NP and fusion again ( was Re: converts to the left)

Alex LoCascio locascioa at
Wed Sep 23 09:57:58 PDT 1998

Dennis R Redmond wrote:

> Realpolitik is the logic of total war, not civic democracy. The point is
> that there is *no difference* between the Dumbocrats or the Repo-men.

Not between the parties in general, I agree, but there are major differences between individual progressive Democrats and their Repug opponents. Would you really want to run a third party candidate against, say, Ron Dellums?

> Among numerous other
> social, environmental and legislative crimes, Clinton annihilated AFDC
> benefits for kids -- children, goddamn it -- and has lowered capital gains
> taxes for punters, while continuing to piss $270 billion or so a year on a
> military fighting an enemy which doesn't even exist anymore.

Yeah, hey, look, I'm not talking about Bill Clinton, I'm talking about progressive candidates who happened to be Democrats. Not the DLC, not neo-liberals, not Bill Clinton.

> Lots of European countries have three, four, five parties. Why should the
> US be any different?

I don't disagree with you. But if the Labor Party is serious about electoral victory, rather than moral purity, it should engage in fusion when necessary and/or beneficial.

> Which labor movement are we talking about -- the corrupt Cold War unions
> who allowed the US ruling class to do any damn thing they pleased for
> fifty years, or the new social unions, who are fighting for the rights and
> wages of their workers and, increasingly, workers around the globe (e.g.
> Nike activism, the Tijuana labor union, etc.)?

False dichotomy. Those corrupt Cold War unions ARE the new social unions. Only the leadership has changed. And overall it's a welcome and positive developement. I like Sweeney, Trumka, Chavez-Thompson, although they aren't as radical as I'd like them to be. Now, when it comes to the rank and file, the few that I've encountered aren't nearly as progressive as the AFL-CIO national leadership. Ironic, huh? But one of the more sobering experiences I had at Union Summer was learning that many rank and file workers still think imported cars are the source of their problems (this was the IUOE). And then of course there was the UFCW, one of the most sclerotic unions around. One member scolded one of the interns for allegedly "talking Communism." Don't get me wrong, there are lots of workers who have been radicalized through struggle, like the Staley/Bridgestone/Cat workers in Decatur and the Detroit newspaper strikers, but I think overall the majority of union members in this country still haven't stepped into the 90s. I would love it if someone knocked me off of my ass and proved me wrong, but I still don't see any widespread working class consciousness out there (including my father, a former CWA shop steward who's a registered Republican).

But I digress. We were talking about fusion...

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