10 September 2007

Drop All Charges Against ILWU Longshoremen
Ruffin and Harrison!

The following Partisan Defense Committee letter, addressed to D.A. Jeff W. Reisig, Yolo County District Attorney, in California, was issued on September 10. Below it, we reprint the cover letter written by the PDC to the ILWU.

D.A. Jeff W. Reisig
Yolo County Office of the District Attorney
301 Second Street
Woodland, CA 95695

Fax: 530 666-8423
Via Fax Transmission (hard copy by mail)

Dear Sir,

The Partisan Defense Committee strongly protests the beating and arrest of two black members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 by West Sacramento police on August 23rd. The longshoremen were returning to work at the Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) terminal after lunch break. The private security guards had previously seen their work ID’s, yet they demanded to search the car. When the longshoremen called their ILWU business agent for advice, as was their union right, they were assaulted, maced and jailed on false charges of trespassing and obstruction of an officer. We demand that all the charges against ILWU longshoremen Jason Ruffin and Aaron Harrison be dropped!

Kathy Ikegami
for the Partisan Defense Committee

cc: ILWU Local 10
     ILWU Local 18
     ILWU International

Via Facsimile      

September 12, 2007
International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10

Att: President Tommy Clark
Vice President Lawrence Thibeaux
Secretary-Treasurer Farless Dailey
Executive Board

400 North Point
San Francisco, CA 94133
Fax: (415) 441-0610

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Attached below please find the Partisan Defense Committee letter to the Yolo County District Attorney, protesting the outrageous security guard and police assault and arrest of two of your union brothers, Jason Ruffin and Aaron Harrison, in Sacramento on August 23rd.

The “war on terror” is pushed by Democrats and Republicans alike to justify the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. We remember the April 7, 2003 cop attack on antiwar protesters and longshoremen in the Port of Oakland. This attack in Sacramento on two black ILWU members underscores the reality of the “war on terror” at home—attacks on immigrants, blacks, minorities, trade unions and the working class as a whole. From the beginning we have opposed the state’s increased security measures, which are for the purpose of regimenting and repressing labor. For these reasons we believe it has been wrong for many trade-union officials, including in the ILWU, ILA and Teamsters, to have in any way supported the beefed-up port security measures.

In February 2002 the Partisan Defense Committee and the Labor Black League for Social Defense initiated a united front protest in Oakland against the Maritime Security Act and the Patriot Act. ILWU Local 10 endorsed this action, and your members were a central core of the working class presence at the protest, taking a stand in defense of immigrant rights and workers rights. Local 10 for many years has joined with the PDC and trade unionists around the country and the world as well as other organizations in the fight to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, former Black Panther and MOVE supporter, an innocent man on death row.

Now we stand with your union and your union brothers who were victimized by the racist capitalist state—the cops, D.A. and courts. Drop the charges against Ruffin and Harrison!

We call on all of labor and its allies to take a stand in your defense, and thus in defense of all unions.

Please keep us posted on developments in this case, and we will keep supporters of the PDC’s work informed.

Kathy Ikegami
for the Partisan Defense Committee

cc:  ILWU International, Attention: President Robert McEllrath, International Executive Board
1188 Franklin Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94109  Fax: (415) 775-1302

ILWU Local 18, Attention: President, Executive Board & Membership           
PO Box 980068, West Sacramento, CA 95798  Fax: (916) 371-5545