1:53:34to rip your hair out but it’s that’s part of our that’s part of our job to educate them as well you know what I

1:53:39mean so um the the labor movement has been so defanged over the past 40 50

1:53:45years and even in Progressive circles you know people can think we can just vote our way to socialism in some circles and and the ceasefire resolution

1:53:52are great they’re they they play a huge important role obviously and it’s got Biden sweating and uh you know it’s it’s

1:54:00it’s a lot quicker than like the amount of time it takes to organize these shop floor actions that can push for these

1:54:06changes radically but um they we can’t go It Alone just on the Electoral route

1:54:12the you know we need to build deep uh highly organized highly Mo

1:54:17mobilized revolutionary worker movements and that I think that’s the only way that we’re going to achieve this these

1:54:24long-standing gains that we want to see in society for just transition and for uh you know decolonized movements around

1:54:31the world and things like that and uh you know first first we got to work in house and educate the people in house

1:54:37that that’s the direction we have to move in we have to organize the workers and U that that’s been a challenge for me but that’s uh

1:54:46yeah and Mary um I’m very interested to hear your answer for this also but I was wondering if you could May we touch on

1:54:53Local 23 um 25’s resistance to the Congressional Witch Hunt also sure I’d

1:55:00be happy to talk about that and of course I couldn’t talk about that as well as some of my comrades who were involved in it but but essentially local

1:55:072325 uh is a primarily legal staff or entirely legal staff local who has

1:55:15been I don’t even know how to describe the and speaking of push back uh past a

1:55:22b put forward a BDS resolution at the beginning again back in October or

1:55:28November had a few small uh minority of the of the organization um of the local

1:55:36filed a lawsuit against the against the union to prevent them from putting this

1:55:42BDS resolution out to the to a vote now of course that galvanized the union and people really learned about it and kind

1:55:47of like what Paul and Marcy are saying the more discussion you know the more that people just see like oh this is the

1:55:53right thing to do and So eventually they won in court and they were able to put that BDS resolution forward and and it

1:55:59passed again overwhelmingly uh but then they were subpoena as Sophia here is putting in the chat 3,000 legal service

1:56:06workers in New York they were seened by Congress in this Congressional Witch Hunt uh against free speech over

1:56:14Palestine to come in and and show up and and you know defend why they were

1:56:19putting forward this BDS resolution so and they refused uh being lawyers they understood that they had the legal right

1:56:25to not go and they didn’t go but I think that what that really shows

1:56:32here is the weight of and you know who is running that committee it’s it’s these very you know well-healed

1:56:41Congress people who are probably or or definitely profiting over this genocide

1:56:47and and they’re pushing it with a lot of money and and the force of the US government against this small Legal

1:56:54Services local who’s fighting back right and so I think that a lot of that time that there’s

1:57:00opposition that there’s opposition uh to these kinds of discussion it’s actually

1:57:05because there’s so much money and power behind trying to repress popular

1:57:11discussion about Palestine so but again you know like as Paul and Marc are saying when you talk to people about

1:57:18about this situation and you can connect on a on a onetoone level but that people can see the situation for

1:57:25what it

1:57:30is yeah absolutely um okay uh I just want to give another

1:57:37um quick thing that if anybody has any questions go ahead and drop them in the Q&A

1:57:48um um if not then I think that we’ll just go ahead and start wpp it up um

1:57:53there is another question but if you guys have any um last words really quick we’ll go to Marcy to wrap it up and then

1:58:00I’ll direct this question at one of you one

1:58:09second you’re on mute Mercy I thought I clicked it uh yeah

1:58:16just wanted to say thanks for having me on this panel and and it is an honor to be speaking amongst you all and our pre

1:58:22previous uh speakers as well and you know let’s just keep taking it to the

1:58:27streets and shouting until someone hears us and call your local electeds from the

1:58:33very local level all the way to the National level I mean a group of us in Chicago um group of other organizers

1:58:39different unions tried to we had a zoom meeting with our local congresswoman Robin Kelly in our district and un

1:58:45fortun unfortunately she did not want to sign on to a ceasefire call because she

1:58:51felt like if this resolution is never even going to come to a vote that there was no point in

1:58:56her voting or supporting it if it’s not going to be voted on and we just took

1:59:02that as a you know just answer so um let’s vote these people out you

1:59:07know they’ve been supporters of labor but on this issue if they’re not willing

1:59:12to take a stand then it’s time for a new representation you know these a lot of our electeds been in office way too long

1:59:20um and there are some some good um supporters here in Illinois on the local level so just try to find the ones in

1:59:27your area that you know will support you and yeah thank you so

1:59:33much thank you so much for being here and Paul any closing

1:59:38words no no it’s such an awesome part to be a part of this panel um yeah I I would just keep an eye out on what the

1:59:44Palestinian trade unions are asking for us to do and do everything we can to show solidarity with them that that’s it

1:59:53thank you so much for being here too and Mary yeah I just thank you so much to Jesse and to all the organizers of this

2:00:00panel today and and to Marcy and Paul for all the work that you’re doing uh because you know of course I’m doing

2:00:05this because it’s my homeland or it’s my it’s my who I am and but we are all

2:00:11connected I really it’s really so clear how we’re all connected and how we all

2:00:16understand that and I guess I would just say like the point of this panel is in fact to EMP EMP asize that idea of what

2:00:23we can do inside the labor movement and I think Paul’s point about Community groups not just not seeing that

2:00:30potential you know because the labor movement has been so destroyed in the last 50 years not just in the US but

2:00:37everywhere and but but in fact we have to believe and we have to we have to put

2:00:43the time into creating those relationships and to doing into repeating the kinds of experiences that

2:00:49that Alan and Jerome spoke about earlier you know we just look back at that and we think like oh that happened in the

2:00:5570s like that was a different time but it doesn’t have to be they were very systematic they built relationships they

2:01:02they followed a you know they sort of followed they put for themselves a programmatic agenda and they followed it

2:01:07and we can do that too and in fact we absolutely we absolutely have to because all of our futures depends on

2:01:18it yeah absolutely and then um I I would also like to bring uh Alan back in

2:01:24because Alan did want to make a suggestion on what individual workers can do um and I think that we can just

2:01:30learn so much too from you know the history so uh can we bring Alan back in

2:01:39Andrew yeah I think you need to turn your video on for me to Spotlight you but I’ll just uh I’ll take everyone else’s Spotlight away so then we can all

2:01:46be on here for for a minute before wrapping up and you can

2:01:52share your

2:02:03thoughts can anybody hear me now we can hear you y okay I just wanted to add uh

2:02:11one of the things that we found out realized learned in uh trying to

2:02:18organize the workers around the issues that uh we brought forward is how upset

2:02:26it made uh people to learn something that had been kept a secret from them to

2:02:34get the kind of truth about what’s going on as opposed to the uh the story that

2:02:43that powers that be want to sell by way of example none of the

2:02:49workers that we approached had any CL clue that UAW dues could even be

2:02:55manipulated in the way they were being manipulated and that really upset them

2:03:00so they joined uh I think there were workers who joined uh to get that

2:03:08process whether or not it had anything to do with Israel or not wasn’t as important as stopping the uh uh the

2:03:16mechanism of sending money outside the country to serve somebody other than the

2:03:22workers and the families of the people who provided the money there is for example if I if I if I could just say uh

2:03:32caterpillar do the caterpillar workers know that the they’re actually building

2:03:37weapons the the caterpillar bulldozzer was the one that ran over Rachel Corey

2:03:43who stood in front of the bulldozzer and tried to stop the illegal by international law destruction

2:03:50of a home and it was the caterpillar bulldozer that ran her over

2:03:55and then backed up over her and and that kind of image in somebody’s mind could

2:04:00really upset them that um these things are happening so I’m just it it’s almost

2:04:07like you have to be a prati force to bring the issue to the to your fellow

2:04:14workers that is to me the oneto one worker to worker is the most effective

2:04:20line of communication that u a mobilizing movement can have anyway just

2:04:25wanted to add that no that’s absolutely right Alan I mean I can’t agree with that any anymore

2:04:32uh Paul wants to have like a direct response to that yeah and adding off of that real quick sorry alen but not only

2:04:39that but um caterpillar after Rachel Cory’s family sued caterpillar uh to

2:04:45accept responsibility for it they spied they they paid uh people to spy on her family so it’s not not only that but

2:04:52like they’re they’re actively trying to cover up their crime so yeah a lot of workers do know about it but a shocking

2:04:57number of them don’t so yeah that’s that’s one of the things we try to bring up with them right away but yeah and and

2:05:03that shows that they’re actively you know trying to cover it up and and don’t want the workers to know about it

2:05:10yeah again I just want to thank every single person that made this possible today I mean it’s just incredible to

2:05:16hear like the history and the activists um the activists in the community and the activists inside of the the UAW um

2:05:24and Paul that you being an activist and helping out the UAW when you don’t even have to it’s just incredible and it’s so

2:05:29inspiring and I hope everybody else feels inspired by um everything we talked about today I really want to

2:05:35encourage everybody to um go ahead and and drop some of their contact info in the chat so that we can make those

2:05:41connections and we can continue to build off of each other right it’s all Synergy and we’re all better when we when we

2:05:47work together um and that’s what it’s all about that’s what unions are about is collective action so please go ahead

2:05:53and and drop your contact info in the chat so that people can reach out to you so that we can do all of the hard work

2:05:58moving forward to make sure that you know um we just make the best possible changes to society as we can um I just

2:06:06want to thank everybody again for being here I want to thank U AWD for hosting this event and for allowing us to have

2:06:12this opportunity in this space um please if you can join U AWD we have meetings

2:06:18um we’re going to do a lot more events on this hopefully in the future and continue working together um and and

2:06:24highlighting all of this work that needs to be done um but thank you everybody again um I really really appreciate it

2:06:31solidarity forever thank you all so much solidarity forever

2:07:02am I suppos to people

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