The US is a country with a rich history of class struggle, which is not well known by most due to conscious efforts by the ruling class to bury the traditions of the labor movement. It is important for socialists in this country to study the history and lessons of the past in order to learn and prepare for events in the future. The following article was written before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, but it is even more relevant now in light of the unprecedented wave of wildcat strikes and labor unrest among frontline workers across the country.

On June 19, the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers Union (ILWU), a militant union of 42,000 members, shut down 29 ports along the West Coast of the United States and Canada, as workers withheld their labor for 8 hours. The strike was organized to demonstrate the labor movement’s solidarity with black lives after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, and held on the Juneteenth anniversary of the emancipation of the last chattel slaves in the US in 1865.