Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Scant Coverage of US Labor Opposition to Iraq War

 

Recently the two biggest stories in the U.S. news media have been the war in Iraq and the presidential election campaign. Labor unions have been part of a number of major stories on the presidential campaign, especially stories about Senator Kerry’s selection of John Edwards as a running mate.

But labor has not been part of stories on the war. There was some reason for that up until a few weeks ago. The AFL-CIO has not taken a position on the war, and most of the international unions have followed suit. That changed at the conventions last month in California of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Kerry spoke at both conventions, and his speeches received significant media coverage.

What did not receive coverage and should have was that both SEIU and AFSCME passed resolutions at their conventions supporting the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. These strongly worded resolutions passed by two of the largest, most politically active labor unions in the country — two unions that have received substantial coverage from national political reporters on other stories — were quickly followed by passage on July 13 of a similar resolution by the California Labor Federation, the largest state federation within the AFL-CIO. Together, these three organizations represent close to 5 million union members. Other union conventions will be addressing the issue throughout the summer, a remarkable development and a striking contrast to labor’s behavior during the Vietnam War.

It should be noted that other unions, both internationals and locals, have led the way on this issue, including the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) which took a strong stance against the war at its May 2003 International Convention, and later backed that up with a resolution in support of Iraqi workers’ right to organize. The ILCA passed a resolution in support of Iraqi workers’ right to organize in November 2003.

Extensive Nexis searching on July 17 turned up virtually no coverage during the past 60 days of U.S. labor opposition to the war. The few exceptions: a story in the Nation Magazine by independent labor reporter/photographer David Bacon touched on the topic. An Associated Press story from the AFSCME convention covered a speech by a U.S. soldier formerly held prisoner in Iraq but made no mention of AFSCME’s resolution, and the soldier was not opposed to the war. Oh, and Fox News (Special Report With Brit Hume) on July 3 mentioned an organization that’s rather hard to find in corporate media: U.S. Labor Against the War (a large and active coalition of unions opposed to the war) — but the point of briefly mentioning USLAW was to accuse it and other “Bush-hating” groups of planning to “sabotage the Republican Convention.”

It’s not that media have entirely refused to inform the public of this story, it’s just that the outlets doing so are neither well funded nor tracked by Nexis. Google searches turn up stories on the ILCAonline.org website from the ILCA, from Press Associates Incorporated (a wire service used by many labor papers), and from AFSCME, as well as stories from FrontPageMag.com, Zmag.org, People’s Weekly World, Workday Minnesota, Socialist Worker, Workers’ World, Labor Educator, Under News, Anti-Imperialism, and many other labor and alternative online publications, discussion lists, and blogs.

The story of US labor opposition to the war appears to be a prime example of the corporate media’s blackout of labor’s issues, and yet another argument for devoting our energies to building stronger labor media.

Details on Nexis searches performed:

1. (“organized labor” w/s Iraq) AND (Iraq w/3 war) = five articles, none relevant

2. (“labor union” w/s Iraq) AND (Iraq w/3 war) = 15 articles, none relevant

3. “labor union” w/s Iraq = 45 articles, including the Nation and AP stories mentioned above but nothing else related

4. USLAW = two articles, one unrelated and the other the same Nation article

5. “labor against” AND war = 31 articles, including the Nation article again and the Fox News story mentioned above

6. AFSCME AND Iraq = 24 articles, none relevant

7. SEIU AND Iraq = 22 articles, none relevant

8. “California Labor Federation” = 46 articles, none relevant

Originally published at http://ILCAonline.org Part of the Media Blackout series on underreported labor stories

DAVID SWANSON is Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association (ILCA) at http://ILCAonline.org

More articles by:

David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition.

May 24, 2018
Gary Leupp
Art of the Dealbreaker: Trump’s Cancellation of the Summit with Kim
Jeff Warner – Victor Rothman
Why the Emerging Apartheid State in Israel-Palestine is Not Sustainable
Kenn Orphan
Life, the Sea and Big Oil
James Luchte
Europe Stares Into the Abyss, Confronting the American Occupant in the Room
Richard Hardigan
Palestinians’ Great March of Return: What You Need to Know
Howard Lisnoff
So Far: Fascism Lite
Matthew Vernon Whalan
Norman Finkelstein on Bernie Sanders, Gaza, and the Mainstream Treatment
Daniel Warner
J’accuse All Baby Boomers
Alfred W. McCoy
Beyond Golden Shower Diplomacy
Jonah Raskin
Rachel Kushner, Foe of Prisons, and Her New Novel, “The Mars Room”
George Wuerthner
Myths About Wildfires, Logging and Forests
Binoy Kampmark
Tom Wolfe the Parajournalist
Dean Baker
The Marx Ratio: Not Clear Karl Would be Happy
May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
Lawrence Davidson
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail