Support the Campaign For a New Labor-Based Party!

Dear readers:

We urge you, if you haven’t done so already, to endorse the Labor-Community Campaign for an Independent Party and to support the next stage of the campaign: obtaining local union and community organization endorsements of the LCCIP’s platform.

This effort has already begun. On November 11 the executive board of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC, AFL-CIO) endorsed the campaign. FLOC represents 23,000 mostly-Latino farmworkers in the Midwest and North Carolina. The union is presently boycotting e-cigarette maker VUSE and seeking a collective-bargaining agreement with its parent company, British American Tobacco.

LCCIP organizers have now gathered more than 600 individual endorsements, mostly from local union officers and rank-and-file activists, in support of the campaign’s two-prong platform: running independent labor-community candidates beginning in 2019 at the local level, and promoting the discussion in the labor movement about the need for an independent labor-based political party.

This broad initial list of endorsers clearly demonstrates the demand for an independent working-class party rooted in the unions and communities of the oppressed.

Each person and organization that endorses LCCIP gives strength to fellow organizations to come onboard, and it brings us closer to a major new labor-based party.

To endorse, please go to: http://bit.ly/LaborCommunityCampaign

To contact us, or for more information: laborcommunitycampaign@gmail.com

Thanks, in advance, for your support.

In solidarity,

— The Editorial Board of The Organizer Newspaper

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Voices from Sacramento: Why We Support the LCCIP

desiree rojasDesiree Rojas (president, Sacramento chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, LCLAA):

“I support the Labor-Community Campaign for an Independent Party because dark money inside both parties has corrupted all governmental institutions; the Democrats have been complicit. Today you see Democrats endorsing Republicans and signing onto the Trump Agenda. The Democrats have moved further and further to the right. We need a Labor Party. We need to join with Movement for Peoples Party and begin to lay the foundations of an independent party for working people as we promote the fight for Democracy, Truth, and Justice. Capitalism is a system on steroids that is fueling the Industrial War Complex and working inside our communities to kill Black and Brown people. We need to fight Capitalism.”

Gabriel Torres (member California Federation of Teachers and Sacramento LCLAA):

“Workers need an organized front to fight Capital and confront the trade union bureaucracy. A workers’ party is needed to struggle for the working class.”

Al Rojas (vice president Sacramento LCLCAA, co-founder United Farm Workers union):

(3) AL ROJAS FIN copy“After 50 years of activism, I feel there is no better time to move forward and build a solid independent labor movement that fights for our rights. There is no better time to build a new independent labor-based political party in alliance with our Black and Brown communities. Both struggles must go hand in hand. The task is urgent.”

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LCCIP PLATFORM

We — political, trade union, and community activists from different political backgrounds — have decided to constitute ourselves as the Labor-Community Campaign for an Independent Party with two intertwined objectives:

Our first objective is to promote running independent labor-community candidates beginning in 2019 at a local and state level around a platform that embraces workers’ and communities’ pressing demands. The explicit aim is to advance the effort to build a mass party for working people rooted in unions, youth, and communities of the oppressed. The platforms of these independent candidates need to be discussed and approved by labor-community assemblies, and the candidates must be answerable to these assemblies and to the coalitions formed for this purpose.

Our second objective is to promote widely in the trade union movement a committee that advocates for a Labor-Based Political Party. A resolution adopted by the October 2017 national convention of the AFL-CIO affirmed that, “whether the candidates are elected from the Republican or Democratic Party, the interests of Wall Street have been protected and advanced, while the interests of labor and working people have generally been set back.” A second convention resolution concluded that, “the time has passed when we can passively settle for the lesser of two evils politics.” The committee’s goal will be to promote the discussion inside the labor movement about the need to break with the “lesser of two evils politics” and to create a “Labor-Based Political Party” — a reference to the title of a forum organized by key labor officials at the October 2017 AFL-CIO convention. In order to create such a mass party for working people, we will organize to raise awareness in the unions of the need to break with the Democratic Party.

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Mid-Term Elections: Corporate Democrats Versus the Monster They Empowered (excerpts)

 By Glen Ford

(Black Agenda Report)

I Vote None of the AboveThe November 6 mid-term elections put Democrats back in control of the U.S. House while strengthening the Republican hold on the Senate. … Although the GOP remains a minority party — Democrats outpolled them in House races by 7 percent to 9 percent — white supremacists remain the largest bloc in the U.S. political spectrum.

The 2018 mid-terms were a test, not of insurgent left-leaning Democrats — a disorganized and confused faction that was kept largely in check by the party’s corporate leadership — but of whether Donald Trump could continue to hold majorities of white Americans in thrall to his non-stop, red-meat racist political theater.

Corporate Democrats, whose bungled schemes led us to this juncture, forge ahead with the same strategy as in 2016. Nancy Pelosi, who ordered the Congressional Black Caucus to downplay the crimes of Katrina the last time she was Speaker of the House, served up pablum and called it a victory speech. “We will strive for bipartisanship, with fairness on all sides, she said. “The American people want peace. They want results. They want us to work for positive results for their lives.”

Corporate parties, in a duopoly system, cannot resolve the contradiction in favor of the people.

That’s why the struggle must be mainly in the streets, and to build non-corporate parties, including independent Black formations — which requires a split in the Democrats, the section of the duopoly that is not explicitly the White Man’s Party, but instead slavishly serves the oligarchy.

Find us on the web at http://www.blackagendareport.com.

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New Democratic House Leaders Steer Clear of Medicare For All; New Bosses Same As the Old Bosses

By Bruce A. Dixon

(Black Agenda Report)

bruce dixon

Bruce Dixon, managing editor of Black Agenda Report

In January the 116th Congress will swear in, this time with a Democratic majority in the House. Corporate Dems and even many self-described lefties are still celebrating some kind of victory. But it ain’t so. The headline on a November 20 Roll Call article “On Medicare For All Democrats Tread Lightly” says it all. Now that Democrats control the House, they have no real intention of relieving the burden of 30 million uninsured, and tens of millions more carrying fake insurance too expensive to use, and still threatened by bankruptcy with any serious illness.

On health care, the priorities of Democratic House leaders are plugging up some of the minor holes in the Affordable Care Act, a bill written by and for the health insurance companies. Perhaps the biggest failing of Obamacare was that it left 20 million, now about 30 million low-income Americans totally uninsured. The Affordable Care Act tied expansion of “benefits” — which are really no more than the ability to buy near-junk insurance policies — to low-income Americans to expansion of the existing Medicaid program, which is administered by individual states. That’s a hole you can stampede elephants through, and the Republicans did just that. It left ACA application effectively in the hands of state governments at a time when the number of states dominated by Republican governors and legislatures was at an all-time high.

Specially targeted programs are special targets, and when the perceived beneficiaries of the special programs are Black they were irresistible targets for the White Man’s Party. “Why are THOSE PEOPLE entitled to some benefit that hard working people like ME aren’t,” goes the cry. Never mind that there are more whites on Medicaid than Blacks — perception is what mattered. Georgia lawmakers made it a red-meat issue and passed legislation requiring a supermajority for future legislatures to expand Medicaid. Democrats refused to address the hole they created allowing state level Republicans to block ACA coverage to millions. They simply used it as another blue flag to wave at election time, along with the one about how Democrats were gonna protect us from a knuckle dragging Republican Supreme Court. We all know how that turned out.

Democrats leading the 116th Congress are the same crew that ruled the 110th elected in 2006. That mob refused to hold hearings on Katrina when they had all the committee chairmanships because they didn’t wish to be identified as the party of “those people.” They declined to go for the impeachment of Cheney and Bush when they DID have the votes and public support — when many of them were elected to do precisely that. And they led the House when Democrats allowed health insurance companies to write the Affordable Care Act, so they aren’t about to champion Medicare For All, which would eliminate 160,000 insurance company jobs while creating 640,000 new positions in health-care delivery.

Passage would not be the point in the 116th Congress, given that Republicans still run the Senate and Donald Trump remains in the White House. It’s about educating the public, steering the debate and coverage, and creating political theater. House Republicans in the 114th and 115th knew this and repealed Obamacare more than 50 times, even when they knew a Democrat-run Senate and a Democratic White House made passage of their repeals impossible. But they dominated the story.

Think of the debate and the political chemistry House Dems would create if they followed the Republican example and passed Medicare For All a dozen or more times in 2019 and 2020, knowing that Repubs would turn it down. But the Dems who will lead the 116th Congress are not fighters, except for the moneyed elite that bankrolls their careers.

Their brand of political theater isn’t about anything their corporate investors — I mean campaign contributors haven’t approved. So expect little movement on Medicare For All from the first Democrat-run House since 2011. When we meet the new bosses in January 2019, theyll be pretty much the same as the old bosses.

Find us on the web at http://www.blackagendareport.com.

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Time to Break with ‘Lesser-Evil’ Politics

By Jim Lafferty

jim-lafferty-300

[Note: Jim Lafferty, executive director emeritus of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, is an endorser of the Labor-Community Campaign for an Independent Party and a long-time advocate of an independent labor-based political party. The following is an abridged version of an article he submitted to the LA Progressive under the title, “Socialism or Barbarism.”]

For at least as long as the 80 years I’ve been alive and, frankly, much longer than that, socialists have been arguing with liberals, progressives, and “left-leaning” voters over whether it makes more sense to elect a decidedly imperfect but “lesser-evil” Democratic Party candidate than a “more evil” Republican Party candidate. Socialists have long argued that such a political strategy ultimately leaves “we the people” insufficiently better off to justify doing so; and that, instead, we should bite the bullet and get about the business of organizing an independent party for working people, a socialist party.

A New Reality

While we socialists have been making the argument against lesser-evil politics for decades, with only modest success, today things have profoundly changed, presenting us with a new, undeniable reality. That new reality is that today the planet’s climate has changed as a consequence of capitalism’s long-standing assault on the Earth’s environment. More to the point, the planet’s climate has now changed to the point where I believe the only choice left to us is socialism or barbarism. Either we in the very near future defeat capitalism, or the sustainability of our planet will be lost forever — “lost” in terms of the feasibility of humans living anything remotely resembling a decent life.

Why does this change the “lesser-evil” equation? Because, a capitalist America will never allow the regulation of production to the extent needed to stop the accelerating march of climate change. It is 2018 and there is no convincing evidence one can point to that the capitalist world is prepared to make, or can be made to make, the herculean changes in how it does business, and how it produces the products it produces and sells, that can offer us more than a slower death of our planet.

Tinkering about with embarrassingly modest and totally inadequate efforts to slow the rate of climate change is the best we can hope for under capitalism. Even if somehow the capitalists who run our country and this world were to finally “come to their senses,” based upon all the evidence we’ve seen so far, it would not alter, in any meaningful way, planet Earth’s steady, if slower, death slide. The Paris Accords? Even if fully implemented they would be no more meaningful than applying a band-aid to a bullet wound in the heart.

It’s true that a handful of more “enlightened” companies have initiated measures of some worth aimed at reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. But even these tech elites are on board with a central objective of the Trump administration: an aggressive rollback of regulations across virtually every domain, including the environment.

“Tipping Point” on Nuclear Proliferation

What is also true, and further validates my argument, is that, as Noam Chomsky contends, we are past the “tipping point” where nuclear proliferation and the likelihood of nuclear meltdown are concerned. Already, the United States is preparing to spend billions on producing more modern nuclear weapons, including so-called “tactical” nuclear weapons that pose an even greater danger of use than the more massive ones. This, in turn, makes more likely the use of the more massive ones, as well. Bottom line, a capitalist government is a government under which it’s capitalist munitions-makers who will always fight for, and win, new orders for more nukes and for additional profits that flow from their production and sale to other governments.

A Possible Way Forward

For at least the last 80 years, progressives and democratic socialists have been trying to take over the capitalist Democratic Party and patch up its many holes. And for at least the past 80 years, they’ve failed. What makes anyone think that today, when the Democratic Party is more in the pocket of corporate America than ever, they can do today what you couldn’t do before?

Today, Democratic Party candidates depend in large measure on corporate financing if they are to have any chance of defeating Republican candidates, who are also the beneficiaries of big corporate campaign contributions — now virtually unlimited as a result of Citizens United. And no candidate continues to get those campaign contributions who sets out to reign in Corporate America, or its friends in high places. Naomi Klein is correct: “We no longer live in a democracy, we live in a corporate oligarchy.”

Today, if Bernie Sanders were to get about the business of forming a new party — an independent, labor-based political party with an essentially socialist program — it would be possible to get on the ballot in all states. Such a party’s first forays into electoral politics could be at the local level and under the auspices of local chapters of the new party. And as it grew it could begin to realistically compete in all Congressional and state races.

Over and over again, history has shown that when enough people have had enough; when they take up the challenge, and together, plan, organize and fight for what they need, anything is possible. Indeed, history itself is on our side!

 

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