Fwd: FYI

Jonupstny at aol.com Jonupstny at aol.com
Fri Jun 14 12:39:36 MDT 1996


In a message dated 96-06-14 03:22:31 EDT, EC7739 at cnsvax.albany.edu writes:

>Subj:	FYI
>Date:	96-06-14 03:22:31 EDT
>From:	EC7739 at cnsvax.albany.edu
>Reply-to:	labr.party at conf.igc.apc.org (Conference labr.party)
>To:	labr.party at conf.igc.apc.org (Recipients of conference)
>
>From: "Chris, Annie, Fred, Kathleen" <EC7739 at cnsvax.albany.edu>
>
>From:	IN%"cgeu-taa at vms.macc.wisc.edu" 12-JUN-1996 14:58:54.66
>To:	IN%"cgeu-taa at macc.wisc.edu"
>CC:	
>Subj:	Another view -- Labor Party Convention
>
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>Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 12:10:00 -0500 (EST)
>From: "Chris, Annie, Fred, Kathleen" <EC7739 at cnsvax.albany.edu>
>Subject: Another view -- Labor Party Convention
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>From:   ALBANY::EC7739       "Chris, Annie, Fred, Kathleen" 12-JUN-1996
> 12:07:51.28
>To:     EC7739
>CC:     EC7739
>Subj:
>
>The Labor Party Convention- Criticism and Call for Action
>6/10/96
>
>From: Fred Pfeiffer, LPA Delegate for GSEU CWA #1188, also
>Secretary of the Solidarity Committee/ Jobs with Justice of the
>Capital District and member of the Albany N.Y. LP Chapter.
>
>
>        The Labor Party Advocates Convention of 1996 is now
>history. The four day event held in Cleveland June 6th through
>9th created a watershed experience for participants which
>although filled with memorable experiences, rallies, encounters
>and meetings with labor activists and supporters, rank and
>filers, strikers, international labor and working party leaders
>and our own labor bureaucrats, I believe failed in many ways
>to empower delegates to return to their communities with an
>action plan and unified platform.
>The leadership steered the Convention away from adopting a
>resolution allowing local chapters to run their own Labor Party
>candidates for the next two years and failed to broaden the
>party platform enough to attract some of the most committed
>constituents.
>        What happened in Cleveland? Was it significant even in
>its shortcomings? What needs to be done? The answer to these
>questions as often happens depends on your perspective. The
>concept of a Labor Party in the United States collides with our
>two party system. In contrast to  a winner take all election
>outcome, the proportional voting systems of Europe allowed
>organized third parties of Labor early on to enfranchise
>workers as leaders into the political system. The issue in
>Europe today is whether the established Labor Parties are still
>bona fide or in danger of selling out the working class to the
>global capitalist economy. On this global level the formation of
>a Labor Party is an expectation that the workers movement in
>the U.S. is finally coming of age and due to global contradictions
>of capital finally escaping from American Exceptionalism. To
>international outsiders just the mere fact of this convention
>resulting in a constitution and platform is reason to be
>cautiously optimistic. For the wealthy the Convention should be
>a reason for concern.
>        In terms of a reaction to the forces of capitalist
>accumulation and concentration of wealth the Convention
>represented a grassroots response by a significant segment of
>organized labor and their supporters to fight back and to work
>towards gaining populist support for a program of bottom up
>economic justice. To many working class Americans the appeal
>at uniting and challenging an increasingly pro-business
>government begins and revolves around this issue. Finding a
>way via the Labor Party to break the weak ties to politicians
>who betray them and build a mechanism to elect principled
>candidates from their own ranks who validate their own
>struggles at home and give direction to their own political
>development is necessary. Unfortunately the Convention by
>deciding to not run candidates over the next two years may
>stymie initiatives already embarked upon for local electoral
>work at a critical time and will force local groups to take their
>own independent initiatives which will be less principled and
>coordinated with national struggles. This will also divide
>energies between Party building and the practice of learning
>about local politics via experience which is a major way to
>develop local rank and file activists. Running candidates is the
>major motivation and way to involve grassroots union
>members. The void thus created by not running candidates will
>result in right wing parties gaining increasing appeal and allow
>potential supporters to be mislead.
>        The people in charge of the Labor Party Advocates gave
>birth to the Labor Party in such a way as to not cut the
>umbilical cord to the mother. The newborn party now must
>exist on a tether for the next two years subject to the pulls of
>several Internationals dominated by OCAW. The draw of the
>majority labor movement emphasizing the Clinton Option and
>continuing the danger of mystifying the Democrat's practices as
>somehow being in our interests because of the media crumbs
>and few good intentions they throw our way will not be
>significantly challenged. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney is
>undoubtedly glad that the LP chose not to rock the vote for not
>only this year's Presidential election but perhaps the next
>because in States like NY you must run Gubernatorial
>Candidates in the next election in order to get ballot status by
>the Presidential Election of 2000. This choice leaves the door
>open to the union leaders in charge of the LP to cave in to the
>labor bureaucracy and sellout their thousands of supporters.
>        The left will be split on whether to take the LP back to
>their community and build the Party. Some  will  look the other
>way at the Party's shortcomings and say that this is the way
>labor works and everyone must get in line if this thing will
>ever unify and attract enough support to really make it viable.
>Others will attack it for its lack of radicalness.
>        The lack of a firm pro-choice platform plank on abortion
>that trails behind the Democratic Party's position will alienate
>many women workers who are fast becoming a mainstay of the
>new labor movement as well as many progressive men.  Many
>feminists, progressives and rank and filers will be hard pressed
>to vouch for the internal workings of a Labor Party leadership
>that seemed to shut them out and considered their needs less
>important than vague appeals for unity. Lack of leadership on
>issues that require struggle is not the way to build unity and
>fight the right.
>        The LP leadership can breathe a sigh of relief after
>enduring four days of attempts by the delegates to speak at the
>microphone with pleas of broadening the constitution to change
>the weighted voting that clearly keeps the International unions
>in charge of the party organization. Further pleas to broaden
>the program to be truly inclusive of oppressed constituencies
>were mostly rebuffed. These leaders remain in charge of what
>outwardly appears to be a genuine step for working people to
>take back the wealth. Inwardly however they are cutting
>themselves off from the bedrock of an enthusiastic
>membership who would consciously help the LP grow through
>the empowerment of democratic debate leading to unity of
>goals, purpose and effort.
>        Democracy is not easy. Everyone who places themselves
>at the head of a democratic organization must work through
>the necessary challenges which puts their integrity to the test.
>The leadership of the LPA did not allow enough of a window of
>democracy to develop to enfranchise the honest delegates who
>came to Cleveland to create a structure for a better day. The LP
>needs structure. It needs to be cautious. It needs to share
>power and at the same time keep a center that parents the
>organization towards maturity. But most of all it needs
>supporters who will work for the Party everyday and sacrifice
>for a unbetrayable goal of access to participation in
>government by the party membership. This structure or
>confidence was not created in Cleveland. This error stems from
>the same systemic source which is lack of confidence in
>people's ability to listen to the truth and to create fair policies
>in light of reality.
>        Perhaps part of the problem was poor planning, Lack of
>explanation of Robert's Rules and the assumption that everyone
>would overcome the intimidating rules governing access to
>public speaking (which is difficult in and of itself), lent itself to
>limiting participation and comradely feelings at the
>microphones and an often insensitive chair created a
>"hegemony of the microphone". The fact that no one received
>drafts of the constitution or program before the conference as
>well as some sort of credential report even if incomplete
>-commonly called a pre conference packet- can be blamed for
>much of the initial confusion of delegates.  But this points to a
>deeper problem, that of a leadership which did not care to take
>on the responsibility of working with delegates to enable them
>to be participants in building their own organization. This can
>also be called the lack of implementing the organizing model.
>The expectation that the business unionism of labor needed to
>be replaced with the organizing model and that a Labor Party
>formation would reflect this shift in thinking was dashed by a
>leadership too preoccupied with political and logistics problems
>to measure up to the challenge. With a delegate registration fee
>of $75 per delegate and over 1200 delegates equals $90,000,
>they could have done better.
>         This begs us to ask the question how could such an
>astute group of leaders allow this happen? Perhaps they really
>wanted a less informed delegate body so they could push
>through their agenda. It is obvious that they had their own
>internal problems of International Union politics. The ILWU
>tried to forge a middle way. They showed great independence
>of thought on issues of running candidates right away, support
>for abortion rights and other issues. They were thrown in with
>the other so called obstructionist delegates (those who argued
>fervently for the unity of diverse issues) and they were baited
>within delegations. Many Labor Party chapters and local union
>delegations as well as worker organization and at large
>delegates similarly tried to work the agenda. The baiting of
>anyone who fought hard for positions as somehow coming with
>their own preconceived agendas and egos to disrupt the
>convention was out of line. Perhaps it hid the LP leaderships'
>own need to succumb to the power politics that enables them
>to control the party thereby robbing it of its life blood- the
>enthusiasm of the struggle to grow through internal democracy,
>enfranchisement and empowerment.
>        On the other hand the building of a Labor Party is a
>daunting task and it is not productive to condemn the
>leadership wholly as the times call for a third party deeply
>connected to labor and with a class oriented approach. The
>motivations of the organizers and leaders of the Party at root is
>generally honest but they will continue to fail if they do not
>allow our structure to develop on solid principles of
>participation and democratic action which builds trust and
>commitment.
>        Jim Hightower commented on the difficulty of the
>challenge when he told us that "bringing progressives together
>was like loading a wheelbarrow with frogs." Hightower is right
>it is a difficult task but it has to be done. Some of the frogs will
>slip out but do not turn over the wheel barrow on the route to
>the pond because of that. That is what happened in Cleveland
>and now we have to right the wheelbarrow. This needs to be
>done with the leadership. Jerry Brown characterizing himself as
>a "recovering politician" told us that the Democratic Party is
>corrupt and we ought to beware. We should beware of
>recovering labor bureaucrats too. Trust takes time to develop
>particularly in an uneven power relationship.
>        The bottom line is that we have to do better. When we
>bring together those making the sacrifice like the Detroit News
>Strikers or the Strikers from Trailmobile and commit to their
>struggles we cannot let them down. We cannot let ourselves
>down. This only leads to cynicism. What we need to do now is
>to open up criticism of the Convention. It cannot be swept
>under the rug so that a united front is all convention delegates
>and members see. That would be deception and lead to ruin.
>        The issues that were lost such as increasing voting rights
>to the local chapters and building them must be taken up. Local
>chapters will have to decide how to run local candidates
>without the national Labor Party endorsement. These local
>candidates and the Local Chapters will have to debate the
>issues and decide what stands need to be taken to fight for
>labor and all its connection in the community including a clear
>abortion rights position. Local chapters and unions should send
>letters of concern to the LP leadership as the Convention has
>set back local organizing efforts. Statewide Party meetings
>must be called and held to discuss these questions and create
>bodies to approach the leadership with their concerns and
>needs. This process will show the leadership that we are not
>just bait- we are in deed concerned workers who know that
>now is the time to take back the political arena, not to wait
>until the time is right. It was never more right and that is the
>problem.
>
>

---------------------
Forwarded message:
From:	EC7739 at cnsvax.albany.edu
Reply-to:	labr.party at conf.igc.apc.org (Conference labr.party)
To:	labr.party at conf.igc.apc.org (Recipients of conference)
Date: 96-06-14 03:22:31 EDT

From: "Chris, Annie, Fred, Kathleen" <EC7739 at cnsvax.albany.edu>

From:	IN%"cgeu-taa at vms.macc.wisc.edu" 12-JUN-1996 14:58:54.66
To:	IN%"cgeu-taa at macc.wisc.edu"
CC:	
Subj:	Another view -- Labor Party Convention

Return-path: <callaway at students.wisc.edu>
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 12 Jun 1996 14:58:16 -0400 (EDT)
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 12 Jun 1996 12:10:00 -0500 (EST)
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 12:10:00 -0500 (EST)
From: "Chris, Annie, Fred, Kathleen" <EC7739 at cnsvax.albany.edu>
Subject: Another view -- Labor Party Convention
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From:   ALBANY::EC7739       "Chris, Annie, Fred, Kathleen" 12-JUN-1996
 12:07:51.28
To:     EC7739
CC:     EC7739
Subj:

The Labor Party Convention- Criticism and Call for Action
6/10/96

From: Fred Pfeiffer, LPA Delegate for GSEU CWA #1188, also
Secretary of the Solidarity Committee/ Jobs with Justice of the
Capital District and member of the Albany N.Y. LP Chapter.


        The Labor Party Advocates Convention of 1996 is now
history. The four day event held in Cleveland June 6th through
9th created a watershed experience for participants which
although filled with memorable experiences, rallies, encounters
and meetings with labor activists and supporters, rank and
filers, strikers, international labor and working party leaders
and our own labor bureaucrats, I believe failed in many ways
to empower delegates to return to their communities with an
action plan and unified platform.
The leadership steered the Convention away from adopting a
resolution allowing local chapters to run their own Labor Party
candidates for the next two years and failed to broaden the
party platform enough to attract some of the most committed
constituents.
        What happened in Cleveland? Was it significant even in
its shortcomings? What needs to be done? The answer to these
questions as often happens depends on your perspective. The
concept of a Labor Party in the United States collides with our
two party system. In contrast to  a winner take all election
outcome, the proportional voting systems of Europe allowed
organized third parties of Labor early on to enfranchise
workers as leaders into the political system. The issue in
Europe today is whether the established Labor Parties are still
bona fide or in danger of selling out the working class to the
global capitalist economy. On this global level the formation of
a Labor Party is an expectation that the workers movement in
the U.S. is finally coming of age and due to global contradictions
of capital finally escaping from American Exceptionalism. To
international outsiders just the mere fact of this convention
resulting in a constitution and platform is reason to be
cautiously optimistic. For the wealthy the Convention should be
a reason for concern.
        In terms of a reaction to the forces of capitalist
accumulation and concentration of wealth the Convention
represented a grassroots response by a significant segment of
organized labor and their supporters to fight back and to work
towards gaining populist support for a program of bottom up
economic justice. To many working class Americans the appeal
at uniting and challenging an increasingly pro-business
government begins and revolves around this issue. Finding a
way via the Labor Party to break the weak ties to politicians
who betray them and build a mechanism to elect principled
candidates from their own ranks who validate their own
struggles at home and give direction to their own political
development is necessary. Unfortunately the Convention by
deciding to not run candidates over the next two years may
stymie initiatives already embarked upon for local electoral
work at a critical time and will force local groups to take their
own independent initiatives which will be less principled and
coordinated with national struggles. This will also divide
energies between Party building and the practice of learning
about local politics via experience which is a major way to
develop local rank and file activists. Running candidates is the
major motivation and way to involve grassroots union
members. The void thus created by not running candidates will
result in right wing parties gaining increasing appeal and allow
potential supporters to be mislead.
        The people in charge of the Labor Party Advocates gave
birth to the Labor Party in such a way as to not cut the
umbilical cord to the mother. The newborn party now must
exist on a tether for the next two years subject to the pulls of
several Internationals dominated by OCAW. The draw of the
majority labor movement emphasizing the Clinton Option and
continuing the danger of mystifying the Democrat's practices as
somehow being in our interests because of the media crumbs
and few good intentions they throw our way will not be
significantly challenged. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney is
undoubtedly glad that the LP chose not to rock the vote for not
only this year's Presidential election but perhaps the next
because in States like NY you must run Gubernatorial
Candidates in the next election in order to get ballot status by
the Presidential Election of 2000. This choice leaves the door
open to the union leaders in charge of the LP to cave in to the
labor bureaucracy and sellout their thousands of supporters.
        The left will be split on whether to take the LP back to
their community and build the Party. Some  will  look the other
way at the Party's shortcomings and say that this is the way
labor works and everyone must get in line if this thing will
ever unify and attract enough support to really make it viable.
Others will attack it for its lack of radicalness.
        The lack of a firm pro-choice platform plank on abortion
that trails behind the Democratic Party's position will alienate
many women workers who are fast becoming a mainstay of the
new labor movement as well as many progressive men.  Many
feminists, progressives and rank and filers will be hard pressed
to vouch for the internal workings of a Labor Party leadership
that seemed to shut them out and considered their needs less
important than vague appeals for unity. Lack of leadership on
issues that require struggle is not the way to build unity and
fight the right.
        The LP leadership can breathe a sigh of relief after
enduring four days of attempts by the delegates to speak at the
microphone with pleas of broadening the constitution to change
the weighted voting that clearly keeps the International unions
in charge of the party organization. Further pleas to broaden
the program to be truly inclusive of oppressed constituencies
were mostly rebuffed. These leaders remain in charge of what
outwardly appears to be a genuine step for working people to
take back the wealth. Inwardly however they are cutting
themselves off from the bedrock of an enthusiastic
membership who would consciously help the LP grow through
the empowerment of democratic debate leading to unity of
goals, purpose and effort.
        Democracy is not easy. Everyone who places themselves
at the head of a democratic organization must work through
the necessary challenges which puts their integrity to the test.
The leadership of the LPA did not allow enough of a window of
democracy to develop to enfranchise the honest delegates who
came to Cleveland to create a structure for a better day. The LP
needs structure. It needs to be cautious. It needs to share
power and at the same time keep a center that parents the
organization towards maturity. But most of all it needs
supporters who will work for the Party everyday and sacrifice
for a unbetrayable goal of access to participation in
government by the party membership. This structure or
confidence was not created in Cleveland. This error stems from
the same systemic source which is lack of confidence in
people's ability to listen to the truth and to create fair policies
in light of reality.
        Perhaps part of the problem was poor planning, Lack of
explanation of Robert's Rules and the assumption that everyone
would overcome the intimidating rules governing access to
public speaking (which is difficult in and of itself), lent itself to
limiting participation and comradely feelings at the
microphones and an often insensitive chair created a
"hegemony of the microphone". The fact that no one received
drafts of the constitution or program before the conference as
well as some sort of credential report even if incomplete
-commonly called a pre conference packet- can be blamed for
much of the initial confusion of delegates.  But this points to a
deeper problem, that of a leadership which did not care to take
on the responsibility of working with delegates to enable them
to be participants in building their own organization. This can
also be called the lack of implementing the organizing model.
The expectation that the business unionism of labor needed to
be replaced with the organizing model and that a Labor Party
formation would reflect this shift in thinking was dashed by a
leadership too preoccupied with political and logistics problems
to measure up to the challenge. With a delegate registration fee
of $75 per delegate and over 1200 delegates equals $90,000,
they could have done better.
         This begs us to ask the question how could such an
astute group of leaders allow this happen? Perhaps they really
wanted a less informed delegate body so they could push
through their agenda. It is obvious that they had their own
internal problems of International Union politics. The ILWU
tried to forge a middle way. They showed great independence
of thought on issues of running candidates right away, support
for abortion rights and other issues. They were thrown in with
the other so called obstructionist delegates (those who argued
fervently for the unity of diverse issues) and they were baited
within delegations. Many Labor Party chapters and local union
delegations as well as worker organization and at large
delegates similarly tried to work the agenda. The baiting of
anyone who fought hard for positions as somehow coming with
their own preconceived agendas and egos to disrupt the
convention was out of line. Perhaps it hid the LP leaderships'
own need to succumb to the power politics that enables them
to control the party thereby robbing it of its life blood- the
enthusiasm of the struggle to grow through internal democracy,
enfranchisement and empowerment.
        On the other hand the building of a Labor Party is a
daunting task and it is not productive to condemn the
leadership wholly as the times call for a third party deeply
connected to labor and with a class oriented approach. The
motivations of the organizers and leaders of the Party at root is
generally honest but they will continue to fail if they do not
allow our structure to develop on solid principles of
participation and democratic action which builds trust and
commitment.
        Jim Hightower commented on the difficulty of the
challenge when he told us that "bringing progressives together
was like loading a wheelbarrow with frogs." Hightower is right
it is a difficult task but it has to be done. Some of the frogs will
slip out but do not turn over the wheel barrow on the route to
the pond because of that. That is what happened in Cleveland
and now we have to right the wheelbarrow. This needs to be
done with the leadership. Jerry Brown characterizing himself as
a "recovering politician" told us that the Democratic Party is
corrupt and we ought to beware. We should beware of
recovering labor bureaucrats too. Trust takes time to develop
particularly in an uneven power relationship.
        The bottom line is that we have to do better. When we
bring together those making the sacrifice like the Detroit News
Strikers or the Strikers from Trailmobile and commit to their
struggles we cannot let them down. We cannot let ourselves
down. This only leads to cynicism. What we need to do now is
to open up criticism of the Convention. It cannot be swept
under the rug so that a united front is all convention delegates
and members see. That would be deception and lead to ruin.
        The issues that were lost such as increasing voting rights
to the local chapters and building them must be taken up. Local
chapters will have to decide how to run local candidates
without the national Labor Party endorsement. These local
candidates and the Local Chapters will have to debate the
issues and decide what stands need to be taken to fight for
labor and all its connection in the community including a clear
abortion rights position. Local chapters and unions should send
letters of concern to the LP leadership as the Convention has
set back local organizing efforts. Statewide Party meetings
must be called and held to discuss these questions and create
bodies to approach the leadership with their concerns and
needs. This process will show the leadership that we are not
just bait- we are in deed concerned workers who know that
now is the time to take back the political arena, not to wait
until the time is right. It was never more right and that is the
problem.



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