Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The First Shot Fired: SEIU Starting Third Party In North Carolina

In a shot across the bow of Dems, the labor powerhouse SEIU is starting a new third party in North Carolina that hopes to field its own slate of candidates, part of an effort to make the Democratic Party more reliable on issues important to labor, I’m told. That is from Greg Sargent's Blog

Renegade Eye Adds: The SEIU leadership naming their party the North Carolina First Party, is a signal, that they are not bidding for national dominance over the Democratic Party. At the same time, it reflects that there must be rank and file service workers, unhappy about the Democratic Party. This party is trying to get on the ballot, to run against House Democrats, who voted against healthcare reform.

In this period, that I'll call the school of Obama, we will see progressive movements taking on a different character than under Bush. They might be initially smaller, but of higher quality. Being against Bush was safe for liberals/left. Having to focus on Obama and Democrats as their opposition, raises the level struggle. The fake left will critique Obama and Democrats, and still vote for them. The positive alternative is to campaign for a labor party, based on the unions. With labor's resources, it can be a first party.



Tao Dao Man said...

If Obama "stays the course" of being a republocrat puppet leading this Kleptocracy. Then we might have a true progressive left leaning candidate to run against him.
If Bernie Sanders were a little younger.

K. said...

Futile and counterproductive. A hundred canvassers in a state with a population of 9.3 million will not get the job done. As I read Greg Sargent, the SEIU's gripe is more with the NC Blue Dogs than Obama; you probably have to go back to Norman Thomas and Robert LaFollette to find a third party of the left that accomplished anything positive.

SecondComingOfBast said...

That would be so cool if this group drained enough votes from the Democrats that it caused the whole North Carolina congressional delegation to end up in Republican hands, I would promote them strongly if I could do so without feeling like a hypocrite, and without it reading like satire.

Frank Partisan said...

RealityZone: A Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich would be a good labor party leader. They are worthless under Democratic Party discipline. Kucinich is loyal to the Democrats, and brings people to the party in a bait and switch manner. He always endorses the Democratic nominee, after a ritual of opposition.

Citizen K: The resources of the trade union movement, given for their own interests, rather than to the Democrats, who take them for granted, is different than a "movement" third party leftist formation.

Lula of Brazil's party the WP, has Marxists in leadership positions. It was founded by steelworkers.

The US is the only developed country, without some type of labor party.

Even this NC primitive formation, reflects the discontent of the SEIU's base.

Pagan: Venezuela never had a workers party, now they have the PSUV. In Pakistan the PPP, came out of the Pakistan Revolution of 1968.

I'm not talking about a Mickey Mouse activist formation. This is well financed party to take power.

SecondComingOfBast said...


"I'm not talking about a Mickey Mouse activist formation. This is well financed party to take power."

The minute the SEIU turns against the Democratic Party, they are toast. Democrats control the reins of power-Congress and the executive branch, the latter of which includes-

1. Department of Labor
2. Department of (ahem) JUSTICE!!!

You do the math.

roman said...

A tempest in a teapot. Ho-hum.

Frank Partisan said...

Roman: You know more about tea than I do.

Pagan: SEIU is overall clean. That doesn't mean that the state apparatus, wouldn't be used against them.

Most "activists" would want an identity politics party.

Hard to explain a party that doesn't exist, when many on the left don't get it.

troutsky said...

It really boils down to optimism vs pessimism. The arguments against signal total surrender to the hollow "politics" of the status quo or morbid fantasies such as Pagans of digging up Ronald Reagan's corpse and running it.

I know a dozen great labor leftists in the Greensboro- Winston area who could speak to class and cause a stir.

SecondComingOfBast said...


I'm very optimistic about a labor party running in North Carolina. I'm very optimistic they would drain just enough votes from the Democrat Party so the Republicans would win more seats than they ordinarily would.

If the SEIU tries hard enough, who knows? The Republicans might even wind up with a veto-proof majority in the US Senate.

As for that old joke about Reagan's corpse, we wouldn't have to literally go that far to get the votes of rank-and-file union members, all we need is somebody just enough like Reagan they would be willing to vote for him or her, just like they did him in '80 and '84.

Frank Partisan said...

Troutsky: Hopefully the organizers you know, will realize they need a mass party.

Pagan: In Minnesota Jesse Ventura's party, took votes equally from the Democrats and the GOP. A labor party is not a Ventura type group. It would Dems.

The Republicans were only 3 yrs old, and Abe Lincoln won.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Well, they were more like five or six years old, but I get your point. The only difference is, prior to 1856 (the first time they ran a national campaign) the Democrats were the only national party. The Whigs had fallen apart. Once the Republicans formed, they became the natural home to anybody looking for an opposition to twenty years of corrupt, one-party monopoly rule at the national level.

Now you have a situation where both major parties have enough seats in state legislatures that one or the other has the power to gerrymander districts in their favor. If they don't, it's only because both parties have enough power and influence to achieve some kind of balance.

In either case, anybody that wants to run a campaign against either one has to jump through all kinds of hoops in order to do so. You have to get so much polling support in order to qualify for debates, you have to get so many signatures before you can have your name placed on the ballot (which is actually pretty reasonable), but mainly if you don't have some kind of organization behind you, you aren't going to have enough of a pool of supporters to draw on to get anywhere.

The SEIU doesn't have enough influence outside its group. They can go door to door all they want to in North Carolina. Maybe they can convince people they had nothing to do with the recent riots and property destruction that took place in downtown Asheville at the hands of self-styled anarchists. Maybe they can avoid the embarrassment of an investigation by the state's attorney general. Maybe the people of North Carolina won't blame them for the excesses of the SEIU at the national level, such as their alleged intimidation of voters during the presidential election, their dirty deals with Democrats to promote card check, their support of open-ended immigration rights disguised as "comprehensive" immigration reform-which by the way in North Carolina would insure they get every bit as much as a half-percent of the vote, and probably not one more.

You're going to have to come up with a better tactic than class warfare rhetoric to overcome all the negatives the SEIU has going against them.

Frank Partisan said...

Pagan: This NC situation is not a real party forming. The SEIU are forced, by rank and file pressure, to oppose the Democrats.

Politically the SEIU's positions are overall popular. They are not going to run on the Tea Party's program.

For the labor movement, to stop funding Democrats, would be profound in this country. Every other capitalist country, has some worker's party.

I don't expect a perfect program. It's an exciting ride. During Thatcher's time, my group took over the government in Liverpool for several years. A small group quickly becoming big, opens new problems, some don't think about.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Well, its about time. It sounds to me like labor leaders, in this case at least, are catching up to their rand-and-file. Ordinary everyday blue collar workers have never been solidly behind the Democrats, they've just been in agreement with them on labor and economic issues-and to a large degree that's even tentative. No, they might not be in agreement with the Tea Party to the extent they would vote for a Tea Party candidate, but on the other hand, they might not be that far away from that as you might think. How do workers feel about TARP, for example? What about the GM and Chrysler buyout, aside from those in the auto industry who are directly affected?

Democrats used to bill themselves primarily as the "working man's" party. Like a lot of their other constituencies, the Democrats tended to take their votes for granted.

The Tea Party is primarily concerned with the continued growth of government, with the government growing and expanding into ever more areas of people's lives, in ever more intrusive ways, and taking on powers and responsibilities they were never meant to have, nor should they have.

The Tea Party just recently caused Bob Bennett, a three term Republican Senator, to lose his bid for a fourth run. They are out for blood, and its not just Democrats. They are out to get any incumbent of any party who voted for the bailouts.

Any politician who takes any voting bloc for granted might well be living on borrowed time. If organized labor, even just a segment of it, turns against the Democrats, they don't have to directly support the Tea Party candidates. It might well still be the same result. Workers would in the long run be better off. Nothing in this world is free, and that is especially true of government programs. The taxes and long term regulatory effects of government programs on the overall health of the economy is no bargain, it's about like paying for a new BMW and getting the equivalent of a ten year old Honda Civic with bald tires and a fucked up computer system.

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