Some thoughts on Richard Trumka's heavily publicized speech to the National Press Club
I would note something Trumka stated later, after his presentation, which I think needs to be stressed because it demonstrates just how two-faced and hypocritical he is. He has only repackaged and re-worded the longstanding positions of the AFL-CIO going back many decades to its conception and further back to when it was the AFL--- for about a decade or so the CIO had a real pro-worker stance on elections, supporting candidates and voting, and even running worker candidates.
But here is the most important point Trumka made TODAY which was not included in his remarks--- he had to be pressed knowing this was not going to be popular among working people after delivering a militant sounding speech:
"Later, Trumka said that President Obama was working for workers and that the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor group, would continue to support the president."
Link to statement- http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/20/news/economy/afl_cio_washington/?section=money_latest
Here are some other links to the National Press Club Luncheon:
Here is a link to the official AFL-CIO website:
I would note that Richard Trumka does understand what working people want: political independence. But, when pressed as to whom the AFL-CIO will endorse for president Trumka says: Barack Obama--- this is not political independence from Wall Street in any way, shape or form. Nor has Barack Obama done a damn thing for working people justifying this endorsement; quite to the contrary, Obama has hurt working people and his wars are making us all poor.
Trumka has failed to grasp the very simple and basic understanding of these budget battles as articulated by my friend, Virg Bernero in Michigan: "Budgets are a reflection of our true priorities."
Trumka, at this late date, refuses to recognize what both liberal Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has articulated along with Virg Bernero: We can't continue to squander our Nation's resources on wars and expect to have the resources to take care of the needs of the people. Again, a recognition of this Wall Street government's priorities when it comes to these budget battles. Why does Trumka refuse to ask the all important question of the working women and men whose dues pay has big, fat salary: How is Obama's Wall Street war economy working for you?
Check out Richard Trumka's complete speech. We need to ask: How is it that Trumka can make a speech like this and not one single mention of these dirty imperialist wars killing working people abroad and our own youth while working people and being forced into funding these wars abroad through austerity measures here at home as Wall Street coupon clippers fatten their bank accounts from profits derived from these wars as well as profiting directly from the austerity measures being imposed creating so much poverty resulting in untold misery; we need answers from Trumka as to why he is not properly formulating a response and call to action.
Also, I am sharing with all of you a website for what might be the beginnings of a national movement for a progressive political movement that has the potential to help us free ourselves from the two-party trap set for us by our Wall Street enemies.
I would encourage all of you to consider getting involved in any way you can. Please feel free to contact Anthony Noel--- his email is next to Mike's in the "To" line. Here is the link to the website: http://newprogs.org/
Also, I would like to make you aware of what is the most important book on progressive politics that you could possibly read--- bar none. The book is, "Keep True, a life in politics" by Howard Pawley who was elected and re-elected for almost twenty years to the Manitoba Provincial Legislature, having served about ten of those years as Manitoba's Premier (kind of like a state governor). The New Democratic Party government of Howard Pawley (during the 1980's) remains an example of the most progressive government in North America--- of course, with the exception of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party socialist governments of governors Floyd Olson and Elmer Benson. All joking aside, Pawley's government was a majority government a distinction the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party governments never quite achieved since capturing majority control of the Senate was never achieved.
Here is a link to ordering Pawley's book: http://msupress.msu.edu/bookTemplate.php?bookID=4250
All too often U.S. progressives think there is nothing to learn from our northern neighbors. I can assure you we have much to learn from our northern neighbors when it comes to politics and if you read this book by Howard Pawley you will quickly find out a lot of what we have missed. Personally, I lived in Manitoba as the Pawley government fell because of a traitor inside of the NDP and I saw and experienced the sharp contrast in quality of life going from the most progressive government in North America to what was most definitely one of the most reactionary governments in North America. What we do in politics most definitely determines the quality of life working people have. Please, do yourself a favor and those you are politically engaged with a favor, by reading this most important book, "Keep True." For any political activist the purchase of this book will be the best money you have ever spent.
I also want to share with you an alternative to Obama's Wall Street agenda. This comes from my meetings and conversations with working people across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan--- dozens of discussions in union halls, hundreds of meeting around kitchen tables and in living rooms and from conversations I have had with people after speaking at demonstrations, vigils and on picket-lines and at various protests...
The most important question, in my opinion, that we need to be asking people is:
"How is Barack Obama's Wall Street war economy working for you?"
After asking this question, we need to offer up some real alternatives like this:
A program for real change...
* Peace--- end the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and shutdown the 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil.
* A National Public Health Care System - ten million new jobs.
* A National Public Child Care System - three to five million new jobs.
* WPA - three million new jobs.
* CCC - two million new jobs.
* Tax the hell out of the rich and cut the military budget by ending the wars to pay for it all which will create full employment.
* Enforce Affirmative Action; end discrimination.
* Raise the minimum wage to a real living wage
* What tax-payers subsidize in the way of businesses, tax-payers should own and reap the profits from.
* Moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions.
* Defend democracy by defending workers' rights including the right to collective bargaining for improving the lives and livelihoods of working people.
* Roll-back and freeze the price of food, electricity, gas and heating fuels; not wages, benefits or pensions.
* Wall Street is our enemy.
Let's talk about the politics and economics of livelihood for a real change.
Don't forget, Cindy Sheehan talks in the Twin Cities this weekend (tomorrow) and there is a Fighting Bob festival in Wisconsin.
Yours in solidarity and struggle,
Alan L. Maki
(contact info at very bottom)
On Fri, May 20, 2011 at 6:45 PM, greenpartymike
President of the AFL-CIO warns Democrats, says workers want a more ‘independent’ labor movement
May 20th, 2011 · No Comments
From the Hill (H/T to Third Party and Independent Daily):
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Friday that workers want an “independent” labor movement designed to help the working class, not a specific party or candidate…
“Our role is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate. It’s to improve the lives of working families and strengthen our economy, our country…”
In a question-and-answer session after his speech, the labor leader elaborated on how unions plan to change their political operations for the 2012 election cycle.
“We are actually redoing our entire political program and the way we do things,” Trumka said. “We will change the way we spend … the way we function in a way that creates power for workers.”
The AFL-CIO, which spends most of its funds on member education and get-out-the-vote efforts, wants to better coordinate with their affiliated unions that tend to make direct campaign contributions to candidates. In addition, the labor federation wants to mobilize its members year-round to campaign on issues dear to labor, instead of dismantling its political program after every election, which makes it harder to motivate workers when the next election comes around in two years, Trumka said.
Asked if labor will campaign against Democrats, Trumka responded, “Ask Blanche Lincoln.”
Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Primary E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org