How is war a union issue?
U.S. interventions do not benefit working people both here and abroad. One main role for our unions is to win collective bargaining agreements that protect and advance our members’ pay, benefits, job protection, and other terms and conditions of employment. But we must also address broader issues of how our tax money is spent, especially issues of war.
The record breaking war budgets take tens of billions of dollars from our members and taxpayers that would be better directed to public education, affordable housing, universal healthcare and other pressing public goods under attack in the state budget. The war machine takes up about 47 percent of our income tax money in the federal budget. We spent more than the next fourteen countries’ military spending combined.
It is always working people who suffer from these wars as the corporate fat cats continue to enrich themselves on military contracts. All union members have an interest in a peaceful world in which the United States plays a positive role toward economic and social justice for people in this country and throughout the world. As working people, we can fight for that kind of world.
How is racism a union issue? How is it connected to militarism?
Racism is still a deep issue across our society, workers of all races continue to be exploited, and the boss's "divide-and-conquer" racial division continues to be an obstacle to effective shop organizing. We mourn the lives of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the countless others lost at the hands of police violence, and we recognize that justice for the working class as a whole will never exist without Black liberation. Our labor movement has played a leading role in the fight against racism before. We will do it again.
There is no separating the peace movement from the struggles for civil and labor rights. Militarism abroad also means militarism at home as working class neighborhoods face daily violence at the hands of militarized police. The policing in our communities looks more and more like a military operation. Workers of color, immigrants, and Native Americans are often targeted by militarized police, yet these issues are rarely talked about as an expansion of the military-industrial complex. The relationship between racist military campaigns abroad and racist military-style state violence against poor and working class communities is one struggle for our labor movement.
Wouldn’t pulling money from the war budget mean less jobs?
Dollar for dollar, military spending creates fewer jobs than spending on public education, healthcare, and infrastructure projects. We need money for good jobs, not for unnecessary wars. Workers have never benefited from U.S. military power.
Workers whose jobs are impacted by this reallocation of federal funds should be guaranteed a just transition, including income guarantees, retraining, early retirement without reduction of benefits, relocation allowances and other forms of support.
Does Labor Against Racism and War support our troops?
Without question. Our members and the working class at large are the soldiers, sailors, and marines deployed in these wars. We owe it to them and their families to defend their interests by ending these wars now and bringing all the troops home, and making sure there are adequate budget resources to care for them on their return.
Don’t we need war to protect the American people from future terrorist attacks?
Military action, with the inevitable “collateral damage” of civilian casualties and many refugees, only creates more U.S. enemies and terrorist fighters than we kill. Our country will be more secure if we negotiate withdrawal of our forces, help exploited peoples rebuild their country, and invest the vast sums now spent there to create jobs, provide healthcare, fully fund education and solve our many problems here at home. There is no military solution to terrorism.
Isn’t it good to make war to spread democracy?
American claims to be the champion of democracy ring hollow in much of the world. The United States elites have a long history of involvement in the overthrow of democratically elected governments around the world. The U.S. is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, a country that is far from a democracy, and has friendly relations with many dictators when it suits U.S. corporate interests. In Iraq and Afghanistan, as in other cases of military occupation, the presence of foreign troops distorts the local political process and undermines democracy. Military occupation damages the institutions of civil society and supports corrupt governments with tenuous ties to their people. In addition, the wars and occupation have undermined democracy and civil liberties in the United States. They have brought us the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretaps, military tribunals for U.S. citizens, and war reporters restricted to military embeds.
Why should my union affiliate with Labor Against Racism and War?
Just like the reason we join unions, we’re stronger together through our organizations. Labor Against Racism and War is independently funded exclusively through annual labor affiliation dues, individual rank-and-file members and small donations from its supporters. We take no funds from the government, state department or corporate foundations. This allows for us to be the genuine voice for US working people and our unions. Joining and building Labor Against Racism and War allows us to speak in one powerful, collective voice that stands in solidarity with workers around the world.