by Stanley Heller, a 40+ year American Federation of Teachers member and former Central Labor Council representative
For at least 3 decades now we’ve been putting all our eggs in the Democratic Party basket. Strikes and serious boycott…just honored things of the past. Look where it’s go us. The Democrats lost the House, then the Senate and now they’ve lost the presidency to a man who thinks he is a king or worse. He didn’t make a big deal about fighting unions, but we know that Republicans in Congress just lust to do nationally what Scott Walker did in Wisconsin.
How much did labor put in Hillary’s campaign? $100 million? More? What did we get for it? Did she ever say the words “Join a union”. I didn’t hear that in her acceptance speech. In the first debate she was asked about what could be done to end inequality. Did she mention unions? I didn’t hear it. You would think we could get a bit more for $100 million.
Does any of this explain why 40% of the people earning under 50K a year voted for arrogant billionaire boss Trump?
Well the shit has hit the fan and what are we going to do? Go back to the Democrats and do the same losing thing all over again? Frankly with Trump in there we don’t even know if there will be another presidential election (see Germany in the ‘30’s)
There is an alternative The young people are already out in the streets in the tens of thousands. Of course that’s not going to make Trump resign. He thinks it will all blow over. But one thing will restrain Trump, if there’s enough turmoil in the streets AND THE WORKPLACES so that the billionaires fear for their profits. (Of course, peaceful but of course disruptive too). Then Congress and the courts and the state bureaucrats will yank him but good. That’s labor’s old time religion and it needs a revival.
And labor has to stop thinking it can win by only talking about bread and butter issues and ignore all the allies we could make fighting various hatreds from racism to Islamophobia to mistreatment of women. Here’s two examples:
*** The AFL-CIO decision to support the DAPL pipeline across Indian land and in the face of the 100%-for-sure growing climate catastrophe is @#$#$*! insane. #NODAPL
*** Likewise the wall to wall support of the labor big wigs for apartheid Israel. It’s not in our interest in any way. It is what the Democrats want and they get a lot of money from Jewish billionaires (this coming from a Jewish very non-billionaire) and …who cares? That’s the game that was lost, lost, lost.
It’s time to stop playing their game and go back to old time wisdom of Gene Debs, Mother Jones, Big Bill Haywood and the rest.
and read this piece by Lois Weiner. After reading the AFT President’s twisted non-apology for putting the union behind Clinton, Weiner was moved to write what she should have said.