As we celebrate Labor Day my union brothers and sisters have a lot to be thankful for and much to be fearful about. We are thankful for our deep and unyielding solidarity between members and nobody can break our solidarity. I am fearful of politicians on both sides of the aisle selling us out, as well as, union “leaders” who should be looking for a new line of work.
The solidarity between rank and file union members has never been stronger. Adding to this base comes the strategy of building alliances with community organizations and social justice groups. Though it received scant media attention Occupy Wall Street combined these alliances and organized a May Day Demonstration in NYC that had upwards of 100,000 people marching down Broadway. These new alliances in time will be the counterweight to our corporate owned political parties we now have to deal with.
We all know in large part Republicans are the enemies of economic or social justice. This is not the GOP of a generation ago. This version has no interest in anything that does not benefit the wealthy. They are bought and paid for by both corporate America and other wealthy global corporations. They prey on the uninformed and misinformed and use divisive social issues to get some working class voters to vote against their own economic self-interest. The only people who benefit by this strategy are the wealthy who benefit every time they check their bank balance.
Republican boots on the ground during campaign season consist of the religious right and the idle rich. Hardly tough competition for organized labor. What Republicans do have is vast wealth and they fill up the airwaves and mailboxes with extreme right-wing propaganda. The truth is a major casualty in the GOP campaign. Knowing that the masses are information challenged their goal is to sway enough of these voters to steal an election, then call it a mandate.
Democratic volunteers are by and large a group of good hearted and hard-working folks who will make the door knocks and phone calls to help the Democratic cause. Problem can sometimes be is that many politicians take advantage of the work and money of organized labor. They don’t vote on the side of working people when times get tough. Too many Democratic politicians have also become slaves to the wealthy. Then they use the sly operatives in the DSCC and DCCC to fool union workers to do the grunt work when in the end it’s the wealthy who prosper.
The other peril facing rank and file union membership is union “leaders” who are too quick to sell out other unions if it benefits their own. We should never support politicians who are with labor 10% of the time. What sense does that make? We in the union movement care deeply about our brothers and sisters of both our own union and other unions that fight with us. We win and lose the battle for economic justice together.
As we celebrate Labor Day and our solidarity we should also ask ourselves are we supporting candidates and causes that in the end just benefit the wealthy? The forces that are working against the interests of working people may fool enough people to win an election or two but in the end it’s not sustainable. These politicians are only accelerating the race to the bottom for all of us.