Abortion Litmus Test

Katha Pollitt kpollitt at thenation.com
Mon Jun 1 17:34:14 PDT 1998

Gar lipow points out that I strongly criticized the organized women's movement -- NOW, for example -- for its wimpiness on welfare reform. This is true. HOWEVER, it does not follow that those with a "class" line did better. The labor unions were just as wimpy on welfare, with a lot more power. Where was John Sweeney? Where IS John Sweeney? In new York City, the Labor Council, led by Brian McLaughlin (sp?), who is Sweeney's right hand man, and who spoke at the Columbia labor teach-in, endorsed Giuliani in the last election -- as did Stanley Hill, head of the municipal workers local, District 37. The head of the transit worker's union said it was fine for the transit authority to use workfare workers, as long as no current union members were fired (he was later forced to reverse himself). And the big race organizations were also absent -- NAACP? NOI? forget it!

the truth is, the people who cared most about welfare reform were precisely the middle-class intellectuals and social work professionals, feminists, left-liberal clergy and other liberal wimps that get abused on this list. Class was no better an organizing or theorizing tool to fight welfare reform than gender or race. Maybe worse!

best, katha

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