Saturday, June 21, 2003

Time for a rare bit of American politics: Kevin Drum links to a debate over whether unions represent the grassroots of the Democratic party. I am a strong union supporter, though I don't agree with all the strategies currently espoused by "big labor." I think they need to be less concerned with favoring their existing members by getting governments to give all contracts to union companies, for example, and more concerned with crackdowns on companies that violate labor laws and stifle organization. But still, I see "big labor" as all that the working classes can turn to for defense against "big business" unless they want "big government." Unions today are weaker than they've been in decades, while corporations are stronger, and the employees are suffering for it.

That said, what really inspired me to link to this post was the comment related to the class divide in the Democratic party. The party is very much divided between those who find its core in social liberalism on issues like gun control and the environment and those who remember it as the party which protected economic opportunity for the old New Deal coalition. In my lifetime, the party has been steadily walking away from the real concerns of blue-collar voters, which is definitely having the overall effect of driving them to the GOP, who will at least cut their taxes. Democrats need to get a backbone when it comes to the demonization of unions and start pushing for their revitalization in the new economy.

Incidentally, this is why I've tended to support Dick Gephardt in the Democratic primaries, along with a few other reasons. That's not carved in stone, though, despite the link on my sidebar. I'm also interested in Howard Dean and John Kerry, as well as anyone else who hasn't declared yet. But we'll see what happens.


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