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The Partisan

Following is a list and brief description of the 19 sections that make up the electronic version of the tenth 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.

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New labor upsurge

by Partisan staff

The April 13 mass march in Watsonville to support the strawberry workers is an important step in rebuilding the labor movement in California. After decades of being slowly ground down, workers are organizing to fight back against an all-sided attack by the employers and their political supporters.

We must realize how much we have lost. The last 25 years have brought falling real wages for North American workers. In this time, farm workers have lost 25% of their already-low buying power. New victories of the United Farm Workers (UFW) in lettuce, mushrooms and roses have recovered some of this, but even unionized workers are behind where they were a generation ago.

The campaign to organize California's 20,000 strawberry workers is a key step toward regaining decent wages and winning better working conditions for all of us. They have lost 30% of their real wages in just the past 10 years as the strawberry industry has fallen under the domination of eight giant corporations which control the "coolers" in which strawberries are stored before marketing. Their long hours, low pay, job insecurity and hazardous working conditions are an extreme form of the situation of many other workers.

The wealth and arrogance of the bosses has soared; not content with having more power than any other ruling class in history, they want to squeeze more and more out of working class people.

The major parties do their bidding. Both Democrats and Republicans want to throw millions into abject poverty, give the social security system to stock market vultures, end or privatize a wide range of public services, and lengthen the working day.

In response to this pressure, there has been an upsurge of organizing and protest. Workers in factories, fields, construction sites, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes and hotels are fighting for their rights across California.

Militant demonstrations like the Justice for Janitors campaign, the truckers' blockade of the Los Angeles harbor and February's rally of 2,000 people at the New Otani Hotel in Los Angeles have been a mark of this movement. We've also seen a rebirth of "old-fashioned" solidarity actions like the coastwide longshore strike in January, called as part of a world-wide demonstration in support of English longshoremen.

Although we still lose as often as we win, there's little joy for the bosses even in their victories, because the unions haven't gone away. U.S. employers and their government friends thought that they could just chip away at the labor movement, and after a while it would vanish. Now they see unions digging in for long campaigns of organization, education and recruitment.

New people have been drawn into struggle, many of whom never considered themselves "working class" in the past. Nurses, clerical workers and "independent contractors" like the Los Angeles harbor truckers are moving into activity.

But unions still lack political independence. The leadership of the AFL-CIO supports the Democrats, who in turn support the employers. There is a class war between workers and employers going on in this country, and workers are losing because they invite part of the enemy into their camp to give them advice. Voting for the Democrats or Republicans is scabbing at the ballot box.

It's time for a change in attitude. Even when times were good, just asking for a bigger piece of the pie all too often got us crumbs. It's time to start thinking about taking over the whole damned pie shop.

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Welfare deform strikes

by Marsha Feinland

The Repugnicrat "Personal Responsibility Act" (welfare cuts) was signed into law on August 22, 1996. It cuts food stamps, aid to elderly immigrants and disabled children, and aid to families with children. It promises non-existent jobs, while shredding the safety net.

The first slash is cuts in food stamps. About 850,000 families nationwide will be cut off. California, with its large immigrant population and high unemployment rate, will be sliced deeply.

Two categories of people are hit the soonest and hardest: childless adults and immigrants. Recipients aged 18-50 without dependent children are limited to three months of food stamps in a three-year period unless they are employed at least 20 hours per week or in a training program. They can get another three months of benefits if laid off from a job within the three-year period. The time limit began on November 22, 1996, but Governor Wilson recently granted a six-month extension for about 100,000 unemployed citizens.

Non-citizens applying for food stamps for the first time were to have been turned away beginning September 1996. California Governor Wilson was willing to starve his favorite scapegoats, but President Clinton didn't want to upset his re-election plans and postponed implementation until April 1, 1997.

Most non-citizen immigrants, even those in this country legally, are now ineligible for food stamps. Current recipients will be phased out between April 1 and August 22, 1997. Exceptions are refugees during their first five years, veterans and active-duty military, and those with 40 quarters of work history in the U.S.

Food stamps will be harder to get for everyone. New rules reduce the amount of food stamps allotted and the income a food stamp recipient can receive. The average level of food stamp assistance will drop from 80 to 66 cents per meal.

Attack on Disabled Immigrants

The federal government is already denying non-citizens Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides aid for disabled people. Immigrants currently receiving SSI money, many of them elderly people who have worked in this country for many years, will be cut off by August 22. The exceptions are the same as those for food stamps, including 40 quarters of work history. It is particularly criminal that many of those who will soon be deprived of benefits worked hard in sweatshops, or as domestic servants or laborers for people who did not pay Social Security taxes, leaving no record of their work history, thus depriving them both of SSI and Social Security retirement benefits.

These cuts in aid pose problems for the politicians as well as for the immigrants. About 40% of the savings in the new welfare law come from depriving this group of food stamps and SSI. President Clinton's proposed budget would restore these benefits. Republican governors passed a resolution at the National Governors' Convention February 1 to make "technical corrections" without major changes to the welfare reform law. Democrats and some Republican governors, particularly from states which will lose a lot of federal money, want to restore more aid to immigrants. But House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer (R.- Texas) has declared that Congress will fight any attempt to do so.

Mr. Clinton can pretend that he didn't mean to do it, but he signed the act.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The most insidious change is "the end of welfare as we know it." Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) is abolished and replaced with "Temporary Assistance for Needy Families" (TANF).

The federal block grant which pays for TANF has a cap on its amount no matter how many people are in need. It is reduced each year the state does not put an increasing proportion of aid recipients to work, so a recession would mean less aid available when more is needed.

Cutting welfare has been on Wilson's agenda since he became governor in 1990. In that time, he has cut AFDC benefits for a family of three from $694 to $594 per month. Now, with federal restrictions lifted, checks have shrunk to $538 or $565 depending on the county. Meanwhile, the "need standard" -- the amount the state calculates a family of three needs to "maintain adequate care" -- has risen to $730 per month.

Besides cuts in the amount a family receives, the new federal law imposes a five-year lifetime limit on TANF eligibility and will limit aid to two consecutive years. The law allows a 20% exemption from time limits for children who live with a caretaker other than their parents and families with a disabled parent or child in the home. But according to Jill Duerr Berrick of the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare, at least 22% of recipient families in California already qualify for the exemption.

Wilson's Vicious Proposals

Federal welfare "reform" time limits began on January 1, 1997. But California Governor Wilson wants to add additional limits, restricting new TANF recipients to one year. Unmarried parents under 18 will have to live with an adult relative to receive a reduced amount of aid -- a negligible savings considering that only 2.4% of AFDC households in California are headed by single teenage parents, but one that fits the punitive nature of the law.

Governor Wilson's proposal for implementing TANF, the California Temporary Assistance Program or CalTAP, would impose unrealistic work requirements on recipients. To receive the maximum grant, a single parent would have to participate in "county-approved work activities" at least 32 hours per week. The grant would be reduced if the work participation requirement was not met, with those not working at least 16 hours per week losing their entire grant.

After six months, aid would be reduced by 15% "as a further work incentive." Parents of newborns would be exempt from work participation requirements for only 12 weeks after giving birth. This can be extended up to one year at the county's discretion if no child care is available, but all other time limits apply, and families on TANF will not be eligible for an increased grant for new children.

On April 1, the Assembly Democrats rejected Wilson's proposals, but Human Services Committee chair Dion Aroner says that, "There is going to be a deal."

Time Bomb for Local Government

The "end of welfare" is a temporary fix for politicians and a time bomb for local governments. As immigrants are thrown off SSI during the coming year and AFDC recipients are terminated in the years following, counties will be hard pressed to come up with funds for General Assistance (G.A., called General Relief in some counties), which at around $250 per month does not approach an imaginable living, especially without food stamps. Of course, our governor has a solution for the counties: G.A. payments won't be required anymore.

The counties will also be stuck with the job of administering the new CalTAP program, with its increasing work requirements and decreasing fund of money. The counties have to come up with the "work participation programs," which can include education, job training, and public service programs.

But what funding is available to cope with a progressively more impoverished population, increasing administrative requirements, more education and service programs, and the need for decent child care for over a million children? The state has been taking money away from the counties since 1992, when it confiscated $1.3 billion in local property taxes to balance the state budget. This tax shift was doubled the following year and has continued ever since. When Proposition 218 kicks in, counties and local governments will see a further decrease in revenue.

The entire concept of "the end of welfare as we know it" depends on the assumption that most people on welfare can find permanent jobs. But in California there are already more than a million unemployed who are actively seeking work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate among women between 20 and 24 years of age without a high school diploma is 24.4%, and nearly half of all mothers on welfare have never finished high school. Riverside County instituted a strict welfare-to-work program in the late 1980s, but after two years only one-third of the participants had a job.

The new laws are disastrous to those currently on aid, and the implications are frightening for all workers. Work requirements apply to those actually receiving aid, so states will have to either put people in jobs that pay so little that recipients will still qualify or put people in non-paying "workfare" jobs, including public service jobs now performed by union workers at decent wages. Those currently employed may become unemployed, perpetuating a cycle of misery. California Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill says that "we cannot expect all existing welfare recipients to obtain jobs without some job loss on the part of others."

Meanwhile, what is left of the middle class can dream about a tax cut, and the stock market, which likes unemployment and low wages, may rise again.

[Marsha Feinland is North State Chair of the Peace and Freedom Party and an elected member of the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board.]

This story was accompanied by a six-panel cartoon by Mike Konopacki of Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons, from their November 1996 packet.

The first panel shows a man sitting, working at a computer, with the caption "Ed is a public employee." The second panel shows the same man being kicked out a window with the caption "Ed was laid-off due to budget cuts." The third panel shows the same man walking along the street, downcast, with the caption, "Unable to find work, Ed ended up on workfare." The fourth and fifth panels show the same graphic as the first, with captions "They gave him a job amazingly similar to his old one," and "Except it paid sub-minimum wage with no benefits and no union." The final panel shows the same man sitting at the computer looking angry, with the caption, "Ed is beginning to wonder if workfare isn't just another union-busting scheme."

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The real threat to Social Security

by Randy Silverman

A new coalition now clogs America's political mainstream. Right-wingers, centrists and neo-liberals alike have begun openly moving to weaken or destroy Social Security. If they succeed, early in the next century, the great majority of America's older people will suffer enormously.

Social Security is the most universal and successful government program in the US. It pays benefits to the children and surviving spouses of workers who die before reaching retirement age and provides retirement pensions to 90% of America's elderly. More than 3.7 million children a year receive social security payments due to the death of disability of a parent. Unlike most private pension or insurance systems, it has tiny administrative costs.

Social Security saves older Americans from impoverishment. Far from being "fat old geezers," three-quarters of the elderly have yearly incomes that, even including Social Security, fall under $25,000.

Currently, guaranteed Social Security benefits equal a percentage of every recipient's average earnings, fully adjusted for inflation. This percentage is greater for low-wage retirees than for those who received higher salaries. The benefits are lifetime, not just until an individual investment fund runs out.

The major shortcoming of Social Security lies in its financing. Instead of coming from the US government's general revenues (corporate, income, excise and estate taxes), Social Security benefits are paid from a trust fund made up of government bonds purchased through a tax on each employee's wages, up to an annual ceiling of $65,400.

This means that America's largest social program is financed without one penny in taxes on dividends, interest, profits from stock and real estate deals -- income that flows largely into the pockets of the well-to-do. Also, the ceiling on the amount of wages subject to the Social Security tax means that poorer employees pay a far higher percentage of their earnings toward this tax than do affluent employees.

Rather than being financed by those whose wealth would enable them to bear the burden without hardship, the Social Security program is paid for mostly by low and moderate income people. This is the real defect of the Social Security system -- a problem never mentioned by the would-be dismantlers of that system.

Instead, they try to incite panic by contending that Social Security will enter a financial crisis in the 21st century, since the Baby Boomers (the generation born in the fifteen years or so after World War II) are far more numerous than the generations coming before or after them.

According to this argument, when the Boomers stop working too few people will be contributing to the Social Security system and too many people will be receiving benefits from it.

The Social Security system now takes in far more in payroll taxes than it spends on benefits. According to the doomsayers, in the year 2020, the system will begin to pay out more than it takes in and by 2030 will have spent all its surplus and be able to pay only 75% of the benefits it will owe. To maintain full payments, they claim the rate of return on the trust fund's investments must be raised and/or benefits must be cut.

This scenario is based on questionable (and dismal) assumptions about the decades ahead. In particular, it assumes an economic growth rate far lower, and an unemployment rate far higher than those which have historically prevailed. If the federal government adopted policies to foster higher rates of growth or employment the Social Security crunch would never materialize. These stimulative policies, involving low interest rates and generous spending on public works, would simply require future leaders of the federal government to follow the example set by such decidedly non-radical predecessors as Richard Nixon.

Social security foes also try to arouse jealous fear on the part of the young toward the graying Baby Boomers. They say that workers in the decades ahead will be forced to suffer a reduced standard of living in order to pay for retirees who should have provided for themselves. This rhetoric presumes that those now in their mid-thirties through early fifties can afford to save more than they currently do, and will be living high on the hog when they retire.

In fact, most of these men and women are not living lavishly, but face difficulty paying current expenses. The standard of living of the majority of Americans has stagnated or declined over the last 23 years.

Ordinary Americans are asked to sacrifice their well-being to avert a probably fictitious Social Security catastrophe. One suggestion for Social Security "reform" now under discussion would oblige workers to put in more years of labor before they could retire. The retirement age, already scheduled to rise to 67, would be jacked up to 70. Not only would this deprive working people of leisure time, but, by expanding the pool of available labor and thereby lessening workers' bargaining power with employers, it would also push wages down. Their doomsday prediction assumes historically high levels of unemployment, yet opponents of Social Security advocate making the unemployment picture even bleaker by forcing more people to remain in the job market.

Another proposal would require workers to surrender the guarantee of a decent level of benefits in their old age. There would be a huge diversion of money from the Social Security trust fund into the stock market in the form of a separate investment account for each worker. Every retiree's Social Security checks would be slashed to the equivalent of a measly $400 per month, little more than half the current average. Retirees would receive monthly pay-outs from their separate investment accounts. How much they got would depend on their luck in playing the market and whether they retired in a boom year or during a depression.

Yet another benefit-slashing notion would doom retirees' standard of living to be eroded further by ending the current mandate that Social Security benefits be increased to compensate fully for the impact of inflation.

None of these schemes for diminishing the economic security of most future retirees is conscionable or necessary.

In recent years, a wealthy few have received nearly all the permanent benefits from economic growth. From 1983 to 1989, the richest 20% of Americans received 99% of the increase in national wealth. 61% of this increase went to the richest 1%. These affluent Americans can afford to pay whatever may be necessary to provide a decent life to every member of our society, including the elderly, and should be called on to do so.

[Randy Silverman is a member of the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board.]

This story was accompanied by a cartoon by Gary Huck of Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons.

The cartoon shows a man and woman labeled "Social Security" facing a man in a suit labeled "Wall Street" who is telling them, "I plan to make the most ... of YOUR retirement years!!"

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Privatization and contracting out

by C.T. Weber

There has been a lot of misinformation in the news lately about how expensive government is, and in particular how the private sector can do it for less. This is nothing more than a smokescreen put forth to allow the private sector to undermine the union movement, not only in the government sector, but in the private sector as well.

By far the most common method of transferring government functions or assets to the private sector is through contracting out agreements. However, there are several other methods, including vouchers, grants, franchises, deregulation, volunteerism, service shedding, public/private partnerships, asset sales and private donations.

Contracting out may have some short-term cost benefit because of low salaries, lack of benefits, and creative accounting tactics used by the private sector. But eventually, after the government body lays off permanent employees and liquidates solid assets, the costs rise. Further, because public input has been eliminated and workers are underpaid, the quality of services gradually declines.

At the present time, government services targeted for privatization include mental health, general administrative, social services, health care, transportation and corrections.

Some of the major concerns about privatization include not only increased costs, decline in the quality of services and lack of public input, but also discrimination based on age, race and gender, payoffs, kickbacks, conflict of interest, price fixing, collusive bidding, and other forms of corruption. All these problems existed before the civil service was established and will slowly sneak back into government. In addition, the isolation of the disadvantaged will increase.

Government Code section 19130(b) allows the state of California to contract out jobs to the private sector under certain conditions. Areas where contracting out is allowed include state functions exempt from civil service under the state constitution; services not available through the civil service system; new state functions mandated by the legislature; incidental, temporary, urgent or occasional services; and training services which cannot be performed by the state.

If public sector jobs are privatized, what can we expect? We know that the private sector is also contracting out jobs, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. There is an all-out attack on the working people of this country, as corporations are not only trying to compete in the global market but continue to increase their profits.

For example, K-Mart is laying off older employees in order to avoid paying retirement benefits. Walmart hired part-time employees who were not needed, but instead of laying them off they chose to terminate full-time employees and keep the part- timers in order to avoid paying benefits and higher wages. Target bought out a union store and eliminated the union employees so they could pay lower wages. Bank of America, Ross Dress-for-Less, Burger King and others are now hiring part-time employees in order to avoid providing benefits for their employees. We are witnessing the complete collapse of job security in this country.

The fact is, if you work for a living in America, you are outproducing other workers around the world, but you are being paid less in dollars adjusted for inflation than you were ten years ago. In many cases, you are being paid less in actual dollars.

You need to rethink what is happening to your life and the lives of your parents and children. Your parents may be living below the poverty line and your children may see a return to the sweat shop conditions of past generations.

[C.T. Weber is a regional director of the California State Employees Association (SEIU Local 1000) and State Chair of the Peace and Freedom Party.]

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The Pentagon's secret syndrome

by Pauline Furth, M.D.

Seven years ago, 700,000 combat-ready troops were sent to the Persian Gulf. As the war ended, homecoming veterans by the tens of thousands began complaining of serious illnesses including memory loss, joint pains, digestive and respiratory disorders, chronic fatigue, sleep disorders, and skin eruptions. Some had nerve damage so severe that they had to use walkers and wheelchairs as they testified before Congressional committees, and some had speech impairments so severe as to require interpreters. This plague of symptoms became known as the "Gulf War Syndrome."

Sarin, the nerve gas used in the tragic Tokyo subway attack, was a likely culprit. This gas was developed in Germany in the 1930s, but it is believed to have been used for the first time by Iraq in 1988 to suppress Kurdish rebels. Within months after the end of the war, a United Nations investigating team had been told by the Iraqis that a munitions depot in Khamisiyah had been exploded by the U.S. and that it had contained biological and chemical compounds. This information had been passed on to the U.S. The exact location, dates and units involved were distributed to high U.S. military and civilian personnel, then promptly classified, and thus hidden from public view.

Czech nerve gas detectors had verified the presence of nerve gas. Commissioned and non-commissioned officers had told story after story confirming their personal experiences of seeing toxic clouds followed by sudden and mass deaths of animals, such as goats, camels and flies.

For five years, the Pentagon and the Department of Defense continued to deny that any nerve gas had been released, and when the facts became public asserted that there was absolutely no connection between nerve gas and the vets' complaints and illnesses. Now they maintain that the logs for March 4 and March 10, 1991 are missing!

Dr. Stephen Joseph, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, repeatedly said that the incidence of such symptoms was about the same as that ordinarily found in the general population, intimating that the veterans were no worse off than people in civilian life, and that "there is not a single mystery illness or unique Gulf War illness".

John M. Deutch, formerly #2 man at the Pentagon and more recently head of the CIA, also publicly and repeatedly has denied the connection. This is the same man who denies any connection between the CIA and cocaine smuggling by the Nicaraguan contras.

The Agent Orange Scandal

The Pentagon and related government agencies have a long laundry list of coverups, denial, complicity, and outright lies. A recent and most heartbreaking example is that of Agent Orange, a defoliant whose by-product is the deadly carcinogen Dioxin. It was used in the Vietnam War, and the returning veterans who were exposed to it not only complained of illnesses related to their exposure, but of birth defects in their offspring. They were subject to ridicule and disbelief and sent to psychiatric wards until a half-crazed vet drove his vehicle through the reception room of the Sawtelle Veterans Hospital and later committed suicide. Immediately, hundreds of veterans pitched tents on the grounds and a hunger strike followed. These events and years of litigation finally verified the truth of their claims that their illnesses and suffering had been caused by the defoliant spray.

It is also obvious that one reason for this constant denial is that all governmental agencies involved would have to pay vets an enormous amount of money for service-related illnesses, as well as providing free care at veterans' hospitals. To obtain free medical service, veterans have to prove their complaints are service-connected. Most vets have to pay cash or carry private health insurance. Congress recently eased some restrictions in these cases if they reported their symptoms before 1993, two years after the war ended. But many symptoms, particularly of nerve damage or cancer, show up only after as long as 20 years after the exposure.

The sick Gulf vets were maligned, labelled malcontent, and generally treated shabbily. Many were referred to psychiatrists or to psychiatric wards. Some were even diagnosed as suffering from "alcohol deprivation"! Finally, the concession was made that their problems were psychosomatic or "stress" related. Many replied that the only stress they suffered was caused by the VA and the Pentagon.

Pentagon "Self-Investigation"

The Pentagon continued to "self-investigate". In 1994, a National Institute of Health committee concluded that they could not reach any conclusions about the "Gulf War Syndrome" because all the pertinent data was confined to the secret files of the Pentagon.

Vets, angry and unpersuaded, began organizing their own committees for investigation and protest. At least 19 such committees have now been formed on various levels and in various states. They include wives who are concerned about birth defects in their children due to their spouses' illnesses.

As a result of unremitting pressure from these groups, the public loss of confidence in the Pentagon's declarations, and Congressional insistence, the President appointed a 12-member advisory committee. Their final conclusions remain to be seen. The Pentagon now admits that as many as 20,000 troops may have been affected.

[Pauline Furth has practiced medicine in East Los Angeles for 40 years. She welcomes article ideas, questions and suggestions from Partisan readers.]

Causes of the "Gulf War Syndrome"

With so many diverse symptoms, logic points to the reality of many causes for the Gulf War Syndrome. Although Khamisiyah (see above) was an important turning point for the vets, their other complaints have been ignored.

Depleted Uranium Shells

Radioactive bullets and munitions containing depleted uranium were used for the first time in warfare during the Desert Storm operation. Commonly called DU, this is a by-product of an enrichment process of the heavy metal uranium. It is deadly either by ingestion or inhalation, and has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. The military advantage is that it can easily pierce tank armor.

In February 1991, American tanks fired hundreds of thousands of rounds of DU, leaving Iraqi tanks smoldering in the desert. Some U.S. tanks were also hit by "friendly fire." Many U.S. soldiers scrambled aboard the disabled tanks, out of curiosity or to rescue comrades.

In the vicinity of Basra (southern Iraq) Iraqi doctors have reported significant increases in fetal abnormalities, leukemia, and cancer. Children were particularly affected, many of whom collected and played with parts of the projectiles. This has been confirmed by the Austrian Yellow Cross International.

Here in the U.S., effects of DU are surfacing. The Aerojet Ordnance Facility in Jonesboro, Tennessee, which produces 60% of the Department of Defense's DU, is being sued by its workers for radioactive exposure.

The National Depleted Uranium Citizens network, a coalition of Native Americans and citizens living near DU mines or connected with its manufacture, has joined the Gulf War vets to fund research on the Gulf War.

Inoculation with Experimental Drugs

Many veterans tell of being forced to take injections and/or pills, without explanation or without their consent. Pyridostigmine bromide was given to more than 250,000 troops, presumably as a prophylaxis against nerve gas. The recognized medical reason is for Myasthenia Gravis, a neuro-muscular disorder. Doctors are always cautioned to carefully monitor patients' progress, and that follow-up is urgently required to avoid serious results. This, of course, was not done, nor was FDA approval sought for wartime (or any other) use. Veterans claim that they were used as "guinea pigs" for an untested drug, and cite many neuro-muscular disorders, including urinary and bowel incontinence.

Many were given inoculations against anthrax and botulism, although neither disease was ever recorded.

Similarly, British troops were given "friendly medical fire" inoculations and pills. The nerve agent was specifically named "Nerve Agent Pre-Treatment sets tablets". More than 100 Britons have died as a result, claim their survivors. The issue of Gulf War-related complaints and illnesses has become so prominent that the Labour Party, predicted to win in the coming election, has promised to set up a Veterans Affairs Department, which had not existed to date.

Not at all surprising is that French troops, not given any such medical "cocktails," have not had any such similar complaints or illnesses.

Infectious Desert Micro-organisms

Dr. Katherine Leisure, a VA physician in Pennsylvania who is sympathetic to the veterans' cause, states that many symptoms most likely were caused by infectious organisms ever-present in the desert sand.

Birth Defects

The Association of Birth Defects based in Orlando, Florida has confirmed 150 abnormal Gulf War babies. A plethora of cases of congenital abnormalities, still-births and fetal abnormalities has been reported. High on the list are heart defects and liver cancer. Similar findings are now reported about the offspring of British veterans. Some scientists raise the possibility that semen can be affected by toxic chemicals. And even the GAO (Government Accounting Office) has admitted that there may be "reproductive dysfunction in soldiers exposed to fumes of oil fires and decontaminants."


Organo-phosphates were used as insect repellents. These are potentially hazardous, and combined with PE (Pyridostigmine) become a powerful chemical compound that proves lethal to insects and rats.

-- Pauline Furth

As the Partisan went to press, officials in Washington are admitting that the CIA had information, before the Khamisiyah clean-up operation began, that the site contained hazardous chemical weapons. Although it is claimed that the CIA passed this information on to the high command of the Gulf operation, nobody told the troops in the field what they were facing.

In spite of this admission, the Army and the Veterans' Administration continue to try to avoid responsibility for treatment of those suffering from illnesses caused by exposure to nerve gas and other chemical weapons.

-- Editors' note

This story was accompanied by a two-panel cartoon by Gary Huck of Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons.

The first panel shows a soldier standing with his rifle slung, while missiles explode overhead, with caption "The U.S. government covered up the fact that chemical weapons were used against troops in the gulf..." The second panel, captioned "Meanwhile in L.A....", shows a man standing in a city setting (with a balloon "crack?!!") while planes overhead labeled CIA drop crack vials.

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UC graduate student employees strike

by Blanche Grosswald

Graduate student employees at Berkeley joined their comrades at UCLA and UCSD in a strike against the University of California last November. The student employees walked off their jobs and onto picket lines to protest the University administration's continued refusal to recognize the right of GSIs (graduate student instructors, also known as TAs or teaching assistants) to collective bargaining. The strike resulted in many classes being canceled, as graduate and undergraduate students as well as many faculty members respected picket lines.

At issue is the University's insistence that graduate student employees are not workers. Rather, they are just students, gaining valuable experience and training by virtue of their work which should be considered more as internships than as jobs. Thus, they should not have the right to belong to unions or bargain collectively. This position has been maintained in spite of the fact that many classes are taught entirely by GSIs and much of the University's research is performed by GSRs (graduate student researchers, also known as RAs or research assistants). The University clearly depends heavily on the work accomplished by their graduate student employees. There is no way in which graduate student employees are not similar to other employees except that their salaries may be lower than the market value for the work that they do.

Precedent for graduate student employees acquiring collective bargaining rights has existed since at least the 1970s, when the Universities of Wisconsin and Michigan recognized their graduate student employees' right to bargain collectively. Since then, graduate student employee unions have been established at more than a dozen public universities in the U.S. UC Berkeley has recognized union rights for graduate students whose job titles are: readers, tutors, and acting instructors, but continues to refuse to acknowledge the equivalent for teaching and research assistants. Meanwhile, Berkeley spends money on expensive, union- busting lawyers to fight against the rights of GSIs and GSRs to organize. In September, 1996, the PERB (Public Employment Relations Board) Judge Tamm ruled that UCLA is obligated to recognize GSIs' collective bargaining rights. Unfortunately, he did not accord the same rights to GSRs. Based on this decision, AGSE (UC Berkeley's Association of Graduate Student Employees) offered not to strike if Chancellor Tien would at least recognize Berkeley's GSIs. Tien did not respond to this over-generous concession, and the strike took place as originally planned.

The strike was a "rolling" strike with UCLA beginning on Monday, November 18th, UCSD joining on Tuesday, and Berkeley (UCB) striking from Wednesday through Friday. An AGSE survey of classes on Thursday and Friday estimated that more than 55% of rooms were empty. The cancellation rate was 67% in social sciences and humanities courses and 36% in the sciences and engineering. About 2,400 GSIs on all three campuses refused to teach during the strike. In addition to faculty and undergraduate support, AGSE received numerous solidarity messages from labor rights activists throughout the U.S. and local stores gave discounts including free coffee to picketers.

The strike accomplished numerous objectives, although not surprisingly, the UC administration did not budge from its rigid, anti-labor position. First of all, it disrupted classes, resulting in canceled and off-campus classes, and noticeably empty campuses. Next, it mobilized union members and reinforced an already strong solidarity. Moreover, it increased union membership by recruiting graduate students via the picket lines. Additionally, it brought the issue of workers' rights to the attention of many on campus, including undergraduates, union and non-union staff, graduate students, and faculty. Finally, it received considerable local and national publicity from radio stations such as KPFA to papers including the Berkeley student Daily Cal, the San Francisco Chronicle, and even the New York Times. The effect was to enhance AGSE's capacity to persist and succeed in the on-going struggle to win its members collective bargaining rights.

[Blanche Grosswald is a doctoral student, GSI and the AGSE/UAW steward for the School of Social Welfare at U.C. Berkeley.]

The story is accompanied by an uncaptioned photograph showing four women picketers, one wearing a T-shirt with the slogan, "Educate, Agitate, Organize". A hand-lettered sign is visible, reading "The University raises our FEES. They raise our FAMILY HOUSING RENT. But they won't raise OUR SALARIES! They balance their budget by MAKING OURS BENT!"

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by Partisan staff

Nearly 400 United Parcel Service (UPS) workers and their supporters crowded into the community room of Oakland's Eastmont Mall for a December 7 hearing on racial discrimination, unsafe working conditions and union inactivity. Above, Oakland NAACP president Shannon Reeves convened the meeting.

The hearings were sparked by charges of preference in assigning "safe" routes to white drivers, and while most of the workers who attended were black, white, Latino and women drivers, freight handlers and carwashers also testified about racism, sexual harassment, and inadequate safety at UPS. The Oakland UPS hubs have 1,200 unionized workers, about 40% of them black. Teamsters Local 70 secretary-treasurer Chuck Mack, a member of the losing Hoffa slate in the IBT international elections, defended the union's record at UPS.

After the hearing, Oakland NAACP was flooded with queries from UPS workers all over the country and is considering filing a class action suit against UPS. The questions of subcontracting and discrimination in hiring and assignments at UPS is crucial. More than half the company's 173,000 union workers are part-time and some have been waiting for years to go full-time. The starting wage of $8-9 per hour hasn't risen in 15 years. The national contract with UPS, the world's largest transportation company, expires July 31.

This long caption accompanied an uncredited photograph showing Shannon Reeves speaking and five other people seated at the head table of the hearing, under the banner of the Oakland California Branch of the N.A.A.C.P., and the backs of a dozen or so members of the audience.

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Judi Bari: a fallen giant of the forest

Judith Beatrice Bari -- November 7, 1949 - March 2, 1997

by Ron Hoffman and Tom Condit

Twelve hundred people came to Willits on March 9 to honor Judi Bari's life. It was the largest of dozens of memorial meetings for Bari, who died on March 2 of breast cancer which had metastasized to her liver. Bari had asked that her friends get together for "a party" after her death.

Judi's friends, family members and comrades from Earth First! and the environmental movement shared remembrances, poetry, food and music in the afternoon. The evening was highlighted by a slide show of Bari's life featuring family photos. Musicians from all over northern California came to play. A vegetarian dinner was provided by Food Not Bombs and a host of volunteers.

Darryl Cherney commented that Judi Bari brought three unique contributions to Earth First!: an uncanny ability to organize which brought the local membership in EF! from dozens to hundreds, an ability to build bridges with the timber workers using skills that she brought from labor organizing on the East coast, and the skill at sifting and analyzing facts which made her invaluable both to the movement and to organizing the "Redwood Summer" lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland police.

"She did the majority of legal research work on our case. She organized events to expose the FBI's lies. She connected the case with COINTELPRO operations against the Black Panther Party, Puerto Rican Independentistas and the American Indian Movement.

"She brought to the environmental movement an acute awareness of our place in history -- that the environmental movement did not spring from a void, but is part of a continuum of labor, civil rights and social justice movements. Redwood Summer '90 was modeled after Freedom Summer of 1964."

Bari first became involved in politics as a student anti-war activist at the University of Maryland and later was active in the postal workers' union movement. After moving to California she became a carpenter and was brought into the movement to defend the old growth forest by her respect for the wood she worked with. That understanding of the wood as well as the forest helped her reach out to timber and mill workers threatened by both environmental restrictions and the corporate destruction of the forests on which they worked.

As an organizer for "Redwood Summer" in 1990, she was travelling through Oakland when a bomb destroyed her car, nearly killing her and seriously injuring fellow organizer Darryl Cherney. The Oakland police promptly arrested Bari and Cherney themselves, prodded by the FBI, which had labelled them terrorists. Despite the fact that the bombing was an obvious attack on the organizers, the authorities refused to consider any other suspects or make any serious investigation of the case. (See Partisan nos. 1 and 5.)

Bari and Cherney sued the FBI and the Oakland Police for falsely arresting them and covering up the facts in the bombing. The suit brought out overwhelming evidence of deliberate FBI and police lying, as well as a pattern of surveillance and harassment of the environmental movement.

In the week of Bari's death, she was working on new developments in the case. With additional FBI misdeeds revealed through the discovery process, the government is once more trying to get the suit dismissed. (Two previous attempts have failed.)

The loss of Bari's energy and intelligence is a serious blow, but Cherney and her attorneys are carrying on the suit. They hope to gain a settlement which will help support Bari's two children, as well as expose the government's crimes in this matter.

For information on the case or to contribute much-needed funds, write to:
Redwood Justice Fund
PO Box 3064
Santa Rosa CA 95402

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The continuing struggle for the Headwaters Forest

by Dean ("Deanosaur") Tuckerman

Headwaters Forest Complex, the largest pristine (largely uncut and without human habitation) Redwood forest ecosystem on private land in the world, is located on 60,000 acres just below Eureka, Humboldt County, in Northern California. It is owned by Pacific Lumber Co. (PL), a wholly owned subsidiary of MAXXAM Corporation whose Chief Executive Officer and major stockholder is Texas savings and loan looter Charles Hurwitz. He acquired MAXXAM through a shady junk bond deal in conjunction with convicted swindler Michael Milken. (See Partisan No. 5.)

Hurwitz runs companies, industries, and forests into the ground wherever he goes. He's already done this to Simplicity Fabric Patterns and Kaiser Aluminum. When you attempt to get all the goodies and throw away the rest of an old time undervalued company that makes sewing patterns or aluminum cans it's really bad. When you try to do this to a forest full of 2,000 year old trees, it's an ecological disaster in the making.

Many people don't think that this is fair. No one man or company should have the say as to which trees are cut and which kept alive, especially when all they know about forest ecological systems is that trees are worth a certain amount of money when chopped up and made into lumber. People on the North Coast organized to stop the rape of the forests of Humboldt. They formed an informational, petitioning and lawsuit wing called the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) and a demonstration and direct action wing generally known as Ecotopia Earth First! or Northern California Earth First! (NCEF!).

EPIC's lawsuits have delayed the cutting of the forest for a couple of years. Earlier struggles against clear-cutting in neighboring Mendocino County brought to the fore organizer extraordinaire Judi Bari (who along with Darryl Cherney was a victim of a car-bombing in Oakland in 1990). Bari was the main person who changed Earth First! from a wilderness preservation redneck boys' club and secret monkey-wrenching society into the near-mass environmental movement it is today.

In earlier years activists focused on spotted owls and marbled murrelets, birds which have been threatened by the removal of redwood habitat. This year we emphasized the Coho Salmon. Less than 2% of California's original wild Coho Salmon populations remain. Headwaters Forest is home to one-tenth of them. Road building, salvage logging operations and residual old-growth clearcutting in the 60,000 acre Headwaters Forest Complex result in rampant erosion and silting-up of streams, destroying critical Coho habitat. In a blatantly political move, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has denied the endangered label to the Coho although courts may force the listing.

In the past year, especially between September 15 and November 15, the Earth First! direct action campaign to save Headwaters resulted in some 270 arrests. Actions included over 12 gate lockdowns, eight lockdowns to logging equipment inside the groves, creation of an "Ewok Village" where six tree-sitters occupied a series of trees for 14 days, and demonstrations at the California Department of Forestry, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Democratic Headquarters in Eureka, Diane Feinstein's office in San Francisco, and the Eureka Court House. At the final rally of the season on November 15th, the cops went berserk and beat up and arrested peaceful demonstrators.

Activists also rode bicycles from Arcata to Eureka on National Anti-Police Brutality Day (and got beaten by police as they entered the freeway), climbed the Golden Gate Bridge tower (Woody Harrelson and the rest of the group still have legal hassles from this consciousness-raising activity and need our support), and walked the 350 miles from Headwaters to San Francisco.

Types of Direct Action

One direct action approach to halt or slow earth-raping logging operations is to block roads leading into the forest. Headwaters forest is located on private property with locked gates on all the roads leading in, so the gates themselves have been the location of most blockades.

Nonviolent direct action at the point of destruction is the main strategy of Earth First! in the Headwaters campaign. In the tradition of the I.W.W (the Industrial Workers of the World or "Wobblies"), Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and others, we believe in resistance to injustice and ecological destruction through civil disobedience by putting our bodies on the line. The direct actions happening in the backwoods include tree-sits, lockdowns, barricades and "cat & mouse."

Lockdowns were used to delay "salvage" operations this year. Steel pipe lockboxes with a piece of rebar welded in the middle are used. The loggers need generators and diamond tip circular saws to cut through the lockboxes. Using these techniques, activists effectively shut down logging in the Owl Creek and Allen Creek Grove of the 60,000 acre Headwaters Forest complex during the first week of November.

On Monday, November 4th, three people successfully halted salvage logging operations in Allen Creek for more than three hours. After loggers captured the group and bound them with plastic handcuffs, a woman activist cut them free. "Cat and Mouse" activities stopped logging for the rest of the day as loggers were occupied chasing and interacting with the group. Later, two of the three activists were recaptured and arrested.

That same day, seven people held off morning clearcutting in Owl Creek for an additional three hours. After locking and re-locking herself to various types of heavy equipment in the presence of loggers and security guards, a woman chained herself to a yarding machine. She had to be cut loose by the Humboldt County Sheriff's department with a diamond saw. A man acting as her support person was arrested with her.

"Cat & Mouse"

"Cat & Mouse" is a term we use for tree-hugging and getting in the way of the actual logging operations and then running away from the loggers, who have been deputized by the Humboldt County Sheriff and carry plastic handcuffs with them so they can make "citizens' arrests" and hold us until the cops arrive.

With large numbers of activists in the woods, cat & mouse can keep the loggers busy chasing us down, playing hide & seek instead of working -- though they are still on the payroll so they shouldn't be complaining. However they sometimes take out their aggression on us, and have choked and injured and threatened to kill those they have caught.

Barricades are used in the backwoods as at the gates. We gather anything that can be piled, pushed or pulled onto the logging roads -- slash, downed trees, rotting logs, rocks & boulders, barrels, old cars, tires, etc. Sometimes banners are hung from the barricades, and yarn is woven through and through to create a weblike tangled mess that is hard to undo.

Many activists prefer backwoods actions because it affords them the opportunity to see and experience the last of the ancient redwood groves. Many times we establish backwoods camps within the old growth adjacent to the points of destruction that are targeted for actions. Part of the job is to establish locations for these camps. Some recon teams spend several days in the woods scouting out locations for tree-sits or lockdowns.

The affinity groups sometimes remain in the woods before and after an action takes place. Spending time in the old growth and seeing the destruction that surrounds these precious groves is an important motivational experience for activists. One becomes aware of the beauty, serenity and life-affirming power of our last remaining native rain forests. The pure water that trickles from the streams is intoxicating to drink, and the forest floor covered with moss, ferns and fallen trees is beyond description. Then, seeing the clearcuts, landslides, failed roads, pampas grass growing where there used to be ancient trees, compacted soil, and eroded stream beds is nauseating and infuriating enough to make the most cautious of us want to lockdown to a CAT on sight!

At the base camps were those who came to do direct action and those who came to support them -- cooks, security, legal people, media people, drivers, and others. They came from all over the country to save the ecosystem, and, yes, to dismantle the corporate structure. "We came to save the trees and created a community." Needless to say, unless the powers-that-be preserve all 60,000 acres, we will continue to "come back to the trees".

For information or to help, contact:

North Coast Earth First!
c/o Mendocino Environmental Center
106 West Standley Ukiah, CA 95482
phone: 707/468-1660, 707/459-4110
[note: this URL did not work as of 28 April 1997]

Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)
P.O. Box 397
Garberville, CA 95542
phone: 707/923-2931

Mendocino Environmental Center
(address above)
phone: 707/468-1660

For up-to-date information:

This story was accompanied by a reproduction of a map of the Headwaters Forest area, originally created by Larry Evans and updated by R. Scott LaMorte. The map shows the proposed boundaries of the Headwaters Forest, the ancient forest groves within it, the nearby towns of Fortuna and Rohnerville, and U.S. Highway 101.

Phony deal for Headwaters

As the Partisan went to press, Charles Hurwitz was demanding that the federal and state governments sweeten the pot in the deal they've offered him in an attempt to "stop the war in the woods." This deal, brokered by Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein, has the support of only two "environmental" groups.

What's proposed is a land and money swap for two of the six ancient groves that make up the Headwaters Complex, with PL/MAXXAM getting state or Federal "surplus land" (such as oil reserves). The deal will not solve any of the activists' concerns even if it goes through.

First, any party can reject it at any time. Hurwitz or the government could wake up on the wrong side of the bed and decide the deal is off, and it will be canceled.

Secondly, it only protects two of the six groves. allowing MAXXAM a free hand in the four unprotected groves. The California Departments of Forestry and of Fish and Game would have to ignore their regulatory duties and approve whatever Pacific Lumber/MAXXAM wants to do. The Headwaters ecosystem will be irrevocably fragmented.

Thirdly, the workers have no guarantees of protection, either in the areas traded off to the government or when PL finishes clear-cutting areas not traded. The deal does not repay the PL pension fund which Hurwitz looted to pay off his junk bonds.

Fourthly, it does not repay the money from Hurwitz' savings and loan scam. Part of the agreement is that any suit by the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) against Hurwitz is separate from this deal.

Fifthly, the deal may give MAXXAM other resources to rip off, after it has been shown conclusively that MAXXAM is not a good steward for the earth, its resources, or the working people that it hires.

As Earth First!ers said when they threw cow dung and feathers around the Humboldt County Democratic Party headquarters just after the "agreement" was signed, this deal is "bullshit and fluff". Nothing in the past few months has changed this assessment one iota.

-- Dean Tuckerman

Climber Dan versus the Ewoks

When it's too late to stop the roads into the forest, about the only way to keep a tree standing is to put a person in it so that cutting a tree requires killing an activist. For 19 days in September/October 1996, a group of tree sitters defended the old growth of Owl Creek by weaving a web of platforms, hammocks, cargo nets and traverse lines into an arboreal village that earned them the nickname, "Ewoks." Home to as many as a dozen sitters at a time, the village was a important focus of resistance. Ewoks endured the stress of 24-hour industrial noise (saws and dozers by day, generators and floodlights by night), the felling of neighboring trees, death threats from sheriffs as well as loggers, and the incidents with the man known as "Climber Dan."

Dan's mission was to wear out the sitters by climbing occupied trees and cutting down food, water, sleeping bags and any piece of gear not directly holding a sitter. Ewoks evaded him by stowing their gear out of his reach. They defended their structures by unclipping from their anchors and jumping unprotected onto their webbing and traverse lines, 60 ft. above the forest floor. To ensure Climber Dan's tactical advantage, sheriffs trained rifles on the Ewoks and announced that anyone touching Dan or moving toward him would be shot.

Paramilitary cops, transferred from their regular duty of busting pot gardens in the Ecotopia hills, combed the forest floor to flush out and arrest ground support. These courageous and dedicated folk evaded security to supply the Ewoks with food and water. They were systematically picked off, with the exception of one remarkable brother who, even when hotly chased by crazed loggers, seemed able to simply disappear. With ground support pinned down for days, some tree sitters chose to fast, including one warrior woman, age 17, who stayed off the ground for twelve days.

At the end of the 19-day occupation, with most of the surrounding twenty-acre clear-cut finished, one occupied tree was rammed repeatedly by a dozer. The sitters didn't budge. The next day, flanked by armed guards, Climber Dan forcibly fitted sitters with a painful, constricting girth hitch and lowered them from the trees. Having watched two comrades suffer in this fashion, the others rappelled down and were caught on the ground.

-- Maggot

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Berkeley activist David Nadel killed

by Partisan staff

David Nadel, long-time Berkeley activist, died December 21 after being shot two nights earlier at the Ashkenaz, the music and dance cafe he founded and operated. David had gone to the door of the cafe to speak with an unknown man who had returned after being asked to leave because of his harassment of other patrons of the club.

Nadel had long been active in various struggles for peace and social justice. Most recently, he had put many hours into the fight to save People's Park from the efforts of the University of California to destroy it entirely and use the land for University building or parking lots.

The real goal of the University, the City of Berkeley, and its police was to drive from the Park the many homeless people who had come to use it in recent years. The University brought a "S.L.A.P.P. suit" ("Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation") against Nadel and three other activists, including Bob Sparks (another long-time fighter for people's rights who died in April 1995) seeking to prevent their continued defense of People's Park and of its users. (Carol Denny, a third defendant in the S.L.A.P.P. suit, continues to appeal from the injunction which the University won without a trial.)

Nadel, a long-time Peace and Freedom Party supporter, recognized the political motivations of the University and the City involved not merely land use, but were part of the effort to hide the problems of poverty and homelessness by driving the poor and the homeless away from areas where they might be seen by the "good citizens" and students of the city, who thus could ignore the reality of these problems.

"Corporate capitalism many times has laid itself open for all the world to see its ugly basic tenets -- the exploitation of people & the earth's resources so as to squeeze every drop of profit out of life. In the 1930s when working folks fought for better wages, working conditions & health care, corporate capitalism responded with violence, injunctions, & jails to crush worker's strikes & unionization attempts. In the 1960s the system exposed itself again as it invaded Viet Nam for cheap tin, tungsten & rubber, killing 1/2 million Vietnamese and 60,000 Americans. The corporations literally followed the troops in. And now the world- wide rape of the earth's resources by global corporate earth suckers has continued to where even the remote parts of the earth show pollution. Cancer clusters are everywhere! A clean environment & capitalist exploitation of the earth is a contradiction! Let us outlaw greed (tax the rich 'till there ain't no more rich), spread the wealth around, slow down...for fear we irrepairably foul our nest to where cockroaches inherit the earth."

-- David Nadel, December 1996

This story was accompanied by an uncredited photograph showing the front of Ashkenaz, with several hand-lettered signs "We [heart] David" above bunches of flowers on the sidewalk, all under a marquee reading "Tax the rich 'til there ain't no more rich!"

Its caption reads: "A final political message by People's Park activist David Nadel stands above the memorial tributes to him placed by community members in fromt of Ashkenaz, the music and folk dance club and community center which he founded."

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Labor Briefs

by Partisan staff

Coastwide Dock Shutdown

West Coast ports from Los Angeles to Alaska were shut down January 20 as the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) staged a solidarity strike to support longshoremen in Liverpool, England. The ILWU shutdown was part of a worldwide day of action involving 105 cities and ports in 27 countries in support of the year and a half old strike of Liverpool longshoremen.

Victory for La Conexion Familiar Workers

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that the Sprint Corp. must rehire and pay full back wage and benefit compensation to 177 workers, mostly Hispanic women, whose San Francisco telemarketing office was shut down during a union organizing drive in July of 1994. The NLRB ruled that Sprint's sudden closing of the La Conexion Familiar office one week before a scheduled union election violated federal labor law.

New Otani Hotel Demonstration

Over 2,000 demonstrators packed Los Angeles streets on February 19th in support of the year-old boycott of the New Otani Hotel. (See Partisan No. 9.)

University Clericals Organize

The Coalition of Union Employees (CUE) has filed a petition signed by nearly 40% of the University of California's 18,000 clerical workers with the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB). This is the first step in a recertification election to qualify the rank-and-file controlled independent union as bargaining agent for all clerical employees in the University system.

USC Janitors Vote for Union

In an overwhelming vote, 132 of the 190 janitors who clean the University of Southern California's campus and USC/Norris Cancer Center voted for representation by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The March 17 and 18 vote was a "community election" bypassing the tortuous NLRB process. USC janitors work for ServiceMaster.

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Mumia Abu-Jamal gets support from Santa Cruz City Council

by Partisan staff

On March 25, the Santa Cruz City Council became the first government body in the nation to pass a resolution demanding a new trial for Pennsylvania death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Abu-Jamal is now on Pennsylvania's death row awaiting execution for the murder of a police officer, but the courts are refusing to hear strong new evidence of his innocence and of a police cover-up in his original trial.

In their resolution, Santa Cruz council members requested the state of Pennsylvania grant Abu-Jamal's request for a new trial, and that he be given a stay of execution until then.

"There is widespread support for a new trial in this case, particularly because of the witnesses for the prosecution who now recant their earlier testimony, which was used to convict Mumia in his first trial," said the resolution, which has been sent to the Pennsylvania governor.

The council resolution stated that "the taking of a person's life by the state is something that should only be done, if ever, with solid, incontrovertible, and certain evidence that demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that a capital crime has been committed; ... that is hardly the situation in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal."

U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, expressed tentative support for the resolution and has asked the Congressional Black Caucus for input on the case. Farr is an opponent of the death penalty.

The Peace and Freedom Party played a leading part in the broad- based campaign which led to the passage of the resolution. They are now working to counter a barrage of hostile propaganda from the Fraternal Order of Police and its supporters.

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Sum and Substance

by Clark F. Hull

Most of us most of the time want peace. Why does peace continue to be a "will-o-the-wisp"? There are basic reasons for this failure.

Fundamentally, we have a society based on competition and exploitation, rather than cooperation. This means it is inevitable that we have winners and losers, or haves and have- nots if you will. It means the haves have the power to exploit the have-nots, and gain still more economic advantage. This is not justice. In the long run, we cannot expect peace without justice.

The struggles between economic classes, and between nations competing for economic dominance or survival eventually escalates to open warfare. The time always comes in a society based on competition and exploitation when the losers can't take it anymore. Domestically, we see some of the results as legal robbery at the top begets illegal robbery at the bottom. Building more prisons is not the answer. It only compounds the misery without getting at the cause.

There is a solution. Peace can be achieved through the development of a democratic system of production for use. Briefly, cooperation without exploitation. There you have the basis for the dream of a world-wide free association of cooperative commonwealths where at last it will be practical to embrace the idea that we are all members of the human family.

Which means we must have (in the words of Norman Thomas) social ownership and democratic control of the commanding heights of the economy. Anything less, like the New Deal, only helps the capitalists save their dirty rotten system.


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Abolition 2000: for total abolition of nuclear weapons by century's end

by Partisan staff

The April 1995 international conference on review and extension of the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty, made one fact clear to activists from around the world: the issue of abolition of nuclear weapons, rather than merely limiting them to the countries already having them, was not on the agenda. The result was the formation of the Abolition 2000 Network, dedicated to the complete abolition of nuclear weapons by the year 2000. Its founding document has been endorsed by over 700 non-governmental organizations on six continents.

The founding statement opens with a basic truth: "A secure and livable world for our children and grandchildren and all future generations requires that we achieve a world free of nuclear weapons and redress the environmental degredation and human suffering that is the legacy of fifty years of nuclear weapons testing and production."

The continued possession of nuclear weapons by any nation is a threat to all of humanity. Not only do the weapons themselves pose a threat, but the continued possession of such weapons causes other nations to secretely develop and deploy chemical and biological weapons, in violation of treaty obligations and of international law, because they are seen as the only "answer" they can possess to threats against them by the nuclear superpowers.

The Abolition 2000 statement sets forth 11 measures which it calls upon all states, and particularly the nuclear weapons states, to implement in order to achieve true abolition. They include immediate negotiation, and conclusion by the year 2000, of a convention requiring phased elimination of all nuclear weapons, with provisions for effective verification and enforcement; an immediate and unconditional pledge not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons; and prohibition of nuclear weapons research, design, development and testing in whatever form, including computer simulations.

In the words of the Abolition 2000 statement, "A world free of nuclear weapons is a shared aspiration of humanity. This goal cannot be achieved in a non-proliferation regime that authorizes the possession of nuclear weapons by a small group of states. Our common security requires the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Our objective is definite and unconditional abolition of nuclear weapons."

For more information, or if your group wishes to endorse Abolition 2000, contact Pamela Meidell, Facilitator, Abolition 2000 Global Network, P.O. Box 220, Port Hueneme, CA 93044; telephone (805)985-5073, e-mail

Regional Abolition 2000 group formed

As the Clinton administration geared up for a round of "subcritical" nuclear tests in the Nevada desert, 250 anti-war activists met in Oakland on February 22 to form a regional "Abolition 2000" network. The conference discussed support work for an April 1 "Nuclear Fools Day" at the Nevada Test Site, and intervention at the meeting of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee later in April.

For further information, contact Peace & Freedom Party, which is one of over 700 organizations which have now signed the Abolition 2000 statement.

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Peace and Freedom Party Looking Toward the Twenty-first Century

by C.T. Weber, State Chair Peace and Freedom Party of California

Created in 1967 out of the ashes of the conflict in Southeast Asia, the struggles for liberation in the ghettos and barrios of America, and the difficult efforts to unionize farm workers, the Peace and Freedom Party obtained ballot status in 1968.

Hope and optimism were high as we entered our first election, but defeatism set in when Mike Hannon received "only" 25% of the vote for Los Angeles County District Attorney. By 1975, we had fallen to an all-time low in registration and organization. But we were determined, and we started to grow. We became better organized and starting running more candidates.

But something was missing. Since 1968, the Peace and Freedom Party has limited itself to California. No political party can last forever as a one state party. If the hopes and dreams are to spread to other states, then we must be ready to give some leadership to the development of progressive third party forces in other states.

At our August 1996 California State Convention we elected new leadership with new ideas for change. We want to reorganize the California party and to make it more visible to the public by running more candidates to represent our vision of the future. We held a conference in March to examine our party and its organization and help us move forward.

We are interested in establishing contacts in other states. Several states will be having statewide elections for Governor or U.S. Senate in 1998, and if people are truly interested in building a national party by the year 2000 we need to prepare for a national convention in 1999. Ballot access is not easy in most states and will require a lot of time, struggle, organization and persistence to make it happen. Maintaining ballot access is even more difficult in many states.

If you are interested in working on this process, contact us at: Peace and Freedom Party of California, P O Box 741270, Los Angeles, CA 90004. Our telephone number is (213) 759-9PFP. We will try to put you in contact with others in your state. If you have names of other persons who you think would be interested in a Peace and Freedom Party in their state, please send them to us and we will contact them.

The people of the United States are in need of a new party with a platform dedicated to peace, ecology, freedom, social and economic justice, feminism, democracy and socialism. We think the Peace and Freedom Party can be that party. Join us!

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Around the Peace and Freedom Party ...

by Partisan staff

Peace and Freedom Party activists from around the state gathered in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains on March 22 and 23 for a conference on building the party. Those present noted the small number of people active in P&F and the huge tasks we face. In small groups and as a whole, they spent the weekend discussing ways to increase registration and participation, recruit more candidates for office and run more serious campaigns.

There was consensus that P&F can't exist just as an electoral party, but has to continue being active in the struggles of the day. Attendees agreed to present a series of goals on registration and activity to the next meeting of the State Central Committee.

The first goal has already been met. A new Peace and Freedom Party state office has opened in Los Angeles, giving us a central place for work.

Alameda County P&F is working hard with People for Bread, Work & Justice, a new coalition which brought 1,500 people into the streets of Oakland to protest the new welfare cuts and attacks on working class people in general.

Sonoma County P&F was one of the sponsors of a forum on proportional representation which drew 35 people despite a driving rainstorm.

P&F has played a leading role in organizing support for Mumia Abu-Jamal in Santa Cruz. (See story on page 4.)

Through its continuing membership in the Independent Progressive Politics Network, P&F is helping to build the Independent Politics Summit in Decatur, Illinois, May 2-4. The conference will feature a "mini-institute" on proportional representation and electoral reform, and sessions on the lessons of the Decatur strikes, the global economy, and building unity on the left. For information, contact IPPN, P.O. Box 170610, Brooklyn, NY 11217; 718/624-7807; or e-mail them at

Next Peace and Freedom Party State Central Committee meeting: May 17-18, Los Angeles.


P. O. Box 741270, Los Angeles 90004
P. O. Box 24764, Oakland 94623
P.O. Box 2325, Aptos 95001


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) 674-8981.

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 the first Wednesday of each month except January 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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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 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 1997 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 Please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you would like articles, artwork or photographs returned.

Issue No. 10. Closing date April 2, 1997.

Copy deadline for next issue: May 15, 1997.

Back Issues of the Partisan Available

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.


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