Labor party? Not now
|A few key excerpts from an analysis by two laborites active in the Labor party efforts since the 1990s. Read it all at Back Links --> Unions
“We would be hard-pressed to identify a period of U.S. history where the need for a labor-based political party was greater than it is now. After all of the events since the financial meltdown of 2008 - the "Wisconsin Winter," the "Occupy Wall Street Autumn," another "lesser of two evils" election season - the next logical step might seem to be the launching (or re-launching) of just such a party. Yet the short-term prospects of an independent, pro-worker political movement emerging on the American scene are virtually nonexistent.
“That a Democratic President would be willing to trade away the crown jewels of the social safety
net that have defined the party's identity in the minds of millions of Americans for generations is
astounding. Coming after the Obama Administration's first-term failure to deliver on its
campaign promises to labor on job-creation and labor law reform, its embrace of the "Bush
Doctrine" and escalation of war in Afghanistan, and its repeated capitulations in the fight to pass
substantive health care legislation, the proposed gutting of Social Security and Medicare should
have marked the date when labor finally disowned the Democratic Party and declared its support
for the establishment of a political party with a working-class agenda. Instead, one union after
another rushed to endorse Obama for a second term, asking for little or nothing in return.
“Obama owes his re-election to the labor movement. Its massive ground campaign mobilizations
surely made the difference in the key battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan,
Wisconsin, and Virginia. Labor did so mainly because the "greater of two evils" alternative-the
inauguration of a national union-busting regime committed to a Greek-style austerity program- was,
quite simply, unacceptable.
“Those who would build a Labor Party must find a way to extract a labor movement that is enmeshed in all types of instrumental political relationships from an entrenched two-party system where the winner takes all. In addition, a labor movement that now represents only seven percent of the private sector has difficulty setting terms and conditions of debate, much less building and sustaining political power.
“Unfortunately, because of the reasons enumerated above, this is not yet a time when the revival or re-launching of a working-class political party is in order. No matter what individual activists may desire, the simple fact remains that you cannot build a party of labor when the labor movement itself is in disarray and retreat.”
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