Unions have always had the potential to lead the building of a united front against fascism and war. The problems that have prevented this are the same ones that fracture any political movement that does not reach out to every citizen who is being lied to and harmed by the economic elites in the United States and elsewhere.
These international corporate terrorists do not hesitate to resort to war and other forms of violence to achieve their aim of imposing a fascist New World Order. In their dystopian ideal world governments are mere tools in the hands of wealthy international bankers and industrialists. To them life is a game of monopoly whose goal is control the masses in a system of economic slavery that the union movement exists to oppose.
When Debs called for the support of the AFL under founder Samuel Gompers he was rebuffed. He was also left to fight without the support of other rail unions. Like the early AFL, they had yet to appreciate that their competing for support and their exclusion of unskilled and Black workers undermined the common cause for which they fought. Gompers had further eviscerated the movement in arguing forcefully against political action by organized labor in a speech before the 1890 AFL national convention.
Two days after the shootings at the Chicago plant on May 1, 1886 police were called to break up the peaceful protest held in response. A bomb was thrown that killed a policeman. Police responded with gunfire that killed or wounded an unknown number of protesters and probably inflicted most or all of the eight casualties in their own ranks, according to witnesses. It remains a mystery to this day whether it was a Pinkerton agent or an anarchist who threw the bomb that triggered the massacre. Newspapers of the day of course attributed the violence to anarchists, raising images of a Red menace and helping mute public criticism of the staged trials of eight organizers, seven of whom were sentenced to death.
He emerged from prison six months later unbowed and radicalized. His political outlook was forever changed when he was persecuted by a man for whom he had campaigned for in two elections. Seeing that Cleveland was willing to subvert the Constitution to silence him and use the Sherman Act to selectively attack unions, he joined the Socialist Party and became its candidate for President in 1904, 1908 and 1912. In the last election he earned the largest percentage of votes of any third party candidate in history, effectively making him an enemy of the state when he later opposed WWI. He was tried under the Alien and Sedition Acts and imprisoned in 1919. Debs became severely ill and died in 1926, some two years after being pardoned by Harding.
True political power rises not from submitting to vague, mostly unrealized promises of reform from neoliberals. It comes from using the power of a People united to force such change. We can clean up Congress and make it work for us if we abandon artificial Left-Right, Democrat-Republican, racial and even class distinctions to a point. Average Americans from across the spectrum of political ideology from office know our government does not work for us. If we can form a movement united in the common cause of restoring representative democracy to the United States, we can alter our form of government and abolish fascism forever.
What naysayers of Move to Amend do not seem to appreciate is that the only thing preventing our seizing this moment in history to end corporate control of the US government is their own pessimism. It is up to us in the grassroots movement for democracy to convince such cynics as Ed Schultz and even Thom Hartmann that we not only can but must work now to build this movement. To delay is to risk authoritarian measures already in place to restrict our civil liberties being strengthened to the point where violent resistance may become the only alternative to fascism.
Whether unions as a body take on this challenge will be determined by rank and file members who understand that their leaders have largely failed them in constantly capitulating to corporate Democrats. Those Puppets of the international corporate terrorists who control our government have betrayed unions on nearly every critical issue in recent history. From their support of free trade agreements to the failure to pass the Employee Free Choice Act to the cynical bailout of medical insurance companies by cost shifting medical care expenses to the worker, the Democratic Party has failed to deliver on the Devil’s bargain that unions have made with it.