Monday, April 27, 2015

With friends like Richard Trumka labor has problems

Richard Trumka tweeted @HillaryClinton has a long & distinguished career in public service & has been an inspiration for tens of millions of women #Clinton 04/12/2015

When I saw this I was stunned and apparently I wasn't the only one; all the responses seem to be negative about this, except one that seems to be a campaign worker for Hillary.

The political and media establishment is trying to pre-select an atrocious candidate without much input from the public by providing an enormous amount of propaganda to convince the public that she is inevitable along with a few promises that are routinely made and broken; and Richard Trumka is doing his part, betraying the union workers he allegedly represents!

Hillery Clinton is a former board member of Wal-Mart, and close friends with Alice Walton who supported her chances for president for years.

She presented herself as co-president with her husband who pushed NAFTA, school privatization, welfare reform that does little or nothing to address corporate welfare, putting thousands of cops on the street that eventually became part of the escalating use of SWAT raids for no-knock drug searches in the middle of night and much more.

As first lady she said that she would oppose an "awful bill" about predatory lending; but then as Senator after she took campaign contributions from the banks she helped pass the same bill.

There is an enormous effort by the commercial press to nominate her without much of a debate before the public even votes in the primaries.

If the establishment has their way it doesn't seem like there will be much of a primary at all; and this statement only indicates that he is one more establishment figure helping to make sure this is what happens.

In all fairness it appears this is only part of a larger statement he made which isn't quite as extreme, but it is still much softer than a vigorous labor leader could come up with:

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Secretary Hillary Clinton Campaign Announcement April 13, 2015

Secretary Clinton has a long and distinguished career in public service, and has been an inspiration for tens of millions of women in America and around the globe.

We hope her candidacy will contribute to the critical debate in our country over how to raise wages.

We applaud Secretary Clinton’s decision to begin her campaign by going directly to voters and listening to them first. We urge all presidential candidates, in both parties, to follow her lead. We believe she, and they, will hear an urgent need to raise wages in America, and an equally urgent need to reject corporate-driven agendas that produce everything from tax breaks for the wealthy to destructive trade agreements.

Working people want to hear Secretary Clinton's ideas on how to create a Raising Wages America. We look forward to a long and vibrant national discussion with all presidential candidates, about how to solve the problems of income inequality and improve the lives of every working person in our great country. Complete article

It seems to me that he could have done much more to call for alternatives to this candidate and spoke out about how both political parties are heavily controlled by corporations. At times, he has in the past, but like many politicians his rhetoric is often much stronger than his actions. In a previous article Organized labor warns Hillary over Wall Street 08/28/2015 he provided warnings to her not to get to close to Wall Street but clearly that has already happened and like many other politicians she has a history of catering to her campaign contributors.

According to a recent Report: Hillary changed stance on trade deal after donations to Clinton Foundation; (04/09/2015) and this is just one of many examples where she has done so.

This is typical of establishment candidates presented by the two traditional parties and covered by the commercial media. None of them do much if anything to address the legitimate concerns of the public and the press simply refuses to cover candidates for higher office that do. This effectively ensures that only candidates with support from multinational corporations have a chance to be president; or it has so far.

There does appear to one example where politicians don't cater to their campaign contributors though.

When they collect them from labor.

Instead they use the money they collect from labor to support candidates like Clinton and Clinton with Barack Obama in between and provide an enormous amount of propaganda to convince the public that the Democratic party is standing up for working people without actually doing so.

For a long time the Republicans have been trying to convince the public that their union fees shouldn't be used for political reasons unless they agree with them. This was seen as an attempt to deprive labor of their political clout; but that seems to have happened anyway with the help of money they donate to Democratic candidates who do more to support their corporate donors than their labor donors as long as they think they can keep them on board with rhetoric.

The Republicans may have been right for the wrong reasons. They expect labor to stop donating to democrats then do little or nothing to represent themselves. Instead labor should do more to support candidates at the grass roots level where influence from the grass roots also influences the policies they support. This could mean that when donating apportion of their dues to political causes they might decide how it is used or perhaps if they can't afford it they can spend time campaigning instead and this campaigning could be partly under their own control for the causes they support.

Of course if changes are made like either the ones I recommend or the Republicans recommend it should be with the approval of labor; and it shouldn't involve abandoning their effort to influence the political system as the Republicans want.

We need much more support for alternatives including election reform that enables the public to control the election instead of allowing candidates to negotiate with each other and the media to decide who gets heard and what questions are asked or which issues are ignored. Other political parties that do far more to address major issues like the Green Party, progressive or Socialist parties as well as libertarian parties do a much better job covering many issues but they don't get any coverage from the media.

If a sincere labor leaders spoke out more about them or about instant run-off elections or proportionate elections or demanded that they be invited to the debates then it would be tougher for the traditional media to ignore them and if they do the labor leader could take his support to alternative candidates and encourage them to seek alternative news outlets that address the real issues.

Unfortunately Richard Trumka is more interested in supporting the usual rhetoric without action; while the real support from labor comes from the grass roots, not their leadership. He could easily turn the corporations argument around about not using labor money for campaigns without approval from union workers and argue that corporations can't use the money they get from consumers and lobby with it without getting permission from the consumers.

This actually makes more sense than it might seem to for many people. The retail industry is decided up into oligarchies and they're all supporting some of the same lobbying efforts with money that they collect from consumers. For example, Walmart, Koch Industries, Lowes Department Stores, Microsoft, Home Depot and many other corporations are spending large amounts of money to support a corporate control of the education system that often involves increased advertising and charter schools and reduced local control over education. No matter what corporation people buy from they might be supporting school privatization without realizing it.

A portion of the money that large oligarchies collect from consumers is used to lobby against the interests of consumers and workers; and an even larger portion, at least two to ten percent, is used for advertising, which finances the traditional media. Then, even though the majority of the public finances the media, indirectly they have no influence over the coverage the provide, which involves suppressing coverage for grass roots candidates and providing an enormous amount of coverage for candidates supported by corporations.

Can you imagine what would happen if thousands of union supporters across the country asked the stores they shop at to either ask the media, they finance indirectly through advertising, to start covering grass roots candidates; or to allow them to spend a little time campaigning at the store for grass roots candidates, since they're indirectly financing a media and candidates they might not agree with, through a hidden propaganda tax.

It might not make changes right away but it would go along way to i8nforming people of the corruption of the current system.

At the very least if Trumka spoke out more against Hillery's problems he might encourage other candidates to run so we would have a real primary; or he might force them to at least make more promises, which they will inevitably break, in order to avoid a mass exodus from labor to one of the real grass roots parties that actually do try to represent people, not corporations.

A close look indicates that he might not be doing a much better job pretending to represent labor than the Democratic Party.

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