The Time is Ripe for a Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor

Ever since we founded of the Workers International League and published the first issue of Socialist Appeal, the need for a mass party of labor has figured prominently in our program and work. The objective need for such a party has been explained in countless editorials and articles. The lack of independent political representation for the US working class is an urgent problem and contradiction, which can only be resolved if the labor movement breaks with the parties of big business and forms a party of, by, and for the working class majority.

As we head toward the midterm elections, the economic “recovery” has stalled. After a weak upsurge in growth that benefitted only the rich, we are now told we may already be headed back into recession. The job market remains weak, the housing market is again in crisis, and millions of jobs have vanished into thin air. The solutions offered by the Democrats and Republicans are no solution at all. They all limit themselves to tinkering with the existing system, which means that nothing is ever actually fixed and workers are forced to bear the brunt of the failure of capitalism. Surely there is a better way!

Republicans and Democrats - Bourgeois partiesUnder the two party system, midterm elections are a kind of referendum on the incumbents. Dissatisfied with those in power, “the other guy” usually benefits from voter frustration. But the “lesser evil” approach to elections means that no matter who wins, the workers have to deal with some form of “evil”. With voters increasingly turned off by Obama and the Democrats’ utter inability to deal with the crisis, the “greater evil” Republicans stand to make big gains in November. In Florida, some Teamsters locals are even  supporting the anti-worker “moderate” Republican candidate in order to stop the “even greater evil” Tea Party candidate! This is just one example of the irrationality of this approach to politics. We think the national and local labor leadership needs to put forward a different political strategy, a strategy that can actually lead to concrete improvements in workers’ quality of life.

In North and South Carolina, the beginnings of state-wide labor parties are an example of the way forward. We think the time is ripe for this to be replicated around the country. The Democrats have had every opportunity to pass legislation that addresses the needs of the workers and youth. For nearly two years, they have controlled the White House, Congress, and many states. Now, as a result of their failed policies, they are opening the door to people even more vicious than Bush and co. This is why the members of the Workers International League, our sympathizers and supporters, have decided to launch a Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor (CMPL) , in order to give more concrete form to this demand.

We seek to build a broad-based campaign that reaches out to all those who agree that running independent labor candidates and building a labor party based on the unions is the way forward. Many rank and file union members and some leaders are already beginning to draw this conclusion. Unfortunately, other leaders seem determined to continue their allegiance to the Democrats come hell or high water.

The CMPL will begin modestly at first. We understand that our small forces alone cannot have a decisive impact on the politics of a country as massive as the United States. But we can play a role in raising these ideas and helping prepare the ground for making such a party a reality in the future. We are confident that life experience will lead more and more union members to pressure their leaders to “stop the madness” of supporting the corporate parties. If they continue this policy, they will eventually be replaced by leaders more in tune with the needs of the rank and file. And as new layers organize and join unions to fight back against the bosses’ attacks, the call for a mass political alternative for workers at the polls will gain more and more support.

We therefore invite you to join the CMPL and help us raise this idea in our unions, central labor councils, workplaces, schools, neighborhoods, on picket lines and anywhere workers and young people are in struggle.

Are you a communist?
Then apply to join your party!