The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Sweeney explains the Democrats' defeat

Nov 11, 2002

The day after the election, John Sweeney, the head of the AFL-CIO, issued a statement that actually included a few critical words about the Democrats: "union members said they do not think either party has a plan to strengthen the economy – and that is a particularly strong indictment of the Democrats."What conclusions did Sweeney draw from this? Did he question the unions' support for the Democrats? No, he raised only that the unions had to do a better job of reaching their members.

As it was, according to an AFL-CIO press release, the unions handed out nearly 17 million leaflets at work places, made five million phone calls, with 250,000 union members helping to get out the vote.

The problem is not that the union leaders didn't do enough to support the Democrats. The problem is that they gave the unions' stamp of approval to the Democrats, a party which has steadfastly supported the interests of big business and the wealthy at the expense of working people.

Today, the working class sees no prospects for itself. And one very big reason is the lack of a party which clearly speaks for the workers and takes their side in every conflict with the bosses.

If the unions were led today by militants who represented the working class, they would set as their first priority to create such a party. Instead, the current leaders try to pump up support for a worn-out discredited party that defends the bosses.