FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Possible Strategy for Organized Labor

by DAVID MACARAY

Which of the following scenarios would be “most beneficial” to a society?  Scenario A,  where $100 million is spent by randomly mailing 100 million people a check for $1.00, or Scenario B, where that $100 million is spent to build a brand new modern library in a city that desperately needs one?  Most of us would agree that concentrating those resources would have the more salutary effect.

If organized labor (i.e., Richard Trumka and the AFL-CIO) is sincere about wanting to assume a larger role in national and international politics, they need to stop behaving like ideological rubes, and get down to the serious business of becoming political “hit men.”

For openers, labor needs to stop pretending they represent God and country, or that they’re this respectable vanguard of social change.  They need to reconnect not only with their history but with their mission, acknowledging that they are (and always have been) a rogue institution, despised and feared by those with money and power.   The only difference between Labor Past and Labor Present is the lack of blood on the streets….and the size of their bank accounts.

In 2008, organized labor spent a reported $400 million getting Barack Obama and other Democrats elected.  No matter how you cut it—whether you’re a Saudi oil sheik or a Wall Street hedge fund manager—that’s a considerable amount of money.  Just think what could have been done with part of that sum—say $150 million—had it been spent judiciously.

What labor needs to do is think small.  Put away the chainsaw and bring out the scalpel. One way to do that is to identify three or four particularly toxic Republican congressmen or senators, and go after them.   Dedicate yourselves to defeating them.

We’re always hearing people say that money has too much influence in politics, that it’s corrosive and insidious, that it’s undermining our democracy.  If that’s true (and who can dispute it?), then it’s incumbent upon labor to exploit that unfortunate fact.  Labor needs to pour huge amounts of cash into a handful of targeted elections in order to change their outcome.

Organized labor may not have many friends these days, but one thing they still have—with approximately 14.7 million union members nationally—is plenty of money in their coffers.  And that Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court, although repugnant, now allows unions (and corporations) to contribute all the money they wish without having to reveal their identity.

Accordingly, instead of contributing to these sprawling, grandiose, across-the-board national campaigns that are so easily diluted and refracted, labor needs to draw up a “hit list” of its own.  They need to pick out a few influential, anti-union, Republican congress members, home in on them with laser-like intensity, and defeat them.  Destroy them.  Ruin them.

Again, don’t try to re-populate Congress overnight, because that’s not going to happen.  Think small.  Pick three leaders who have an inordinate amount of influence and whose absence from Congress would make a difference.  For example, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and Michelle Bachmann.  If these three ideologues were defeated, their absence would be felt immediately.  Their absence would create a tiny void.  It wouldn’t change the country, but it would be a start.

Pick three Congress people to attack in 2012, and in 2014, pick three more.  Chip away at the edifice.  And don’t your waste time and money on “back benchers,” those politicians who don’t have the personalities or whiskers to gain a following.  Go for the ones who make a difference.  And if it costs you $50 million (or more) to unseat one of these people, so be it.  It’s only money.  The one thing you have plenty of.

DAVID MACARAY, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor”), was a former union rep.   He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net

 

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

November 22, 2017
Jonathan Cook
Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot
William Kaufman
The Great American Sex Panic of 2017
Richard Moser
Young Patriots, Black Panthers and the Rainbow Coalition
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Darkness
Lee Artz
Cuba Libre, 2017
Mark Weisbrot
Mass Starvation and an Unconstitutional War: US / Saudi Crimes in Yemen
Frank Stricker
Republican Tax Cuts: You’re Right, They’re Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes
Edward Hunt
Reconciling With Extremists in Afghanistan
Dave Lindorff
Remembering Media Critic Ed Herman
Nick Pemberton
What to do About Al Franken?
November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail