|Letter to "The Chief" in New York|
|Written by Tom Trottier|
|Wednesday, 31 August 2011 16:02|
The letter below was in the August 26, 2011 edition of The Chief/Civil Service Leader weekly newspaper in New York.
August 14, 2011
The Chief-Civil Service Leader
To the Editor:
In the August 12, 2011 edition of Razzle Dazzle, there is mention of Teamsters Local 237 President Greg Floyd running for mayor, possibly as a labor party candidate, an independent labor candidate or as a Democrat. I, for one, would urge Brother Floyd to run independent of the Democratic Party and on a platform of making the rich, not working people, pay for the crisis.
The Democrats on the federal level have a program of austerity. On the state level, Democrat Andrew Cuomo is leading the attack on public employees. In the city, even though the Democrats have an overwhelming majority on the NY City Council, they have gone along with Bloomberg (and Giuliani before him) and their anti-labor policies.
When you are part of the Democratic Party structure, ultimately it is they who control your politics. If a candidate is independent of them, he owes the party bosses and financiers nothing, but he would owe his working class supporters everything.
With the anger that many union and non-union workers have against both the Republicans and Democrats, a mass labor party could tap into that mood. There is no question that if the NYC Central Labor Council formed a labor party and took on the wealthy elite who are impoverishing the rest of us, it could succeed. Many people might not be aware that back in 1886, when labor was much weaker than today, a last minute labor candidate for mayor (Henry George) came in second and beat Republican future president Theodore Roosevelt!
Even if Floyd ran without the entire labor movement backing him, he could play an important role to show that there can be an alternative to the two parties of big business. At the very least, he would get a sizable vote and reshape the debate about government policy. This could spark similar projects around the country. The website www.masspartyoflabor.org shows that the idea of the need for a mass party of labor and that organized labor should stop supporting parties that are controlled by the employers is gaining traction.
So I say, Run Greg Run! But not as a Democrat. Make the rich pay for the crisis.
Note: I am a member of the Organization of Staff Analysts but this letter reflects only my personal views.