Senator Bernie Sanders’ victory in Michigan has clearly rocked the political world. It has exposed Hillary Clinton’s vulnerabilities and underscored the deep anger of working people nationwide with Wall Street and with the politicians funded by Wall Street. It has also demonstrated the massive support nationwide for the far-reaching demands put forward by Sanders, including tuition-free education at public colleges and universities, Medicare for All/Single Payer, breaking up the big banks, and strident opposition to the corporate “free trade” agenda.
The race for the Democratic Party nomination is still not resolved, but regardless of who ultimately wins the Party’s nomination for president, labor must have its own political voice.
More voters now call themselves independents due to many years’ disenchantment with, and disenfranchisement from, the policies of the oligarchic two-party system. They are disgusted with a system that no longer even pretends to hear their needs or their voice.
In our view, it is not too soon for supporters of independent labor political action to map out a strategy for the postelection period. If we decide to wait and attempt to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the November election, we risk confusion and disorientation setting in.
Recognizing that a significant sector of the working class has become politicized to an extent not seen in decades, here is what we in the Labor Fightback Network believe:
- First, that a large number of unions and labor activists have had it with “establishment politics” and are open to an independent course in the period ahead.
- Second, that it is essential that a forum or network be provided for these forces to come together and unite in mass actions around the kind of domestic program that Sanders has popularized, while adding a plank on foreign policy that opposes U.S. interventions, occupations and military engagements in unjust wars. In this context, the groundwork will be laid for running independent labor-community candidates for public office at the local level.
- Third, that community of color groups need to be included from the start, together with other progressive forces, as part of the mix.
- Fourth, that the Labor for Bernie campaign be encouraged to help spearhead the development of this network.
- Fifth, that whatever formation is created, it be and remain staunchly nonpartisan and function democratically.
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