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  • SF Longshore Workers Call For May 1st Day of Mourning For Victims of Police Terror
    Posted On: Apr 25, 2016

    By JoAnne Powers, April 26, 2016

    On International Workers Day, May 1st, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 in San Francisco will be calling for a “National Day of Mourning” for Black and Brown unarmed victims of police killings.  The ILWU was established after the West Coast Waterfront Strike in 1934, where maritime workers faced police violence.  Derrick H. Muhammad is Local 10 Secretary Treasurer:

    [Derrick H. Muhammad]: “Police brutality is a big issue that mostly communities of color have had to deal with historically.  The current situation with police brutality in America, there has certainly been an increase, and since we are a union that has historically sided with the marginalized, the underprivileged, we felt it necessary to raise our voices in opposition to what’s going on as it relates to police brutality and terror.”

    Muhammad explains why the issue of police racism should be of importance to all working people:

    [Derrick H. Muhammad]: “Historically, police were defenders of the status quo, and to this day still are.  The status quo is the business man’s interests, or the rich man’s interests on top.  That’s what police have historically been utilized for, so I think working class people and people of color have a great interest, great, great, great interest in seeing that it’s curtailed.”

    In addition to the call to end to racial policing, the union is demanding economic justice.  Muhammad says the two issues are intimately related:

    [Derrick H. Muhammad]: “When folks are locked out of opportunity, they’re locked into poverty, or into crime, essentially.  When you deny a person the ability to become gainfully employed, where do they go?  They engage in criminal activity, or they’re just criminalized.  If there was economic justice, then perhaps we wouldn’t see the disproportionate amount of persons of color in the criminal justice system.  Because of the lack of economic justice, you see a huge increase in the criminalization of blacks and other persons of color.”

    Members of local 10 will be withholding their labor on May first and holding a rally and march through the Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco, where longshoremen battled with police in the 1934 strike.

     [Derrick H. Muhammad]: “We hope to raise awareness around these issues.  We hope that our influence, our collective effort will help to force a paradigm shift with regards to the way police interact with communities of color and working class people.  That’s what we hope to achieve.  Local 10 is calling for others to do similar organizing efforts…we would like other groups throughout the country to replicate what we’re doing.”

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