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Santa Cruz Indymedia

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City Council Candidate Salutes Pakistani Unionists

Greetings from the belly of the beast of U.S. Imperialism.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I salute your November 5th National Congress in Lahore, Pakistan and wish it full success in its deliberations. I send you these greetings as a socialist candidate for city council in the belly of the beast of US imperialism.

I have learned from the OWC Continuations Committee that your trade union federation and its main officers are targets of government repression because you have held steadfast to the defense of trade union rights and trade union independence.

Please be assured that we in the Peace and Freedom Party of Santa Cruz are at your side in demanding of the Pakistani authorities that they immediately stop the harassment of Brother Fazal-el-Wahid, leader of the National Railworkers Union of Pakistan; that they stop all legal action against Brother Chaudhry,
general secretary of APTUF; and that they restore all trade union rights in Pakistan!

At a time when the Bush administration is readying for war in Iraq, with all the deadly consequences this entails for working people around the world, we salute your efforts to mobilize against this war, as you did last September 6th in the city of Lahore. On October
26th, 80,000 workers and activists marched in San Francisco under the banner, "No Blood For Oil!" with 400 people traveling from Santa Cruz for that action. In Washington, DC, the march and rally there drew more than 200,000 people -- including thousands of trade union members. Together, let's reach out across borders to build a powerful international antiwar movement that can stay the hand of the warmongers based in Washington D.C.

Just as your union federation has come under attack, so too have the trade unions in the United States. As we write these lines, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is being targeted by the repressive Taft-Hartley Act for alleged "workers' slowdowns." The charge is bogus, and is simply aimed at weakening and busting this militant trade union.

More ominous still is the fact that the terms of the Taft-Hartley injunction against the dockers contains language about "national security" that would de-facto ban their right to strike following the 80-day "cooling off" period imposed by a federal district judge. The Bush administration has decreed that all cargo -- whether commercial or not -- has a military dimension, and hence any strike that would impede the loading and unloading of cargo would be tantamount to a breach of the "national security" of the United States.

This represents an attack not just on the ILWU; it is a declaration of war against the U.S. trade union movement, as henceforth this "national security" pretext can be invoked against any union that
should be forced to strike by employer instransigence.

We applaud the greetings you sent to the ILWU on the occasion of their October 10th solidarity rally, thereby demonstrating the importance of international labor solidarity, of which you are a proud example.

Though the times are extremely difficult and trying, we know that with the unity of working people across borders in defense of our rights and gains, in defense of the independence of our trade unions, in defense of democracy itself, we can prevail over corporate greed,
over the oil warlords in Washington, over the international institutions of global capitalism -- from the IMF, to the World Bank, to the WTO.

Please receive my warmest greetings as you assemble to map out your plans for the period ahead,

In solidarity,

Peace & Freedom Party City Council Candidate Steve Argue

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