Monday, December 19, 2011

Round up of the December 12 Port Shutdown

Links has a round up of coverage of the Shutdown of West Coast Ports on December 12, by the Occupy Groups up the US and Canadian West Coast. I will be posting some important articles regarding the relationship between Occupy and the labour movement.

While any action by Occupy is likely to draw the ire and opposition of more conservative wings of the labour movement, it is also clear that sections of the leadership the historically militant International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which has given support to the Occupy movement, took a publicly hostile attitude to the shutdown of ports worked by the union's members.

The character of this opposition remains unclear with a number of possible explanations having been raised, hostility by the union to incursions into the ILWU's internal democracy, an effort by the ILWU leadership to separate the union from the action in order to avoid any possible legal action for breaching no strike clauses in the union's contracts, and the development of a more conservative strata within the unions leadership.

In my opinion the lack of clarity of regarding the nature of the engagement or lack of engagement by the ILWU leaderships with the shutdown suggests that a central challenge for progressive movement's such as Occupy, is to build the level of engagement with the labour movement, in order to build real and lasting alliances to empower working people and their communities.


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Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

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