June 12, 2011
Re: AFL-CIO Welcomes Labor Campaign for Single Payer
By David Moros
Calling single-payer "the only way to cure the healthcare problem," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, a leading member of the Democratic Party, as such has welcomed political partisans of the Democratic Party delegates to the Labor Campaign for Single Payer National Meeting at the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC on Friday, June 3. "Representatives Conyers, McDermott and Kucinich also addressed the meeting..."
The Democratic Party when the 'majority' in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the Presidential administration of Barack Obama, has proved by their 'negotiations' with Republican minority in both chambers, on their own accord as a Party, rejected to even so much as to present legislation for a single payer system.
Lest we forget, it is to be recalled that it was as the party majority, Democrats in the House, Senate and 'oval office' of the Presidency, that they themselves proved that their 'constituency' and their loyalty is to the Insurance companies, and 'big pharma' capitalist interests that finance their campaigns, and not to workers and labor union's so-called 'special interests'.
See: Stop the Single Payer Shut-out!
It was as a Democrat, therefore, and not as an economic partisan of the working class that Trumka invited his partisan Democratic Party politicians Conyers, McDermott and Kucinich to speak to workers concerning a single payer system. They do this every election cycle.
We are not fools - as the saying goes: 'fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me'. Were Conyers, McDermott and Kucinich actual representatives of workers, even oppressed minorities in poverty, they would have openly, publicly resigned from the Democratic Party, and at a press conference openly denounced the Democratic Party- exposing it for what it is, i.e. as political representatives of sectors of the capitalist classes.
Even, though brought to this worker's meeting by Trumka, Conyers, McDermott and Kucinich should have been addressed, not addressing. These Democrats come from the very party that helped defeat single-payer and universal health care in the US. The Democrats took single-payer off the table before the negotiating even began! And even the lame-ass for working class but good deal for capitalist health care related industry bill that did pass was voted against by 34 Democrats in the House of Representatives.
Trade unionists, as representatives of the working class should be pushing out Demcratic Party politicans, exposing them as representatives of the class enemy, rather than welcoming their presence, participation and influence, not including them and having them address the working class!
The working class need to break free from the Democrats, including so called labor "leadership", who are Democratic Party collaborators within organised labor, and throw these capitalist collaborators out of our (workers) organizations.
Yes we (the working class) need single payer regulated health care in the US. To achieve this, as is evident to every critical analysis by workers of the past few years, we don't need capitalist class representatives participating in or within our class organisations in whatever shape or form! Come on!
Whether conscious of the incompatibility or not, it is self-contradictory to at the same time call both for the need of political independence of the working class, that is, the forming of our own class party, in competition to the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party in a contest for State power, and then post articles advocating Democratic Party leadership of workers and trade unions in this fight for power, by having Congressional Democrats giving speeches at our strategy sessions.
That Democrats are 'fighting for' the so-called 'common man', the nebulous 'average Joe', and so-called 'Joe Six Pack', has no more validity than the Republican hypocracy of claiming 'Joe the Plumber' is representative of labor - as though he as an individual had been elected by labor unions to speak as representative of organized labor - he wasn't/isn't even in a union!
Organised labor in the United States is on the defensive, fighting tooth and claw to protect the social security as well as health care all workers for decades have contributed to.
After having rejected not just single payer, but also 'Medicare for all' - which was a 'compromise' solution, how dare the Democrats that as a Party themselves killed and destroyed even the prospect of medicine made availible to all, now hypocritically masquerade as in opposition to the Republican 'Ryan legislation' as 'throwing grandma off a cliff'!
Obviously, the capitalist's Democratic Party's so-called 'progressives', regard workers as short term memory dupes, to be bamboozled and hoodwinked into thinking of party politics as 'politics of individuals'.
It is assumed by capitalists that we as workers have internalised the ideology of culture that it is our 'station' to 'keep our noses to the grindstone' and leave matters of production, science and politics to capitalists and their political representatives.
No! We are not! Rather, by work and shaping by our labor the means of production and subsistence, we know that we are the indispensible class, have come to recognise and be of a mind and will, conscious of our own individual interests subsumed as class interests.
The Trumka's can masquerade and parade Conyers, McDermott and Kucinich on the stage [show] all they want, because we recognise them all for what they are, what they represent, by their class party. We are not stupid to 'believe' that these individuals operate as individuals, they are what they are by Party affiliation, and it is by that that they are judged.
DEMOCRATS IN THE SENATE
Calling single-payer "the only way to cure the healthcare problem," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka welcomed delegates to the Labor Campaign for Single Payer National Meeting at the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC on Friday, June 3. Representatives Conyers, McDermott and Kucinich also addressed the meeting and Senator Bernie Sanders wrote to thank the Labor Campaign for its "hard work in keeping this issue in the forefront of labor’s agenda."
Citing the Federation's recent endorsement of the Sanders/McDermott American Health Security Act of 2011, Trumka re-affirmed his support for the social insurance model and praised the efforts of the delegates. Co-Chairs Jos Williams (President of the DC Metro Central Labor Council) and Donna Dewitt (President of the South Carolina AFL-CIO) set the tone for the two and one half day meeting, challenging the attendees to help unify our movement after the divisive PPACA debates and to re-invigorate the fight for healthcare for all.
Delegates also heard from representatives of major single-payer advocacy organizations and held a series of roundtables that discussed the recent single-payer victories in Vermont, the campaign in California, attacks on public workers by right-wing anti-labor politicians in Wisconsin and liberal, "pro-labor" politicians in New York and on private sector workers everywhere.
Stewart Acuff of the Utility Workers kicked off a discussion on movement building and presentations were made on US Labor Against the War's New Priorities Network, the National Nurses United's Main Street Contract Campaign and Progressive Democrats of America's Healthcare Not Warfare Campaign.
AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and DC Metro Labor Council President Jos Williams at the LCSP National Meeting
The meeting adopted a series of action points to align the campaign within the broader movement to defend and expand the social insurance model and to encourage the labor movement to do more in the fight to win healthcare for all. Delegates re-affirmed the Labor Campaign’s support for all legislative efforts that move us closer to single payer including HR 676, S 915/HR 1200, serious state single-payer efforts that have significant labor support and other legislative initiatives to defend and expand Medicare and provide waivers to support state reform efforts.
Delegates also vowed to find ways to use the July 30 Medicare Anniversary as an organizing opportunity to bring our message of Medicare for All to labor and community allies fighting to defend Medicare and Medicaid.
"I am amazed at the progress the Labor Campaign has made in such a short time—and proud to be part of it," said David Newby, President Emeritus of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO.
"I spend most of my time focusing on Vermont because that is where my work is," added Vermont State Fed President Jill Charbonneau. "This meeting put me in touch with some incredible people from around the country. It was very inspiring to be in the presence of all sorts of ideas about how to move forward to win healthcare as a right for everyone in America."
A full report of the meeting is available here.
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