I couldn't agree more with this article, and hope that unions will have the vision to strike in order to keep the bombs from falling on the heads of Palestinians.

We can't allow these war crimes on our watch.

Hats off to you, Hamilton Nolan, and to UFCW 3000.

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Oct 20Liked by Hamilton Nolan

The only actual leverage workers have is in their ability to shut shit down! Marches, protests and such are effective at raising public consciousness but they dont materially change anything, esp at the federal level. Bravo to you for generating/spreading these ideas and for UE and other Unions for taking a difficult but principled position!

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Oct 20Liked by Hamilton Nolan

"Arsenal of democracy" is an appalling phrase. And supporting the current government in Israel is more like supporting autocracy than democracy

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I admire the big thinking involved here, although from where I sit it does not appear that the American Left - much less the Labor movement, which involves a much broader part of the political spectrum - is united on this issue.

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Your distinction between Ukraine as a weaker country invaded by a stronger one and Israel as a stronger country waging a "war of choice" on a weaker one fits neatly into H.L. Mencken's observation that "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." It is also a specious distinction.

Who is actually "weaker?" The kleptocratic, billionaire leaders of Hamas ,who use 2 million citizens entrusted to their care as human shields, and are actually counting on incurring their deaths and suffering as "martyrs" to garner support and tactical advantage, or Israel, which cares so deeply about the lives of its citizens and finds itself in an impossible, existential predicament between seeking to eradicate Hamas and incurring those same civilian deaths?

Let's also recall how an earlier battle turned out in the same region, between Goliath and David, the former a fearsome warrior, "9 feet tall," armed to the teeth and immensely stronger than his opponent David, a stripling shepherd boy.

What you fashion as "farce" is to those living in Israel the most horrific of tragedies. What "choice" exactly are you referring to? The "choice" to respond to the greatest atrocities perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust with a Christ-like turning of the "other cheek?" The "choice" to do so after repeated rocket attacks and incursions and murders of Jews in their homes over the past 15 years, culminating in the October 7th horrors? The "choice" to allow Hamas to live up to their continued public declarations, even now, to repeat October 7 "again and again and again" until all Jews and Israel are "annihilated," also consistent with the Hamas Charter? Even Christ had only two cheeks to turn.

If you're interested in stopping this war, why not advocate for the workers of America to strike against the interests of Hamas? Gaza could have peace tomorrow if Hamas would return all the hostages and agree to dismantle their rockets and tunnels. But you don't advocate for that ...why not?

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Good framing of labor power and its potential in the mix of responses to the current debate. No arguments here.

But I wanted you to do some additional framing and ask the question - can there be a just war? If no, then I need an education as to how to not be consumed by the tyrants of the world. If there is just war, how does a just war get defined? Once defined, the process of defining invites debate and analysis of the gap btw the just and unjust.

I missed this framing in your essay: if the war is just, we need principled approach. If the war is unjust, then bring the heat - strike!

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My study of nuclear weapons persuaded me that it's not the weapons so much that are the problem, as those who would use them. You know, if we got rid of all nukes, the power trippers of the world would just turn their attention to other means of chaos.

It seems useful to point out that no philosophy, religion, ideology, politics, system of law, social organization, or moral pressure has ever succeeded in ending wars. So if there is a solution to war, it most likely resides in that collection of ideas that haven't been considered or tried, and that would probably seem "unrealistic and unreasonable" to the group consensus. Here's one attempt at that:


Labor unions can go in any direction in regards to the current wars, and it won't really change the bit picture, as wars, chaos and suffering will continue. Remember, the despots of the world can turn to slave labor for their arms if necessary.

Being for or against the invasion of Gaza won't change the big picture either. For 75 years the blame gaming, finger pointing, and victim posturing from all sides has utterly failed to make anybody in the Middle East safe. If we're serious about peace, we should turn our attention away from that which we know doesn't work.

We can get all wound up about saving civilians in Gaza, but if we don't deal with the source of such chaos, the innocent will continue to suffer and die all over the world, including on the streets of the wealthiest nations. Focusing on particular situations as they arise has never ended the horrific parade of such situations. If we're serious about peace, we should turn our attention away from that which we know doesn't work.

The overwhelming majority of violence all over the world for thousands of years has arisen from a single source. Violent men.

One of the reasons the suffering, killing and dying continues without end is probably that we never seem interested in talking about the source of the suffering, killing and dying.

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The communists had some of the best military industries. Where do you people go to school?

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