A new socialist labor movement

DSA Labor 🍞🌹
Aug 1, 2017 · 3 min read

The labor movement is in crisis.

For decades, the free reign of capital has destroyed communities and impoverished Americans. Workers exercising democracy and collective power in their workplaces are increasingly uncommon. Unions, once responsible for representing a third of American workers, are struggling to survive.

Union decline is the calculated result of decades of vicious warfare waged on workers by the capitalist class. Although labor has attempted to stem this tide, few unions have successfully taken on the elite in the name of social progress. Too many have grown into narrowly service-oriented bargaining agents rather than militant movements wielding collective power.

This must not continue.

A renewed, militant labor movement is essential to the American struggle for progress, and is by the same token at the heart of democratic socialist politics. The greatest gains for human dignity and equality–from the eight-hour workday to women’s suffrage to the desegregation of schools–have been achieved when workers unite in solidarity.

We are faced with unparalleled challenges. The capitalist class wields power within the federal government to enact an agenda benefiting the elite while killing and impoverishing working Americans. More children and elderly will be abandoned to poverty. Pre-existing conditions will become death sentences. Schools will be gutted and privatized. Record numbers of Americans will be consigned to survive precarious existences. The capitalist elite will pursue their profit at the expense of our dignity and well-being.

Simply to defend the status quo in the face of such threats is unthinkable. Instead, we must form and fight for a new, militant vision for the future of the working class.

To achieve an economy which serves its people, we must fight for democratic workplaces. Workers cannot hope to win economic democracy without a strong, organized, rank-and-file labor movement.

We, as labor socialists, will help to organize and build such a movement.

We must learn from our militant history and we must take inspiration from those who envision a brighter future. Their lessons must be put into practice through equipping workers with the tools to organize power in their own workplaces and build rank-and-file movements.

We, as labor socialists, will work to teach and equip them.

As we work for a world free of the destructive forces of capital and build democratic socialism, we must strive to create a new and unique labor movement. We will celebrate each victory along the way, but our ultimate goal must be sweeping transformation.

We, as labor socialists, will boldly pursue such change.

Our fight will not be in isolation. Unions and other groups supporting workers must fight together in solidarity with movements for social renaissance across the United States and beyond our borders. Whether it is the struggle for black lives, the fight for indigenous peoples, the fight for climate justice, the fight for queer liberation, the fight for healthcare justice, or the fight for the undocumented, the labor movement must stand united. Such issues are not isolated nor abstracted from the rule of capital; rather, they are inextricably interconnected. To rout the forces arrayed against us, a radical movement of solidarity must fight for the common dignity of all.

We assert that the interests of labor must be recognized as the heart of every socialist organization. The Democratic Socialists of America Labor Caucus will stand up for the working class through our unions, our workers’ movements, and through the Democratic Socialists of America.

To that end, we call for the establishment of a Democratic Socialist Labor Commission to empower and unite socialist labor activists in solidarity of purpose. In the spirit of rank and file organizing, it will guide and support those efforts which cultivate grassroots worker strength. We ask our comrades to stand with us.

Our vision of a society in which common good is the center of politics is not utopian. Our belief that the working class should receive the wealth it creates does not belong to a distant future. It is a vision of a better world which is achievable within our lifetimes.

That is the world we envision and it is the world that we will win.

For our demands most moderate are: we only want the Earth.

DSA Labor 🍞🌹

Written by

We make the wealth. We have the power. Run by the DSA Labor Caucus.

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