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To Anti-War Trade Unionists:

MY LOCAL (AFSCME 3506) ENDORSED USLAW and sent several delegates to the founding and second conference. I was one. I know and respect many activists in USLAW, including some superb members of its steering committee: still, I stopped reading the statement below after it said that USLAW 'succeeded in moving antiwar resolutions through unions like AFSCME...'.  What are the facts here?

I was a delegate and participated in the AFSCME convention caucus that decided the tactics we'd use to get the word NOW in place of the meaningless phrase 'as soon as possible' in the AFSCME  resolution at our June Anaheim convention. Without that, the resolution meant whenever. Bush could've used that language. Matter of fact, he does. If this was a USLAW achievement, what would a defeat look like?!

Also, USLAW's majority of voting bodies refused to support the Million Worker March on Washington set for October 17th despite a majority (9:8) steering committee vote to endorse and despite the MWM's working class demands, including getting out of Iraq (see attached). Those demands and this March exactly fit what USLAW delegates voted to build, yet no support. The excuse? It might detract from electing Kerry, who supports the very war USLAW was founded to oppose!

'Ordinary' working people can easily distinguish between supporting and voting for Kerry and standing up for what we need through this March. They know that Kerry and the Dems support not one of our needs and demands. Apparently, AFL top leaders, like Sweeney, don't want to see anything that'll put demands on 'their friends'. Apparently, many of the key people running USLAW are in the same boat. FACTS are facts.

As for individual membership, ask them what the voting arrangements are. Typical locals are asked to pay something like 20-100 times per capita as larger union bodies and get something like 1/10th the voting rights. Our Local supported both conventions and sent delegates; I attended both as one of our delegates.

These USLAW decisions remind me of the now-defunct Labor Party's politics and organization: crush everything that might  displease the AFL bigshots or might actually build some working class power not controlled by them and their (lesser) evil, pro-capitalist, Democratic Party friends.

which side are you on, which side... ?

Earl Silbar,
AFSCME 3506 Executive Board member
and midwest coordinator, million worker march.

For more info, see our website: www.millionworkermarch.org and/or go to our midwest listserve: chicagoworkermarch@yahoogroups.com

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