2/2: City Branch Meeting

THURS, Feb 2
7-9 PM
The Summit
420 E Pike St
Enter on the west side of Summit Ave, between E Pike and E Pine Sts

Egypt's Unfinished Revolution
Jan 25 of this year-- one year after the massive day of demonstrations that ultimately led to the fall of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak-- Cairo's Tahrir square was once again the site of massive protest. While Mubarak is gone, Egyptians continue to face economic injustice and harsh repression at the hands of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Discuss the latest developments and implications for the future of Egypt.

Read more
Solidarity with Egypt's revolution
Egyptians are hungry for dignity
Power and wealth to the people

In December we voted to raise a total of $8000 as a district for the Center for Economic Research and Social Change's annual fund drive. CERSC is the publisher of Haymarket Books and the International Socialist Review, invaluable resources for arming a new generation of activists with ideas to change the world. We'll discuss where we're at with our fundraising goals.

Read more
An appeal from Haymarket Books

Police Brutality Update
Report on latest developments and plans for building community organizing meetings/ study groups on The New Jim Crow.


1/26: Reform or Revolution Educational Meeting UPDATED LOCATION

THURS, Jan 26
UPDATE: Univ of Washington Thomson Hall Room 211 (campus map)

RSVP on facebook

Written by German socialist, Rosa Luxemburg, in 1900, Reform or Revolution discusses the relationship between reforms under capitalism and the revolutionary goal of a new economic and social order. As socialists, we support both! The Occupy movement raises questions about what's next and the question of the role of movement demands. Join us for this exciting and timely discussion!

While reading the book is strongly encouraged, it is not necessary to join in the discussion.

The book is available online through the Marxist Internet Archive or for purchase from Haymarket Books.


1/19 City Meeting Cancelled

Due to the weather, we have decided to cancel tonight's meeting.

Stay warm and safe!

The solidarity we need for Longview

By Sam Bernstein, Dan Trocolli and Darrin Hoop
Originally published at socialistworker.org

LONGSHORE WORKERS in the small city of Longview, Wash., are in a life-or-death struggle for their livelihoods and community against multinational conglomerate EGT Development.

The 200 members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 21 have been escalating their struggle to force EGT--an international consortium of several Fortune 500 companies that has built a new $200 million state-of-the-art grain terminal in Longview--to honor a nearly 90-year-old commitment to union longshore labor working the West Coast ports.

In the course of the struggle, ILWU members and their supporters have organized mass pickets of hundreds to block trains from bringing grain to the terminal. The union rightly maintains that it is protected by the First Amendment right to protest on public, port-owned property.

The company and the state have taken a hard line. Local 21 is up against multiple global corporations, heavily militarized police and private security, the National Labor Relations Board, and another union--Operating Engineers Local 701--which is providing scab labor. Some 75 of Local 21's members have been arrested. The local has been fined more than $300,000. Its members have faced injunctions, pepper spray and relentless police harassment and brutality.

As the date for the first operational ship to be loaded at the EGT terminal nears, labor and Occupy activists are planning for mass protests in Longview. The rise of the Occupy movement has provided a perfect opportunity for wide layers of working people to mobilize in support of, and in solidarity with, Local 21 and their struggle.

On January 2, the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Counties Central Labor Council--the umbrella union body for the Longview area--adopted a resolution calling for "friends of labor and the '99 percent' everywhere to come to the aid of ILWU Local 21, and to support them in any way possible in their fight against multinational conglomerate EGT." The labor council call requests "that anyone willing to participate in a community and labor protest in Longview, Washington, of the first EGT grain ship do so when called upon by this body."

The following day, ILWU International President Robert McEllrath, who was arrested last September as part of a protest that blocked a train headed to the terminal, issued a letter calling for action when the ship arrives: He wrote:
When the time comes, [we will] publicize action that supporters of the ILWU can take to advance the cause against EGT and protest government collusion to protect commerce at the expense of workers and community...We welcome outside support for our efforts against EGT.
Occupy activists up and down the West Coast have responded to the call for solidarity and are in the midst of preparing for caravans to Longview when the first ship comes in.

However, a minority of Occupy activists are putting this potential unity in jeopardy through attitudes and tactics that are hostile to the ILWU and organized labor. This came to dramatic head at a Longview solidarity meeting held in Seattle on January 6.


UW The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx Series

Join the UW ISO for our series of talks and discussions about the revolutionary economic and political ideas of one of the world's most controversial and influential philosophers. 

The discussions will take place in Thomson 211 at UW on the following dates:

January 12th 5:30PM - Socialism Not Capitalism: Capitalism is a system set up by and one that benefits the 1%. Socialism is a society based on workers collectively owning and controlling the wealth their labor creates.

January 26th 7:00PM - Reform or Revolution: We support reforms to improve our lives under capitalism, but they won't end inequalities. Capitalism must be replaced by a democratic workers state based on councils of workers delegates.

February 9th 5:30PM - Worker's Power: Workers of the World Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!" Socialism is working class self-emancipation. Only mass struggles of workers can put an end to capitalism. 

February 23rd 7:00PM - Equality and Liberation: Capitalism divides the working class based on sexual, gender, racial and other distinctions. The liberation of the oppressed is essential to socialist revolution and impossible without it. 

March 1st 5:30PM - Revolutionary Party: To achieve socialism, the most militant workers and students must be organized into a revolutionary socialist party. The ISO is committed to playing a role in laying the foundations for such a party. 


1/12: City Meeting

THURS, Jan 12
The Summit
420 E Pike St (map)
Enter on the west side of Summit Ave, between E Pike and E Pine Sts
Looking for a UW Meeting? Click here.

How do we build solidarity between labor and occupy?

We have a historic opportunity to connect the occupy movement with the crucial labor struggle of ILWU Local 21. Discuss local developments and the debates that have arisen among activists in the course of building solidarity here in Seattle.

Read more:
Take a stand for the ILWU
Longview's call for solidarity
Tactics and the port shutdown
Uniting to resist the employer's attacks

Branch Organization Discussion
With new and exciting opportunities for organizing in the new year, we'll discuss branch organizing priorities and areas of work.

Police Brutality Work Update
An update on the latest plans for the upcoming protest demanding Police Chief Diaz resign Saturday, January 14.
RSVP to event on facebook.


Take a stand for the ILWU

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is battling to get multinational conglomerate EGT Development to honor the union's West Coast contract and use ILWU labor at a new $200 million grain terminal. When picketing disrupted test-run operations at the terminal, the company countered with harassment and state repression--ILWU Local 21 has been fined over $300,000, and at least 75 of its 200 members face some form of citation, fine or arrest.

Sometime between the beginning of January and early February, EGT plans on unloading its first barge grain shipment using scab labor--and then loading its first scab ship.

On January 2, the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Counties Central Labor Council --the umbrella union body for the Longview, Wash., area--adopted a resolution calling on union members and supporters to participate in a protest against the first EGT grain ship. Below, we reprint the resolution passed by the council and a call to action from one of its officers.

Resolution of the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Counties Central Labor Council
Adopted January 2, 2012

Whereas: the ILWU has always been at the forefront in the struggle for social justice and better working conditions. And,

Whereas: ILWU Local 21 has inspired working people worldwide. And,

Whereas: ILWU jurisdiction is under an unprecedented attack. And,

Whereas: It is clear to all working people that EGT is seeking to race to the bottom and destroy a long history of good family wage jobs throughout the area. And,

Whereas: The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Counties Central Labor Council, hereinafter called the Council, recognize the blatant union-busting tactics of EGT, as well as the danger of losing the ILWU as a powerful ally for the working class. And,

Be it Resolved: That this Council call out to friends of labor and the "99 percent" everywhere to come to the aid of ILWU Local 21, and to support them in any way possible in their fight against multinational conglomerate EGT. And,

Be it further Resolved: That this Council request that anyone willing to participate in a community and labor protest in Longview, Washington, of the first EGT grain ship do so when called upon by this body. And,

Finally be it Resolved: That the Council forward this resolution to all local unions, the Washington State Labor Council, Oregon Federation of Labor, California Labor Federation, the AFL-CIO and all other relevant organizations.

Respectfully submitted,
Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Counties Central Labor Council Executive Board
Jeff Washburn, president
Tim Pfiefer, vice president
Kyle Mackey, secretary/treasurer
Lynda Hart, trustee
Dale Barto, trustee
Lowell Lovgren, trustee
Rex Osborne, seargent at arms
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A Call to Action
IT IS estimated that sometime in late January or early February, the EGT facility at the port of Longview will receive its first grain ship to be loaded at its berth. The name and timing of this ship will undoubtedly be kept secret until the last possible moment.

It is likely there will be a few days to as little as 24 hours' notice of when the ship will dock. Notification will be given via the Internet and any other relevant means of networking throughout the country. We are imploring all able working class people willing to take time out of his or her own lives, to come to Longview, Washington, for a historic protest.

This is the time for workers everywhere to take a stand. Unions and the working class standard of living that have benefited from collective bargaining for so long are in danger of being extracted completely. You can see this systematically taking place over the last 30 years or longer, and especially in recent times. Unions have lost ground over this period of time due to unjust anti-labor laws, corporate influence on the government, and complacency on the part of organized labor among other reasons.

We recognize the danger of, and view the government attack on, collective bargaining of public employees as a warning shot to labor as a whole. Wisconsin was ground zero and the spark that awoke the sleeping giant that is labor. Workers are beginning to remember there is indeed strength in numbers, regardless of how many unjust laws are made to divide us. We have not been pacified long enough as to give up our constitutional rights or to give up all the gains our forefathers fought and died to achieve over the last hundred years.

People inherently ask WHY? Why should I, or others come to the aid of the ILWU? Why should I care, and what does it matter if this ship gets loaded and they lose this struggle?

The ILWU has a proud history of being arguably the strongest labor union in the world for almost 80 years. The secret of this success lies in the bottom up, rank-and-file democratic structure. This empowers and involves every member. And the intelligence and foresight of the leaders who knew without unity on the entire West Coast and unity with the working class, there was no strength.
EGT is attempting to break the ILWU. They are operating on public port property where the ILWU have worked for decades. They are in violation of their lease agreement, which states that the ILWU is to be the workforce on port property. Longshoremen have done work in port grain elevators before the ILWU was formed in 1934. If EGT succeeds, they will have essentially broken the ILWU.

First, they will set a precedent that work on public port docks is no longer automatically longshore jurisdiction. Then within less than a year, when the northwest grain handlers' agreement is set to be negotiated, all the other grain elevators will seek to either go non-ILWU or to match the eroded standard EGT creates. Shortly thereafter, in 2014, the ILWU will negotiate its master contract with the Pacific Maritime Association. If they lose, you can bet the PMA will take notice and hit hard.
Most importantly to note is that grain accounts for 30 percent of the ILWU health and welfare package. If you lose a third of your bargaining power and your traditional jurisdiction on port property, what are you left with? Either no ILWU, or a union that would resemble nothing like what it once was. There would be little or no collective power up and down the West Coast, and no way to fight for social justice or defend the working class, just as the ILWU has done for so long, in its entrenched and strategic position at the gates of international commerce.

Longshoremen have traditionally been a rough and tough bunch, but they always make sure to educate their members on the importance of history, unity and the power of collective bargaining. People nowadays forget or have not been taught their own history. They forget what it means to cross a picket and become a scab the rest of their life. For 30 years or more, we have been sliding downhill, while some would argue unions have outlived their time. The reality is unions are the last defense when the imperfect system of checks and balances within our government fails to serve the interests of the workers.

The class struggle never really goes away. Right now, the rich and the ruling class are attempting to deal a blow that labor might never recover from. The ILWU has always been the vanguard of labor everywhere. Today, the ILWU's slogan of "An injury to one is an injury to all" couldn't be any more pertinent for all organizations. So please, if you believe in a better future for the 99 percent of us that work for a living, do what you can to support ILWU Local 21.

"The most important word in the language of the working class is solidarity"--Harry Bridges

In Solidarity,
Kyle Mackey, secretary/treasurer, Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council and ILWU Local 21 member

Interview: Longview's call for solidarity

In the small city of Longview in Washington state, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 21 is locked in a battle to force multinational conglomerate EGT Development to use ILWU labor at a new $200 million grain terminal--the first new terminal built on the West Coast in the last 25 years.

When picketing by hundreds of unionists and their supporters disrupted test run operations at the terminal, the company countered with harassment and state repression--Local 21 has been fined over $300,000, and at least 75 of its 200 members face some form of citation, fine or arrest. However, in a setback for EGT, the two cases that have gone to court so far have resulted in acquittals for Local 21 members.

Sometime between the beginning of January and early February, EGT plans on unloading its first barge grain shipment using scab labor--and then loading its first scab ship with grain destined for Asia. Local 21 President Dan Coffman summarized the stakes in this modern-day labor war by saying, "We view this as an attempt by corporations to try to break the strength of the ILWU."

In December, Occupy Longview put out a call "to all Occupies, from New York City down to Florida, all the way through to the West Coast, to join us in solidarity in Longview" in protest against the scab barge and ship when they arrive at the Port of Longview. Paul Nipper, a spokesperson for Occupy Longview, talked to Darrin Hoop about the importance of the call for people to caravan to Longview--and why Local 21's struggle is crucial not only for the Longview community, but for people all over the U.S.

WHY DID Occupy Longview (OLV) vote to call for a caravan to Longview to support ILWU Local 21 in its struggle against EGT?

THE GROUP voted to move forward with this action because we view Longview as ground zero in the labor movement right now. The ILWU is considered to be one of the most powerful unions in the country and world as well. If "the corporations" are successful in busting up a union as strong as the ILWU, who's next? The answer is obvious--anyone who gets in their way.

WHY IS this struggle one the Occupy movement nationally should support?

THE OCCUPY movement is all about supporting the middle class and trying to level the playing field between corporate power and people. Union workers are part of the 99 percent. It is a verifiable fact that when unions are strong, the middle class is strong. It's no coincidence that with the decline of union membership, the rest of the middle class has suffered.

The members of OLV are all in agreement that unions have the final grip on our voices in the workplace, and even in our unbalanced political system. We also agree that it is inevitable that if the remaining unions in this country are overpowered and busted up, our voice will no longer be heard in both arenas.

The brutal legacy of Seattle police

By Johnny Mao
Orginally published at socialistworker.org

THE MEDIA spotlight on the Seattle Police Department (SPD) grew wider and more intense on December 15 when the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) released the results of an 11-month-long civil rights investigation.

The shooting murder of John Williams in August 2010 by officer Ian Birk and subsequent public outcry spurred the federal investigation, and the results have become another firestorm for discussing serial police brutality in Seattle.

Evidence in the report, corroborated by the accounts of citizens and SPD documents, shows a "pattern or practice" in which the SPD violated the U.S. Constitution by engaging in excessive force with "deficiencies in SPD's training, policies and oversight," where "starting from the top, SPD supervisors often fail to meet their responsibility to provide oversight of the use of force" with "troubling practices that could have a disproportionate impact on minority communities."

The report also found that excessive force was enabled by "vague" use-of-force policy, "pervasive underreporting" and a lack of "true finding nor remediation" in failing to seriously punish any abuses of authority.

Police Chief John Diaz and Mayor Michael McGinn were caught off-guard by the announcement, and their meeting with the Feds reportedly "ended in raised voices and bitter accusations by city and police officials, upset at the Justice Department's findings," according to the Seattle Times.

In anticipation of the Justice Department announcement, police officials proposed their own review of police shootings through an independent auditor. "It is my hope that the DOJ will be as cooperative as we have been and allow the police department to examine and study the data that helped them come to their conclusions," Seattle Police Officers' Guild President Rich O'Neill said in a statement.

McGinn, Diaz and O'Neill attempted to defend themselves in public statements. "[Diaz] has implemented reforms to [SPD] training, community outreach and professional accountability, and continues to do so," said McGinn.

"I want to make this clear," Diaz told reporters after the results of the report were released. "The department is not broken."

However, Seattle NAACP President James Bible has said that the SPD needs to "clean house," echoing calls of community groups, such as El Comité Pro-Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social, who are calling for Diaz to resign. "The Seattle-King County NAACP has been aware of the pattern of excessive force for the past 25 years," said Bible.


1/5: UW Meeting

Welcome back from Break! We'll have our first meeting of the quarter at 5:30pm this Thursday in Thomson 211. 

1. Intro to the UW ISO (30 min)

We'll talk about what the UW ISO hopes to accomplish this quarter and answer questions about how our group works on campus and off.

2. Labor War in Longview (45 min)

A labor struggle of national importance is taking place just two hours south of us in Longview by members of ILWU Local 21 and the union busting grain conglomerate EGT. Solidarity is urgently needed as EGT is expected to unload a scab ship in late January or early February. Hear about organizing plans in Seattle including a solidarity meeting this Friday (see announcement below).

Read more about the struggle:
Labor war in Longview
Rallying support in Longview
The battle of Longview
ILWU Local 21 Facebook Page

3. UW General Assembly (30 min)

Next Tuesday UW will be having it's first General Assembly to talk about what we want for our campus, outside bureaucratic channels.We'll discuss the GA and how to help organize for it.

Check out  http://uwgenassembly.org/ for more info


1/4: City Branch Meeting Agenda

This week we're having our City meeting on Wed night so that we can attend Thursday's event BDS: A Call to Action with Omar Barghouti and we'll also be in a new location, just a few blocks from our previous meeting space at SCCC.

Wed 1/4 7pm
The Summit, First Covenant church's new meeting space at the site of the old Honda and Yamaha dealership on the corner of Pike and Summit (420 E.Pike, Seattle, WA 98122).
Please come to the Side Door on the West side of Summit Street half way down the block between Pike and Pine, next to the parking garage entrance. 


1) Fighting Police Brutality (45 min)
After the release of the Department of Justice's damning report on the serial racism and brutality of the Seattle Police Department, organizing is underway to demand justice and accountability!
Full text of the DOJ report
The Seattle Police Department's Epic Crash: A History, in Brief
Defend the 99%: Bring Diaz Down

2) Labor war in Longview (45 min)
A labor struggle of national importance is taking place just two hours south of us in Longview by members of ILWU Local 21 and the union busting grain conglomerate EGT. Solidarity is urgently needed as EGT is expected to unload a scab ship in late January or early February. Hear about organizing plans in Seattle including a solidarity meeting this Friday (see announcement below).
Labor war in Longview
Rallying support in Longview
The battle of Longview
ILWU Local 21 Facebook Page

3) Vote on meeting location (20 min)
We'll be meeting in a new space -- and we have the opportunity to continue meeting here. We'll discuss the costs and vote on whether to continue meeting weekly at The Summit.

4) Announcements (10)


1/5 & 1/6 Events: BDS: A Call to Action with Omar Barghouti

THURS, Jan 5
6:30 PM
Bloedel Hall, St Mark's Cathedral
1245 10th Ave E, Seattle

BDS Action Workshop -- FRI, Jan 6
6:30PM, AFSC Meeting Hall
9th Ave and NE 40th St, University District

Omar Barghouti is an independent Palestinian commentator and human rights activist. He is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Barghouti's book BDS: The Struggle for Palestinian Rights is available from Haymarket Books.

1/6: Solidarity Meeting: Defend ILWU 21

Friday, Jan. 6th, 6pm
Labor Temple, Hall 8, 2800 1st Avenue (at Broad), Seattle

4pm - Come early for a planning meeting for solidarity caravan to Longview to meet the ship

Speakers From:
- ILWU Local 21 (Longview)
- Million Workers March, S.F.
- Jack Heyman, ILWU 10 (retired)
- Occupy Oakland
- Occupy Seattle

Longshore workers are battling for their jobs and our future. The multinational EGT is trying to bust International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 21 by hiring scab labor in their new grain terminal. West Coast Occupy forces are mobilizing to support
their struggle and help block an expected grain ship in late January.

Join us in discussing how to build an effective movement that can meet our needs as workers -- unionists, unemployed, low-waged and casualized.

Donate at the meeting or send contributions to:
ILWU Local 21, Attn: EGT Fighting Fund,
617 14th Avenue, Longview, WA 98632

For more info call 206-424-4547 or email seattleportsolidarity@gmail.com

Sponsored by members of Occupy Seattle