Feb 1, 2016
“There is deep economic anxiety among our members and the people we’re trying to organize that I believe Donald Trump’s message is tapping into,” said Mary Kay Henry, the president of the SEIU (Service Employees International Union). She, like other top union officials, say they are concerned that Trump is gaining support from some rank-and-file members.
Certainly, Trump is a danger. By attacking Mexican and Muslim immigrants, as well as by demeaning women, he is dredging up and reinforcing longstanding prejudices and racist attitudes in some sections of the working class.
But Trump’s appeal to workers goes beyond open bigotry and misogyny. Trump appears to oppose the policies of politicians and government officials, blaming these policies for the loss of jobs in this country. He blames trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, for allowing and encouraging workers’ jobs to be shipped overseas. Trump also appears to take on a few big companies. He has denounced Ford and Nabisco by name for closing plants and laying off workers – supposedly because they are shipping “American” jobs to China and Mexico.
In reality, Trump repeats the same big lies that others have told for a long time – especially the officials who head the big unions in this country.
No, “foreign competition” is not what’s taking U.S. jobs. No, low wage workers in other countries are not taking U.S. workers’ jobs.
Instead, “our good old American” bosses right here at home have been taking workers’ jobs. They are driving workers to work longer and harder. They are squeezing ever more production out of a smaller and smaller workforce. And the bosses are turning ever more of the remaining jobs into temporary and part-time jobs that pay practically nothing.
All that talk from Trump about foreign competition simply covers over the class war here at home. Working people’s jobs and living standards are being plundered by the capitalist class in their mad drive to increase profit and their wealth ever more.
So, what alternative do the union officials offer workers who oppose Trump? Simply to vote for the Democrats one more time, the very same Democrats with their record of imposing attacks on working people in partnership with the Republicans. This plays into Trump’s hands, allowing him to claim he is new and different.
There is nothing new about Trump. He plays to the racism of too many white workers. And the worker who votes for Trump only harms himself and reinforces divisions inside the working class itself. The working class needs its own party – not another multi-billionaire who tries to resurrect one of the bosses’ two decrepit parties.