The events of this week have left many in labor reeling. The divide between the class collaborationist and growing militant trends within labor are becoming more noticeable. One thing is for certain, a lot of work is to be done the build the labor movement back up to the dominant force it once was.
The common practice of union leadership to act as pawns for the Democratic Party is becoming increasingly untenable. While some rank-and-file still support this strategy, but using the openly anti-labor positions of the Republican Party no longer justifies supporting capital’s Trojan Horse—the Democratic Party.
To add insult to injury, with few exceptions, the labor misleadership has refused to criticize Biden’s leading role in subverting the will of the rail workers. Only after days of criticism did the AFL-CIO offer a milquetoast statement asking congress to approve paid sick leave, with no mention of Biden’s role or congress’ insistence to act as legislative scabs. For decades—through its so-called “Solidarity” Center and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)—the AFL-CIO has exported a brand of yellow unionism turning much of the international labor movement into puppets of US finance capital in return for breadcrumbs, their actions throughout this process makes it clear their aim is to bring this strategy home.
The political frustration within the rank-and-file of the rail workers was made clear in a statement released after the votes by Railroad Workers United (RWU). This quote sums it up best, “We suffered a one-two punch at the hands of, first, the Democratic Party; the second served up by the Republicans.” It is time for trade unions to break from the Democratic Party, and be completely politically independent from the two capitalist controlled parties. Only a revitalized, class-oriented trade union movement can build the power to effectively push back against monopoly capital.