The Spark

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

Where was “organized labor”?

May 8, 2006

In the press’s disappearing act about opposition to the Iraq war, organized labor has disappeared even further. The AFL-CIO, supposedly representing organized labor, has carefully avoided calling for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq or Afghanistan. And the break-away group of unions, called “Change to Win,” has even avoided mentioning the war.

So the participation by many unionists and other workers in the April 29 march was all the more important. There were numerous banners from labor unions and organizations with hundreds or even thousands of unionists marching behind them to show their opposition to the war. On the scale of the whole labor movement, they may not have been so many, but their appearance at the demonstration reflects more about the opinions of working people on the Iraq war than does the absence of top leaders of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win.