Thursday, September 22, 2016

Don't let the AFL-CIO tops hide. They are to Blame for Trump/Cinton

If the reader doesn't think that this arrogant bourgeois' comments have contributed to anti-American feeling and the growth of terrorist groups you're not being honest with yourself. Quaddifi's government took far better care of its citizens than Democrats or Republicans do of theirs.

By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retried

I came under mild rebuke for a blog entry back in June where I called for the defense of Hillary Clinton. In it I wrote:

“We should be as loud in reminding people that Hillary Clinton faces this special assault, this added barrier she has to deal with in life. We must make it clear to the misogynists that we are not with them, that we do not support gender discrimination----even among the billionaires.”

Socialists must stand against sexism and racism at all times. We must defend black cops who face racism at work. We defend business owners who are discriminated against in applying for government or municipal contracts. We oppose discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, etc. But we also understand that racism and sexism is an integral part of capitalism, woven in to the fabric of the system. These prejudices are institutionalized.

There are legitimate reasons to oppose Hillary Clinton. She’s the candidate of our enemies on Wall Street, and all the folks that meet at Jackson Hole Wyoming and Davos Switzerland. Her an her husband Bill earn millions of dollars for speaking engagements around the world in places like Dubai, a backward family run empire in the Middle East.

At Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing for secretary of state, she promised she would take “extraordinary steps…to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.” WSJ 12-31-15. This is insulting to say the least. Goldman Sachs does not fork over millions of dollars to a politician for nothing.

Clinton is a war criminal. She called for the murder of Quaddafi and gloated over it.  Does she think this improved the image of America in the mind of a billion Muslims, most Arabs and others in the former colonial possessions of western imperialism?
She supported the absolute monarchy in Bahrain that runs a state like a family business and attacked peaceful protesters demanding reform, even imprisoning doctors that treated the iinjured.

As Secretary of State she aggressively pushed her staff to act as adjuncts of the US business community, their true function. Business Week wrote: “Science officers now extoll American clean-tech companies. Military affairs officers promote US fighter planes”, and so on.  Clinton has former Lehman Brothers banker Heidi Crebo-Rediker pushing her agenda and has ordered “promotions for embassy economic officers who act as State’s liaisons to business..”.

Clinton referred to the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak as “like family”. Both her and Obama clung to Mubarak, a staunch ally of US imperialism, until the opposition became so powerful they had to let him go. He was a notorious torturer.

While we defend all women against sexual discrimination, we have to recognize that Hillary Clinton is a violent and brutal representative of US capitalism. Like Thatcher, she is a staunch defender of her class.

The liberal British Guardian has an opinion piece on its US website today extolling the virtues of Hilary Clinton. It is an attempt to bolster her support in the face of recent polls that shows her and the racist Trump in a close race. It is an attempt to overcome the reality that so many Americans see, that both candidates have little to offer. These conclusion are drawn after years, decades of the same politics, the lies, the deceit, the call to vote for one candidate because the other is worse.  The opinion piece states:

“Clinton wants to tax rich people more than poor people, which is a sentence that no one should have to type ever again.”

OK. I don’t know how many times we’ve heard that one.  Donald Barlett and James Steele point out in their excellent book, America: Who Really Pays the Taxes, there are two tax codes, one for the rich and one for the rest of us. And the rich will benefit not only from lower rates as a swap for eliminating tax breaks, but will still have their politicians leave plenty of loopholes for them. We should remember; the big capitalists have two parties, workers have not one. Their legislators write the tax laws and they will write them to defend their interests-----always. Hillary’s statements onthis subject are hot air and workers know it. I wrote about this previously.

“Clinton believes in guaranteed paid family leave, because fathers are parents too, and mothers shouldn’t have to choose between career stagnation and going back to work while their episiotomy stitches are still oozing.”

How nice of her. She was part of an administration that threw working class women off of welfare in to low paid work. When I ran for Oakland City Council I used to say to a woman who was on welfare that it would be child neglect if she got off welfare for a low waged job. Her child had better health care with her mother on welfare.

There is not a mention in the Guardian article about workers or wages and benefits. So Clinton is pro-choice. Well as they drive wages down further that is a good thing I admit as no working woman will be able to afford a child and terminations may well increase.  Anyway, not every woman that opposes, or has difficulty with abortion is a right wing reactionary; this is a complicated. The issue of the right to abortion on demand cannot be separated from the right of a woman to have a child without being forced in to deeper poverty or having to give up a career if she has one and gets pregnant. On site childcare, higher wages, a closing of the gender gap and a free national health system must not be disconnected from abortion rights.  The term is reproductive rights, the right (of a woman) to choose to reproduce or not reproduce.

Whether its Hilary Clinton, Obama, his buddy Rahm Emanuel the former IDF soldier now Mayor of Chicago, and Arne Duncan who are all in cahoots with Bill Gates, the Walton family and Eli Broad in dismantling public education, the results will be the same.  We will see further attacks on the living standard of the US working class and women will not fair well under a Clinton regime. I am not saying there are absolutely no differences, but the downward trend will continue.

Clinton will aggressively pursue the disastrous US foreign policy that has cost the US taxpayer trillions of dollars, cost its victim millions of lives, ourselves thousands more and destabilized the global community. It is US foreign policy that has driven millions of refugees north in to Europe.US capitalism’s meddling in the South China Sea, Central Asian countries and the borders of Russia (yes my geographically challenged American  brothers and sisters, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Syria, are all close to Russia and the South China Sea, is, you guessed it, next to China). It is most likely Clinton will also continue the US support for fascists in the Ukraine and the despotic monarchies of the Middle East.

I am a member of the Green Party and will vote for Jill Stein in November.  The Green Party will be blamed if Clinton loses the election even though she now has the support of the Neocon George Bush the elder. Do you honestly think Bush would be supporting a candidate that was about to open a new and prosperous future for workers? That is about to increase the taxes the ruling class pays? The Greens and Stein will be blamed if she wins by a small margin.  The assault if she loses though will be ferocious.

But as we pointed out in an earlier commentary about this, the real blame lies elsewhere, with a force that hides in the shadows. A force that has at its disposal a huge social infrastructure of property, buildings, meeting places.  A social force that has hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of active members and 12 million more, mostly inactive by design.  These members work in vital industries, communication, energy, transportation, shipping, aircraft manufacturing etc. The US economy would come to a halt if they stopped working.

I am talking about the stifling bureaucracy that sits atop organized labor; the heads of the major national unions that form the leadership of the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win Coalition. They are wedded to the Democratic Party, representatives of the ideology of the capitalist class inside the worker’s organizations.

Every election time the trade union leadership directs the resources in their hands at the Democratic Party. They make the same old lesser of two evil argument. 

Hillary’s about the only person we’ve got who’s viable,” says one local trade union activist.

Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT(teachers) took a similar line earlier this year, “For us, an endorsement process is based on lots of different issues and lots of different variables,”  and that the AFT “has a long relationship with Hillary because of her long-standing support for working families.” It’s staggering the term “long standing support for working families” can be applied to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Have we not lost ground over the years? Have not the autoworkers, once the benchmark for an entry to the middle class in the US had their wages cut in half? Was this a bad dream I had?

So I want to reiterate. The labor leadership hides from public view. They can always blame the Democrats or “corrupt” politics in general as things deteriorate. They also blame the members whose dues money is the source of their often, obscene salaries. “They won’t come to a meeting”. Why should they? There is no incentive. They’ll hear the same things form their leaders as the do from the boss, concessions are unavoidable, we can’t win.

I was at an Amalgamated Transit Union rally some time ago and a member of a so-called revolutionary left group was handing out a flier about the cuts and what they should be getting etc. There was no mention at all in the flier of the trade union leadership. It’s as if they didn’t exist. I raised this and asked if his group was helping his comrade in the union build an opposition fighting caucus as an alternative to the present leadership. He accused me of having a “principle of attacking the union leadership” and said that they were not involved in building any caucus as “we are building a revolutionary organization.”.  I explained I don’t have a principle of attacking them, but I do have a principle of not ignoring their role altogether.

This is just an excuse for doing nothing and avoiding a struggle with the present leadership for the consciousness of their members and the working class as a whole. This is part of the struggle to change society.

I took another rank and file worker to a California State Labor Federation Convention in the early nineties. It was his first one. He was a bit disillusioned, all these paid officials all looking and acting more like lawyers than workers’ leaders. They actually see themselves as labor brokers as opposed to workers’ leaders but that’s another issue.

Then I pointed out to him other people that were there some of the main speakers, people the officials were all fawning over. There was the governor, the lieutenant governor, mayors of the big urban centers and other Democratic Party politicians.  It was the same at the Afscme International Convention and the conventions of all the major unions. Are we to think that the candidate for president or the actual president of the United States attends a meeting of this nature because there is no power here?

The most powerful single politician in the world is there to ensure that the potential power of the members of this organizations lies dormant, does not upset the status quo and that the union leadership, their agents inside, has things under control.

To ignore this is to abandoned the struggle for the consciousness of the membership and the working class as a whole because a transformation inside organized labor will have crucial positive effects within the millions of unorganized, The unions would become a pole of attraction.  This is what the union hierarchy fears most.

As we pointed out earlier, the Green Party must point this out. Our candidates must point the finger at the heads of organized labor. Be sure to separate the members from the leadership as some who want to avoid a conflict with the leadership over ideas do, they use the term “the union” which doesn’t make the distinction. Leadership has responsibilities and its actions consequences.

There is no valid excuse for reusing to do this. It would be like a group of people being stranded in the desert and only one of them possessing water, a barrel of it, but refusing to share it. That person would not be ignored. There would be a campaign against them and they would lose their control of the barrel, their resources would be taken from them by the collective power of the group.

The labor leadership has resources and they have alternatives; they could use these resources differently. They consciously choose not to. It is a disservice to the working class to not address this, to not point it out. Opposition leaders that refuse to challenge the present leadership cannot expect the members to fight when they won’t.

Those of us in the Green party must point to this potential force for change whose leaders, as one writer puts it, are the dog that doesn’t bark. Jill Stein must do it as the trade union leadership will be blaming her and us as Greens for their failures politically, and union members must do it as they build fighting caucuses in the workplaces and union halls to turn the tide and lead an offensive against the austerity agenda of the 1% and their Democratic and Republican parties.

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