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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 27, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Media Ban! Making Sense of the War Between Trump and the Press
Dave Lindorff
Resume Inflation at the NSC: Lt. General McMaster’s Silver Star Was Essentially Earned for Target Practice
Conn Hallinan
Is Trump Moderating US Foreign Policy? Hardly
Norman Pollack
Political Castration of State: Militarization of Government
Kenneth Surin
Inside Dharavi, a Mumbai Slum
Lawrence Davidson
Truth vs. Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Extradition Saga of Kim Dotcom
Robert Fisk
Why a Victory Over ISIS in Mosul Might Spell Defeat in Deir Ezzor
David Swanson
Open Guantanamo!
Ted Rall
The Republicans May Impeach Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Why Should Trump―or Anyone―Be Able to Launch a Nuclear War?
Andrew Stewart
Down with Obamacare, Up with Single Payer!
Colin Todhunter
Message to John Beddington and the Oxford Martin Commission
David Macaray
UFOs: The Myth That Won’t Die?
Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail