Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Organized labor and the (neoliberal) Democratic Party

Any way I look at it, I can't come up with any feasible way that progressive politics on the scale and effectively of the New Deal can be made successful without a revitalized - i.e., larger - union movement.

Joan Walsh has an important interview with AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka, Richard Trumka declares labor's independence Salon 05/06/2011. Digby comments on it in Money Talks, Liberals Walk Hullabaloo 05/09/2011 and Greg Sargent in Will labor soften support for Dems in 2012? The Plum Line 05/09/2011.

Trumka clearly sees a need for the labor movement to apply more pressure to the Democratic Party and make it harder for Democratic incumbents to take labor for granted. Joan Walsh writes:

Trumka's AFL-CIO famously bucked the White House, supporting Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's unsuccessful primary challenge to Blue Dog Sen. Blanche Lincoln. When Halter lost, anonymous White House officials attacked labor leaders as "absolute idiots" who had been "humiliated" after flushing $10 million "down the toilet." In an interview last week Trumka seemed unchastened by attacks over the Halter bid, and he pledged the AFL-CIO to a new independence from Democratic Party organizations and candidates. He didn't spell out exactly what that might mean, citing decisions to be made by the federation's governing Executive Council. "You'll see us giving less to party structure, and more to our own structure," Trumka promised. "It's actually going to be fun."
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