The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

South Carolina longshoremen go on trial November 13

Nov 5, 2001

On November 13, five Charleston, South Carolina longshoremen go on trial for charges of conspiracy and rioting punishable by up to five years in prison. The South Carolina Attorney General, Charles Condon, has compared the men to the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center.

The charges resulted from a clash between the longshoremen and the police on January 20, 2000. One hundred fifty longshoremen had gone out to picket a ship owned by the Danish company Nordana, which said it would no longer be unloaded by union longshoremen, and instead brought in the non-union Winyah Stevedoring Inc. from Georgetown, SC. The unarmed union members were confronted by 600 cops dressed in riot gear with dogs, horses, armored vehicles, boats and helicopters. A longshore clerk had his head busted open, and one of the cops clubbed union president Kenneth Riley over the head. Other workers were also injured.

In fact, if there was terrorism at work in Charleston that day, it was carried out by heavily-armed riot police who outnumbered unarmed protestors four to one.

Longshore locals on all coasts have been rallying to support the five longshoremen.

Support can be sent to: Free the Charleston Five, ILA Local 1422, 910 Morrison Drive, Charleston, SC 29403.