San Francisco Longshore Workers to join demonstrations against white supremacists
Joey Gibson speaks during a rally in Berkeley, Calif. Gibson's group has applied for a permit for an Aug. 26 rally at Crissy Field that many officials fear will attract armed militias and white supremacist groups. | Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

One of the nation’s most militant union locals, International Longshore Workers Local 10, will challenge white supremacists who plan an August 26 rally at Crissy Field in the San Francisco Bay area.

The rank and file members voted on August 23 to stop work and march to confront the racists. The so-called Patriot Prayer Group is leading the racists, Portside Labor reported.

Patriot Prayer’s director, Joey Gibson, led past rallies, including one which attracted the white supremacist who stabbed two men — one of them an AFSCME member — to death on Portland’s surface train as the men defended two teenage women from the racist’s attacks. One of the teens wore a hijab.

Not only is Gibson organizing the rally, in the heart of the progressive Bay Area, but he’s bringing in a right-wing “militia,” the Oath Keepers to provide “security” there.

“Far from a matter of ‘free speech,’ the racist and fascist provocations are a deadly menace as shown in Portland on May 26 when a Nazi murdered two men and almost killed a third for defending two young African American women he was menacing,” ILWU Local 10’s statement says.

“Our sisters and brothers in the Portland labor movement answered racist terror with the power of workers’ solidarity, mobilizing members of 14 unions against the fascist/racist rally there on June 4,” the statement continued. Local 10 intends to do the same against Gibson’s group, in line with its “long and proud history of standing up against racism, fascism and bigotry and using our union power to do so.”

Local 10 has already staged two job actions this year. On Inauguration Day, port of Oakland management asked the local to dispatch 354 workers to unload cargoes but only 35 showed up. The local called it “a de facto strike” against GOP President Donald Trump.

And on May 25, 100 ILWU members walked off the job for half a day after finding a noose inside a dockside truck and discovering the n-word on port equipment in an intermodal container terminal, Portside Labor noted. The group included members of all races, though 60 percent of Local 10’s members are African-American.


CONTRIBUTOR

Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.

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