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“We Must Eat Dust”

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Found this at my school library’s web log. Looks like it will be a good event, professor Dawn Mabalon is a very knowledgable person who I look forward to hear speaking:

Labor Archives and Research Center 22nd Anniversary Evening Program

Featuring Guest Speaker:

Dawn Mabalon
San Francisco State University

“We Must Eat Dust: Filipino Migratory Labor and Labor Organizing on the West Coast and Alaska, 1920s-1970s”

fishermen

The event will be held at the ILWU, Local 34
4 Berry Street (2nd and King) on the Embarcadero
next to Giant’s Stadium. map

Friday, February 29, 2008 ~ 6 p.m.

Light Refreshments served at 6:00 p.m.,
program begins at 7:00 p.m.

Pinoy Jazz and Blues Music
by Little Brown Brother

Free and Open to the Public

This event is wheelchair accessible

LARC website

When it comes to labor history and race relations many unions were active agents in oppressing people of color during the Jim Crow era and even now. The Teamsters is one example. Looking at the demographics of my work it’s made up of primarily people of color. I’d say around 60% or so, mainly Black and Latino with a sizable Asian population. However the locals in my area, especially my local, has mostly white males at the helm of leadership; however, in my local the majority of the nine shop stewards (seven of them) are people of color (but no women unfortunately). The ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) was one of the few exceptions in this, and has always had a militant and socialist/communist history behind it. ILWU Local 7, for example, was dominated by Pilipinos in the canneries and shipyards and took a militant stance against the government during the McCarthy Red Scare era.

Another aspect of American unions is that they also tend to downgrade people of color in working class struggles. Pilipinos in California and Hawii helped fight back against sugar plantation owners and giant agribusiness and created solidarity with themselves and Latino and Black workers.

I recommend to anyone interested in race relations and labor history to go to this event.

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