Thursday, March 3, 2016

US Elections: US Trade Union Leadership: The dog that does not bark.

Sean O'Torain.

Collapse of Union membership. Trade Union leaders to blame. 
The run up to the US elections is dominated by the two main capitalist parties and the capitalist media. No other organizations or alternatives get anything but the slightest mention. Jill Stein leader of the Green Party was even arrested for insisting on her right to debate on the mass capitalist media. The US is an extremely censored country. But it does not have to be so. There is as the title of this piece says the dog that does not bark. I am referring to the leadership of the trade union movement.

Take my city alone. There are 320 trade union locals. There are half a million trade union members affiliated to the Chicago Federation of Labor. In the US alone there are 14 million union members. This is a huge force. And concentrated in transport, infrastructure, health, education, industry, retail it has the potential to punch way above its weight. But what actually happens. It does the opposite. This force alone has the power to create a political alternative to the capitalist parties. But it does not do so? The reason is not too hard to work out.

The leaders of these organizations believe in capitalism. They do not believe that the working class can build an alternative. They therefore believe that if the working class was mobilized to try to do so this would lead only to chaos. And also of course it would threaten their own high paid secure jobs. So this leadership holds down, suppresses, any attempt of the working class to build an alternative to capitalism. Instead they tie themselves and the unions to the capitalist Democratic party. And not even to the Democratic Party but most of them tie themselves and the union organizations to the right wing of the Democratic Party. The authors of this Blog do not support Sanders. But the majority of the union leaders are so right wing and pro capitalist they support Clinton over Sanders. Not that Sanders is a socialist, or has any plan to bring about socialism, but he does make the odd speech appearing to feint  in that direction.

The union leaders are to blame for Trump being the monster that threatens to lead the Republican Party. They are to blame for the confusion of many workers supporting him. They are to blame for many other workers sitting on their hands and staying away from the polls. They are to blame for there being no mass workers party that working people could join and build and through which they could fight for their interests. The union leadership is the dog that does not bark.

Then there are the left  groups. Compared to the union leadership they are minuscule. But they are not nothing. They also have to share part of the blame. Instead of getting together and forming an Alliance or united front and organizing united fighting campaigns on issues facing working people and out of these running joint candidates and seeking to build a mass workers party they carry on with their divisive sectarian ways, splitting whatever forces they have, and adding to the weakness of the workers movement.

The other mistake of these groups is their refusal to orient to and conduct a dialogue with the working class, especially the organized working class in the unions. They all have their projects and priorities. But they overwhelmingly fight for these amongst other left and liberal and student groupings rather than orientating to the organized working class and to the workplaces and communities. They should seek to fight for their ideas and causes in the organized working class, the workplaces and communities and seek to build in these fighting caucuses which would consciously and openly take on and fight against the offensive of the 1% and open up the struggle against capitalism.

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