Labor has mixed reactions as Democratic Convention approaches

This year’s DNC (Democratic National Convention) is in North Carolina — a right-to-work state.

And the key Democratic hotels — Hilton Charlotte Center City and the Westin Charlotte, Dem party headquarters and their base of operations, respectively — are non-union hotels. (More here: read just the first sentence.)

Gives one major pause.

But let’s not ask how we feel. Let’s ask how labor feels, the rank-and-file people.

Rank-and-file labor — you know, the part of labor that’s not in the pocket of national labor leaders, who are themselves in the pocket of the Democratic party, which is happily snuggled in next to the wallet of labor’s biggest enemies, Mr. and Ms. Plutocrat (Our Betters).

Those people, boots-on-the-ground labor, are not “going gentle” into that good night. I’m starting to see more and more of this, from lower down in the labor movement.

Read for both facts and tone; start with the title (h/t a friend in the labor movement, via email):

Wake Up and Smell the Hypocrisy!

Yep. The h-word. Now from the piece (my emphasis and a fair amount of reparagraphing):

BOHICA (bend over, here it comes again), an old military acronym, that is what comes to mind as the November 2012 election draw ever closer.

The upcoming Democratic National Convention, you know, “the Party of the Labor movement” is being held in anti-union Charlotte, N.C.

In early September, the Democratic Party leadership, the folks that failed to pass the Employee Free Choice Act [EFCA], failed to pass the Fair Paycheck Act, managed to avoid filling over 100 vacant Federal Judgeships, avoided the fights against the anti-union GOP in Wisconsin and across the USA like the plague, and avoided the Occupy Wall Street movement with alacrity, will meet to reaffirm their support for President Obama and his lackluster labor policies.

“Lackluster labor policies” — how polite. Put an R context next to that list of betrayals and the phrase would be “successful anti-unionism.”

Note this:

The Non-union hotels; Hilton Charlotte Center City and the Westin Charlotte, will be the headquarters and base of operations for the Democratic National Convention, the Democratic National Committee, and Obama for America.

On Thursday, September 6, 2012, President Obama will accept the nomination of the DNC at Bank of America Stadium. Somehow this says it all.

The writer then discusses the lack of enthusiasm — with excellent sourcing, by the way — for Obama and Democrats in general, among labor rank-and-file and some local leaders.

Here’s his bottom line:

[W]e keep throwing good money after bad in support of Democrats that throw us under the bus so consistently, I wish I had gone to diesel mechanic school. …

[T]here is much disillusionment with the Democratic Party, with many union members seeing little difference between the rich corporate contributors that control the Dems and the other rich corporate moguls that control the GOP. …

[O]nce again, the choice is clear, the road is hard, and yes, even if we win, we really only lose less.

I won’t give the President one dime of my hard earned money, nor will I ask my union sisters and brothers to do so, but I will show up and vote for a second term for President Obama and will continue to lobby everyone else to do so as well. I just won’t be happy about it.

Now me. We cannot go on like this. “Only losing less” means ending the game 40–6 instead of 80–6. Some path to “victory” — this is how coaches get fired.

I’ll just point you to these two posts in the Progressive Coalition series:

And to this, from the first piece:

Rule 3. The Coalition serves the Coalition, not the Democratic Party or any other group or goals. …

[E]xamples abound where national Democrats and the party as a whole — dominated as it is by Rubinites and NeoLiberals, Blue Dogs (however rebranded) and conservatives — too often betray progressive values and goals.

Progressives will never win by serving the Democratic Party. Progressives will only win by using the Democratic Party the way the “Tea Party” uses the Republican Party.

I know — progressives really are grassroots, and the Tea Party is at least in part a Koch Bros Joint, well financed and corralled. Still, this is the only path to victory, as I see it, short of serious chaos as things really do fall apart.

Let’s close by echoing the writer above. If Obama loses this election, these betrayals — yes, betrayals — will be the reason.

And if the labor movement disappears, it will have only itself to blame:

[I]t’s a long-term survival problem. If unions and progressives don’t get off their Dem-serving kiesters and force concessions from the NeoLibs (yes, Mr. Obama, I’m looking straight at you), the only union members will be found in museumsnext to your civil rights. …

[Playing] to win. Unions used to do that I hear, back in the day.

Progressively yours,

GP

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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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