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Labor Party

An Electoral Policy,
Growth & Campaigns

UE delegates ...
District 10 Pres. Joe Chavez, Ida Betts of Local 1094 and Kena Diggins of the UE National office intently follow the debate.

The important Labor Party electoral program was among the many resolutions that came in for a long series of debates.

In 1996, the founding convention decided not to endorse candidates or run candidates for public office and instead set up a committee to develop an electoral strategy. District 11 Pres. Carl Rosen served on that committee; the committee’s report was endorsed by the LP Interim National Council and referred to the convention.

RUNNING FOR OFFICE

UE Dist 11 Pres Carl Rosen
District 11 Pres. Carl Rosen speaks on a resolution.

Last month’s Pittsburgh convention adopted the report on the party’s future electoral strategy, deciding: "The Labor Party will run candidates for public office in order to elect representatives to positions where they can help enact and enforce laws and policies to benefit the working class."

Electoral politics is not "the only tool needed to achieve working class power," delegates said. "Unlike other political parties, the Labor Party will be active before, during and between elections, building solidarity in our communities, workplaces and unions."

Donna Cramer
Donna Cramer, Local 506, makes a motion.

The party will run candidates only where basic criteria are met, to ensure that campaigns are credible. A national committee will review all applications for LP electoral campaigns.

Party backing will go only to Labor Party members running as Labor Party candidates. Elected officials who ignore the party’s platform will not be allowed to run for re-election as LP candidates.

UE delegates Thompson and Drylie
John Thompson, Local 690, (left) and Rich Drylie, Local 683, take in convention discussion.

Although the UE and other national union delegations backed the report, a vocal minority of delegates had reservations.

Some thought the electoral program gave too much power to the national organization; the majority argued that running candidates is a serious proposition that requires accountability, sufficient resources and national coordination. Some delegates wanted to eliminate the requirement that candidates run solely on the Labor Party line; their amendment was defeated. Another amendment, also defeated, would have allowed the Labor Party to endorse candidates who are not party members. Supporters argued that the Labor Party shouldn’t put itself in the position of competing with parties with similar programs. Opponents argued that such cross-endorsements would dilute the Labor Party’s power and identity.

DOUBLE THE SIZE

UE delegates vote ...
Mary Larsen of Local 1111 and other UE delegates took a stand when they voted for the Labor Party’s electoral program.

Delegates unanimously approved a resolution which sets a goal of annually doubling the membership rolls through individual recruiting, expanded outreach to unions and campaigns that lend themselves to party-building. The convention also committed the Labor Party to building local organizing committees that are easy to join and encourage involvement in the party’s campaigns.

A party with a mass membership will have to be built person by person, said Ed Bruno, chairperson of the convention’s organizing committee. The party’s New England organizer and a former UE national officer, Bruno said, "All of our experience tells us people will join if we ask them, if we discuss the issues with them."

And the Labor Party knows the issues. The convention endorsed these major campaigns:

  • 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to guarantee the right to a job at a living wage.

  • Just Health Care to fight for a national health program to provide everyone with guaranteed, quality care.

  • Protect Social Security, to strengthen the system and oppose privatization and reduction in benefits.

  • Fair Trade Campaign to oppose all NAFTA-like agreements and support penalties against corporations, as well as countries, that violate international labor and environmental standards.

  • Bring the Bill of Rights into the Workplace to fight for the right of all workers to freely associate, speak freely on the job, form unions and engage in collective bargaining.

Contents

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UE News Labor Party Convention Coverage

From a UE perspective, here's a look at the Labor Party's First Constitutional Convention ...

Page One
Overview

Page Two
Strategies, Campaigns and Growth

Page Three
Just Health Care (rally and campaign)

Page Four
Speakers (Ralph Nader, Michael Moore, Buzz Hargrove, Cecil Roberts, Henry Nicholas, George Becker

Page Five
Solidarity Highlights Struggles, Champions

All photos
Ron Flowers

More Info
Labor Party Convention Summaries

Here are the event-by-event summaries distributed to the delegates attending the Labor Party's First Constitutional Convention.

Index

Chapter Convention

Day One Summary
Convention Opens

Day Two Summary
Campaigns Launched ...

Day Three Summary
Finalizing the Convention

UE News - 12/98


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