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Mon Feb 4, 2013, 05:13 AM


Focus Voters' Anger on Corporations, Not Just Republicans [View all]

Now that we’re well past the euphoria of election night, it’s time to consider what the vote really meant, and how unions can move forward. First, it’s clear that we in labor can’t dedicate ourselves to “holding the president accountable” because Obama is not, in fact, accountable to us. He raised $1 billion for his re-election, and most of it was not from us...

In the bottom two-thirds of the labor market, where jobs don’t require a college degree, things have been getting steadily worse for 40 years, and few people see a way out. Economic decline produces fear, resentment, rage—and a politics that is combustible and unstable....Our task is to help people find the clarity and courage to direct their anger at those responsible for their misery...

The one-percenters control the party largely by keeping the base engrossed in non-economic issues: campaigns against abortion rights, gay marriage, and undocumented immigrants...The social crusades continue partly because the elites know that working-class Republican voters are at odds with—or at least not excited by—the corporate agenda of the party’s rulers. The question for labor is how to exploit these contradictions.

Republicans self-consciously fight not just against Democrats, but also against the forces they perceive to be behind the Democrats. Grover Norquist identified unions, trial lawyers, and big-city political machines as key pillars of the Democratic Party. Republicans then set out to destroy unions, starve local government, and shrink attorneys’ fees through tort reform, in order to destroy the Democrats’ material base.

By contrast, the Democrats campaign only against Republicans themselves, not against the forces behind them. If they didn’t need the money, Democrats could launch a campaign against the Chamber of Commerce—holding hearings on a series of bills that would expose the contradictions between corporate funders and working class voters within the conservative movement. But Democrats will never take on this fight. Instead, they engage in a kind of political Stockholm syndrome, forever seeking opportunities to agree with the same corporate lobbies that fund their opponents.

Labor’s job is not to make the Democrats into a better version of themselves. Our job is to do what the Democrats cannot. The conservative base hates “free trade,” for instance. If Democrats held press events in every district, standing in front of plants that shipped jobs overseas and challenging Republicans to disavow contributions from corporations that promote more NAFTAs, legislators would start feeling real pressure. There is no Master Plan that guarantees victory. But here are a few steps unions can take to move politics forward in 2013...


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Reply Focus Voters' Anger on Corporations, Not Just Republicans [View all]
HiPointDem Feb 2013 OP
green for victory Feb 2013 #1
Sherman A1 Feb 2013 #2
reteachinwi Feb 2013 #3
Zax2me Feb 2013 #4