FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Time for a Real Labor Party

by

“Fool me once shame on you.

You fool me you can’t get fooled again.”

– Geo. W. Bush

Spoken like the true idiot that he is.

So we expect a whole lot more out of the Obama administration.  One bumper sticker even said, “Elect Intellect”.  Kind of turns around the old Adlai Stevenson quip when one supporter said to him, “…All thinking people are for you.”  His response was, “That’s not enough. I need a majority.” (1)

The question to be raised is how does having someone new who’s smarter than a fifth grader  make a difference in solving the problems we’re facing?  Eight years has been a long time for our collective brain to atrophy. Can Obama restore that?  Will it make a difference?  When has the American public ever truly grappled with real solutions?  We complain about the problems all the time. We’ve always expected our elected leaders to surround themselves with the ‘best and the brightest.’ That often gives the public the excuse to be the acquiescent sheep they are so carefully trained to be.

We see the Obama economic  team made up of the very types of people who brought us to the brink of Depression. Being smart just isn’t enough. Missing from the team, and even his cabinet, are the very people who most truly represent those most hurt by this economic crisis: Labor and Consumers.  Conspicuously absent?  Not a word is mentioned of them, even by organized Labor itself. But that should be no surprise.

The leadership of the CIO sold out the UAW and the labor movement in 1936 when UAW wanted to start their own political party for labor and farmers. It was either support Roosevelt and the New Deal or funds for organizing  auto workers would be withheld. (2)  Since then, Labor has been under the thumb of the Democratic Party for so long now that they think they’re part of the hand.  It is no wonder there hasn’t been a peep out of organized labor over the exclusion of Labor in Obama’s economic powerhouse team.

The Obama administration’s exclusion of Labor clearly shows that the Democratic Party sees Labor’s leaders as their loyal lieutenants. They see Labor’s role as having no value, except to call out their armies during election time.  They also know that if they were to have a real independent labor voice on their team their entire economic plan to revitalize Wall Street and the banking houses could crash.

Will the rank and file union members ever wake up to the stranglehold the Democrats have over them?

What’s truly needed now are real alternative political parties.  The Greens are out. In states like Maryland they can’t even organize a sock drawer, let alone a political party.  Other state Green Parties are stronger but overall very weak and getting weaker. If one just goes by raw numbers, their recent showing in Louisiana had been the margin that helped to defeat the corrupt Congressman Jefferson.  Too often, though, the GP is reluctant  to crow about how it can make an electoral difference or even try to. If only the Party could have had some bragging rights in 2000, then 2004 might not have been so disastrous for them!

Libertarians have a very specific message, but with little money and no good organizers they might just as well duke it out with disenfranchised voters who might argue for staying home, still leaving the field wide open for the two main rivals.

Shouldn’t this be the time that Labor finally breaks from under the yoke of the Democrats, who are so hell-bent on being Wall Street’s electoral arm?

It is still inconceivable that rank and file union members don’t do to their union bosses what Terry Malone did to Johnny Friendly (3) and throw them all in the water.

The support the Labor movement gives to the Democratic Party is contrary to the needs of labor.  When, since 1947, has any serious Democratic candidate, let alone the party’s platform, ever called for the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, one of the most anti-labor pieces of legislation?  It was the Reform Party candidate, Ross Perot, that Texan Ferengi, who in 1992 railed against NAFTA, our generation’s most anti-labor treaty. Bill Clinton and his Democratic Party pushed it through once elected with continuing backing from Democrats and Republicans alike.  And, the one issue that often ties up all union contractual activities is not just outsourcing, bad working conditions or bad bosses, or even wages. It is health care and the need to keep what coverage they can. If health care was taken off the table, with a national health care plan along the lines of Single Payer in place, then unions could focus on real labor issues. Yet it is taking forever for the Democrats in Congress to sign on to any real health care plan independent of the health insurance industry.

A Labor Party would have very broad appeal.  It would be a party for working families, regardless of their past political affiliations.  And what difference does it make if it does hurt one party or another?  If only it speaks for its members, why be apprehensive about whether or not its strength would hurt another’s whose interests are clearly not theirs to begin with?  A Labor Party not afraid to stand up to the Democratic and Republican Parties would honor the labor heroes who struggled or died fighting for the basic rights of workers in America.

Myles Hoenig is a disenchanted member of PGCEA, a teachers’ union in Maryland.  He also ran a Green Party gubernatorial campaign in Maryland in 2006.  (Eddie Boyd. Presente!) He can be reached at myles.hoenig@gmail.com 

Notes.

1. http://www.npr.org/programs/wesat/000205.stevenson.html

2. “Who made the New Deal?” Lance Selfa, 11/14/08, www.socialistworker.org

3. On the Waterfront, 1954

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 25, 2016
Mike Whitney
The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
The Louisiana Catastrophe Proves the Need for Universal, Single-Payer Disaster Insurance
John W. Whitehead
Another Brick in the Wall: Children of the American Police State
Lewis Evans
Genocide in Plain Sight: Shooting Bushmen From Helicopters in Botswana
Daniel Kovalik
Colombia: Peace in the Shadow of the Death Squads
Sam Husseini
How the Washington Post Sells the Politics of Fear
Ramzy Baroud
Punishing the Messenger: Israel’s War on NGOs Takes a Worrying Turn
Norman Pollack
Troglodyte Vs. Goebbelean Fascism: The 2016 Presidential Race
Simon Wood
Where are the Child Victims of the West?
Roseangela Hartford
The Hidden Homeless Population
Mark Weisbrot
Obama’s Campaign for TPP Could Drag Down the Democrats
Rick Sterling
Clintonites Prepare for War on Syria
Yves Engler
The Anti-Semitism Smear Against Canadian Greens
August 24, 2016
John Pilger
Provoking Nuclear War by Media
Jonathan Cook
The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine
Eric Draitser
Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism
Robert Fisk
The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria
Abubakar N. Kasim
What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?
Renee Parsons
Obamacare Supporters Oppose ColoradoCare
Alycee Lane
The Trump Campaign: a White Revolt Against ‘Neoliberal Multiculturalism’
Edward Hunt
Maintaining U.S. Dominance in the Pacific
George Wuerthner
The Big Fish Kill on the Yellowstone
Jesse Jackson
Democrats Shouldn’t Get a Blank Check From Black Voters
Kent Paterson
Saving Southern New Mexico from the Next Big Flood
Arnold August
RIP Jean-Guy Allard: A Model for Progressive Journalists Working in the Capitalist System
August 23, 2016
Diana Johnstone
Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion
Bill Quigley
Race and Class Gap Widening: Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers
Ted Rall
Trump vs. Clinton: It’s All About the Debates
Eoin Higgins
Will Progressive Democrats Ever Support a Third Party Candidate?
Kenneth J. Saltman
Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success
Binoy Kampmark
Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day
John Feffer
The Globalization of Trump
Gwendolyn Mink – Felicia Kornbluh
Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”
Medea Benjamin
Congress Must Take Action to Block Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia
Halyna Mokrushyna
Political Writer, Daughter of Ukrainian Dissident, Detained and Charged in Ukraine
Manuel E. Yepe
Tourism and Religion Go Hand-in-Hand in the Caribbean
ED ADELMAN
Belted by Trump
Thomas Knapp
War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us
Nauman Sadiq
Shifting Alliances: Turkey, Russia and the Kurds
Rivera Sun
Active Peace: Restoring Relationships While Making Change
August 22, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’
Robert Hunziker
Arctic Death Rattle
Norman Solomon
Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Hubris: Only Tell the Rich for $5000 a Minute!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail