Following is a list and brief description of the 22 sections that make up the electronic version of the eleventh issue of the Partisan, the newspaper of the California Peace and Freedom Party. The locations of the contents in the printed version, which also includes graphics that we do not attempt to reproduce here, are in parentheses. Please note also that pages 5-12 of the printed version were a "Special June Primary Election Insert", which is published electronically as a separate web page.
A militant picket line and the support of longshore workers and ship's clerks from the ILWU (International Longshore & Warehouse Union) brought victory in a battle fought in Oakland on behalf of the Liverpool dockers, who have had their union busted and 500 workers fired by the privatized Mersey Docks. However, the battle is continuing in Oakland courts, where the bosses are suing ILWU member Robert Irminger, and are threatening to sue others, for the "crime" of standing up for international working class solidarity.
The ship Neptune Jade put into Oakland early Sunday, September 28, scheduled to unload 160 cargo containers, load more cargo, and then put out for Yokohama. Among those 160 containers were 7 that had been loaded at Thamesport, another English port operated by Mersey Docks. Supporters of the Liverpool Dockers learned of the arrival of the ship and its cargo, and put out the call to individuals and organizations resulting in a militant picket line at the dock by 6:00 A.M. Sunday morning, before the arrival of the day shift from the ILWU hiring hall.
ILWU members refused to cross the picket line. Under the terms of the contract between ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), the employers' bargaining organization, workers are entitled to refuse to go onto the job without loss of pay if there is a "bona fide health or safety" issue which the employer cannot resolve. Pursuant to the contract, the PMA called an arbitrator to the scene. But after arriving, seeing the picket line and hearing from the workers' and bosses' representatives, he ruled that the presence of the picket line constituted a bona fide health and safety issue. The longshoremen and ship's clerks promptly left, and no cargo was unloaded from or loaded onto the scab ship.
The same scene was repeated Sunday night and again Monday morning: ILWU workers refused to cross the militants' picket line, and the arbitrator ruled they were within their rights under the contract because of the potential hazard of crossing the line.
The ship left port on Monday night, the employers claiming they couldn't afford to have the ship delayed any longer. But this was a trick and the ship in fact anchored in the Bay, and was brought back into port Tuesday to be unloaded. But the trick didn't work: the word got out and the picket line went back up, with workers again refusing to cross the line and the arbitrator again ruling that the picket constituted a health and safety issue under the terms of ILWU's contract with PMA.
On Monday, PMA and Yusen Terminals, operator of the facility which was being picketed, filed suit in Alameda Superior Court seeking a restraining order and damages against several individuals and organizations, including Peace and Freedom Party, the Golden Gate Chapter of the Labor Party, and a labor support club at Laney College, or perhaps the Labor Studies Department at Laney College (it wasn't clear which because they didn't get the name right), and on Tuesday a restraining order was issued limiting the number of pickets who could be in the crosswalk in front of the terminal. (See story this page.) However, Oakland police made no effort to interfere with the peaceful picketing in front of the terminal.
On Wednesday morning, the picket line was much smaller than it had been in the past, and the arbitrator for the first time ruled that it was not a health and safety issue, and ruled that the members of Locals 10 (longshoremen) and 34 (ship's clerks) had to go to work. But they responded in the best traditions of their union, saying they didn't care what the ruling was, they weren't about to cross a labor picket line.
The owners gave up their effort to unload the ship in Oakland and ship sailed with all 160 containers still aboard, and no new cargo loaded. But even then, the bosses tried a trick: they said the ship was headed for Yokohama, but instead it turned north for Vancouver, British Columbia. But once again, the trick didn't work: the word got out, and militants picketed the ship once again on its arrival at that port, and once again ILWU dockworkers refused to cross the picket line.
On the ship's arrival in Japan, dockers in Yokohama and then again in Kobe said were not willing to touch the scab cargo: they would not unload it, nor would they move it out of the way to unload containers stored beneath it. The cargo, originally bound for Oakland, was eventually unloaded in Taiwan.
Thanks to the actions of local activists and of the members of the ILWU who showed an understanding of the deeper meaning of that "I" in their union's name, international working class solidarity prevailed in Oakland. This was in the best traditions of the union, which played a substantial role in bringing down the Apartheid regime in South Africa by its refusal, well before any government trade sanctions, to handle cargo from that country.
These workers demonstrated an understanding of a fundamental truth: the interests of all working class people everywhere in the world are the same. An injury to one, no matter where, truly is an injury to all. Acting on that truth is the ultimate key to working class power.
[Bob Evans is a Peace and Freedom Party representative in the Liverpool Dockers Victory Defense Committee.]
[Uncredited, captionless photo on page 1 shows the Neptune Jade tied up at the dock.]
[Uncredited accompanying photo shows picketers with signs "Stop Privatization on UK Docks!", "Never Cross A Picket Line" and "Rehire the sacked Liverpool dockers? No to casual labor! No to privatization!" in the foreground, two signs with Peace and Freedom Party logos in the background. Its caption reads: "Pickets at Oakland waterfront keep scab cargo onboard ship. (Faces have been distorted due to continuing threats of lawsuits.)"]
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Proposition 219Prohibits so-called "ballot box blackmail," by requiring statewide or local ballot measures to apply in all parts of the jurisdiction, regardless of how they voted
Proposition 220Provides for consolidation of the Municipal and Superior Courts, but only in those counties where majorities of existing Superior and Municipal Court judges approve
Proposition 221Makes court commissioners and referees subject to the disciplinary authority of the State Commission on Judicial Performance.
Proposition 222Makes second degree murder of a police officer punishable by life in prison without possiblity of parole, and denies "good time" credits to all persons convicted of murder.
Proposition 223Prohibits school districts from spending more than 5% of funds for administrative expenses
Proposition 224Imposes limitations on contracting out of state-funded design and engineering services by requiring comparison of cost of contracting out and work done by state employees.
Proposition 225Declares California's official position to be in favor of amendment of U.S. Constitution to provide for Congressional and U.S. Senate term limits
Proposition 226Under guise of protecting workers' rights, seeks to limit ability of unions to engage in political activity on behalf of workers' and union members' rights.
Proposition 227Would prohibit bilingual education in public schools, resulting in substantial impairment of educational equality for children from immigrant or other non-English-speaking homes.
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History will note his 1924 Olympic gold medal and his best selling book next to the Bible. But history books may not tell of the Benjamin Spock we knew. I am only one of thousands, perhaps millions, of activists whose life he touched and changed.
I first met Ben Spock in Dallas, at a convention to unite many state parties under one banner, forming the People's Party. In the Convention Hall, I was approached by an almost taller than life, confident, and charming man who offered to buy me a beer for breakfast. He said he never ate eggs, but beer was fine. It was Thanksgiving of 1971 and I was one of several delegates from the California Peace & Freedom Party.
At a later People's Party Convention in St. Louis, we nominated Benjamin Spock for President of the United States and Julius Hobson, leader of the D.C. Statehood Party and movement, for Vice President. It was there we chose the slogan for People's Party and the campaign, "More Committed to the Next Generation than the Next Election." At night after a convention meeting, Spock lead a picket line outside the jail, protesting conditions within. We walked, talked, and chanted to the sound of large cockroaches being crunched beneath our feet with almost every step. This doctor made a great impression on me.
Later during his '72 California campaigning, Mike and I and our children picked him up in our van to transport him to the home of a local peace activist to stay. He was charming with the children as he always was with everyone. It was then that I confessed to him that I hadn't really read his book; I had mostly just followed my instincts. He laughed and said that we were doing a great job and trusting your instincts was very important. This doctor made a great impression on me.
The next time he came through California as the Peace Freedom nominee for President, he was, because he was on the ballot in at least ten states, accompanied by Secret Service agents. It was an unusual experience having the Secret Service protect our candidate round the clock, whether carrying his/our message of Peace and Justice in a bar in Cotati, a lovely home on the cliffs in Aptos, a church in Los Angeles, or a picket line anywhere. This man made a great impression on me.
In 1976, he agreed to be the Vice Presidential candidate favoring Margaret Wright, a Black community activist and journalist from Los Angeles, as the People's Party presidential candidate. Spock was a Party person, supporting the Party line which he helped create.
When, in 1980, Liz Barron and I were nominated by Convention for Vice President and President respectively by the Peace & Freedom Party (this was a compromise between two political grouping in order to promote unity in the Party), Ben Spock came out to California to campaign with us. He encouraged a very self-conscious speaker to "Speak from the heart!" This man made a great impression on me.
Over the years, Ben Spock has been supportive of Peace Freedom Party and our candidates who request his endorsement, while we have followed his many actions against war and human exploitation, We've seen his civil disobedience and generosity in support of peace and justice. His commitment was constants his generosity undeniable, and his leadership totally democratic.
Just two years ago, Spock wrote to "Some old friends from Peace & Freedom Party" that he and Mary Morgan were going to be in San Francisco at a convention on health. At least five of us met with him and returned to attend their presentation on parenthood and politics were discussed. They brought up Peace & Freedom Party at least three times during the discussion. It was there that Mary and Ben informed us that they were going to sell their home in Maine, move to California and register Peace and Freedom Party.
I haven't had direct contact with Ben or Mary since then, but they did register Peace and Freedom Party in San Diego.
This man and woman made a great and lasting impression on me,
Humanity has lost a great leader. Peace & Freedom Party has lost a great friend. We love you, Ben.
[Maureen Smith is Corresponding Secretary of the Peace and Freedom Party and was the Party's presidential candidate in 1980.]
[photo by Mike Smith captioned: "Ben Spock with Maureen Smith"]
Who could have thought back in 1903 what the world would be like today: with panultimate weapons of insanity; with pollution and social decay?
Millions may shrink from facing hard times. It takes courage to emerge from the flock. It takes bravery to put one's own life on the line. Exempli gratia: Benjamin Spock.
Some said that a pediatrician should mind babies and not polity, but Spock showed that the role of physician brings social responsibility.
Employing his fame as a writer, rather than on laurels resting, Spock became a leading fighter against open-air nuclear testing.
When Democrats quietly watched LBJ send our boys to the Vietnam War, Ben had the gumption to stand up and say that napalm could not free the poor.
The person who sees through the Emperor's clothes is first subject to ridicule. But when issues of social justice arose, Spock proved he was nobody's fool.
He dared to stand up to the A.M.A. and weren't those doctors surprised to think that they might treat poor folks someday when medical care's socialized.
Ninety-five years after 1903, I tearfully but proudly say the example Ben Spock set has influenced me to struggle toward a brighter day.
[Casey Peters, South State Chair of Peace and Freedom Party is former National Secretary of the People's Party, for which Ben Spock was the standard-bearer.]
[uncredited, uncaptioned photo shows Ben Spock holding a baby]
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Over the last year, 95-year old Israel Bacal of Sun City (Riverside County) has donated $1,000.00 to the Peace and Freedom Party. This makes him the biggest donor of the 1997-1998 fiscal year. The Party's statewide officers decided to print his photograph in the Partisan to honor him for his generosity and suggest to others that they follow his example.
Israel Bacal was born in New York City in 1902, but soon taken to Romania by his returning immigrant parents and raised in Falticen, his father's ancestral town. During World War I the area was garrisoned by Russian troops, and in 1917 young Israel rode around on trucks with the rebelling soldiers, chasing down officers and stripping them of their uniforms. After the success of the Russian Revolution the soldiers were withdrawn from Romania, and in the postwar period the Kingdom of Romania fell into an economic slump that presaged the Great Depression soon to affect the whole capitalist world. Israel participated in revolutionary groups of students and young workers, and vividly remembers meeting in the woods near town, keeping an eye out for the authorities. Like most young Romanian Jews, Israel Bacal had trouble finding work. As a native-born American citizen, he obtained a U.S. passport and returned to New York "just in time for the crash." Attending meetings in New York, he became an active supporter of socialism.
After learning electrical work through a series of jobs during the depression, Israel volunteered for the Army "to fight Hitler. I was willing to sacrifice anything for the struggle of the working people," he says. Problems with hearing and eyesight led to his early discharge, and he spent the rest of the war building and repairing ships for the Navy. After 20 years in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Los Angeles, Israel retired 35 years ago. He built two houses after retirement, one in Elsinore.
As part of a then-large group of Jewish retirees in Elsinore, Israel Bacal registered to vote in the Peace and Freedom Party in 1967. He was registered by Jimmy McGowan, who is still active in now-renamed Lake Elsinore. Israel has remained a committed member of the Party through the last 30 years. He says "It may be years before the American people will accept the views of the Peace and Freedom Party, but some day, they will." Though he is less active than he would like to be, Israel has been very helpful to some Peace and Freedom campaigns. His recent donations set an excellent example for others who would like to strengthen California's only electoral party that fights for working people.
[uncredited, uncaptioned photo shows Israel Bacal]
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Having lost on the waterfront [see accompanying story], the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) is continuing its court battle against Robert Irminger, an officer of ILWU's Inland Boatmen's Union, for his acts of labor solidarity in the picketing of the scab cargo at the Port of Oakland.
The suit was initially filed asking for an injunction and damages against Irminger, ILWU Local 10 Executive Board member Jack Heyman, and three organizations, Golden Gate Chapter of the Labor Party, the Laney College Labor Studies Group, and Peace and Freedom Party.
In papers filed in support of their request for restraining orders against the pickets, PMA representatives claimed that the militants' action, and the support for that action by ILWU longshoremen and ship's clerks had cost PMA over $150,000, including $2,000 per hour simply for the ship and wages paid the shifts of workers called from the hiring hall but who, because of the picket and the arbitrator's favorable rulings, were not required to enter the terminal. In a sign of the success of the action, they claimed that on Sunday, the first day of picketing, 450 trucks had been scheduled to enter the terminal, but because of the picket line, none had entered.
The suit names Peace and Freedom Party as a defendant, but no effort was ever made to serve the Party with the summons, and PMA lawyers did not really know who in Peace & Freedom they were suing. While the "Golden Gate Chapter" of the Labor Party was specifically named, no similar effort was made to identify a P&F group. When asked, PMA lawyers, merely responded, "Whoever was down there picketing!"
They were likewise confused with the defendant named as "Laney College Labor Studies Group." In fact, there is no such thing: there is a labor studies department at Laney College, and there is a student organization, the Laney College Labor Studies Club, but nothing with the name "group."
In fact, the only basis for naming any of the three organizations as defendants was that there were picketers there Sunday with signs or banners of those organizations, and their mix-up with Laney College was caused by their investigator or lawyer writing the name down wrong, and they specified the Labor Party chapter because the chapter name was on its banner, whereas the P&F signs just had the Party's name.
The suits against Labor Party and Jack Heyman were thrown out at an early stage when the court dismissed the cases on the ground that they were illegal "S.L.A.P.P. suits" ("Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation"), designed to coerce them into silence, violating their First Amendment rights. There was no evidence of an official decision by Golden Gate Chapter to mount the picket, and Jack Heyman, an ILWU officer, had never actually been on the picket line, but had merely stood to the side and advised members of his union of their rights.
However, the court allowed the suit to proceed against Robert Irminger, who had been identified as the "picket captain" during much of the picketing at the dock.
PMA also brought a contempt of court proceeding against Irminger, for supposedly violating a temporary restraining order prohibiting more than four pickets at any one time in the crosswalk in front of the terminal. After a day-long hearing, a judge found that he had violated the restraining order, but also ruled that the violation was "de minimus" and that the action was nonviolent; he imposed a $100 fine, whereas PMA attorneys had been demanding he be jailed and that they be awarded thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees.
The current status of the lawsuit is unclear. PMA attorneys announced their intention to bring in as additional defendants all of the picketers who testified for Irminger at his contempt hearing; but later, they indicated an intention to dismiss the case against all but Irminger. As this is being written, it appears that neither has happened, and Peace and Freedom Party remains a defendant, although it still has not been served.
Regardless of the status of the case against Peace & Freedom (and having lost the S.L.A.P.P. suit motion as to Labor Party, PMA would be taking a big chance in trying to bring any other organizational defendants into the case), the case is continuing against Irminger, and may be brought against others. They need your support. Contributions can be sent to the Liverpool Dockers Victory Defense Committee, P.O. Box 2574, Oakland CA 94614.
[Uncredited accompanying photo shows marchers including Jack Henning (retired head of California Labor Federation), Ignacio De La Fuente (Oakland City Council member and Molders Union official), Owen Marron (head of Alameda County Central Labor Council), and Dan Siegel (attorney representing Robert Irminger and others sued by PMA), banners for the Merseyside Dock Labourers Shop Stewards Committee, for Longshoremen's Union Local 10 (ILWU San Francisco), and the Labor Party, and picket signs from several other Teamster and ILWU locals. The caption reads "March and rally in support of Liverpool dockers and the Oakland defendants.]
[Cartoon by Gary Huck shows a black and a white shackled hand breaking the chain between them while holding up the world under the slogan, "Defend Workers' Rights Here and Abroad".]
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Over 150 supporters of Wailacki Indian Eugene "Bear" Lincoln marched through the streets of Ukiah to the Mendocino County Courthouse on April 5. Lincoln, acquitted last fall of murdering Deputy Sheriff Bob Davis, will now have to stand trial on lesser manslaughter charges in the fall. A community effort to persuade District Attorney Susan Massini to drop those charges was unsuccessful, as she told a court hearing on December 12 that she was going ahead. She said that it is "the right thing to do."
Defense attorney Phil DeJong asked the court on January 2 to drop the charges in the interest of justice and because a new trial would represent double jeopardy. DeJong pointed out that the prosecution has no theory of manslaughter that fits the situation of this case. "They're still trying it as a murder case," he said, noting that in his closing arguments in the murder trial prosecutor Aaron Williams told the jury that "this is a murder case or it's no case at all." But Judge John Golden declined without comment to drop the charges. A new trial on the manslaughter charges has been set for September.
Massini had argued that the prosecutor's remarks aren't evidence, that retrying on the lesser charges is not double jeopardy and that a new trial is "the only way to get this matter finally settled."
That decision flies in the face of a 10-2 vote for acquittal on the manslaughter charges by the first jury and a vocal, public campaign by a majority of the jurors in that trial to let people know that there is no case for Massini to try. Several jurors joined in the April 5 demonstration.
At a rally just prior to the January 2 hearing, speakers accused the Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney of racism in their handling of the entire situation, beginning with the shootings. Cyndi Pickett, widow of Leonard "Acorn" Peters, who was killed by Deputy Davis in an opening salvo of gunfire that night, told more than a hundred people who gathered in the rain for the rally that this trial will be different. "This time we're going to get some answers," she said, "as to who killed Acorn and who killed Bob Davis. The Sheriff wants accountability; well, so do we," she insisted, implying that Davis' partner Dennis Miller may be responsible for Davis' death. She also hinted at the theory that there were more police officers on the scene than has been previously revealed.
The incident resulted from a shooting earlier in the day of Gene Britton, another Round Valley resident, by Peters' brother Arylis. Officers were lying in wait at the top of Little Valley Road, near Lincoln's cabin, hoping to accost Arylis, as Lincoln and Acorn Peters ventured out to determine Arylis' situation. Both carried rifles as they were concerned that members of the Britton family might be out seeking revenge for Gene Britton's death.
In his initial report of the incident, Deputy Miller claimed that he and Davis lighted Peters up with a flashlight, identified themselves as Sheriff's officers and opened fire when, he said, Peters raised his rifle and fired at them. Upon hearing that lab tests showed that Peters' rifle hadn't been fired, he changed his story, saying that it was Lincoln who first opened fire.
But Lincoln, questioned by defense attorney J. Tony Serra, testified that there was no flashlight, no warning, only a barrage of fire, killing Peters. Later, when Lincoln's mother and other family members came on the scene, one of the officers then present asked her if it was Arylis they had shot.
The jury, noting a number of contradictions in Miller's testimony, accepted Lincoln's version. Juror Doreen Burdick said that they were outraged by Miller's testimony and felt that there had been a cover-up. That notion was strengthened by the revelation that a trail of blood running down toward Lincoln's house, was entirely left out of Miller's account. Tests on one drop of that blood indicated that it was Davis who had made that foray. There was never any explanation of how that fit into the story.
There is a possibility that D.A. Massini will be defeated for re-election in the June primary, but the positions of her two opponents on the Bear Lincoln case are unknown. The Lincoln-Peters Defense Alliance, which mounted a massive community campaign in support of Lincoln, is gearing up for continued support activities. They are seeking financial and other assistance. They are at 106 W. Standley St., Ukiah, CA 95482, 707-468-1660.
[Bruce Haldane covered the Bear Lincoln murder trial for radio station KZYX in Ukiah.]
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As The Partisan goes to press, the struggle of the Australian wharfies (longshoremen) has come to California in exactly the same way as the struggle of the Liverpool dockers came to California in the battle over the Neptune Jade.
The immediate issue is the same: will West Coast militants and workers prevent the unloading of scab cargo from the Columbus Canada (and from other ships soon to arrive in California from Australia)?
The fundamental issue is also the same: the wharfies' struggle in Australia, like that of the Liverpool dockers, is not a "mere labor dispute" over wages or hours, but is part of an all-out assault, supported by government, to destroy their union. The militancy and continued success of the ILWU on the West Coast must not blind us to the reality of a world-wide attack on labor generally, and on dockers' unions particularly.
Efforts to break the power of workers in the longshore industry are similar to those directed at transportation workers generally, particularly in shipping and rail. While the U.S. government has substantially weakened railway unions, U.S. longshore unions, particularly on the West Coast, with a history of labor militancy, remain strong. Railway and dock workers share a fundamental strength which most workers lack. In other industries, even capital-intensive ones like steel and auto manufacturing, there are many alternative sources of production, both in the U.S. and in other countries.
But if workers shut down a port or a railroad, there isn't another one just down the street to do the job just as well; the fact that the ports in New Orleans are open doesn't help much on the West Coast. These workers have economic power which affects the entire economy, and other corporations demand settlement of the dispute.
The bosses and their governments world-wide are trying to destroy that power by destroying the unions which make it possible. The current Australian government was elected with a platform expressly calling for destruction of the power of the wharfies' union, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), just as the power of the Liverpool dockers was broken with the active support of the Tory government, a support which has continued under Tony Blair's "New Labour" administration.
Patrick Stevedore, one of the two main Australian stevedoring companies, sacked its entire union workforce without warning, and hired a scab force composed in part of current and former Australian army members who had been secretly trained in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. The Australian government denied knowledge of its army being trained as scabs, but that story unraveled as information and documents have been revealed by those involved.
Neither the employer nor the Australian government were prepared for the workers' response to their assault. Fired wharfies, their families and supporters turned out in large numbers and successfully blocked trucks and trains from entering the Patrick terminals. In spite of the scabs on the docks, the movement of cargo off the Australian docks was substantially reduced. When it became clear that the destruction of the MUA would be no easy battle, pressure on the government mounted from industries dependent on imports and exports, creating the political climate necessary for the courts to act in spite of the government's continued its support of Patrick's.
Even in the face of significant weakening of labor protection law by legislation enacted last December, Australia continued to have legislation protecting workers' rights which, as in nearly all other industrialized countries, is significantly stronger than that in the U.S. The MUA went to court and obtained an injunction requiring that the wharfies be restored to their jobs. With a speed unknown in the U.S., the case reached the High Court, the Australian equivalent of the Supreme Court, in a matter of two weeks. The High Court agreed that the workers had been illegally fired.
The High Court added one slippery condition to its order, however. Patrick had created four subsidiaries to contract stevedoring work to, and now claimed they were insolvent. The companies were placed under administration similar to U.S. bankruptcy law (which is also used by large corporations to take away workers' rights). The High Court said that the number of people to be rehired was a business decision with which the court should not interfere, and it modified the original court order to remove provisions requiring the wharfies to be rehired immediately on the old terms.
The final resolution of the dispute remains to be seen. With the exception of three workers accused by Patrick of excess militancy during the lockout, all the wharfies are back on the job. But their salaries are being paid by the MUA, which is hoping to be reimbursed by Patrick when the court case is finally resolved.
In the meantime, the first of the ships loaded by Australian scabs has arrived in California. Community labor supporters are determined that no scab cargo be unloaded in U.S. ports, regardless of the ultimate outcome of wharfies' struggle. Scab cargo is scab cargo; its stench is not removed by any truce in the struggle which the lockout produced. This is particularly true because this was part of a world-wide attack on labor. Accepting that attack invites more attack; an injury to one truly is an injury to all.
Scab cargo must not be unloaded in any U.S. port. It is the task of militants in this country to mount the demonstrations such as those which have already begun.
[This article was compiled by Partisan staff in part from reports from Los Angeles and from Australia received via the Internet.]
The Columbus Canada, loaded by Patrick Stevedore scabs in Australia, arrived at the Matson terminal in the Post of Los Angeles on Saturday, May 9. It was met by a mass solidarity picket line of some 1,500 labor and harbor community activists determined that the scab cargo would not be unloaded in Los Angeles. Members of ILWU Locals 13 and 63 refused to cross the picket line, and the cargo stayed aboard.
The right-wing Howard government of Australia had vowed to crush the MUA (Maritime Union of Australia, the dockers' union), but was itself nearly brought down when the wharfies and their supports refused to give in to the government-sponsored attack by Patrick's. Although the power of labor and community support for the wharfies (100,000 marched in Melbourne) has given them a tentative victory, other scab-loaded ships are headed for the West Coast.
As this is being written, the status of the Columbus Canada and of other ships headed for the West Coast is unclear. The ship put out to anchorage, but is expected to put back into the Port of Los Angeles with another effort to get ILWU crews to cross the picket line. If the level of militance continues in Los Angeles, this is likely to fail, just as the Neptune Jade ultimately had give up and leave the West Coast following successful pickets in Oakland and Vancouver.
The next port the ship on the ship's schedule is Oakland. It is expected that militants will be able to turn out once again at that port to prevent the unloading of the scab cargo.
As this is being written, we do not know what further efforts will be made to unload the Columbus Canada, nor when other scab ships will arrive. Readers are urged to learn the current status of scab ships in their area, and be prepared to turn out to "greet" them on their arrival.
[This report compiled from information obtained over the Internet. To be added to the list of those who receive e-mail updates, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.]
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Just as the Social Security Board of Trustees released their April 28 report showing that the system was in better shape than last year's gloomy predictions, President Clinton jumped on the bandwagon of letting Wall Street loot the funds.
Meanwhile, the media keep repeating that the system will be "bankrupt" in 2030, leading people to think that there will be no social security payments after that year. This is an ignorant error on the part of reporters and a flat lie on the part of conservative politicians.
In fact, even if the wrong projections about the economy the Trustees' report is based on came about, the system can pay full benefits until 2032 and will still be able to pay over 2/3 of promised benefits in the year 2070 (when most people reading this article will be dead). That is, unless the Repugnicrat politicians succeed in rendering the social security funds insolvent by diverting their money into the stock market.
The Social Security system pays retirement and survivor benefits to 90% of the elderly in the U.S., survivor benefits to nearly four million children, and disability benefits to hundreds of thousands more. It's financed by a flat rate tax wages up to $65,400 a year, paid equally by workers and employers. The money is invested in U.S. treasury bonds, the same "T-bills" invested in by many rich people and private pension funds.
How much money goes into the funds each year depends on how many people are working and how much they make, and how high the interest rate on treasury bonds is. How much goes out depends on how many elderly people and disabled people there are. If there's high unemployment and low wages, the funds get less money. If employment and wages go up, they get more. This means the best guarantee of social security is a healthy economy. As Randy Silverman put it in Partisan No. 10:
"If the federal government adopted policies to foster higher rates of growth or employment the Social Security crunch would never materialize."
People who take care of other people's money are supposed to be cautious. The Social Security Board of Trustees has carried this to an extreme. They assume that the percentage of old people will continue to grow, that there won't be any new immigrants entering the labor force, and that the economy will grow by only 1.4% per year in the future (less than it grew during the Great Depression of the 1930s). The first assumption is probably true, the second is absurd and the third implies that U.S. capitalism is at a dead end. That could be true, but it's certainly not a good reason to put your retirement money into the stock market instead of treasury bonds.
Look at the figures: if for the next 75 years the economy grows at only half the rate it grew for the last 75 years, then by 2021, the funds will need to start selling treasury bonds they have to meet full benefits. By 2032, if things haven't improved, they'll need to start reducing benefits to keep afloat. By 2070, those benefits will be down to about 68% of they ought to be.
We don't even know if this problem is really going to exist, since if the economy matches its 1973-94 average growth rate of 2.4% the fund will have a big surplus instead of a deficit. This year's Trustee's report put off the date when the system would be in trouble by three years because of one year of better-than-expected growth and income. But if it will exist, then the solution is to put more money into the Social Security trust funds. There are several ways to do this.
We can raise the limit on incomes subject to the Social Security payroll tax to bring higher salaries into the fund.
We can raise the minimum wage and wages in general so that workers are making more money and can put more into the fund.
We adopt full employment policies to increase the number of people who can pay into the fund.
Or, we can make the rich and their corporations start paying to support the people whose labor made them rich. We can move back to a progressive tax system, slash the military budget, and put part of the money into Social Security and the rest into useful things like schools, health clinics and mass transportation.
The one thing which it would be totally stupid to do is listen to people who tell us to pour all our retirement savings into the giant Ponzi scheme called the stock market. If the economy doesn't grow, then sooner or later the stock market has to stop growing too. If they're right about how poorly the economy is going to treat us, then let's junk capitalism instead of social security.
[Tom Condit was the Peace & Freedom Party candidate for Insurance Commissioner in 1990 and 1994.]
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"Who will have power in the 21st Century?" That's the question activists from across the country will address as they meet in Oakland on June 12-14 for the fourth annual Independent Politics Summit. The summit is sponsored by the Independent Progressive Politics Network, a grouping of organizations including the Peace and Freedom Party, along with the Campaign for a New Tomorrow (CNT) (an organization which grew out of the 1992 Ron Daniels presidential campaign), the Greens/Green Party U.S.A. and the National Committee for Independent Political Action.
The Oakland conference will begin with a Friday afternoon "mini-institute" on grassroots organizing, with an emphasis on youth. A Friday evening forum on "Understanding Our World So that We Can Change It for the Better" will address some of the major issues of our times: the crisis of global warming and environmental degradation, economic globalization and its effects on workers throughout the world, the latest forms of racism, sexism and other destructive ideologies and practices and their impact on our society and our movement. Michael Parenti, Elaine Bernard, David Brower, Victoria Gray-Adams and James Vann will speak.
Saturday will open with a plenary session on "Obstacles to Building a Unified Independent Progressive Movement," with Elizabeth Martinez, Phil Tajitsu Nash, Kwazi Nkrumah and Daniel Osuna, followed by breakout sessions to continue the discussion.
Workshops will include "Building Labor/Community Alliances," "Alternative Radio," "Building Living Wage Campaigns," "Environmental Issues and Independent Politics," fundraising, dealing with racism and sexism, nuts and bolts of electoral campaigns, proportional representation, and other issues.
The Independent Progressive Politics Network had its origins at a conference in Ypsilanti, Michigan, convened by Ron Daniels in 1992. It is a vehicle for communication, coordination and collaboration by those organizations and individuals who understand that no one group, alone, can achieve the goal of contending for political power. It is not the nucleus of a new party itself.
Because the emphasis is on building long-term unity rather than short-term agreement, one of the most important aspects of the summits is the chance for activists of diverse views from different parts of the country to get to know each other, so that they may work together in the future. Time is provided for informal discussion or formal caucuses of youth, women, union members, sexual minorities or people of color.
The IPPN has no individual members -- only organizations may vote on its business. Individuals are, however, encouraged to attend and participate in all of the sessions of the summit, and there will be a caucus of individual participants at the Oakland conference to choose voting delegates to the business session.
The IPPN has held three previous summits. The first two were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Atlanta, Georgia. Each had participation from throughout the country as well as from the area where it was held. The third summit was in Decatur, Illinois, last May. That one drew active participation throughout the entire meeting by local union and community people and good attendance by activists from the Midwest. Although the Labor Party and the New Party distanced themselves officially, many individual Labor Party members participated enthusiastically, as did members of the New Progressive Party (Wisconsin affiliate of the New Party). In all, 140 people from 19 states, the District of Columbia and Mexico were there, belonging to about 70 organizations.
What was evident about most of the participants in Decatur was that they want a new party for the working class, they want to work together, and they don't like the Democrats. Decatur was chosen as the location for that summit because of the massive labor battles fought during the mid-1990s by workers at the Staley, Caterpillar and Bridgestone/Firestone plants. At one point over 4,000 workers were on strike or locked out in this small Midwestern city.
(You can order a set of video tapes of the Decatur conference, including the mini-institute on electoral reform which took place there, from Justice Vision, 1425 W. 12th St., #262, Los Angeles, CA 90015; (213) 747-6345.)
Oakland was chosen as the site for the 1998 summit to continue the regional diversity of the meetings. We hope to draw participants from throughout the West as well as across the country.
Although debate on the left continues between those who still have hope for the Democratic Party and those who are committed to the necessity of an independent, progressive "third party" course. Independent Politics Summit/98 is for those activists who are clear that the Democratic Party will never be the vehicle to achieve our progressive party goal, even if there are good individual Democrats who are our friends.
We must build, from the bottom up and over a protracted period of time, an alternative to both the Republicans and the Democrats. At the Summit we will look at possible electoral and other strategies that a unified left might undertake in the year 2000, including an alliance to run an independent Presidential campaign, among other approaches.
[Compiled by Partisan staff from IPPN material and previous conference reports.]
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[As The Partisan goes to press, the federal government has announced that James Hoffa, Jr. will be allowed to run again for president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters despite campaign finance violations, while President Ron Carey is still barred from running because of similar allegations. Ken Hall, head of the IBT small-package division and major architect of the UPS victory last summer, will run as the reform candidate for president against "Junior" Hoffa's old-guard slate. Charles Walker explains the issues around Carey's disqualification:]
When Teamsters President Ron Carey in late November stood up to speak to 600 delegates and guests at the 22nd annual Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) convention, the crowd was already on its feet, roaring out its welcome. Their applause was relentless and profoundly heart-felt. Men and women fought back their tears and sobs, as their encouraging shouts and chants rocked the large ballroom, filled to capacity.
Many of the mostly rank-and-file Teamsters were expressing their fervent support for Ron Carey and their unconditional opposition to the government's November 17th order barring Carey from the court- ordered rerun of the 1996 Teamsters election. Carey won the 1996 election with an absolute majority, beating James Hoffa, Jr. the champion of the union's reactionary old guard.
But undoubtedly the assembled Teamsters also had in mind Carey's militant leadership of 185,000 strikers during last year's inspirational battle with United Parcel Service (UPS), corporate America's eight largest financial giant. And no doubt the Teamsters were voicing their deep appreciation of Carey's victories since 1991 over the union's long-entrenched old-guard bureaucracy.
Carey's speech to the delegates was repeatedly interrupted by stormy ovations and chants that called on him to "Fight!, Fight!, Fight!" Carey started by thanking his allies for their support.
"Every step of the way you have been there -- every step of the way. You have been the conscience of the Teamsters in the difficult fight to reform this union. You have been the heart and the soul. I want to thank each and every one of you for all that you have done.
"But now we face a new challenge. You all know about the decision barring me from running ... I want to look around this room and look in everyone's eyes and say [the government's] decision was dead wrong ... If I'd known that anything was improper, I would have stopped it dead in its tracks ... But the outcome of my appeal will be in the hands of judges and lawyers and no one in this room can predict what will happen."
Carey related that the authorities were slated to examine Hoffa's campaign finances. "The biggest Teamster employer, UPS," Carey said, "has been caught making illegal contributions directly to Hoffa, Jr. There is no doubt that they will find corruption in Hoffa's camp and Hoffa is history." Unfortunately, he was wrong about the willingness of the government to deal with corruption in the Hoffa camp.
"The campaign to disallow Carey from running amounts to a right-wing witchhunt, an assault on Teamsters' right to elect their leaders, and a threat to the future of the entire labor movement."
Carey directed his supporters to look to the future and held up the UPS contract campaign and strike as a model for the union's future. He asserted that the fight with UPS resulted in "the biggest victory in our lifetime. A victory, by the way, that has inspired working people all around the world."
Carey urged the audience to continue "our fight to build a strong, democratic union ... Now today, tomorrow, we must redouble our efforts, because what is at stake is the future of our families, our union, and a strong labor movement that works in the interests of working people in this country."
The disqualification of Carey is virtually without precedent, even under the harsh Consent Decree, signed by the Teamsters old-guard officers in 1989 to escape prosecution on labor racketeering charges. Since 1991, the election officers have monitored at least 1,000 convention delegate elections and two unionwide elections of international officers. In only one case, when it was impossible to hold a rerun election without postponing the international's nominating convention, did the election officer order that the protesting candidates not be given a rerun election. Instead, given the facts of the case, the protesting candidates from a pro-Carey slate were allowed to represent their local at the nominating convention.
Until now, the government-appointed election officer has adopted the normal practice of the Labor Department which when it orders a rerun election does not bar properly nominated candidates, such as Carey, from the rerun election.
Of course it matters whether or not Carey was part of the money- laundering scheme. But to this date most of the "evidence" against Carey that's known to rank-and-file Teamsters is the largely uncorroborated allegations of Carey's former campaign manager, Jere Nash. Even some of Carey's critics realize that Nash's testimony is "dubious, since if the government deems him to have become an uncooperative witness, Nash will face a heavier sentence."
As noted by Judge Conboy, who ruled Carey off the ballot, Nash's current version of the events was obtained after Nash pled guilty to felonies "and agreed to cooperate with the United States Attorney's office." On that point, Carey's lawyer said, "The law recognizes that an individual facing sentencing with prospect for leniency has a powerful incentive to lie. This proposition is so well established that it is incorporated into jury instructions throughout the country."
Not only is the case against Carey obviously tainted, but so were the rules that governed Judge Conboy's hearings. Carey was not permitted to face his accusers, a right that is required in labor arbitrations, public courtrooms, even traffic ticket hearings. No wonder that Carey's lawyer can rightly claim that, "The latest ruling continues to deny him the opportunity to confront his accusers or present evidence that establishes his innocence."
Up to this point too many voices from organized labor and its allies have been silent on how they view the power of the government over the Teamsters union. Unfortunately, silence all too often implies assent. But the ranks should not be left guessing, leaders should speak out and speak clearly. The Teamsters union and its supporters urgently need the support of a broad united front of labor to fend off the union's corporate and government allies.
[Charles Walker is a retired Teamster shop steward.]
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[In March 1968, 900 delegates and 400 alternates from throughout California met in Richmond to found the Peace and Freedom Movement, the rank and file organization which controlled the Peace and Freedom Party in its early days. Mario Savio, Marvin Garson and Mike Parker drafted this basic statement of principles which was unanimously adopted by the convention.]
The basis of human dignity is the ability of people to make the decisions that affect their lives, to order their private lives as they choose, and to decide collectively with their peers on matters of collective concern.
The fundamental decisions which affect people's lives are economic decisions. The people have power over their economy only when they can make it work to fulfill their needs. But today in America the public institutions of government, by which the people might exercise such power, are the willing servants of an industrial state which, operating through millions of functionaries who are "only doing their jobs," manages the economy and thereby the lives of the ordinary people in the interests of expanding profit and continued national and world-wide domination.
Individual wage-earners are defined as inferior to the employers who manage them. Collectively, through unions, they are still subordinate to the people who buy their labor.
Black people as individuals are at the mercy of brutally racist police and subtly racist employers. Black communities are invariably governed by white power structures "downtown." The same holds true of other oppressed minorities.
Individual soldiers must follow even the most arbitrary orders of superior officers under penalty of court-martial. They are not allowed at all to organize themselves for redress of grievances, let alone to demand justifications for a war in which they risk their lives.
Students, youths, welfare clients, and many other kinds of people find themselves in the same position. And all Americans are subject to government interference in their private lives.
The Democratic and Republican parties are the public expression of those who hold a disproportionate share of power in private life. The Peace and Freedom Party supports the efforts of the powerless to gain dignity by exercising some real control over their lives: black people trying to organize their own communities, wage-earners who strike for their rights against their employer or in wildcat action against undemocratic unions, soldiers who refuse to commit acts that violate the dictates of conscience -- all the people who stand up and resist.
The main task of the Peace and Freedom Movement is to organize people to begin to gain real and concrete power over the institutions which control their everyday lives. One important way to accomplish this is to project into the electoral arena the voices of people fighting for human dignity, to make it clear that the demand for human dignity is at root a demand for power and that the people will have this power only when we all can democratically assure that our economy works to fulfill human needs rather than to increase the power and profit of a small minority. The function of Peace and Freedom candidates is to act as the tribunes of Americans who have begun to fight back.
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I've been working on this case for the last 20-plus years. Word on the street was that the 8-hour-day died back in the early 70's. I was hired to find out. No one wanted to believe it, we all grew up figuring it would live forever.
Not all of us really worked the 8-hour-day, of course. The farm fields are still filled with weathered hulks of humanity forced to bust their butts for what seems like an etermity. For them the 8-hour day never died because it was never born to begin with.
Some of us were lucky enough to win an eight hour day. We could even raise a family on it. But that was years ago. Personal imcome's been falling ever since that B-movie actor stole our hearts, and the White House.
The phone rang. It split my head like a rusty knife, cutting through the gin fog that I fell asleep in. The clock said 4 a.m. The phone said it was the cops. They'd found what I was looking for. When I got there, the body was smeared on the floor. It was dressed in what looked like a pile of dirty laundry. Its head was mashed like a potato and blood, black as crank case oil, flowed from it like an Exxon slick.
The coroner's boys said it had been bludgeoned by chronic unemployment, beaten by part-time jobs, and flattended by working two, maybe three jobs just to make ends meet. The ends never meet.
The 8-hour-day is dead. Some still struggle to revive it. They refuse to be locked up in a prison of sweat just to fatten some boss with a dollar sign for a face. Thankfully, my work day is over. I've got a date with a girl named gin.
© 1998 Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons
[This text accompanies a drawing of a body lying in a pool of blood, illuminated by the projection of a clock face.]
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Across California, radical, labor and environmental groups rallied on May 1 and May 2, putting May Day back on the calendar.
In Riverside, over 600 people attended a two-hour rally and march at midday on May 1 in front of the offices of the Board of Supervisors, demanding a fair contract for county government employees. The rally was sponsored by the Public Employees Association of Riverside County (PERC).
"The Board of Supervisors is using every vicious anti-union trick in the book," says Margie Akin, candidate for Supervisor in the Fifth District. "I am proud to attend this rally and show my support for county workers and my disgust with the labor law violations of the Board and their hired guns."
Kevin Akin, Peace and Freedom Party State Recording Secretary and a supervising boiler mechanic for the county, was asked by the organizers to speak to the crowd on the historical significance of May Day. "It gratifies me to realize that in my home town, Riverside, we are reviving, for our own particular purposes, a holiday with American origins, to honor workers, and demand fair treatment for workers."
In Oakland on May 2, several hundred people took part in what was billed as "a day of action for social and economic justice." Three marches from the north, west and east converged on the downtown Oakland Federal Building for a rally featuring Green gubernatorial candidate and former congressman Dan Hamburg. Following the rally, there was a hearing on poverty in the U.S. at the Federal Building and a festival with music, speakers, and booths at Lake Merritt.
At the festival, P&F congressional candidate Gerald Sanders discussed workers' struggles in Australia, Denmark, Korea and Zimbabwe to point out the need for workers' media to inform us about what our class is doing in other countries, both to enable international solidarity and to apply at home the lessons learned abroad.
San Francisco saw its first May Day parade in years, organized by a broad coalition of mostly anarchist groups. Despite rain early in the day, at least 500 people joined in the celebration, which began at the ILWU murals at Mission and Steuart with a commemoration of the Battle of Rincon Hill during the 1934 General Strike. From there, demonstrators proceeded up Market Street, then into the Mission District to the final destination in Dolores Park. Rallies and performances were held along the way at U.N. Plaza and the 16th St. BART station.
Hundreds of Los Angeles workers, community and children's activists and labor and religious leaders held a May 2 rally to kick off the U.S. leg of the Global March Against Child Labor.
The Global March is an international effort to protest abusive child labor violations around the world. It set off from the Philippine capital, Manila, in January and is heading for Geneva, where next month the United Nations' International Labor Organisation will draft a new convention against child labor.
At least 250 million school-aged children are estimated to be trapped in hard labor and servitude.
[Marge Akin, Dave Campbell, Dave Kadlecek and Annibel Comelo contributed to this report.]
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Finally, a movie about an illness I have! After years of seeing Elephant Man, Rainman, Terms of Endearment, Silkwood, Philadelphia, and Piano sensitizing me to the diseases of others, my own illness now has Hollywood recognition.
It's hard to describe a complex illness like Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Those who watched "Northern Exposure" could remember the man who lived in the sealed geodesic dome, but that's a minority. This film will make life a bit easier, although not enough people saw the theater run.
Carol, the lead character, is a vacuous San Fernando Valley housewife who's never worked and whose life consists of ordering bland furniture and Latino domestics, then having unsatisfactory sex with her successful husband. But the movie does an excellent job in exposing the toxic soup on our planet: off-gassing new highway construction materials, paint fumes, Windex and hair spray, pollution on freeways, and even her husband's cologne. (Or was she just barfing in response to him?) The carefully done lighting techniques make visible the subterranean mists containing many of the 60,000 mostly untested chemicals of modern life in the U.S.
Carol desperately wants to be "fine," and all her futile efforts at denial come crashing down when she has her episodes of gasping for air, brain fag and a seizure. The medical establishment and the alternative treatment folks all try to lead her into self-blame, which fits very easily into her guilt-ridden training. ("I'm sorry, I'm sorry," is her daily mantra.)
What is the cause of this dreadful problem thousands face who were conceived in the '40s and '50s as DES babies, fed baby formula instead of mother's milk, inoculated with vaccines that were as little understood then as those foisted upon Gulf War vets in the '90s? Add a dash of synthetic fabrics, cosmetics, pesticide-drenched food, closed office buildings, secondary smoke, antibiotics, and polluted air and water, and sometimes it seems a wonder that any of us lived long enough to make movies or form support groups.
The film raises many questions it does not answer. Could this illness have been prevented? Is there a cure? Why does the fragile white housewife succumb before the Latina maid? Is her alternative practitioner just another wealthy guru living high off vulnerable victims? Is it the chemicals or dysfunctional life patterns, or both?
What happens to people who work and can't go off to a clean New Age retreat for a month? Should Carol go back to her husband or try to make a new life? Why doesn't she explain her illness to her son better? When is the doctor who told her it was all in her head going to lose his license? Is anger always bad? What exactly does self-esteem have to do with healing?
I've got some strong opinions on many of these subjects, but my primary reaction to the movie is guarded relief. Next time I'm choking I can say, "Remember Carol in Safe? When she was at the cleaners? Now, could you get me some water? Before you call the ambulance?"
Every little bit helps.
[Safe is now out on video from Columbia Tri-Star.]
[If you want more information about Safe, you can look at its entry in the Internet Movie Database or at its entry in Telerama's index of reviews.]
[Barri Boone is a union activist who has Environmental Illness/Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (EI/MCS) and is a member of the Berkeley City Commission on Disability.]
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When Clark Hull sent us his last "Sum and Substance" column, he added a note that its brevity was due to health problems. On December 10, 1997, Clark died at his home in Redding.
Born in 1909 in Twin Falls, Idaho, Clark Hull spent over 65 years working for socialism and democracy in Idaho, Montana, Washington and California. "Sum and Substance," a regular feature in The Partisan since our first issue, was a continuation of a column he had written in the 1940s.
In the 1930s, Clark ran for U.S. Senate as the socialist candidate in Washington state. He met his wife Lois when he went to help defend her two brothers for refusing to register for the first peacetime military draft in 1941.
Clark and Lois moved to Redding in 1958, and continued their work for peace and racial equality and in defense of workers' rights. Clark served as county chair of the Peace and Freedom Party in Shasta County. Lois Hull continues their work for peace and equality.
Once in a while I do something of which I am proud! As I write this, I feel happy to have written my annual check to the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION. Since 1920 the ACLU has been in the forefront of the struggle to make the Bill of Rights have meaning in the real world. Before 1920, it is my understanding that the first ten amendments to the constitution were pious platitudes without much meaning in the day-to-day struggles for democratic values.
Periodically we are bamboozled into some military action on foreign shores for the benefit of capitalist interests. The propagandists lead the sons of workers to die and kill other workers' sons, all in the name of a bogus liberty.
Meanwhile, back home, the ACLU carries on the fight in the courts to protect and extend the real meaning of freedom in a democratic society.
The ACLU has moved. Its new address:
American Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10004-2400
[You can also visit the ACLU's web site for more information.]
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Anita Whitney, born in San Francisco in 1867, was a leader in the fight for women's suffrage and later a Communist candidate for U.S. Senator. She was the exception in a moderately prosperous family most of whose members became more conservative as they rose in wealth and status. Her father was an attorney who became a state senator from Alameda County. Her uncle-by-marriage Stephen J. Field was a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who drifted to the right as he aged.
Educated in California schools and at San Jose State Normal School, Whitney spent four years at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, graduating in 1889. After college, she later said, "I made an attempt to have the same pleasures and pastimes as the young people around me, but I was always more or less conscious of a feeling of boredom, coupled with a dread of being thought different." In 1893 she stopped in New York after a college reunion and spent a week as a visitor at the College Settlement, where she saw severe mass poverty for the first time. She joined the staff of the settlement house and worked for three months in the tenements of the East Side before her father's final illness called her home to Oakland.
Some time after her father's death, she helped open a club for boys and girls in West Oakland and in 1901 became the secretary of the Associated Charities of Alameda County. Her work, said others, was marked by a genuine love for the people she helped, in contrast to the condescending attitude of many "charity ladies." In 1906 she organized the relief camp in San Francisco after the earthquake and fire, and her close work with unions in this effort presaged some of her later activities. In 1907, exhausted, she resigned her Alameda County positions and went East to engage in charity work in New York and Boston.
By 1911, Whitney was convinced that charity work alone was not the answer to society's problems. Returning to California, she was swept up in the first major referendum campaign of California's "progressive era," ushered in by the reforms proposed by Governor Hiram Johnson.
The statewide election of 10 October 1911 was one of the most important in California's history. Proposed new laws establishing the referendum and initiative, workers' compensation, the recall of elected officials, votes for women, and a host of lesser reforms all occupied the same ballot. Anita Whitney served for the final five months of the campaign as state president of the College Equal Suffrage League. Originally open only to college and professional women, the League opened its doors to all women who supported the suffrage movement, and it became a key component of the campaign.
The struggle was decidedly uphill. After all, only men could vote on whether to enfranchise women. The wealthy and their newspapers generally opposed expanding the franchise, as they opposed most democratic reforms. Using mass demonstrations, smaller pickets, millions of leaflets and every open and underground means available, the women and men of the campaign forged a broad coalition of social, labor, religious, political, and every other sort of organization, putting on a campaign that reached almost every person in California, including every male voter.
For two days after the election, as the results slowly came in, the vote for women appeared to be losing, but by the third day, it became plain that the smaller rural communities had approved the measure by wide enough margins to overcome the city opposition. Out of almost a quarter-million votes, woman suffrage was approved by a margin of around one percent. What euphoria!
After the election, the College Equal Suffrage League was reorganized as the California Civic League. Whitney served as president for two more years, during which she helped campaign for votes for women in neighboring states and build support for the constitutional amendment (finally adopted in 1920) giving all U.S. women the vote. During this period she attended many public talks by speakers from the I.W.W. and the Socialist Party, and became involved in the defense of labor prisoners. In 1914, Anita Whitney joined the Socialist Party and became identified with its more active and militant left wing.
The later history of Anita Whitney's role in the California left may be the subject of another article. We will merely note here that in 1940, when the once-progressive Hiram Johnson was a powerful reactionary, Anita Whitney ran against him as the Communist Party candidate for U.S. Senate and received almost 100,000 votes.
[This is one of a series of articles on California left history by Kevin Akin, Peace & Freedom Party Recording Secretary.]
[A reproduction of a drawing is captioned: "This drawing of Anita Whitney is from the program notes of the Anita Whitney 75th Anniversary observance held in 1942.]
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Do you feel like you're caught in a two party death trap? Let's be real. Beyond the smoke and mirrors of desperate sex scandals, lies a nation facing enormous internal contradictions. Massive police build ups and puritanical drug wars are merely a symptom of the overall historical crisis of capitalist production -- based on blind competition in the market for private gain.
Workers and oppressed peoples desperately need to rise to a level of consciousness where they can defend their interests. We need a fighting internationalist workers party that is committed to creating a workers government and defends the interests of the proletariat and all the oppressed.
[Gerald Sanders is an Oakland construction worker and is Peace and Freedom Party candidate for Congress in the 9th District.]
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Santa Cruz P&F has been active in the campaign to defeat the City of Santa Cruz ban on sleeping outdoors, part of a continuous campaign against the homeless by that city's "liberal" council. They also continue their work for a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal and campaigned strongly for the release of Irish activist Roisin McAliskey from jail in Britain.
P&F activists in Los Angeles continue their work in the Bus Riders Union and mobilized three carloads for the picket of the Columbus Canada at Terminal Island.
P&F members from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area worked to turn away the Neptune Jade from Oakland and are active in fighting the Pacific Maritime Association suit against the ILWU and Robert Irminger.
San Francisco P&F played a leading role in organizing Bernadette Devlin McAliskey's San Francisco speech and in the international tribunal investigating the Mumia Abu-Jamal case. County Chair Tom Lacey is now president of the Open Forum, a collective center for learning and teaching.
Alameda County P&F continues with tenant activities in Oakland and Berkeley. P&F activists are central to the effort to place a 35-hour work week initiative on the Berkeley ballot.
In San Diego, P&F activists continue work fighting the deportation of Irish prisoner Kevin Barry Artt to England and in support of union organizing activities in the "maquiladora" belt of northern Baja California.
Sacramento P&F members continue to work on the weekley Sacramento Soapbox program (Channel 17, Mondays at 8:30 pm.).
P&F members from throughout the state will come to Oakland on June 12-14 for the fourth annual Independent Progressive Politics Summit, bringing together P&F, Greens and other independent progressive groups from across the country.
[online editor's note: the date of the convention has been changed to August 8-9 since the publication of this issue's print edition.]
Alameda County P&F meets the third Sunday of each month except December at 6 pm in Berkeley. (510) 465-9414.
Contra Costa County P&F: Call (510) 798-3698.
Long Beach meets on the first Tuesday of each month. (310) 439-8502.
Los Angeles County Central Committee meets on the third Tuesday of the month, 7:30 pm, downtown. Info: (213) PFP-1998.
Marin: Call (415) 479-1731 for information.
Orange County meets on the third Saturday of the month at 7:30 pm in Orange. (714) 639-0565.
Riverside: Call (909) 787-0318 for information.
Sacramento meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 7 pm, downtown. (916) 484-4118.
San Bernardino: Call (909) 829-1500 for information.
San Diego P&F meets on the fourth Thursday of each month in San Diego. (619) 436-8984.
San Francisco meets on the third Sundays of the month at noon, downtown. (415) 648-8497.
San Mateo: Call (415) 468-8952.
Santa Clara P&F meets on the first Thursday of each month. (408) 243-4359.
Santa Cruz P&F meets monthly in Santa Cruz. (408) 688-4268.
Shasta County: Call (916) 246-7647 for information.
Sonoma County: Call (707) 431-0657 for information.
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Bumper sticker available for $1 from Peace & Freedom Party, P.O. Box 741270, Los Angeles, CA 90004
A graphic of the bumper sticker appears here, with the slogan, "Another Worker for Peace and Freedom", the Peace and Freedom Party logo (a dove and broken chain around the party name), and our Aptos, Oakland, and Los Angeles addresses.
Becoming a Peace and Freedom Partisan is an easy way to support your political party, learn more about it, and get more active. You can even wear your politics on your sleeve with a PFP button of T-shirt.
+ A contribution of $10 makes you a Partisan. You'll receive a subscription to the newsletter, a wallet card, a PFP button, and notices of activities.
+ A gift of $25 makes you a Rebel Partisan. You'll get all of the above, plus a high quality, 100% cotton T-shirt with the PFP logo. White on black.
+ If you give $50 or more, you must be a Revolutionary Partisan. You get the newsletter, button, T-shirt, and a certificate suitable for framing.
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The Partisan is published by the State Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party at P. O. Box 24764, Oakland, California 94623. Production staff for this issue included Margie Akin, Dave Campbell, Tom Condit, Bob Evans, Marsha Feinland, Ron Hoffman and Dave Kadlecek. All articles are the opinions of their authors and are not necessarily official policy of the Peace & Freedom Party. Signed articles and artwork are copyright 1998 by their authors. Unsigned articles are by Partisan staff. If at all possible, articles for publication should be submitted either typed and double-spaced or on computer disc or by electronic mail to email@example.com. Please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you would like articles, artwork or photographs returned.
Issue No. 11. Closing date May 16, 1998.
50 cents each
Issue #1: State budget, Operation Rescue, Anti-Defamation League scandal, San Jose police frame-up, Bari/Cherney bombing photo, Clinton health plan analysis, Gary Graham case.
Issue #2: State and federal taxes, Attacks on immigrants, "Race, Class and the Denny Trial", Public schools and vouchers, Attempt to break up Los Angeles Unified School District.
Issue #3: Crime and prisons, Immigrants' rights, War on the poor and homeless, Hotel and restaurant workers, Return of tuberculosis, NAFTA and GATT, Political Prisoners.
Issue #4: Community college fee hikes, Housing takeovers, UFW march on Sacramento, Haiti, Attack on mobile home owners, Gary Graham case progress.
Issue #5: Unemployment, Peace & Freedom Party platform, Los Angeles transit crisis, Headwaters forest, Soledad prison protest, Food Not Bombs, candidates and issues.
Issue #6: Election analysis, Immigrants' rights, Freedom to Travel Campaign, Berkeley Rent Board victory, Shorter work week.
Issue #7: Pete Wilson's war on equal rights, attack on rent control, Gulf War syndrome, Mumia Abu-Jamal, California budget, Justice for Janitors, New Headwaters battle.
Issue #8: March primary election, Farmworkers organize, Netherlands drug policy, State attack on county budgets, Hotel workers struggle, Minimum wage, Jack London.
Issue #9: Clinton-Gingrich Welfare bill, November general election, March for Affirmative Action, Labor Party convention, Teamsters' election, Headwaters deal, Peace & Freedom 1996 platform.
Issue #10: Welfare deform, Threat to Social Security, Privatization
and contracting out, Gulf War Syndrome, UC graduate student
employees strike, Judi Bari and David Nadel obituaries, Headwaters
update, Santa Cruz supports Mumia Abu-Jamal.
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