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International dockworkers meet in Liverpool with message for UK unions: stop hiding over Gaza

‘Peace IS union business’, leading trade union figures tell UK unions there’s no excuse for claiming it’s not their core purpose to prevent genocide – and that having members in the defence industry is no bar to taking action

Maritime Union of Australia deputy national secretary Warren Smith at Liverpool’s Casa on Saturday

Leading trade unionists from Australia, Asia and South America gathered at Liverpool’s famous dockworker-founded Casa on Saturday to discuss international action, solidarity, the dangers facing trade unionists in many countries and, especially, support for Palestinians against Israel’s genocide. And there was a strong message for UK trade union leaders: get behind the people of Palestine and stop making excuses, and that having members in the defence industry is no excuse for not taking action.

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members and officers gave inspiring accounts of how their union – and the ex-pat Palestinian communities in Australia – have played a leading role in protests against Israel’s genocide in Gaza and have successfully impeded shipments to Israel, despite Australian laws criminalising protest at major facilities, and pledged that they would continue to do so. And they spoke of the plea from union activists in Palestine to get behind the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel’s occupation and apartheid. The union is holding a day of action on 25 May in every major Australian port in solidarity.

The union representatives also told of their government’s shame in its decision to suspend anti-discrimination laws so it can enact laws specifically targeting Australia’s First Nation people – and how they have agreed, as part of the AUSUK defence treaty the union is fighting, to take nuclear waste from the UK and US that will be dumped in First Nation territory.

And the common thread through all these stories was summed up in a refrain taken up by several speakers:

Peace is union business.

Leaders of several UK unions have been criticised for their lack of support for the Palestinian people against genocide, occupation and apartheid – often against the democratic decisions of their members – and for prioritising defence jobs over the imperative of preventing mass murder.

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Privileges of Misery

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 26/04/2024 - 9:59pm in

The Obscene Bird of Night turns the upstairs-downstairs genre upside down.