On November 2, Will Lehman, rank-and-file socialist candidate for president of the UAW, issued the following statement demanding the UAW cease production of equipment or munitions used by the Israeli military. The statement was read at a rally attended by hundreds of people at Wayne State University in Detroit.
I unequivocally denounce the Israeli government’s ongoing slaughter of the people of Palestine, which has the full backing of the US government and both capitalist political parties. What is taking place is nothing less than a war crime, and the working class must be alerted and mobilized to stop it.
Two weeks ago, Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions issued a statement to “trade unions in relevant industries” asking workers of the world to “refuse to build weapons destined for Israel … refuse to transport weapons to Israel … [to] take action against complicit companies involved in implementing Israel’s brutal and illegal siege.”
I fully endorse this appeal and demand the United Auto Workers cease production of all equipment intended for the Israeli military. When production of munitions and military equipment for Israel is stopped, all workers in the affected factories must be paid 100 percent of their salaries by the corporations who have profited from contracts with the perpetrators of war crimes. A coordinated education campaign must be initiated to inform the entire UAW membership about the ongoing genocide in Gaza, and resolutions in support of the appeal by our brothers and sisters in Palestine must be passed in every local.
The leadership of the UAW, however, has ignored the appeal by the Palestinian trade unions. In September, UAW President Shawn Fain invited Joe Biden to Wayne, Michigan to posture as a friend of working people. Fain said: “Our president has chosen to stand up with workers in our fight for economic and social justice … Thank you, Mr. President.”
Biden is not standing with workers, he is standing with Netanyahu and the Israeli military as they massacre civilians and bomb hospitals and schools. It is not the Democratic Party or the trade union bureaucrats who will stop imperialist war. War will only be stopped through the independent and unified initiative of the international working class. That is what we must fight for.