Post-Recall, Unions Look to Re-Define Relationship with the Democratic Party
Tuesday’s recall election in Wisconsin is provoking a profound re-thinking of labor’s relationship to the Democratic Party and, most immediately, how labor can survive as a vocal and visible force even as Scott Walker and his allies seek to permanently submerge it under water.
Long-time activist Tom Hayden astutely laid out the stakes that labor now faces:
It is a true institutional crisis for labor and the Democrats, the greatest since the conflicts of the 1960s.The combination of Citizens United, a pro-corporate Supreme Court, and the Tea Party grip on Congress and many state houses, means that the crucial base of the Democratic Party's campaign funding – organized labor – is facing extinction, with no comparable alternative in sight.
The recall’s results are bound to reinforce the harshly anti-labor, “secessionist” outlook (see here, here, and here) of America’s increasingly globalized ruling class. Except for relatively few moments of intense popular mobilization as at the height of the Occupy movement, the pressure exerted on Obama has come almost unceasingly from Corporate America and their allies on the Right.
In Wisconsin, Walker’s victory threatens to cement a permanent, self-perpetuating Republican majority. Given the heavy and highly-productive investments made thus far by Corporate America and the Right in Wisconsin, Walker and his minions in the legislature can count on a vast stream of campaign contributions providing an overwhelming financial advantage in the fall elections.