Come out, eat some food, hear some music and news, and help build the delegations in solidarity with the waterfront Brothers and Sisters of Buenaventura, Colombia!
STOP THE MURDER OF UNION WORKERS!
ATTEND AN EVENING fundraiser for
AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL!
“The basic aspiration and desires of the workers throughout the world are the same. Workers are workers the world over.
International solidarity, particularly to maritime workers, is essential to their protection and a guarantee of reserve economic power in times of strife.”
–VIIIth Guiding Principle
FRIDAY, decEMBER 12th
6 pm reception, 7pm dinner
With music, guests and a live video address from the Longshoremen of Buenaventura, Colombia!
seattle mlk labor temple, 2800 1st ave
Rising up out of slavery!
More union members are murdered in Colombia each year than anywhere else on Earth. Less than ten percent of reported violent crimes against Colombian union members are ever prosecuted. Most of Buenaventura’s 370,000 inhabitants are Afro-Colombian (African descendants of slaves brought to Latin America over centuries by the Spanish). Over 80 percent of Buenaventura’s people live in poverty, and a third are unemployed, four times the Colombian national average. Two-thirds of Buenaventura’s homes have no sewage connection, and almost half have no drinking water. Life expectancy in Buenaventura is 51. Today, Longshoremen in Colombia’s largest port city of Buenaventura are fighting back! Against all odds, The Union Portuaria De Buenaventura conducted a month-long strike there in May 2013, and two strikes the year before that, in which all of the strikers risked their lives. The Union Portuaria then sent its president, Jhon Jairo Castro, on a voyage to the US to ask for solidarity from workers here. In Seattle, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and African American Longshore Coalition are answering that call. This event will raise funds to send our labor-community delegation from the Puget Sound to Buenaventura.
Oppose the privatization of earth’s waterfronts!
The Colombian Port Authority was privatized in 1994 and replaced by the privately-run Regional Port Society of Buenaventura. A second private company, TECSA S.A., runs port operations under contract. TECSA then brings in a third private “intermediary” which hires a fourth private “temporary employment agency” company. The agency uses a fifth private entity, a “labor contractor”, who has no office and simply stands on the street hiring longshoremen. The contractor has no financial resources for meeting a payroll, thus forcing workers to wait weeks to get paid, or to sell the promise of a paycheck to a sixth private company known as a loan shark. Corporations worldwide are looking to Buenaventura as their future vision for what every port in North, South and Central America will look like. In particular, Philippines based International Container Services Inc (ICTSI) is converting Buenaventura’s Aguadulce Peninsula into a new container terminal that will vastly expand the influence of both ICTSI and the present Buenaventura labor-management model. ICTSI is complicit in labor and human rights abuses in Colombia, the Philippines and Honduras, and is also attacking the jurisdiction of the ILWU ( www.ilwu.org/ilwu-refuses-to-stand-down-as-rogue-pma-member-ictsi-continues-to-violate-longshore-contract/ ).
Support the continuation of Pacific coast solidarity!
In 1937, many West Coast maritime workers went to went to Spain to join the international fight against fascism, in defense of Spain’s labor unions and collectivized farms ( www.ilwu.org/nate-thornton-ilwu-retiree-brigadista-internationalist-1915-2011 ). Although the fascists and their allies crushed the Spanish Republic, the legacy of these veterans stands out as the beginning of a long coastwide tradition of working class internationalism. In 1939, the West Coast Longshoremen honored the first major West-Coast-wide community based international picket line when young Chinese students protested the export of scrap iron that was being used by Japan for its invasion of China (www.ilwu19.com/history/1930.htm ). Supported by sailors, warehouse workers, truck drivers, and progressive residents of all West Coast towns, these workers continued the militant struggle against both fascism and apartheid throughout the next four decades, taking action in solidarity with workers from pre-statehood Hawaii to Chile to South Africa ( www.ilwu.org/death-of-nelson-mandela-recalls-decades-of-ilwu-support-for-anti-apartheid-struggle ). The tradition continued into the nineties with the Longshoremen’s support for the sacked Liverpool Dockers, and for the wrongfully imprisoned labor journalist Mumia Abu Jamal ( www.labournet.net/docks2/9905/mumia1.htm ). In May 2008, the Longshoremen shut down most of the West Coast US ports in protest against the US government’s war on Iraq.
Awards will be given at dinner to recognize particular labor organizations for outstanding achievements in working class outreach and solidarity.
Contact APRI President Gabriel Prawl to reserve a table: firstname.lastname@example.org ; (253) 886-8129