The Hellhole – week of 6/4

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Did you know Seattle was where UPS got its start

We live in a society of lonely individuals, constantly alienated, threatened, deprived, and always watched by an overbearing police state – but, hey, capitalism gave us iPhones so whatevs right? This week we have stories of one strike forestalled and one on deck, the paradox of being a sanctuary city with an ICE office and detention center, and we look into the grift that is the canvass to repeal the EHT. Enter the Hellhole …

One In, One Out

In a member poll on Friday and an official vote on Saturday of last week, academic student workers at the University of Washington voted to accept the university’s latest contract offer and call off the strike previously authorized for this week and next. The new contract includes increased childcare support, trans-affirming healthcare, removal of waiver loopholes to keep workers from paying to work, and a variety of other victories (though not as many as some had hoped). Perhaps most interestingly, it also includes an explicit Letter of Understanding affirming the right of UAW Local 4121 to join other campus unions in further bargaining over the cost of their transit pass – a pass which is provided for free to all state employees in the area except for those at the University, who have to buy their own. The U-PASS negotiations are a part of the UW Pass or Fail campaign, bringing together union workers, non-union workers, and local activist organizations in hopes of forcing the university’s hand.

Just because the UAW strike was cancelled doesn’t mean that there’ll be no picket lines this Summer. As of last Tuesday, UPS workers represented by the Teamsters authorized their own strike, in their continuing fight for a fair contract. UPS (a company formed in Seattle, before relocating to Atlanta) recently wanted to change their workers’ contract to allow its drivers to work seventy hour weeks, as opposed to the reasonable already barely-acceptable sixty hours currently allowed. You might also recall the recent victory of Teamsters Local 174 bus drivers with First Student – that same union happens to be one of those in our region representing UPS drivers. We stand with them, especially if they go on strike, because as we’ve seen time and again: it’s a tactic that works.

Struggle Against ICE In A Failed Sanctuary

As we’ve discussed before, Washington State has a pretty wild definition of what being a sanctuary state means. Local and state governments share data and resources with ICE, but hey, at least our our “Immigrants Are Welcome Here” yard sign game is on point.

Heidi Groover reported on Thursday how, as a result of the new Trump policy of zero tolerance for undocumented crossings, mothers are being separated from their families and being held in a SeaTac prison. This is another facility (in addition to the Northwest Detention Center) where immigrants are being held and a tactic that makes it harder for lawyers and activists to find out where people are. Causing needless trauma for people, many of whom are seeking asylum or stability, does fit with our local establishment politics as Mayor Jenny “Love To Sweep The Unhoused” Durkan can attest. But these inhumane maneuvers are not going unopposed.

Members of NWDC Resistance blocked traffic during morning rush hour on Tuesday outside of the ICE offices that our “sanctuary city” hosts. They were there to demand that ICE be removed from Washington and be disbanded entirely since the agency’s sole purpose is to carry out acts of wanton cruelty and terror against vulnerable communities. After several hours, activists blocking the street were arrested on charges of pedestrian interference. Thankfully, they were able to be released later that day, unlike those being held for indeterminate periods in immigration prisons.

So why is ICE working across the country to arrest people delivering pizzas, set up cartoonish traps for low wage workers, and traumatize children? To deliver the pound of flesh Trump promised his base after foregoing the dog whistles and scapegoating immigrants as the root cause of all the problems workers have experienced under the decades of unfettered neoliberal capitalism.

The cycle of capital looking the other way on immigration to exploit cheap labor while simultaneously stoking fears that people are coming to steal jobs from “Real (White) Americans”, followed a crack down, and then back around again are entirely intentional. They provide a way to keep the working class divided and unable to see our shared struggle and the face of the true enemy.

As the protesters chanted on Tuesday, “Fuck ICE,” and the system they’re propping up.

The people hired to stop the EHT are grifters

The hired shills brought in by the evil collaboration between big business, reactionary anti-homeless groups, and literal fascists to stop the tax on big business like Amazon are flim-flap operators on high.

As exposed by Socialist Alternative and Working Washington, and published in the Stranger, “independent contractors” hired to collect signatures are falsely claiming that the employee hours tax passed unanimously by the City Council on the top 3% of Seattle businesses is a tax on all workers for $275 a year and affects all businesses. They’re using misinformation and scare tactics to take millions of dollars away efforts to build affordable housing and to secure a better life for our brothers and sisters living without permanent shelter.

But the fight isn’t over yet! You still have an opportunity to fight back against these corporate scammers before the deadline! Attend the training tomorrow, Saturday, June 9, at 10am taking place at the SEIU 775 office at 3rd and Columbia. Get trained on how to find and stop these bad operators and let’s shut down the counter-revolutionary corporate attack.

Quick Hits!

 


In this trying situation, it is important to take a reprieve and join together in community with each other. Coming up later this month is the 2nd Annual Seattle DSA Potluck and Picnic, open to all Seattle DSA members, family, friends and fellow travelers who want to contribute and share in an event of community and solidarity. RVSP here!

 

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Hellhole is written by members of the Seattle DSA communications team. Unless expressly stated, Dispatches do not necessarily reflect the views of Seattle DSA as an organization or its leadership.