PHILADELPHIA – At its Jan. 8 meeting the Philadelphia AFL-CIO Central Labor Council passed a resolution against the war in Iraq. The Phila. Labor Council wanted to go on record as strongly opposing the Bush administration’s march toward war with Iraq and urging the administration to abide by and work through the United Nations Security Council resolution.

The resolution opposes an invasion of Iraq without UN Security Council approval and supports the men and women in the armed forces even if it does not support Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq. The resolution also urges its members and affiliates to support organizations working nonviolently to stop the administration’s move toward war against Iraq.

Among the reasons listed in the resolution, the Labor Council cites its mission to struggle for justice on the job and in the community and internationally. It also points out the determination of Bush to overthrow the Iraqi regime and its threat of a preemptive U.S. attack, and that a war would destabilize the region and violate international law. The Labor Council also expressed concern about the loss of lives of Iraqi civilians and the sons and daughters of the American working class. The resolution notes that the Bush administration has presented no evidence that Iraq is a threat to the U.S. and that there is no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda or the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The resolution also points out other opposition to the war. Philadelphia Congressmen Bob Brady and Chakah Fattah voted against the Bush resolution on Iraq, and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has noted that the rush to war has much to do with the political calendar.

The Bush administration’s rush to war seeks to distract Americans from the real threats posed by corporate corruption and greed, the resolution stated, which have stolen or destroyed the jobs, health, retirement benefits and savings of millions of working Americans. The Labor Council also said a war with Iraq would sap the U.S. Treasury of billions of dollars desperately needed for job creation, health care, education and other human needs.

Linda Butler, secretary of the Council, told the approximately 50 people at the meeting how hard the Committee On Iraq had worked on the resolution and asked for discussion.

Mark Stone, a retired history teacher, a representative of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the oldest member of the Council, spoke about his service in World War II. “I know what war really is,” said Stone. “It is important that this council pass this resolution tonight.”

John Myers of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1776 spoke in favor of the resolution.

One of the delegates objected to the resolution on the grounds that “we didn’t pass resolutions like this when the U.S. invaded Haiti.”

Pat Gillespie, a council vice president and head of the building trades, replied, “We should have had a resolution then and that’s why we need it now. That whole Gulf of Tonkin Resolution [authorizing U.S. escalation of the war in Vietnam] was a big lie. It’s a good thing that we have organizations like this one that are willing to challenge the president.”

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