LPA & Its Prospects

Godenas at aol.com Godenas at aol.com
Thu Feb 22 14:20:07 MST 1996

I was intrigued by your post on the Labor Party Advocates.  I joined in 1990,
when I worked with Rand Wilson and Jobs With Justice (a concomitant outfit
that, I believe, draws from much the same groups).  I drifted away due to the
inactvity of the Massachusetts chapters, but I still hear from them
occasionally.  From what I hear from the current crop of LPAers, they are
much like other groups, past and present, on the labor left; a certain
modicum of support, well able to having viscerally satisfying conferences and
meetings, but congenitally incapable of building a mass movement.
The problem, in my opinion, is two-fold.  The first has to do with the nature
of the trade union movement itself, which is in steep and irreversible
decline, which is, in turn, due to reasons far beyond the control (and,
perhaps, even the comprehension) of most of the mid and lower level union
functionaries that comprise the core of LPA.  How a movement that is so far
in eclipse that it is in danger of becoming irrelevant, that is wholly unable
to protect the jobs of its own members, that is at once numerically weak and
innocent of any appreciable public support, how such an organization can lead
a resurgence of--what?--remains to be seen.   The second problem is more
profound from a political standpoint.  Surely, LPA seeks to be all things to
all people; it is in danger of being of becoming nothing at all.  It does not
call for the nationalisation of industry or finance.  Its reforms in the
political structure are measured and fall far short of what, say, the Perot
voters are demanding.  Its international positions are categorical and
unconvincing.  What do they want?  A larger share of the capitalist pie for
"workers."  What workers?  And in what areas?  German and Italian labor are
being forced by the global economy to retrench, and they are far, far ahead
of the American labor movement (a contradiction in terms?) in wages,
benefits, etc, with a much larger share of the body politic.   How, pray
tell, can the objectives (whatever they are) of LPA and like groups be
realized in the American economy, presuming, as I guess they do, the
maintenance and strengthening of the capitalist global economy.  These are
questions that are going to have to be successfully resolved before we can
begin to take them seriously.
There are other problems as well, of organization and leadership.  History
shows that trade union leadership does not necessarily prepare one well for
the larger tasks of successful social transformation.
On the other hand, perhaps I am being too pessimistic, that the balance of
forces are actually evolving in favor of the type of enterprise they are
contemplating.  What do you think?
                                                     Louis Godena

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