Block the Boat

Block the Boat actions of August 2014

Statement of support by the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee:

Stop The Israeli Massacre In Gaza

Full Support For Labor Community Mass Picket At Zim Line Ship In Port Of Oakland On August 16 at SSA Berth 57

The Transport Workers Solidarity Committee supports the call for a mobilization against the Israeli Zim shipping line in the Port of Oakland. This Israeli shipping company operates throughout the world and was closely involved in supporting the South African apartheid regime. The Palestinian trade unions have all called for an international boycott of shipping and trade with Israel to stop the military attacks.

In June 2010, over 1200 community and labor activists with rank and file supporters from ILWU Local 10 supported a picket of a Zim Line ship to prevent it from loading and unloading. August 16 is also the second anniversary of the massacre of 34 South African miners at the Marikana Lonmin Platinum mines.

The connection in the past between apartheid South Africa regime and apartheid Israel goes back decades. Today, the South African government even refuses to even expel their Israeli ambassador while Brazil, Ecuador and other countries have taken such action. The US government is also actively supporting the Zionist attack on the people of Gaza and the West Bank by providing jets, bombs and billions of dollars while the "War On Terror" is used to militarize our communities and continue murder and repression against mostly Black and Latino communities.

A mass picket line of labor and community activists on August 16, 2014 will seek to stop the movement of bloody Israeli cargo. We call on all ILWU Local 10 longshore workers to honor the picket line whether or not an arbitrator is called.

Picket Lines Mean Don't Cross!

Today as well, the ILUW longshore workers including ILWU Local 10 are working without a contract and are under attack with major giveback demands. There is no contract and no arbitrator to order longshore workers to cross a picket line. In fact, in Los Angeles, the IBT Teamster port truckers established a picket line against union busting and the ILWU International shamefully agreed to a 3 day extension of the contract and allowed the arbitrator to come in and rule that the picket line should be crossed. The port truckers then took down their broken picket line. Transport workers in the US and around the world have the power to stop this massacre with international working class action.

The massacre on the Palestinians is also not only by Israel but by the direct military and economic support of the US including Bay Area Democratic politicians like Barbara Lee. They have voted to provide Israel a free hand to continue the massacres and even escalating attacks on UN shelters.

These criminal actions by the Obama administration and sanctioned by Democrats and Republicans makes a clear statement that Palestinians do not have equal rights in an apartheid state which according to Archbishop Tutu is worse than apartheid in South Africa. As many have pointed out in South Africa, the apartheid regime never used such intense military bombing on the Black communities as Israel is carrying out on the people of Gaza.

The Transport Workers Solidarity Committee fully supports mass picketing on August 16 and also has called for international transport workers action by workers internationally to blockade Israel. This is the kind of action that can really challenge the US supported Zionist terrorism. Get your union and Labor Council to endorse the action on August 16 and to call for a total stoppage of all military and economic aid to Israel. The time for working class action to oppose these international crimes are now.

For Global Action! Stop The Israeli Massacre In Gaza!

As the Zionist genocidal war against the Palestinian people continues unabated, workers around the world are stunned by the death and destruction rained down in Gaza. Transport workers, because of our key position in the global economy, have the power to stop the wheels of the Israeli war machine, the power to stop it dead in its tracks.

In 2009, dockworkers in Durban, South Africa refused to unload the Israeli ship Johanna Russ to protest what they called "apartheid Israel's massacres in Gaza". The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union cited as their inspiration the 1984 San Francisco longshoremen's 11-day boycott action against a ship from apartheid South Africa. They South African dockers' union then called on other unions to follow their exemplary solidarity action with the oppressed Palestinian people.

In 2010, dockworkers in Oakland, California of the same International Longshore and Warehouse Union which struck in 1984 against the South African apartheid ship, honored a mass picket line of some 1,500 port demonstrators against a Zim Lines ship protesting the Israeli army's killing of humanitarian aid workers on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.

Saturday August 16 is the date set for the next protest against an Israeli Zim Lines ship in the port of Oakland. This date commemorates the Tripartite South African government killing of 34 striking miners. Known as the Marikana Massacre, it has become a seminal event in the history of South African working class struggles.

The Transport Workers Solidarity Committee calls on transport workers the world over to refuse to work Israeli cargo on ships, rails, planes or trucks on August 16. If we can stop the Israeli capitalists' profits, even for a day, we send a message to the racist Zionist regime that we will not oil their bloody war machine.

In solidarity,
Jack Heyman, Chair

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee