And Now for Something Completely Dissident
by Terry Jones / The Sunday Observer
November 15, 2002
To prevent terrorism by dropping bombs on Iraq is such an obvious idea that I can't think why no one has thought of it before. It's so simple. If only the UK had done something similar in Northern Ireland, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in today.
The author and his mates prepare to do Holy Battle. George W. Bush would surely approve. Credit: From Monty Python's "King Arthur and the Holy Grail."
The moment the IRA blew up the Horseguards' bandstand, the Government should have declared its own War on Terrorism. It should have immediately demanded that the Irish government hand over Gerry Adams. If they refused to do so or quibbled about needing proof of his guilt we could have told them that this was no time for prevarication and that they must hand over not only Adams but all IRA terrorists in the Republic. If they tried to stall by claiming that it was hard to tell who were IRA terrorists and who weren't, because they don't go around wearing identity badges, we would have been free to send in the bombers.
It is well known that the best way of picking out terrorists is to fly 30,000 ft above the capital city of any state that harbors them and drop bombs preferably cluster bombs. It is conceivable that the bombing of Dublin might have provoked some sort of protest, even if just from James Joyce fans, and there is at least some likelihood of increased anti-British sentiment in what remained of the city and thus a rise in the numbers of potential terrorists. But this, in itself, would have justified the tactic of bombing them in the first place. We would have nipped them in the bud, so to speak. I hope you follow the argument.
Having bombed Dublin and, perhaps, a few IRA training bogs in Tipperary, we could not have afforded to be complacent. We would have had to turn our attention to those states that had supported and funded the IRA terrorists through all these years. The main provider of funds was, of course, the USA, and this would have posed us with a bit of a problem. Where to bomb in America? It's a big place and it's by no means certain that a small country like the UK could afford enough bombs to do the whole job.
It's going to cost the US billions to bomb Iraq and a lot of that is empty. America, on the other hand, provides a bewildering number of targets. Should we have bombed Washington, where the policies were formed? Or should we have concentrated on places where Irishmen are known to lurk, like New York, Boston and Philadelphia? We could have bombed any police station and fire station in most major urban centres, secure in the knowledge that we would be taking out significant numbers of IRA sympathizers. On St Patrick's Day, we could have bombed Fifth Avenue and scored a bull's-eye.
In those American cities we couldn't afford to bomb, we could have rounded up American citizens with Irish names, put bags over their heads and flown them in chains to Guernsey or Rockall, where we could have given them food packets marked 'My Kind of Meal' and exposed them to the elements with a clear conscience.
The same goes for Australia. There are thousands of people in Sydney and Melbourne alone who have actively supported Irish republicanism by sending money and good wishes back to people in the Republic, many of whom are known to be IRA members and sympathizers. A well-placed bomb or two Down Under could have taken out the ringleaders and left the world a safer place. Of course, it goes without saying that we would also have had to bomb various parts of London such as Camden Town, Lewisham and bits of Hammersmith and we should certainly have had to obliterate, if not the whole of Liverpool, at least the Scotland Road area.
And that would be it really, as far as exterminating the IRA and its supporters. Easy. The War on Terrorism provides a solution so uncomplicated, so straightforward and so gloriously simple that it baffles me why it has taken a man with the brains of George W. Bush to think of it.
So, sock it to Iraq, George. Let's make the world a safer place.
From The Observer (UK) Sunday, February 17, 2002. www.observer.co.uk/comment/story/0,6903,651594,00.html
Dockworkers and Environmentalists Stand United
by Karen Pickett and Jim Jontz
What does the action of George Bush to invoke the Taft-Hartley Act in the lockout against the Longshoremen mean to all of us who care about the environment? The Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment (ASJE) is asking our environmental members and friends to join us in endorsing the statement below in support of the ILWU and their struggles.
Longshoreman protest being locked out of their jobs on the West Coast. Credit: www.ilwu.org
But first, some background to put this situation in perspective. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is a progressive union with a long tradition of support for human rights and political democracy. In spite of the fact that they make their living moving cargo in international commerce, the ILWU has been among the most vocal unions in denouncing the policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the corporate global trade agenda.
The action by George Bush is the first successful use of the Taft-Hartley Act since Richard Nixon in 1971. And it's the first case ever that Taft-Hartley has been used in a lockout. The ILWU has not been on strike; their members were prevented from coming to work by the Pacific Maritime Association (their employers) after negotiations over a new contract failed.
The fundamental issue in the negotiations between the ILWU and the PMA is whether jobs created from implementation of new technology in the handling of cargo on the docks will be union jobs or not. The ILWU accepts that introduction of new technology is necessary to keep U.S. ports competitive, but understandably they want new jobs to be union.
The issue is, quite simply, corporate profits. "PMA will save a fortune if it can create non-union jobs," Debra Saunders wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle last week. "No wonder management is more than happy to buy off current workers . . . in exchange for a future of relatively lower labor costs." For their part, members of the ILWU aren't interested in being bought off. "What they're trying to do is bust the union," says ILWU spokesman Steve Stallone.
An additional factor is that the giant retailers who import from Asia where labor and environmental standards are much weaker have been fronting for the PMA in urging Presidential action. Wal-Mart, the GAP, etc. formed the Western Waterfront Coalition and have been crying loudly about how much the economy will be hurt if they can't get more cheap goods on the shelf.
So the fundamental question here is, will the government let these two interests -- the PMA and the ILWU -- work out their differences, or will it use its power to promote greater corporate profits? Unfortunately, the 1947 Taft-Hartley law allows Presidents to in essence take sides against workers in a labor dispute and that's exactly what Bush has done. The use of Taft-Hartley is similar to suspension of the environmental laws that allow activists to go to court -- it's removing the strongest tool that the workers have.
We in the environmental community cannot sit by while the Bush White House engages in this behavior. We must help our members and the public at large see how Bush is putting corporate profits first. It's workers who will pay the price this time; next time, it may be the environment
Jim Jontz is the Executive Director of the Alliance of Sustainable Jobs and the Environment (ASJE). Karen Picket is a member of Earth First! and an ASJE Environmental Board Member. To add the name of your organization to a statement in support of the ILWU, contact Karen Pickett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement of Support for The ILWU
From Organizations and Leaders In The Environmental Movement
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is engaged in a battle of historic proportions with far-reaching implications for us all in this age of corporate globalization. For more than 65 years, the ILWU has not only provided crucial services to the people of the U.S., but the union has been on the cutting edge of progressive labor support for other causes, taking action in support of Chilean democracy, political prisoners in the U.S., and strong stances against apartheid and dictatorial regimes, human rights abuses and the WTO, among other issues of global importance.
We have recently seen the Bush administration exploit the nation's fear of terrorism to suspend civil rights, particularly those of political activists. By the same token, the Bush administration, through the Dept. of Homeland Security, threatened militarization of the ports, and then invoked the Taft-Hartley Act, effectively stripping the ILWU of its collective bargaining rights.
The ILWU is negotiating with the Pacific Maritime Association, whose allies in this process are corporate members of the West Coast Waterfront Coalition (WCWC). WCWC members include many multinational corporations such as WalMart, the Gap, Home Depot, Chiquita and others that currently have environmental and environmental justice campaigns being waged against them by NGOs,. These are some of the same corporations that lobbied the federal government to intervene. An underlying corporate agenda is revealed in efforts to restrict union power on the docks, and is linked to the current wave of undemocratic globalization and privatization that is taking place.
As progressive advocates of environmental values, we see the links between our agendas and the struggles of labor. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the ILWU and fully support their rights to collectively bargain, without government intervention. Further, we urge PMA to bargain fairly and in good faith, and we condemn the collusion between the Bush administration and the PMA in the manufacture of the crisis that resulted in imposition of Taft-Hartley, diminishing workers' rights, and subjecting the ILWU to harassment.
An injury to one is indeed an injury to all.
Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment
Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment
Rainforest Action Network
Gar Smith, Earth Island Institute
Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters
Kim Marks, *Forest Ethics
Bay Area Sea Turtle Restoration Project
War Resisters League West
Jason Tockman, Director, International Trade Program, American Lands Alliance
Randy Hayes, president, Rainforest Action Network
(Signers as of October 12, 2002. *organization for identification purposes.)
What You Can Do: For more information, contact: Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment 1125 SE Madison Street Suite 100-D, Portland, OR 97214, (503) 736-9777, fax: (503) 736-9776, www.asje.org, www.stopftaa.com.
For more information contact:
Please refer to the websites and resources in the above article.