The Labor Fight Back Blog is an auxiliary blog site where working people and community activists can share their opinions on the current crisis in the United States, and throughout the rest of the world, for that matter. It is intended to be used with the Labor Fightback Network website, http://laborfightback.org and the Emergency Labor Network website, http://laborfightback.org/eln/. Readers’ comments are welcome, but flaming is not. Any comments that are racist, sexist/homophobic, or disrespectful on a personal level will not get past moderation.

2 Responses to About

  1. Please take the time to look at my new website retired union workers.com

  2. Greetings brothers and sisters,

    Below are two articles with somewhat differing perspectives of what needs to be done during and after this elections cycle because of changes in the political landscape due to Sen. Bernie Sanders run for the presidency. Of course, Donald Trump’s run also heralds changes in the political landscape, for me that only strengthens my belief that now is the time we unionists, progressives, leftists, and liberals (all of which I am or was at one time or another though I am defying the usual conventions of aging and have become more radical and less conservative as time’s winged chariot has forced me onward through this life.

    Both are reasonable sentiments, the first article giving my sentiments at one time on my journey across the political continuum. The second speaks more to me as I now am, but please read the two articles and then I will give my reasons why I have moved to what I think are more practical reasons, particularly since this new found energy and possibilities present themselves to us in the present moment:



    BERNIE SANDERS WILL CAMPAIGN all the way up to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia to seek the nomination — and to continue building the “political revolution.”

    What is that political revolution, beyond his call to get the billionaires and corporations out and the people in?

    Electing candidates to public office like Sanders — both this year and in years to come — is one leg.

    The second leg is democratic, structural political reform. This means changes to our electoral system, such as instituting automatic voter registration and matching small donations with public funds.
    It also means transforming the Democratic Party to a populist-based party by reforming its inner workings. Sanders’ campaign offers the most comprehensive challenge to the wealthy Democratic establishment since Jesse Jackson’s historic 1988 campaign. Sanders stumped that year for Jackson, helping him win in Vermont. At the 1988 Democratic convention in Atlanta, the Jackson campaign negotiated party reforms that included ending winner-take-all primaries and halving the number of super delegates.

    Partly as a result of the end of winner-take-all, Bernie is on track to win at least 500 more delegates than Jackson did in 1988. But the reforms to the super delegate system were never enacted, and the Sanders campaign (to which I am an adviser) plans to bring some version of that demand back this year. The delegate selection process will also be back on the table, based on a growing list of serious flaws beginning with the Iowa Caucus, where the Democrats refused to release or review the caucus precinct results.

    Twenty-three years before Occupy Wall Street, Jackson also pressured the Democrats to include a call for higher taxes on the 1% in the party’s platform. This and other platform demands pushed Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis in a more progressive direction. Today, as in 1988, issues are the third leg of the political revolution—and the most apparent. Clinton and Sanders hold clearly different positions on trade, foreign policy, financial reform (including breaking up the big banks), the role of money and super PACs in politics, and critical economic reforms such as free higher education, Medicare-for-all and Social Security expansion. These issues will not only be raised from now through July, but for years to come in mobilizations of the emerging progressive base.

    Those of us who are working day and night to elect Bernie Sanders president are determined to sustain this movement beyond the moment. The congressional and other electoral campaigns this year, combined with the emerging focus on democracy itself and the issues that mobilize our supporters, will carry that movement forward.
    – – – – – – – – – –

    I agree with almost all the points raised by Brother Cohen in this important and necessary discussion, but what I do not understand is why we are talking about reforming a morally bankrupt party, the Democratic Party.
    Why are we not at the very least leaving open the possibility of a discussion about a new party, a party of our own that embraces all progressive forces — Labor, Environmentalists and Greens, Black Lives Matter, $15 NOW, Money Out of Politics, etc.?

    The Bernie Sanders campaign has unleashed so much new energy that is adding to the already growing movements for progressive change, and I don’t think we want to discourage participation by any of these groups by supporting the party of the establishment, even if it is couched in “reform” terminology.

    The Democratic Party is almost unrecognizable to most of us who have worked for progressive change our entire lives. I am speaking as a life-long Democrat and active member of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), but I cannot find it within me to support the status quo any longer.

    I think this is an historic moment in time that will probably not come again in my life.

    (Articles ended, thus Michael, again)

    I once held pretty closely to the points that Brother Cohen makes in his positions, and though I remember some on the far left thinking me to be naive for them, I never took them personally though I did see their positions of not working within the two-party structure as impractical, pie-in-the-sky thinking, the kind of thinking that has left them marginalized, factionalized, and often demonized from those who stayed within the system. I learned a lot from being a part of that “transforming the Democratic Party with an inside/outside viewpoint, so I surely would never challenge or dismiss anyone–and never do so personally–as some of the fat left seem to enjoy doing from their ivory tower, purist position. Thus, at one time I was heavy into Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and was the state coordinator in Ohio for a number of years. My friends and I did some wonderful work as a part of it, but as I saw the rather undemocratic nature of what was, and that it’s strategy kept shoring up the status quo, corporate party with little progress at changing the party, and in fact seemed to be completely ineffective since the party kept inching farther an farther to the right, the opposite direction of what PDA’s mission was.

    In honesty, that does not mean that it didn’t help mobilize in small ways and keep issues such as single-payer and anti-war in the minds of some, but its inability to offer a democratic model in its own organizational model was the breaking point for me. How can you want to change the world for the better and not reflect the change you seek? PDA in fact, as many liberal organizations (who I might add do some fine work) seem to operate on a model that mirrors the Democratic Party itself. Those leaders tend to “rule” from the top, and a small cadre of people across those types of organisations always end up pushing people into the Democratic Party at election time, and in essence take all the energy, the finances, the hopes of good, honorable and well-intentioned individuals and feed them into a party that is corporate and content with the status quo, and has been for a long time–and we can debate for how long forever–a neocon, neo-liberal, and corporate party for along time. It has done little for working people, for unions, for taking down the corporate forces that are ruining the lives of millions, destroying with drones the lives of tens of thousands, for ending endless war, protecting our fragile environment with other than etc, giving real health care reform, etc–add your own list here because it is an extensive one. Sure, it throws scraps to those who work on social issues, and I in no way denigrate anything good that comes in those important area. But at heart, all issues stem from the economic–and the Democratic Party is corporate to its core and supports a global, economic and capitalistic system whose tentacles are squeezing the life out of the world and won’t let go, at least not with pleading, cajoling, agitating, and to its better angels. In short, the Democratic Party is not the antidote for this monster.

    Thus, taking all the energy of this unparalleled moment (at least in the last 40 years), and putting it into a party that sees someone with the “record” of getting things done like Hillary Clinton as its standard bearer, is another recipe for defeat. I agree wholeheartedly with Brother Cohen that we must run candidates and sustain the movement, but isn’t now the time, as no other moment has appeared for decades, to sustain the movement by making it our movement–not the movement of the Democratic Party that will take it in, use up what is good in it, and push it out in a movement that, though it has provided sustenance to the host corporate party, sees it as nothing more than a fuel to be flushed once it is spent. (Sorry about the metaphor, but it is an apt one.)

    The above reasons are why, like Carol says in her article, Presently, we have a great opportunity. If we can get some sections of labor to bring its expertise, its ability to democratically organize (though admittedly many have lost this ideal), to break with the Democrats and lead by putting all of its energies and the energies of the millions who have been mobilized and politicized by the Sanders movement into a new party–one that actually is built around and supports a platform for real change, then we will be capturing an opportunity that cannot allowed to be sucked into and demobilized, demoralized, decommissioned, and in the end dumped as the Democratic Party always has done to its organizing base. As the saying goes, “if not now, when?”

    That is why, like Sister Gay, cannot support the status quo any longer. Nor can I see giving any support to a part that at heart does not want what I want. I believe (now more than ever before because look at this unprecedented moment in recent history) that Brother Cohen and the leaders of all the unions and rank-and file who support Sanders to call for a break with the Democratic Party, and to call for a national conference, and not one to sit around and discuss things and then go home, but one whose main goal is to leave the city (St. Louis seems an apt place, somewhat at the center of things), with a structure and a plan for a new party, one based around labor and working people, and one that will work to run candidates that are wedded to its platform, and unlike the platform of the Democratic Party which is always put in a drawer and forgotten, but is central to the party’s strategy, its mission, its candidates, and to the long-term building of a national party that actually stands for something. I believe we can get the Greens, who have a great platform but an image problem, it being seen as many as an educated white, liberal party, to come help in the building of a new party. One with a working class basis and seeking a working class base, that is what this new party should be, a labor party regardless of the name.

    All progressive groups, the Greens, the Code Pinks, the Win without War, the members of PDA, the list of those groups who we all get in our emails over and over again, will actually have a home, a home where their party will work to do what is right for working people, to change the systemic workings of our economic structures, to end the perpetual war machine and its costs and put it to a sustainable future, on and on–no matter the platform, it will be one decided democratically and will be based on needs of the masses, not the 1% that is now implementing its plans to run the world, and though for some it is still not apparent–with the Democratic Party as one of its stealth supporters.

    The question now before is who is going to take the lead in making this happen? Will labor, labor that has been beaten down for decades, labor that is still losing ground with its eggs in the basket of the Democratic Party, labor that invested so much and has gotten no return, labor that if it fails to act now will become an irrelevant relic of the past, will labor take the lead, with or without all of its leaders? I see now as the moment–its time to break and to break out and to break the endless cycle of defeat, all without own candidates, our own party, and our own attempt to democratically change our world.

    Thoughts anyone?

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