The AFL-CIO must now break all ties with the Democratic Party!
By Jeremy Wells
The historic low voter turnout in November dramatically confirmed what the low popularity poll numbers for Obama and Congressional politicians of both parties, have indicated. Neither corporate corrupted Democratic nor reactionary Republican parties, Democratic and Republican millionaire politicians, ever represent or fight for the economic interests of the working class majority of voters.
The AFL-CIO-supported Democratic Party candidate for the Governor of Michigan, Mark Schauer, was defeated in his attempt to unseat incumbent Republican Governor Rick Snyder. Schauer’s campaign slogans ignored the working class. Schauer said not a word about hundreds of destitute families living in Detroit, unable to pay their utility bills, who were having their water shut off.
Instead, Mark Shauer’s slogans advocated, among other things, “cutting middle-class taxes” and that Rick Snyder “doesn’t understand middle-class values.” This “Middle Class” rhetoric, never mentioning the dire needs of the working class majority, is often used by AFL-CIO President Trumka as well as President Obama.
• The AFL-CIO today must realize that trade union labor contracts, by themselves, have failed to secure and maintain the economic justice of their members. Collective bargaining agreements only deal with wages and benefits with one employer. Labor contracts do not cover other essential economic needs required by working people. These economic needs are secured and maintained by laws passed by pro-labor law-makers, not by trade union contracts.
New laws are now desperately needed to maintain public (not privatized) tuition-free education, establish universal “single-payer” health care (not “Obama-care”), maintain (not cut) Social Security, create millions of “living wage” public sector jobs (which the private sector cannot provide), to promote worker owned co-operative enterprises, etc.
• A new Solidarity political party, to break with the corporate-corrupted Democratic Party, to powerfully unite all trade union and unorganized workers, which refuses all corporate money and agendas, will elect pro-labor law-makers as soon as possible in every local, state, and Federal election. The long-term goal of The Solidarity Party would be to build a new economy that provides a universal minimum “standard of living” for all working people.
Pro-worker mass media economic education for the public and all working people. The AFL-CIO must help sponsor, produce, and broadcast on a nightly PBS television, a news and commentary program promoting the economic betterment of working people.
• Worker funded, not corporate corrupted! Millions of new Solidarity Party voters, paying a minimal monthly dues, would easily fund the organizational needs. Fund-drives would provide on-going financial support of a pro-labor PBS program from viewers.
• †The Solidarity Party will not be simply a “trade union party”, but fight for economic justice for all workers.
• A new 21st Century understanding is needed by the labor movement, the AFL-CIO, to develop new organizational and political strategies to fight back against Capitalist Globalization which has permanently lost millions of U.S. jobs and impoverished U.S. workers.
• New ways of economic production and job creation, that break with the failed 19th century system of wage-slavery capitalist exploitation, are not only possible but now necessary for economic justice in the 21st century.
For more information :
Dr. Richard D. Wolff, Marxist economics educator, http://www.rdwolff.com Link to Democracy at Work, Capitalism Hits the Fan, Economic Update, books, video and audio presentations.
World Socialist Web Site http://www.wsws.org published 6 days a week. Critical Marxist analysis of current events unavailable in corporate or ìprogressiveî media.
*Jeremy Wells, retired worker, socialist, humanist at: http://www.infowells.com Email: email@example.com
Stop the Right with a Democratic-Labor-Left Alliance
By Paul Krehbiel
Republicans have won a majority in the US Senate, and a larger majority in the House. They’ll promote more cuts to social services, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and attacks on working people and unions, people of color, women, youth, seniors, immigrants, LGBT people, voting rights, and the environment. They’ll diminish democratic rights, increase domestic police repression, threaten more wars, and move the US further to the right. Their goal is to elect a right-wing Republican president in 2016 so they control all three branches of government.
In this atmosphere Jeremy Wells has demanded: ìThe AFL-CIO Must Now Break All Ties with the Democratic Party.î He urges the establishment of a new ìSolidarityî Party for the working-class, yet offers no strategy, program or members. His demand that labor split from the Democrats would be a gift to Republicans, and political suicide for working people and the environment around the world. Wells criticizes the ìcorporate corrupted Democratic partyî (yes, there’s too much corporate influence), and claims the Democrats have ìneverî done anything for working people. The second part is untrue (think New Deal, Social Security, Medicare, Voting Rights, Civil Rights Act, Family & Medical Leave Act ñ passed by Democrats and fought by Republicans). The new GOP majority can be stopped by building a stronger mass peopleís progressive movement that lets Democrats in Congress know they must do the right thing, and informs Obama he must have an active veto pen.
I’d love it if we had progressives, leftists, and socialists in the majority in Congress and the Oval Office, but we donít. Republicans and Democrats are going to make decisions that affect our lives. The most important thing is to build mass people’s movements to put pressure on whoever ís in office, but don’t ignore who that is.
The Democratic Party isn’t monolithic. At its base are millions of working people, union members, people of color, and progressives. Many Democratic candidates are pushed by big business contributors to do their bidding, and too many have repeatedly harmed working people. But there are Democrats who’ve fought to help workers. There are different wings within the Democratic Party – progressives, moderates, and conservatives. Thereís a struggle between these wings and different class forces. We should try to win moderates to progressive ideas, get conservative Dems not to vote for Republican anti-people bills, and move the political spectrum to the left.
We must have a vision of a better society, without exploitation, oppression, racism, and other evils, based on empowerment of the working class, cooperation, fairness, and compassion. We need a well-thought strategy for getting there. But we must also deal with the world as it is, objectively. That means we must inter-act with Democrats.
Most progressive third parties are small, with a few exceptions, such as Vermont Progressive Party. There’s a pro-labor Green Party. The Greens ran Paul Homeniak for governor in Michigan in November, against Rep. Gov. Rick Snyder and Dem. Mark Schauer. Wells blasted Schauer, claiming he never cited ìthe dire needs of the working-class majority,î but didnít mention Homeniak.
Nor did Wells mention the candidatesí positions. Schauer supported union shops, more money for public education, and action to stop human-caused global warming. He opposed corporate tax cuts or taking over in-debt Michigan towns by dismissing the elected council and appointing a manager. Snyder had opposite positions. Green Homeniak was very close to Schauerís positions.
Snyder, former chair of Gateway computers, got support from the Koch brothers. He signed an anti-labor right-to-work (for less) law, cut unemployment benefits, and added taxes on retirees. Schauer, a member of Laborers Union Local 3555 and a former Representative, got most of his support from workers. In Congress he voted 100% correct on AFL-CIO issues. Snyder outspent Schauer $14.5 million to $6.2 million. Snyder was re-elected with 1,607,399 votes (50.9%), to Democrat Schauerís 1,479,057 (46.86%). Green candidate Homeniak received 14,934 votes (.47%). Voting records of Republicans and Democrats mostly parallel the Snyder/Schauer record. Republicans have bamboozled so many voters, weíre fighting to get the majority to see that voting for a Democrat is better than voting for a Republican.
Our near-term goal should be to organize to empower working people, and lay the foundation to run and elect candidates on a left political platform, as Democrats where necessary and on a left party line where possible.
Paul Krehbiel is a long-time union activist who has supported both Democratic and left third party campaigns. He’s a member of the National Coordinating Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism