ILWU Bay Area Remarks
San Francisco, California
May Day, 2008
It's a beautiful San Francisco day for a peace and dignity strike!
One day off to put peace and justice on the table! Today's action is as historically significant as the decision of four young university students who sat in for justice.
The strong, proud men and women of the ILWU have drawn a line in the sand. And I am proud of you!
By your actions here today, you too have declared your independence: from the policy makers now responsible for every bomb dropped, every child killed, every veteran maimed, every dream deferred.
Your line in the sand is a demand for public policy that reflects your values.
Your line in the sand:
A livable wage,
Repeal of the Bush tax cuts,
Repeal of the Patriot Acts, the Secret Evidence Act, the Military Commissions Act.
The right to unionize,
Single-payer health care,
Repeal of NAFTA,
An end to the Bush-Pelosi war.
Military Recruiters out and more teachers in our classrooms!
Nancy Pelosi wants to sneak another war-funding bill to the President. She thinks we don't know. She thinks we won't care. She thinks she can bushwhack and bamboozle us from the Speaker's Chair.
But Nancy, we're watching you! In fact, the whole world is watching. We see you when you choose to spend $720 million a day for war and yet teachers are being laid off in your district!
Speaker Pelosi, we see you when you remain silent on torture that violates the law; irreparably harms and some times even kills the innocent; and robs us all of our dignity as Americans.
Speaker Pelosi, and my former colleagues, how can you continue to give a half-trillion dollars annually to the Pentagon?an institution that's "lost" $2.3 trillion, and that didn't even protect itself on September 11th?
Republican President Dwight Eisenhower told us that every dime spent on war was in a very real sense a theft from those who are in need of food, shelter, and clothing.
Senator Feinstein was forced to leave the Military Construction subcommittee because she was voting on public policy that directly benefited her husband. And hence, her own bottom line.
The ILWU and all of us gathered here today want our young men and women to come home now?alive.
All of us gathered here today understand what George Washington warned of over 200 years ago: He warned us to beware the false patriots who, by cunning and ambition subvert the power of the people and usurp for themselves the very reins of government.
Snipers' bullets and assassins stole my generation of true patriots. One of them said, "A man can't ride your back unless it's bent." Our representatives can betray our values only so long as we continue to give them our vote, because it is our votes that give them their position of power over us.
Another of my generation's true patriots said, "Some see things as they are and say why; I dream of things that never were and say 'Why not?'" With our vision, values, and our votes, we can make real our dreams that never were. Why not?