You are here

capital blight

We reproduce below a speech that was given by a FW at an anti-war demo in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, Russian anti-war protestors, and victims of imperialism globally

By ClydesideIWW - IWW Scotland, March 15, 2022

We organised this event so we could come together and categorically denounce the invasion of Ukraine by Russian imperialism and show our solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Today, we woke up to some promising news about a limited ceasefire, but this is not enough what is needed is a total ceasefire and for Russia to withdraw its troops immediately.

As someone who grew up in Lebanon, I know what it’s like to live in a country smack in the middle of two competing imperial powers. I’m familiar with the sounds of warplanes raining bombs. With hiding in hallways away from Windows just in case a bullet or rocket finds its way through them. I know what it’s like watching entire neighbourhoods bombed to ashes, with families trying to pull the mangled bodies of their relatives in the aftermath. These are experiences no one should have to go through and speak to the universal horrors of war.

Unfortunately, some reporters and politicians have resorted to racist comments to drum up more support for the Ukrainian people. They tell us we should care about Ukrainians because they are civilized, European, closer to home, or more like us. As if some lives are more valuable than others, or that war is natural and ok in certain parts of the world. But we care about the Ukrainian people not because we see them as closer to us, but because we oppose war no matter where it happens and no matter who is leading it.

We care about the Ukrainian people the same way we care about those in Russia bravely protesting against this war as they get beat and imprisoned. It’s the Russian worker who will feel the sting of our sanctions more than any oligarch or politician will. Because it’s always workers who suffer the most in war. They are the ones who cannot escape, who are sent to kill and die for their rulers. It’s them who are disposed of like pawns while being sold nationalist lies to enrich a few.

We should take our cue from those brave anti-war protestors in Russia and understand that the best way to fight against war is by fighting against it here at home. In the last week, we’ve heard our politicians talk a lot about sovereignty, democracy, and international law. But when have they really cared about that?

Richmond Progressive Alliance Listening Project, Episode 9: We Deserve Nothing Less

EPA union urges Minnesota Supreme Court to take up PolyMet case

By staff - Duluth News Tribune, March 10, 2022

DULUTH — The union representing many midwest employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to take up a PolyMet case challenging the proposed copper-nickel mine's water permit.

The American Federation of Government Employees Local 704 and other groups filed briefs urging the court to reconsider a January decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirming a 2020 decision by a State District Court judge who said the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency broke no laws or procedures by asking the EPA to keep comments on the permit private. It acknowledged such a move was made to prevent comments from reaching the public and leading to "bad press."

In 2019, AFGE Local 704 said it learned from a whistleblower that comments by the EPA Region 5 office in Chicago on a draft of PolyMet's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, were left out of the public record.

“Simply put, when a government agency acts in secret — or deliberately obscures its motives or reasoning — it becomes difficult to tell whether the agency’s actions were lawful or fair," the union wrote in its brief.

Richmond Progressive Alliance Listening Project, Episode 10: Imagine

Climate Solutions from the Frontlines of Environmental Justice

Fossil Fuel Phaseout–From Below

By Jeremy Brecher - Labor Network for Sustainability, March 2022

Protecting the climate requires rapidly reducing the extraction of fossil fuels. That’s a crucial part of the Green New Deal. While the federal government has done little so far to reduce fossil fuel production, people and governments all over the country are taking steps on their own to cut down the extraction of coal, oil, and gas.

Introduction

The U.S. needs to cut around 60% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 to reach zero net emissions by 2050.[1] The world will need to decrease fossil fuel production by roughly 6% per year between 2022 and 2030 to reach the Paris goal of 1.5°C. Countries are instead planning and projecting an average annual increase of 2%, which by 2030 will result in more than double the production consistent with the 1.5°C limit.[2]

In the previous two commentaries in this series we have shown how initiatives from cities, states, and civil society organizations are expanding climate-safe energy production and reducing energy use through energy efficiency and conservation. These are essential aspects of reducing climate-destroying greenhouse gas emissions, but in themselves they will not halt the burning of fossil fuels. That requires action on the “supply side” – freezing new fossil fuel infrastructure and accelerating the closing of existing production facilities. That is often referred to as a “phaseout” or “managed decline” of fossil fuels.

Such a phaseout of fossil fuel production is necessary to meet the goals of the Green New Deal and President Joe Biden’s climate proposals. The original 2018 Green New Deal resolution submitted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for a national 10-year mobilization to achieve 100% of national power generation from renewable sources. Biden’s Build Back Better plan sought 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035 and net zero GHG emissions by 2050. These goals cannot be met without reducing the amount of fossil fuel that is actually extracted from the earth.[3]

While the US government and corporations are failing to effectively reduce the mining and drilling of fossil fuels, hundreds of efforts at a sub-national level are already cutting their extraction. 50 US cities are already powered entirely by clean and renewable sources of energy. 180 US cities are committed to 100% clean energy.[4] According to a report by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Oil Change International, Indigenous resistance has stopped or delayed greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to at least one-quarter of annual U.S. and Canadian emissions.[5] Such reductions are an essential part of a widespread but little-recognized movement we have dubbed the “Green New Deal from Below.”[6]

Richmond Progressive Alliance Listening Project, Episode 7: Buying Us Out

Richmond Progressive Alliance Listening Project, Episode 6: Polluting Politics

ILWU Northern California District Council (NCDC) Resolution in Support of Public Ownership of the Railroads

Adopted by Unanimous Vote: February 16, 2023

Whereas, rail infrastructure the world over is held publicly, as are the roads, bridges, canals, harbors, airports, and other transportation infrastructure; and

Whereas, numerous examples of rail infrastructure held publicly have operated successfully across North America for decades, usually in the form of local/ regional commuter operations and state-owned freight trackage; and

Whereas, due to their inability to effectively move the nation’s freight and passengers during WWI, the U.S. government effectively nationalized the private rail infrastructure in the U.S. for 26 months; and

Whereas, at that time it was agreed by shippers, passengers, and rail workers that the railroads were operated far more effectively and efficiently during that time span; and

Whereas, every rail union at that time supported continued public ownership (the “Plumb Plan”) once the war had ended; and

Whereas, specifically, when the rank & file rail workers were polled by their unions in Decem­ber 1918, the combined totals were 306,720 in favor of continued nationalization with just 1,466 in favor of a return to private ownership; and

Whereas, the entire labor movement at that time was in favor of basic industry being removed from private hands, with the delegates to the 1920 AFL Convention voting 29,159 to 8,349 in fa­vor, overruling the officialdom of the AFL and its conservative position; and

Whereas, in the face of today’s crumbling infrastructure, crowded and clogged highways and city streets, poor air quality, lack of transportation alternatives and deepening climate crisis, ex­panded rail transportation – for both freight and passenger - presents a solution to these social ills and problems; and

Whereas, the rail industry today however is contracting – rather than expanding – at a time when we need more trains, trackage, rail workers, and carloads, not fewer; and

Whereas, the private rail industry is moving 5 to 10% less freight than it did 16 years ago, and in recent years has shuttered diesel shops and classification yards, and has drastically reduced the number of employees; and

Whereas, the private rail freight industry is generally hostile to proposals to run any additional passenger trains on their tracks – despite having legal common carrier obligations to do so - making it difficult if not impossible to expand the nations’ passenger rail network; and

Whereas, the rail industry has come to focus solely on the “Operating Ratio” as a measure of their success, and in doing so have engaged in massive stock buybacks and other measures that deliver short-term gains for stockholders but at the expense of the long-term health and vitality of the industry; and

Whereas, the Class One carriers’ failures to move freight effectively have contributed greatly to the ongoing supply chain crisis, resulting in some of the highest inflation rates in many years; and

Whereas, these “Fortune 500” corporations have raked in record profits, in both “good” years and “bad”, right through the “Great Recession,” the pandemic, and otherwise, right up to the most recent Quarterly financial announcements; and

Whereas, during these years of record profits, these same Class One carries have:

  • Failed to solicit nor accept new but “less profitable” freight traffic.
  • Forwarded less freight than 16 years ago.
  • Stonewalled practically every attempt by Amtrak and other agencies to add passenger ser­vice.
  • Failed to run Amtrak passenger trains on time, despite regulation and law to do so.
  • Downsized the infrastructure, physical plant, and capacity.
  • Eliminated nearly a third of the workforce.
  • Outraged shippers and their associations by jacking up prices, providing poor service, and
  • assessing new demurrage charges.
  • Thumbed their nose at state and federal governments.
  • Blocked road crossing and increased derailments by the implementation of extremely long trains.
  • Threatened and attempted at every turn to run trains with a single crew member.
  • Opposed proposed safety measures, from Positive Train Control (PTC) to switch point indi­cators;
  • the End-of-Train Device (EOT) to Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brakes (ECP).
  • Taken a hostile stance towards the myriad unions, refused the bargain in good faith, consist­ently demanding concessions, all the while expecting these “essential workers” to labor through the pandemic without a wage increase.

Therefore, be it Resolved that the ILWU NCDC supports the public ownership of the rail infrastructure of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, to be operated henceforth in the public interest, placed at the service of the people of all three nations; and

Be it Further resolved that the ILWU NCDC urge all of its members to voice their support for this proposal; and

Be it Further Resolved that the ILWU NCDC urges all ILWU locals and IBU regions to take a similar stand; and

Be it finally Resolved that the ILWU NCDC urges all labor unions, environmental and com­munity groups, social justice organizations, rail advocacy groups and others to push for a mod­ern publicly owned rail system, one that serves the nation’s passengers, shippers, communities, and citizens.

Richmond Progressive Alliance Listening Project, Episode 5: Asthma Club

Pages

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.