[Guest post by DRJ[
Thousands of West Coast dockworkers who load and unload freight at 29 ports are taking the day off today to protest the War in Iraq and “support the troops.”
Color me skeptical.
The shutdown occurs as the dockworkers, represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, near the expiration of their contact with the Pacific Maritime Assn. The Maritime Assn. claims the shutdown is a violation of the dockworkers’ contract, and an arbitrator had already considered the planned shutdown and ordered the union to go to work today.
The ports have shut down before. In 2002, the port shut down for 10 days during a contract dispute between dockworkers and the maritime association. In addition, two years ago on May 1, 2005, the port was closed by truckers who refused to deliver goods as a protest of U.S. immigration policies.
To some, May 1st is known as International Workers Day, a day of solidarity among workers made popular by communists and anarchists. It is a day when the working class uses protests and strikes as “a reminder to the ruling classes that their days are numbered.”
In many Western nations, May Day celebrates the impending arrival of Spring with flowers, baskets, and Maypoles.
Those are two very different May Days.