05/11/2006 10:29 am ET Updated 6 days ago

Labor's Fight Against the Hostile Takeover of the Democratic Party

The Pioneer Press has a story on how some labor leaders are actually going to be devoting resources to helping re-elect Rep. Melissa Bean (D), despite her votes for the corporate-written bankruptcy and class action bills and for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) - all pieces of legislation specifically designed to economically crush America's middle class. In the story, I voice my displeasure at the willingness of the unions to use their members money to help a sellout like this.

Here's the deal - I don't think labor should use its resources to try to defeat Bean, because I do agree - a Democratic Congress is a lot better for workers than the current Republican Congress, and cutting off noses to spite faces by actually backing a right-wing GOP extremist is never a good idea. However, I don't think that means labor has to specifically help individual lawmakers who have sold out workers. Every two or four years, we hear the same argument from the Democratic Party: labor should just shut up and get in line and give its cash to whomever the party Establishment says, no matter whether that cash is being funneled to lawmakers who are actively undermining the labor movement.

DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel is, undoubtedly, happy about parts of organized labor helping Bean. But I will reiterate - labor bowing down to the demands of people like Emanuel - the guy who spearheaded the drive to pass NAFTA - is a bad idea because it sends the message to Emanuel and the Democratic Party in general that there are no consequences for ignoring workers' interests. Unless labor says no more - especially with egregious sellouts like Bean - then the party will continue taking labor for granted, whether it is in the minority or in the majority.