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These Dockworkers Just Showed the Labor Movement How to Shut Down Fascists

Local 10 members gather to denounce fascism and white supremacy. (Courtesy of Ed Ferris, ILWU Local 10 President)  

  • The labor movement has been greatly weakened by decades of anti-unionism, but the ILWU and Local 10 remain unbowed. Other unions should follow their lead. And, for the 89 percent of American workers not in unions, they must be reminded that individual acts of resistance—while noble—are nowhere as effective as collective action. Sadly, there will be many more opportunities to act.
  • Related: Special Report | What You Never Knew About American Labor Unions

Peter Cole, In These Times

August 29, 2017 | What role should the labor movement play in beating back the resurgence of fascism? Resistance, while a powerful concept, is far too vague. Local 10, the San Francisco Bay Area branch of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)—and perhaps the most radical union in the United States—demonstrates what can be done.

This past week, the San Francisco Bay Area—long a center of unionism, social justice movements and radicalism—took center stage. Patriot Prayer is a right-wing organization with a demonstrated history of inciting racist violence, most obviously in Portland, Ore., while ironically asserting peaceful intentions. The far-right group declared it would rally in San Francisco on Saturday.

Peter Cole is a Professor of History at Western Illinois University. He is the author of Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive Era Philadelphia and is currently at work on a book entitled Dockworker Power: Race, Technology & Unions in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a Research Associate in the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and has published extensively on labor history and politics.

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Special Report | What You Never Knew About American Labor Unions, Seth Persily, Policulous
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Anyone who’s been paying attention to the state of union membership in the United States knows that unions have seen a tremendous decline since the 1960s. Whether you’re for or against them, taking a look at the stories below there can be no doubt that unions are rapidly becoming a disappearing facet of American working life.


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