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Chicago Rally to Defend the Charleston Five

Same story as earlier posting with a slight correction. Reposted for the benefit of the techies.
Hal Sutton


Charleston Five/Chicago Rally


8/21/01


page 1





Charles Condon, attorney general of South Carolina, and the principal persecutor of the


Charleston Five, is a close political ally of President Bush, according to Ken Riley, president of


ILA Local 1422. Following an August 17 rally at the Teamsters Local 705 union hall, in which


about 250 trade unionists and activists demonstrated their support for the victimized


longshoremen, Riley mentioned that Condon had served as the Bush for President campaign


manager in South Carolina. Riley also said that the Bush administration had been considering


Condon as the director of the CIA until Condon instead decided to run for governor.





On the basis of his experience in South Carolina, Condon would certainly be qualified to


oversee the subjugation of Third World nations. In his speech at the rally, Riley asserted that


Condon's efforts in the Charleston Five struggle "represent globalization, an attempt to maintain


South Carolina as an attractive Third World alternative to other countries for capital investment."


"They are telling the world to bring its business to South Carolina," Riley elaborated. "'You don't


have to go to Mexico, South America, the Philippines, or Indonesia; we have Third World


conditions right here.'"





"Let me just say that it's good to be back in the United States of America -- and, I'm not


saying that because I've traveled abroad," continued Riley. Riley described South Carolina as a


"very small state" and Charleston as a "very small city," but with the fourth largest port in the


country that boasts a global production record that is "second only to Hong Kong." Riley also


asserted that Charleston has only port on the entire East Coast that exports more cargo than it


imports. "You hear about the trade imbalance that's not the case in South Carolina," contended


Riley.





In describing the anti-labor political climate in the state, Riley mentioned that organized


labor was largely responsible for the election of a Democratic governor in 1998. When the


governor sought to reward his union supporters by selecting Riley for his transition team, and


then nominating him for the board of the state port authority, "it was met with serious opposition


from the likes of the state Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance


because it was feared that if the appointment were confirmed, it would send a message to the rest


of the world that South Carolina was now open to labor unions."





Riley said his nomination was defeated, "and, to make sure that such a thing could never


happen again, a bill was introduced in the state House that would make it illegal for a card


carrying member of any union in South Carolina to serve on any state board, agency or


commission -- and, if you were already on one, you would have to resign." Riley said the bill was


approved by the House, defeated in the Senate, and has been reintroduced in the present session,


where it was again approved by the House, and has been sent to the floor of the Senate for


debate.





Riley asserted that the struggle of the Charleston Five "is a political statement, a political


attack against Local 1422 and the ILA, because in every labor struggle that has been won in


South Carolina, the ILA was there." He contended that the ship that was the target of the ILA


pickets was originally scheduled to come into Charleston on the same day as a massive rally in


Columbia, South Carolina, to oppose the use of the Confederate flag at official state facilities.


However, he said that because the South Carolina government lacked the coercive resources to


ensure sufficient repression for both confrontations at once, the ship's arrival was delayed for two


days. The rest is history.





It is apparent that the vicious campaign against the Charleston Five is the kind of


treatment that the Bush administration has in mind for workers throughout the U.S. It is equally


clear that the labor movement must immediately prepare to use all measures, such as general


strikes and factory occupations, that are at its disposal -- and some measures that aren't to


defend itself against the imposition of class war. Nobody wins in the race to the bottom.


 
 

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