Teamsters for a Democratic Union
Teamsters for a Democratic Union is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.
“Fighting, democratic unions”
Teamsters for a Democratic Union, which the International Socialists were instrumental in launching, was considered a model of what a rank-and-file organization should look like. The underlying strategy (at least as IS formulated it) was “socialism from below,” with the workplace as the key arena and the struggle for “fighting, democratic unions” as the key vehicle. The underlying assumption was that autonomous action by workers at the point of production was both a wellspring of democratic values and a critical component of revolutionary strategy.
Freedom Road event
The 22nd Annual People’s Thanksgiving Dinner, held in Chicago Dec. 8, honored her with the “Nelson Mandela Award: Opposing Israeli Apartheid is not a Crime.”
70 people gathered to recognize her and a number of other important activists. They met at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, despite an early blizzard that made getting to the church hazardous.
The event is held annually by Fight Back! news and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! . The dinner raised over $3000 for Odeh’s defense campaign, as well as $1000 to help continue the work of Fight Back! news.
Another emotional moment in the dinner was an award presented to Pete Camarata. Camarata was a co-founder of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union . His award, entitled the “Big Bill Haywood: Class Struggle Award” was presented to him by Richard Berg. Berg, a long time reformer in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), has known Camarata for 25 years.
The framed award, reading, “For his lifelong dedication to the liberation of the working class,” was accepted by Camarata’s stepson, Jackson Potter. Potter is the staff coordinator of the Chicago Teachers Union. He explained that Camarata couldn’t attend the dinner because he is fighting cancer.
A statement from Camarata read in part, “I thank FRSO for the award, and I accept it with the knowledge that my activism belongs to the movement and the brave people who built TDU, the movement in this country and around the world.”