Jun 18, 2012
In the recall election that unions were able to put on the ballot in Wisconsin, union members largely voted against Scott Walker, the governor who made a name for himself by attacking the unions.
But Walker nonetheless was supported by 29% of union members, and 48% of people living in a union household – according to the polls.
So why did union members or people close to them give any support to someone who openly portrayed himself as an opponent of the unions and unionists?
Obviously, elections give only a very partial view of the way people think.
But a first, and very obvious, answer is that union people had no way to vote against Walker without voting for another politician, whose history hardly inspired them to vote for him.
But undoubtedly, there were some unionists who subscribe to the individualistic pro-business rhetoric spouted by Walker.
Furthermore, Walker directed his attack specifically against public sector unions. He and the big money behind him carried out a vicious campaign against public workers – trying to inflame resentment among private workers paid less well than public workers, lying about how much public workers are paid. They blamed public sector workers for the cuts in services and for the general degrading of society’s physical framework.
Apparently, there were workers in the private sector who fell for that b.s. – workers who transferred their resentment over what capitalist society has done to them, putting it onto other workers.
And that’s a dirty shame. A worker’s only dependable allies are other workers. The only ones we can really depend on are the ones who share the same problems we do, who are submitted to exploitation, just as we are.
Probably, there were even unionists, fed up with the concessions, who voted for Walker as a way to protest the sell-out policies of their own leaders.
All of that goes to show that elections, dominated as they are by money, do not provide a field in which workers can truly express themselves and their own class interests. And that’s especially so when the elections are carried out, as they were in Wisconsin, pitting only candidates of two parties that both represent the interests of the bosses.