Politico.com reports that, "President Obama's labor allies are unhappy about cuts to entitlements and benefits that are expected to be proposed by the administration in its forthcoming budget." Politico is reporting on the AFL-CIO's response to Obama's olive branch to his friends across the aisle, an offer to cut social security benefits.
I received the AFL-CIO's response earlier today from Damon Silvers, the organization's policy director. What we have to understand here is that the likes of Mr. Silvers and other members of the Labor hierarchy are Obama's allies, not the 12 million or so members that the organization is supposed to represent. In the e mail to the troops, Silvers called, the proposal "Obama's really bad idea.". Silvers is so incensed, he even titled the e mail "Obama's really Bad Idea".
He's a militant character that Silvers. Our living standards are in good hands with folks like Silvers at the helm.
Back in 1996 the newly elected President of the AFL-CIO John Sweeney warned the bosses that continued attacks might lead to him to organize "blocking bridges." That was before the election, after it this became "building bridges", not with the members whose interests he was supposed to represent, but the bosses.
Perhaps we're now seeing a new face of the previously moribund Labor bureaucracy. Perhaps, after years of collaboration in the form of the Team Concept and prostrating themselves before the bosses and their political representatives, the folks atop the Labor movement are changing course. I mean Silvers really let's Obama have it. In one short e mail he says that Obama's attack on social security is:
a "bad idea"
This is some pretty tough talk. Silvers goes further. he warns that the only way to stop these cuts is that we have to tell the President and the other millionaires in Congress that we're not going to tolerate them and Silvers has a petition all written up for us to sign. He is hopping mad and Obama better watch out. I can tell that because in the e mail he says we should sign the petition NOW. Capital letters, that's very threatening in e mail speak. Not only that, I found out today I can join the AFL-CIO's "text action team". Oh, boy! I'm gonna love this. Here's the petition:
"Benefit cuts to Social Security and Medicare are unacceptable. I’m
calling on you to oppose any and all cuts to Medicare, Social Security
and Medicaid benefits and focus on immediate solutions to get Americans
back to work, like repealing the sequester and ending tax loopholes for
corporations and the richest 2%." It can be found here
Were the consequences of the Labor hierarchy's collaboration with the bosses not so dire we could laugh at this pathetic response to a violent attack on workers' and our families as it went viral on You Tube just like Gangnam Style. Gangnam style took a little more thought to put it together but the reality is that Silvers and the rest of his colleagues atop the AFL-CI0 are traitors, are enemies of the working class. They are somewhat like the old Stalinist bureaucracy without state power.
Silvers insults us. Why would he be surprised? What happened to EFCA, the Employee Free Choice Act. I had paid Union staffers pushing this every chance they could get, it was the most revolutionary thing since the wheel. It was great for the bureaucracy, they could get new members without doing anything at all. Obama shafted them on that one. Then there was the "public option" in the health care debate. There was NAFTA under Clinton, who also repealed Glass Steagall claiming it was "No longer appropriate."
We saw 100,000 people in the streets of Madison Wisconsin, does Silvers and his chums atop the AFL-CIO think us so stupid that signing a petition asking Obama to help us will make a difference?
The minority of us that remain in Unions have to face the fact that we are in a war on two fronts. One is against the bosses' whose goal it is to drive us back to conditions that existed before the rise of the CIO and the other is against the likes of Silvers and the stifling bureaucracy that is the bosses representatives inside our organizations.
We cannot avoid this battle if we are serious about fighting back against the austerity agenda of the bosses and their two political parties. We have said before on this blog that to do this we must openly campaign against the hierarchy's policies, against the Team Concept in all it's manifestations, and we have to build fighting caucuses around a program that demands what workers, union and non union, need and link this struggle to our community struggles and the pressing social issues of today, the unemployed and to workers internationally.
We must return to the direct action fight to win tactics that built our Unions in the first place, occupations, mass picketing, defying the law as the Occupy Movement has shown. We must reject their realism based on the return on investments and implement ours based on social need.
That Silvers and his friends would even suggest such a worthless strategy after what millions of workers are going through shows what contempt his kind have for the people whose contributions pay his salary. These officials, many of them Ivy League educated, are like rotten apples in a tree that appear secure. The slightest breeze though and to the ground they fall. Stand up and fight, there's no other alternative.
- AFSCME Local 444 negotiations assesment 1997
- Preparing for Revolution: A discussion document
- The Internal lives of Revolutionary Organizations
- Socialist Alternative members: Questions and Answers
- Sanders: Our Alternative
- The Nature of the New European Left
- University of California workers and Unions
- An Invitation to Our Readers
- Facts For Working People Weekly Phone Conferences and Discussions
- Help open The AFL-CIO AIFLD Archives