Week 1 Endorsements

Categories: Solidarity Statements


October 17, 2011

The Million Worker March (MWM) organizers and activists call upon all workers organized and unorganized and the unemployed to join and defend the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement.  We extend the call to anti-war, immigration rights, environmental and social justice activists to join this movement which could replicate the “Arab Spring” here at home.

The MWM, initiated by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 on October 17, 2004 at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., advanced the slogan “mobilizing in our own name” independent of the two Wall Street controlled political parties to address the economic crisis of working people in which the vast majority are under siege financially.

All important social movements, which occurred in this country, were started from the bottom up (rank and file/grass roots) and not from the top down.  The MWM’s mission statement speaks to how “. . . a handful of the rich and powerful corporations have usurped our government.  A corporate and banking oligarchy changes hats and occupies public office to wage class war on working people.  They have captured the State in their own interests.” They represent what the OWS activists call the 1%., otherwise known as the ruling class.

Like the MWM, the OWS has emerged at a time when the two corporate controlled political parties are preparing for the presidential election; a smokescreen where billions is spent to promote a top down and false ceremony of democracy.

Like the MWM, the OWS will be criticized for having demands that are too broad.  However, after more than 50 years of a corporate assault on working people, social services, jobs, wages, pensions, health care, public education, and housing.  The pursuit of endless wars, the lack of a comprehensive immigration policy and the erosion of the environment in pursuit of corporate greed makes it impossible to address all of these issues in a sound bite.  Yet one thing is crystal clear, OWS conveys a definite anti-capitalist message.  It is being expressed to the entire world at the “temple” of American Capitalism, Wall Street.  The OWS, while now a major protest movement against the capitalist elites must continue to deepen, expend and become a direct challenge to corporate power. Class warfare demands fighting on multiple fronts and it all leads back to Wall Street.  While the officialdom of labor has given verbal support to OWS, the rank and file possesses the real power of the labor movement. It is only through rank and file unity that labor’s true power can be realized in this OWS movement.  Workers can take action at the point of production and service as well as put people in the streets.

We must be mindful of attempts to co-opt this movement.  Let us not forget the action of the Democratic Party and it surrogates within AFL-CIO to pressure Wisconsin unions not to initiate any General Strike actions in opposition to Governor Scott Walker’s plans to eliminate collective bargaining for State workers.  Wisconsin workers were limited to circulating petitions to recall targeted State republican elected officials.  This took away labor’s only real power, the ability to withhold its labor in defense of collective bargaining.

ILWU Local 10’s Executive Board has adopted a Resolution to join and defend the OWS and called for other longshore locals to do the same.  More importantly, Local 10 is connecting the OWS movement with the Pacific Northwest Dockers struggle with EGT in Longview, Washington.  (EGT is an international grain exporter which is attempting to rupture long shore jurisdiction.)  The driving force behind EGT is Bunge LTD., a leading agribusiness and food company, which reported $2.4 billion in profits in 2010.  This company has strong ties to Wall Street.  This is but one example of Wall Street’s corporate attack on union workers.

On October 12th, the vice-president and secretary-treasurer of ILWU Local 21 in Longview, WA, who are engaged in battle with EGT, were allowed to speak by the organizers of “Foreclosure on Wall Street West”. They explained their struggle to several hundred people attending the rally that took place in the San Francisco financial district.  This is an important and strategic show of solidarity between labor and OWS.

It was Black trade unionists that conceived and launched the MWM.  Black workers and other workers of color should play an integral role in expanding the power and influence of OWS.  The Black unemployment rate is 24% and growing.  This needs to be a part of the discussion of the peoples’ assemblies as it concerns empowering this peoples’ movement.

Working people need to have a political expression of our own which is an alternative to the U.S. corporate sector that both the Democrats and the Republicans represent.  The timing of the MWM in Washington was to prepare the beginning of a fight-back precisely because the agendas of two political parties, acting as one, the corporate agenda of permanent war, destruction of all social services, Jim Crow and a relentless assault upon working people.

This is an opportune moment for rank and file working people to forge a mass movement for fundamental change.  Rarely has the importance of unity in struggle been more compelling along an axis of class independence.

Only by our own independent mobilization of working people (99%) across America, can we open the way to addressing a peoples’ agenda.  The MWM and OWS are both about building grass roots and rank and file anti-racist unity “forging the fight-back” on all governmental and corporate policies influenced and or directed by Wall Street.

Let’s take it to the corporate state, Let the 1% take the weight

Clarence Thomas

Leo Robinson

Chris Silvera

ILWU Local 10, Executive Board

ILWU Local 10 Retired

IBT Local 808, Sec-Treasurer

Co-Chair MWM

National Convener

Co-Convener MWM East Coast

Saladin Muhammad

Gabriel Prawl

Black Workers for Justice

ILWU Local 52

Convener MWM Southern Region

Convener MWM Pacific Northwest

Jerry Lawrence

Debby Springfellow

ILWU Local 8

ILWU Local 8

Website:  www.millionworkermarch.org

Email:       www.east@yahoo.com


Statement of Support for the “Occupy Wall Street” movement:

The Berkeley Federation of Teachers endorses the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Occupy Wall Street, and its local iterations, represent the legitimate response of the 99% of us adversely affected by growing wealth and income inequality in America. The richest one percent of the population has doubled its share of the nation’s income over the past twenty years. Yet during this time the wealthy received massive tax cuts, a major cause of public budget shortfalls that hurt students, make our streets less safe, and harm the health of children and seniors.

Instead of investing its newfound wealth in productive enterprises in the United States, the top 1% moved it offshore or into financial speculation, which ultimately crashed the economy. The 1% also took large amounts of this money and poured it into a public relations effort to blame teachers and other public servants for the economic problems the 1% created.

Occupy Wall Street redirects the attention of the public to the actual causes and parties responsible for the economic crash and recession. The Berkeley Federation of Teachers embraces the call of Occupy Wall Street to restore higher taxes on the rich, to re-regulate the banks, and to enact a financial speculation tax. We encourage our members to participate in the OWS actions in the East Bay. These actions will help restore public budgets for schools and other vital services, and set our state and our country back on the right path.

Cathy Campbell
President, Berkeley Federation of Teachers
2530 San Pablo Avenue, Suite A
Berkeley, CA 94702


Oakland Education Association Backs 4 p.m. City Hall ‘Occupy Oakland’ Rally Demanding Economic Justice

OAKLAND – Oakland Unified educators will join a 4 p.m. “Occupy Oakland” rally at city hall today after the Oakland Education Association Executive Board voted to support the national grass-roots “Occupy Wall Street” movement against corporate greed that began last month in New York.

The OEA has long advocated for a fair tax structure that would require corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share to sustain the society from which they profit,” said Betty Olson-Jones, President of the Oakland Education Association. “Schools, programs for the elderly and disabled, health care for the poor and for children, and other vital public services have all been cut drastically in the past three years. This fight is about economic justice and protecting the poor and middle class. The Occupy Wall Street movement demonstrates that the American public understands how important people like teachers, firefighters and nurses are to society.”

The OEA joins the Occupy Wall Street movement in demanding that those who have not felt the bite of the recession—despite the fact that their actions played a large part in causing it—pay their fair share to fund recovery, Olson-Jones said. “We also believe that corporations should be held accountable. It is wrong that some banks pay little to no income tax while schools and other public services are mercilessly cut. It is unacceptable that oil companies are permitted to take oil out of our ground in California without paying any tax or fee while California ranks 43rd in per-pupil spending and state cuts continue to hurt our students and schools.”

WHAT: Oakland educators will join other unions and other members of the community in a rally against corporate greed to support the national “Occupy Wall Street” grass-roots movement.

WHEN: 4 p.m. today, Monday, Oct. 10.

WHERE: In front of city hall, in Frank Ogawa Plaza at 14th and Broadway, Oakland.

The Oakland Education Association is affiliated with the 325,000-member California Teachers Association and the 3.2 million-member National Education Association

Statement of Support from the SF Bay branch of IWW


The Bay Area General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World enthusiastically welcomes the “Occupation” movement to Oakland and elsewhere in the SF Bay area. The economic crisis that is hitting across the country is nothing new to Oakland, especially within its black and Latino communities. We not only have high unemployment, but we also have police repression and outright murder by police, the closing of schools and libraries, and strikes by workers including nurses and others.

The means of protest of recent decades have been legalistic picket lines and protests. These have not worked. The Occupation movement is taking things to a new level – mass and open disruption and defiance of the system. From the successful strikes of the last century to the revolt of black people in the 1960s, this was what produced the goods.

The Occupation movement is drawing in all sorts of new layers of workers and young people. It is part of a global revolt against the “free” market and the capitalist system. The IWW fights for a world in which production is based on the needs of people and of the Earth itself, not on private profit.

Now is the time to fight back.

Download the IWW statement on their letterhead


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