|More of the same and more unnecessary suffering for US workers|
It was a "widely expected move" writes Byron Tau in Politico.com, which is true. It comes as no surprise to anyone. In 2008, then AFL-CIO president John Sweeney announced support for Obama with much praise and fanfare: "He’s a champion for working families who knows what it’s going to take to create an economy that works for everyone, not just Big Oil, Big Pharma, the insurance companies, the giant mortgage lenders, speculators and the very wealthy. We’re proud to stand with Sen. Obama to help our nation chart a course that will improve life for generations of working people and our children.”
Trumka continued this nonsense after this week's endorsement: “we have never doubted his commitment to working families." The "we" Trumka is referring to is the entrenched bureaucracy that he heads, but for the millions of workers in this country that matter, there is no doubt that Obama, or any other politician in one of the two Wall Street parties has anything but a loyalty to the bankers and coupon clippers that fund them.
The utter disdain that workers have for the two Wall Street parties is so strong that some time ago the AFL-CIO leadership decided that they could no longer appear to be openly supporting the Democratic Party so they shifted their tone a little. I recall this very well at AFSCME conventions that I was a regular delegate to during the 80's and 90's. "It's not about political parties, it's about candidates" was the message. The strategists of Labor recognized the anti-party mood out there and had to alter their message.
After endorsing Obama Trumka "Repeated a vow to remain independent from the Democratic Party and mount their own outside effort, coupled with the launch of an AFL-CIO super PAC." says Politico. "We will be running an independent program rooted not in parties or candidates but in helping working people build power, making informed decisions about which candidates at every level to work for based on records and issues," Trumka adds.
So these leaders, who are in actuality representatives of capital in our organizations, expect us to believe that they are politically independent of the Democratic Party and will instead build independent working class power and use this power to vote for candidates for President and other offices. They are also forming a super PAC to raise money that they can bribe the politicians with like the corporations do. The problem is that the capitalist class have much more money than we do, that's why their capitalists. We have numbers. And these candidates they determine are best for us; which party might they belong to I might ask?
It's farcical isn't it. But it is also tragic and without doubt criminal negligence on the part of Trumka and co. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that these clowns plan to "outspend" the $400 million of their members hard earned dues money that they spent on the 2008 election. Trumka recognizes that millions of workers are "disappointed" over policy issues and that many workers feel let down by Obama. Labor's political program will win them over though he thinks, "I think they'll understand when we give them the facts" he tells the WSJ.
Naturally, there was no real opposition on the executive body, after all, for these guys where else can they go? One of the reasons they support Obama they say is that this "champion" of the working class is a strong supporter of "retirement security". Don't laugh, its true. Retirement packages are being savaged. By now we've become numb to the public pronouncements that emanate from organized Labor's officialdom.
The average worker has become so disgusted with it all they opt out of politics altogether or buy in to that "lesser of two evils" theory, hold their nose and go vote. As far as the top Labor officials go, they rank up there with Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers when it comes to popularity among the masses. Unfortunately, many workers draw the conclusion that it is corruption that leads these leaders to betray the working class in this way and corruption, obscene salaries and jobs for life are a factor but not the main one. For me the issue is a political one. These leaders support capitalism and the market. The see no alternative economic system other than the one that presently exists based on the private ownership of the means of production and the production of society's needs on the basis of profit. They see no alternative to the market.
This is why they force concessions on their members and why they refuse to use the resources under their control to help build a mass workers political party independent of the Democrats, which is a party of the 1%. The response to such and alternative, that fought and campaigned for what we need as opposed to what the 1%'s candidates say capitalism can afford, and used the power of organized workers to get it, would get a tremendous response. That's the problem. There would be massive pressure on the candidates of such a party to produce the goods, something they cannot do given their ideological views, their view of the world which is basically the same as the bosses. Mobilizing the power of workers, economic or political can only lead to chaos as what is-----is.
Aside from the $400 million plus of our money they will spend on the millionaires' candidates this year the Labor officials expect to mobilize 400,000 volunteers. This is staggering when you think about it. What other organization has such resources? On top of this there are some 1000 Labor councils and many many more locals throughout the country that can be centers of political activity and education. The resources are there, but the political will is not.
I am of the opinion that such a development, an independent mass party of workers is an objective fact. I do not believe that the such a party will be built from above as far as organized Labor goes. The present leadership will resist such a development until the pressure form below becomes so great and the obstacle of our leadership is breached, with splits, factions and new leaders emerging. Outside of organized Labor I think that out of campaigns and struggles on the ground, in the communities, candidates will arise rooted in these movements. This is one of the weaknesses of the Occupy Wall Street movement that there is a strong anti-political element that has been very influential in it. The importance of an independent workers political movement is that it gives us a place to fight, it breaks the monopoly the 1% has over the political life of society---it changes the balance of class forces and mass consciousness with it.
I have stated more than once that it was my view at one time that such a political animal would arise first out of the organized sector. I think now that it is likely that this is not the case and such political developments will likely take place outside of organized Labor's structure first given the stifling hold the bureaucracy with its army of staffers has over the apparatus. But there is no doubt that organized Labor will be convulsed by such a development and transformed by it. I remind myself that only about 10% of the French workers were organized at the time of the 1968 general strike that led to $10 million occupying their workplaces and De Gaulle to announce to the world that "The game is up".
Mind you, we live in such volatile and unpredictable times that I think we have to be careful about be trying to see the future through a crystal ball. Who would have predicted the Arab spring?