KC Labor Newsletter
Week In Review, August 29, 2004
by Bill Onasch, webmaster, kclabor.org
Protesters Outnumber GOP Ten-to-One
United For Peace & Justice estimate a half-million took part in Sunday’s mammoth New York demonstration greeting the Republican convention. While crowd estimates are always tricky this seems to be in the ball park. Between innings during the Royals game I kept switching over to C-Span who had a camera trained on the march as it passed Madison Square Garden. Shoulder-to-shoulder, curb-to-curb, it took over four-and-a-half hours for the procession to pass that point. The New York Times reported the demonstrators filled the broad avenues for over twenty blocks. Leading the march was the contingent of military families and veterans, followed by labor. One group carried 1,000 coffins as a tribute to American soldiers dead in Iraq and to highlight what they see as the true cost of the war there.
On a lighter note, “Billionaires for Bush” gathered at the Plaza Hotel and marched down Fifth Avenue to Union Square. Decked out in evening gowns, tiaras and tuxedos, and sipping faux champagne, the 200 or so in the anti-Bush group chanted and waved placards calling for: “Four more years of war,” “Free Ken Lay,” and “No billionaire left behind.”
While this mainly antiwar action is the main event there are numerous other actions taking place in conjunction with the GOP conclave. On Thursday activists demanding more money for fighting AIDS stripped naked, fourteen being arrested. On Friday 5000 environmental protesters rode bicycles through Manhattan, more than a hundred of them being arrested for traffic violations. On Saturday, a March For Women’s Lives, sixteen thousand strong, including many mothers pushing strollers, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. Coming up on Tuesday and Wednesday are a Conference and Rally in support of single payer health care. We’ll be posting stories about these events and more on the Daily Labor News Digest.
Labor’s ‘Friends’ Not Amused
“We have no connection to any of the protesters,” the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Terry McAuliffe, made clear on Thursday. “I have implored everyone to make sure that the Republicans have a peaceful convention.”
We thank Terry for this reality check reminding us that the DNC indeed had nothing to do with mobilizing the impressive turnout of fighting mad humanity in the Big Apple. Not only are mass demonstrations not their cup of tea in general; the issues involved in these protests are ones the Democrat strategists don’t want to hear about. Particularly embarrassing is the war issue.
The actions in New York confirm once again that the USA has strong protest movements–and no significant political opposition. The great majority of the New York demonstrators will fall into line behind the other bosses’ candidate, the also pro-war Senator Kerry.
USLAW Needs and Deserves Support
US Labor Against the War continues to plug away. Over the past week the Washington state fed convention, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, and the national convention of the postal workers, passed USLAW sponsored resolutions. We’re working on plans to intervene at the Missouri state fed gathering coming up in Kansas City next month.
But to keep going USLAW urgently needs funds. There are two main ways to help–union affiliations and individual associate memberships. Affiliation fees are determined by membership size. Annual individual membership fee is 25 dollars. You needn’t be a union member to join. You can sign up here.
Charges Against FLOC Organizers Dropped
We were pleased to run across a story reporting that criminal trespass charges against two organizers for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee in Nashville, North Carolina have been dropped. Blake Pendergrass and Francisco Heredia were escorted from Fisher Farms in Whitakers and issued a citation after farm owner Tim Fisher called the Nash County Sheriff's Department to have them removed. The dismissal of charges came after mass protests in support of union rights were staged at the Nash County courthouse. FLOC, an early Labor Party affiliate, has a major campaign going among pickle growers in North Carolina, including a consumer boycott of Mt Olive pickles.
If you are coming to the KC Labor Party Labor Day Picnic please RSVP soon so we can be sure to have enough food and beverage on hand. Those of you outside the Kansas City area are invited to send brief greetings that can be read at the event.
That’s all for this week.
Regards to all
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