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How To Elect Democrats Who Actually Answer To Workers

How To Elect Democrats Who Actually Answer To Workers

Jane McAlevey

Over the past decade in particular, right-wing forces have doubled down on their multifaceted effort to rig the rules of governmental elections. Examples include unlimited and unaccountable spending by the employer class, restrictions on who is eligible to be on the voter list itself, and gerrymandering galore.

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The first step in existing unions is union democracy, rank file control of the union. In almost all US unions, union leadership serves as a buffer between capital and labor, NOT as fierce fighters for the membership. This is known as “Business Unionism” and since Taft-Hartley this model of union dominates unions in the US. The reason why the teachers’ strikes in the South were so inspiring is that they were wildcat strikes, strikes that broke with union leadership (who tried to stop strike action).

The second step is to understand that the Democratic Party is a party of the capitalist class, it will never, “answer to workers.”


It often said that Clinton was the best President the Republicans ever had. The same applies here. If you want Progressive Democrats that work for the working class, vote for Green or a third party.

The Democrats are Centrists always wanting to work WITH the Right wing, the capitalists and the champions of the thing called the free market. This Centrism can never work for the Working Class and those deemed “Socialist”. You can not compromise “we are all in this together and all people should benefit from a given socio-economic system” with “We are in this to ensure a small few maximize profits and the wealth extracted from the Socio-economic system for their personal benefit”.

You can not substitute “We must protect the environment and eco-systems” with “Lets take 50 years to kill this world rather then 20”.

As stated above the Working Class needs a WORKING class party and not one that claims it can include them in the same tent as the 1 percent Investor class.


Citizen’s United made this discussion moot. Unions gonna compete with the Kochs, et al.? Not likely…


As long as Democrat leaders like Schumer and Pelosi are still in power workers will be kept wanting for a progressive. The current Democrat leadership would rather the Republicans win than a progressive.


And don’t let your state shift to “top two” primaries like California, Washington and some other states have. These laws have proven to derail progressives during the primaries, never letting them get to the general election.


Until we get cellphone voting with blockchain security:

This is another example of a cowardly, unimaginative single solution article.

I’ve got news for the author: When real reform finally happens, it won’t come from within the d-party. It’ll be lead by masses of downtrodden workers (in yellow vests?) forming their own alternative party armed with torches and pitchforks.

Did you see the political theatre shown on the news with Dump, Pelosi and Schumer talking trash but probably laughing with each other?

Maybe in France or somewhere else but not in the USA. Heck even Occupy Wall Street couldn’t get off the ground. Ever since the draft ended we have not had a powerful protest movement of any sort.

To expect one party of Wall St, of the duopoly, to change its essence is utopian. Debs over a hundred years ago suggested the solution , an independent socialist party of the working class - a message that is still not received by our fellow-workers. Just how long will they remain sheep and permit judas goat Democrats lead them to the slaughterhouse?


I do not have a TV but can certainly envision how that went. I just do not get the logic of a Political party claiming to represent the working class “working across the aisle” with the peoples representing the Investors and Capitalists.

The latter always wants MORE. They never have enough. They can have a billion dollars and will want MORE. They can never settle for less. It not in their makeup.


As long as they shop at WalMart, talk on i phones, and care about nothing.

I agree! Don’t get it at all . Also , anyone who is never satisfied and has it all like that or thinks they do is psycho. Thank you for the piece about your dad also. Imagine one of 20 kids. Wow!

Ye, of little faith, mealots

Surely the American people are little different from those French who donned the yellow vests…Something must ignite their imagination and put fire into their hearts…surely…

A cruel joke. I think it’s actually worse than that. The DSA has like 60, 000 members making it the largest nominally socialist organization in the US by a factor of 10 at least. They think that they are actually changing things! What they don’t get is that it’s them that is changing. The Dems are not being moved to the left, the DSA is being moved to the right. It has happened again and again. Another generation lost to the dead end of Democratic Party machinations.


Jane seems to miss one crucial point… the vast majority of the working class in America do not belong to a union. Instead the vast majority live on minimum or near minimum wages and therefore are taught to resent the ‘privileged’ union workers. The key is to raise the minimum wage high enough so that unions become more than just a chance to make a living wage.
Unfortunately the mainstream media has been quite effective in getting around half of the U.S. population to detest unions rather than supporting them. To reverse this onslaught of misinformation that has been shovelled to the masses for generations, will be very difficult to undo. But to energize the public to push for higher minimum wages may be an easier route to take.

The progressive message won the mid term in 2018, but it was a skirmish: the real battle is just ahead. If we don’t know who we are battling in 2020, we cannot hope to win. Trump is rightly in our sights (for the presidency), so is the GOP (for the Senate), and racists (for the national character), but the faction most likely to defeat us is the neo-liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

This ‘wing’ set the party agenda in 2014 when its leader Obama lost both Houses, and in 2016, when its other leader Hillary lost the White House. What is its real agenda? How did this wing win the party machinery, and lost Congress and the Presidency?

Neo-liberal economists teach the elite, in the universities for the elite. Neo-liberalism is upward concentration of wealth. Neo-liberalism is for condemning hard working families to a life of marginal economic survival. Neo-liberalism is for not caring about your fellows. Neo-liberalism is by the elite, of the elite, and for the elite. And since no informed voter will vote for his own economic demise, neo-liberals must rely on leaders who practice deceit and obfuscation.

That brings us to the second question. Although at times ill-informed and misled, Americans nevertheless have deep feelings. They fear for their families, as comfort and security desert the middle class. They fear for their jobs and for their health. As Yoda says: ‘Fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hate.’ A small minority gives in to hate; for anyone ‘not-us’, by color, by religion, by language, and by gender. The majority simply loses heart; they sat out the elections led by Obama and Clinton,and will do so again in 2020, IF the Democratic Party still clings to neo-liberals like Obama, Clinton and Biden.

a road we’ve been down before. the Democrats have on extraordinary skill: they coopt and crush popular movements like no other ruling force in human history. They’re currently working on taking over the Sunrise movement, too. And they’ll likely succeed.

The DSA is an old curse for the American left. But it does its job: it prevents people from joining political organizations that are genuinely anti-capitalist and anti-corporate.

In any event, to the article, it matters not right now if you give workers more control over union political participation if they’re still subject to the effects of capitalist propaganda. Unions have to radicalize to make a difference in the American future, and the membership of unions is far from any such goal. Sure, it’s better than the rank corporatism of professional union bureaucrats. Probably by far. But it isn’t enough.


I am reading Mike Davis’s latest (2018) “Old Gods and New Enigmas” a history of working class politics from 1848 onward, it’s refreshing to get my head out of our contemporary politically stagnant waters.