Evergreen labor slams war, hails Irene

SPOKANE, Wash. – This year’s convention of the Washington State Labor Council adopted several hard-hitting resolutions in the fight-back against the ultra-right. Convention delegates also honored long-time union activist Irene Hull, known to many as a proud member of the Communist Party.

Passage of a resolution “against the war, attacks on civil liberties and cuts in civil services” was a slap in the face to Bush’s “war on terror.” The resolution called for repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act and defeat of similar “anti-terrorism” measures in state legislatures; was against local and state law enforcement agencies cooperating with FBI spying on political, union and anti-globalism activists or complying with harassment of Arabs and other immigrants by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Convention delegates adopted another resolution calling for the immediate release of the hundreds of Middle Eastern, Arab and other immigrants who are still detained without due process or legal justification; against efforts to add vague new language to the constitutions of state affiliates barring individuals “who consistently pursue policies and activities directed toward the achievement of authoritarianism, totalitarianism, terrorism that suppress individual liberties and freedom of association,” from holding office or being a member of official committees in AFL-CIO state and local bodies.

The 1997 AFL-CIO Convention removed the “anti-Communist clause” from the AFL-CIO constitution. Many delegates saw the proposed language as a step back toward the “bad-old-days” of McCarthyism and voted to send their disapproval to the national AFL-CIO.

Then came the awarding of a Lifetime Achievement Award to 89-year-old Irene Hull and three other union activists, including Will Parry, an occasional writer for the People’s Weekly World.

In giving the award, Robby Stern, special assistant to the federation president, spoke of Hull’s long life in the labor movement. “Irene insists that her voice and the voice of all working women be heard,” he said, adding: “In 1942 [Irene] heard Earl Browder speak. He was head of the Communist Party. She thought he made sense so she and [her husband] joined. She has never stopped fighting for all of us. Irene, we love you. Thank you so much.”

For more information, visit www.wslc.org. The author can be reached at commiett@yahoo.com