We admire the courage and goodness of the families of those murdered while in church at bible study in Charleston, South Carolina.
We congratulate the decent-thinking South Carolinians who demanded and finally won the lowering of the Confederate flag on the state capitol grounds.
We support the mayor of Charleston’s continued efforts to establish a museum on that city’s waterfront that will portray the horrors of human bondage and draw lessons from it for us today.
We are however ashamed that so very few unions publicly decried these murders and the racism that motivated them, or called for the long-overdue end to celebratory symbols of the Confederacy.
Neither our trade union movement nor our nation will progress as quickly as we should until we come to grips with the “neo-confederacy” thinking that seems to be reborn as modern-day ultra-conservative thinking. Our failure squarely to face our own history — the Civil War was solely fought over slavery; the only states’ right at stake was that to own other human beings; the armed overthrow of Reconstruction by reactionary forces set on course another 100 years of racial oppression — stunts our ability to understand our problems today.
The Labor Fightback Network (LFN) is urging our sister and brother unionists to call attention to the fact that our unions should have had much to say about the events in Charleston, and yet most unions did not speak up. We encourage comment on what must be done to ensure a more visible and militant response by labor to acts of racial terror and violence.