On the need for a Labor Party

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The UConn Youth for Socialist Action members held a protest for the Pipeline Access Controversy in Northern Dakota. (Photo by Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

Though it is still the first half of 2019, rallying cries are already being heard for the presidential election of 2020. It seems like every week there is a new candidate emerging to chase the Democratic Party nomination, from Beto O’Rourke to Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris to Tulsi Gabbard, Joe Biden to Andrew Yang, Elizabeth Warren to Bernie Sanders. One would hardly suspect election day was nearly two years away by looking at the press.

This clutter regarding would-be presidential candidates and the discussion surrounding them has obfuscated real political developments and confused workers and students about what a candidate who actually represents them would look like. No matter their posturing, the reality of the matter is that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party represent two sides of the exact same ruling-class coin. While they clearly have their differences and squabbles, they are united in firmly backing the interests of U.S. Capital through austerity at home and imperialism abroad. Even the “radical left” darling of the capitalist Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders, has been clear in his support for border enforcement, imperialist war, and interventions. It is undeniable that both these two parties represent the bosses –– big finance, big landowners and big business. They are the parties of Wall Street and war.

For too long the working class in the United States has been wholly politically subordinated to the parties of the bosses. Even our unions, creations of fierce workers across the decades, have been pressured into becoming obedient servants of the Democratic Party. Speaking generally, the union’s leadership politics have been made to support the Democrat’s interests. The unions are left unable to strike their own class-independent political line. What could be the solution to such a political deadlock? The answer has been given in many countries and times before: The creation of a labor party!

What is a labor party? Put simply, it is a party based upon the working class and labor movement. A party for all those who toil for a wage, the party of the majority, the 99 percent, the workers. A party based out of the unions and workers’ organizations as they appear and develop. Many decry all attempts to push a “third party” in this country, but the reality is the United States has not seen the creation of a mass, working-class party of its own! This has happened enumerable times across the world and on every continent, enabling whole new avenues of struggle once cut off. A labor party has come close to emerging in the US several times, but the task to crystalize one remains.

Perhaps this sounds fantastic or disconnected to reality, but the conditions for the emergence of a labor party are already present. Consider that, since the beginning of 2018, the highest number of workers have been on strike in this country since 1986. There is rising union militancy and consciousness in America. A wave that hasn’t been seen in a generation according to the Washington Post. The teachers’ strikes ignited the current flame, and further growth and developments in the tide have come from the hotel strikes, the Stop and Shop strike and continued mobilizations from nurses. Young people are increasingly seeing the need for workers to stand together and fight for their rights and needs. We are also seeing how the bosses will take all they can of the value we produce. Students, workers and oppressed groups need to defend their livelihoods with organizations that are really our own.

Despite decades of austerity offenses and anti-union propaganda, despite bureaucratic union leadership’s complacency with the two party system and stifling of independent organizing, workers in this country are once again realizing that together, as labor united, they can fight and win against the bosses. Rather than pay heed to the Democrat flavor of the week, the real political struggle emerging in this country is of a labor revival just around the corner. Workers are going on strike and unionizing who have never done so before, but see more and more of their class interests and oppositions laid in front of them. As labor militancy spreads, the conditions for a wholly different kind of party in opposition to the Republicans and Democrats ripen!

A labor party would have no interest in continuing the pro-corporate destruction of the planet, have no reason to continue the brutal wars that murder countless workers overseas by using American workers as cannon fodder, have no desire to continue the racist mass incarceration of millions of black and brown workers denied due process, and have no wish to carry out the xenophobic policing of borders and violence against immigrants. A labor party could strike against this society based on the needs of profit, and fight for the establishment of one based on actual human need.

The bosses already have two parties, run by and for the ruling class. To do better, we need to stand on our own two legs as an independent working class body. We need a labor party!


Wyatt Mund is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at wyatt.mund@uconn.edu.

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