Sep 22, 2003
California Governor Gray Davis, a Democrat, has had no more loyal ally in his fight against recall than the AFL-CIO. The union officialdom opposed the recall from its very start, furnishing millions of dollars to the campaign, as well as lending the AFL-CIO's political machinery to the effort. When the recall made it on the ballot back in August, the AFL-CIO pronounced "We are united against the recall of Governor Davis," which the AFL-CIO characterized as a Republican coup.
Certainly, the main force behind the recall was the Republican Party, which is seeking to seize control of the largest state in the country. But if there are many union members and other workers who signed the recall petition, it's not because they are Republicans but because they are fed up with the attacks the Davis administration has been carrying out. Just two years ago, the electric utilities and power generators cooked up a phony energy crisis to rip off working people and the state treasury to the tune of tens of billions of dollars – with the help of Davis. At the same time, under Davis, the state has severely cut back many services, including health care and education, and it is planning to lay off 17,000 state employees – many of them union members. Finally, Davis and other state politicians are planning to triple the vehicle licence fees starting on October 1. This is a tax increase that will hit working people the hardest.
In arguing against the recall, the AFL-CIO insists that if a Republican wins, the attacks will get worse. But – what they don't say – this will happen under the Democrats as well.
If workers are to stop these attacks – carried out by both Democrat and Republican – they will have to mobilize their own forces in a fight against layoffs, cutbacks and tax increases.
The recall pushed by the Republicans certainly diverts workers from that fight – so do calls by the AFL-CIO to support Davis.