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Fri Aug 17, 2018, 06:17 AM

South Dakota Unions Against White Supremacy

Late last year, Kooper Caraway ran for president of the Sioux Falls, South Dakota AFL-CIO as part of a reform slate that pledged to revive new organizing within unions and support struggles outside of them, especially among immigrants and refugees. In January, Caraway and his slate were elected. One of their first orders of business: banning members of fascist and white-supremacist groups from holding elected or staff positions in its affiliated unions.

Caraway is twenty-seven years old; he comes from a working-class family, with a mother who is Native American and father descended from German immigrants. In high school, he led student actions against local immigration raids. He’s held multiple positions in the public-employees union AFSCME, including serving as a community and union organizer in South Dakota.

He spoke to Jacobin contributor Joe Allen about the changes he and his slate brought to the labor body and why it is labor’s duty to fight the far right. You can read Caraway’s editorial on that fight, published on the eve of the anniversary of the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, by a white supremacist, here.


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