Blockade! Dockworkers, Worldwide, Respond to Israel’s Flotilla Massacre and Gaza Siege

[Internationalist solidarity and action has not often been expressed by labor unions.  During the worldwide struggle against South African apartheid, important boycotts led to direct action by a number of working class activists and labor unions in many countries.  As global outrage erupted over the recent Israeli murderous assault on the humanitarian aid flotilla, dockworkers internationally drew on the experience of the anti-apartheid struggle, and organized work stoppages of Israeli ships, inspiring many to look for more direct actions in the period ahead.  A wide range of forces and political perspectives contributed to these actions, which have had an important impact.-ed.]

July 13, 2010

By GREG DROPKIN

Three weeks after the massacre on the Freedom Flotilla, ILWU dockworkers in the San Francisco Bay area delayed an Israeli Zim Lines ship for 24 hours, the Swedish Dockworkers Union began a week-long blockade of Israeli ships and containers, dockers in the Port of Cochin, India, refused to handle Israeli cargo, and the Turkish dockworkers union Liman-Is announced their members would refuse to service any Israeli shipping. In South Africa, Durban dockers had already boycotted a Zim Lines ship in response to the invasion of Gaza last year. On the 5th Anniversary of the United Palestinian Call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions, Israel faces the prospect of targetted industrial action to implement boycotts. How did it happen, what does it mean, and how can the solidarity movement respond to the new opening? Continue reading