Politicians lie all the time," reported Chris Townsend, UE political action director. "Its just that the news media and the special prosecutor and the grand jury never investigate the lies that harm working people."
Bill Clinton, Bob Dole or Newt Gingrich have never been grilled about how they lied to the people about NAFTA, welfare "reform" or Social Security, Townsend pointed out. "The issue here is not lies or lying. Its a simple matter of them and us. Them who run the country for big business and us who pay all the bills and get the shaft."
Working people can claim some victories over the past year, but face serious battles ahead, the political action director said in his convention remarks.
Derailment of fast track "was a nice win," asserted Townsend, but another big business push to give the President the ability to rush a trade deal through Congress is expected in September.
Union members should be prepared to battle privatization of Social Security and continuing "paycheck protection" assaults on free speech, the political action director added.
Looking at the Administration, Townsend suggested that "Clinton had the opportunity to be a great president" but didnt want to fight the bosses.
Clintons party isnt much better, he added. "Half the Democrats in Congress still support working people pretty regularly, but about half of them now line up with the Republicans on a regular basis."
Townsend offered three examples: A bill to create free trade zones in sub-Saharan Africa, passed with the help of nearly half the Democrats in the House of Representatives. The "anti-salting" bill that would allow construction bosses to refuse to hire workers suspected of being union organizers; eight Democrats supplied the margin of the employers victory. A House vote to repeal overtime pay for more than 540,000 workers who are primarily sales people; the votes of 43 Democrats assisted in passage.
"Just what the hell is going on?" Townsend asked. "Our government has been hijacked by big business and its political front men!" The Democrats still bail us out, he admitted, "but less and less frequently."
As an alternative, he urged the sign-up of thousands as Labor Party members and a large UE delegation to the Labor Partys first constitutional convention in November.
Townsend said he looked forward to the day when working people run the country and the government defends us from "the corrosive greed of big business," when the Labor Party wins national health care, and bosses are jailed for breaking strikes and organizing drives.
"You owe it to yourselves, you owe it to your families, you owe it to your union, you owe it to the working class that were all a part of," Townsend declared, to build the Labor Party and "build this union!"
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