Fed Up But Nowhere To Go

The AFL-CIO has released the results of a very interesting survey of voters in last week's Massachusetts special Senate election. It finds that Scott Brown, the Republican candidate, won on the strength of a "working class revolt" that gave him a 20-point margin of victory among non-college educated voters. In spite of the AFL-CIO's efforts, Brown even scored a narrow 49%-46% majority of voters from union households according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Unsurprisingly, that bit of information didn't make it into the union federation's press release.

The rest of the major findings can be found in the AFL-CIO press release, so I won't recapitulate them here. But the poll raises a very important question: what exactly are the Democrats and the official labor movement going to do to address the economic insecurities of the American working class? After the election, President Obama flew to Ohio to rail against "fat cat" bankers and call for tighter regulation of Wall Street, but will an administration that has spent the last year being Wall Street's best friend abruptly change course? Perhaps the Democrats' political survival instincts will overcome their fealty to capital, but I'm skeptical that this will happen in any significant fashion.

And I'm even less sanguine about the possibility of the labor movement putting workers in the streets to demand that the Democrats pursue a progressive economic agenda. After all, as Leo Gerard of the Steelworkers put it last year, "demonstrations are less needed in the United States...because often all that is needed is some expert lobbying in Washington to line up the support of a half-dozen senators." The mainstream American labor movement has never been very good at pursuing the interests of workers as a class and I would be shocked if they saw the light now, especially with Democrats in control of the White House and Congress.

So we find ourselves in a very curious and frustrating situation. The working class is pissed off and potentially ready to be mobilized in support of a broadly progressive economic agenda, but is throwing its votes toward Republicans because there's no genuine left alternative, and there probably won't be one anytime soon.

We have so, so much work to do.

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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)