Painters & Drywall Finishers Say: Break with the Democrats, For a Workers Party

The following resolution was introduced by CSWP supporters and adopted unanimously by IUPAT Local 10 members at their meeting on 17 August 2016. CSWP fights to unchain the power of the working class by breaking our unions away from the parties of capital. Join us!

No Support to the Democrats, Republicans,
or Any Party of the Bosses

Whereas the bosses have two parties to represent their class while the millions of working people have none, and

Whereas the Democratic president Barack Obama sent the U.S. Coast Guard to enforce scabbing against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union during the 2013-14 lock-out of northwest dock workers, and

Whereas the Democratic governor Kate Brown opposed and undercut the movement for a $15 minimum wage across Oregon, and

Whereas in 2014 Democrats in Congress joined with Republicans to pass a disastrous pension “reform,” allowing the bosses to escape their obligations and cheat our retirees, and

Whereas the two presidencies of the Democrat Barack Obama have been eight years of unending war in the Middle East,North Africa and Asia, causing untold human suffering, millions of refugees, and attacks on our democratic rights at home, and

Whereas the Democratic Party in power has deported some 5 million immigrants, a record, and

Whereas across the country, from Oakland to Baltimore, police under Democratic mayors regularly murder black men and women with impunity, and

Whereas the 2016 presidential election offers us the “choice” between a raving, bigoted clown and a career representative of Wall Street, and

Whereas the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Virginia governor Tim Kaine, supports union- busting “right to work” laws, and

Whereas Democrats and Republicans are and have always been strike-breaking, war-making parties of the bosses, and

Whereas so long as the labor movement supports one or another party of the bosses, we will be playing a losing game, therefore be it

Resolved that IUPAT Local 10 does not support the Democrats, Republicans, or any bosses’ parties or politicians, and

Resolved that we call on the International Union to repudiate its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president, and

Resolved that we call on the labor movement to break from the Democratic Party, and build a class-struggle workers party.

News of this resolution was also published by the Northwest Labor Press.

Portland May Day 2016: Class Struggle Contingent

Class Struggle Contingent banner says: Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants! Break with the Democrats and Republicans! For a Class-Struggle Workers Party!
May Day 2016 Portland, Oregon: Class Struggle Contingent

May Day in Portland, 2016: the Class Struggle contingent brought together Carpenters, Ironworkers, Stagehands, Teachers, IWW “Wobblies” and other pro-working class elements under the day’s only banner that called for “Full Citizenship Rights for all Immigrants,” on this workers’ holiday that was revived in the U.S. by the mass protests of immigrant workers ten years ago.

The goal of the Class Struggle contingent was to fight for May Day as it should be: International Workers Day, a day for the class struggle against the capitalist system. Our contingent was the only participant in Portland’s May Day that sought to mobilize the unions and the militant workers. And while there were some radical-sounding words to be heard from the platform, one of the main sponsors of the event was the “Working Families Party,” a scam operation with which the union bureaucracy seeks to get workers’ votes for the Democratic Party of our class enemy. The Class Struggle contingent’s banner said “Break with the Democrats and Republicans! For a Class-Struggle Workers Party!” We distributed many copies of our article against Bernie Sanders from Bridge City Militant No. 1. We were the only group at May Day that had anything to say against the ruling party of bloody, racist U.S. imperialism.

A spokesperson for the Internationalist Group, part of the Class Struggle Contingent, was interviewed by KOIN 6 TV news and got right to the point: “We think that capitalism has long outlived its usefulness, and we think that we need a workers revolution in America.” That’s what May Day, and the class struggle, is for.

May Day 2016 Class Struggle Contingent

Join the Class Struggle Contingent on MAY DAY! Workers of the World, Unite! 12:00 Noon Sunday May 1 2016, SW Main St. & SW Park Ave. in downtown Portland. Info: 971-282-7903
Click for a printable file

Join the Class Struggle Contingent on May Day! Workers of the World, Unite!

12:00 Noon Sunday May 1 2016
SW Main St. & SW Park Avenue in Downtown Portland
info: 971-282-7903

May Day is the international workers day. It should be a day of workers struggle against capitalism. Join with Class Struggle Workers – Portland and the Internationalist Group to demonstrate for a revolutionary, working-class answer to the bosses’ racist system of poverty and war.

The Class Struggle Contingent stands for:

  • Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants!
  • Mobilize Workers Power: Strike Against Racist Police Murder!
  • No to Sanders, No to Clinton, No to Democrats, Republicans, Working Families Party or Greens!
  • Unionize Low-Wage Workers! Smash “Right to Work” Union-Busting!
  • Defeat U.S. Imperialism! Drive U.S. Out of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan!
  • For A Class-Struggle Workers Party, for a Workers Government!

CSWP Picket Slams Anti-Women Bigots

Photos by Daniel Vincent.

20160409 Picket ORL conference 25 20160409 Picket ORL conference 20 20160409 Picket ORL conference 9 20160409 Picket ORL conference 2 20160409 Picket ORL conference 1

Saturday morning, 9 April 2016: A CSWP-organized picket confronted the conference of Oregon “Right to Life.” Members of Ironworkers, IWW, Painters, Stagehands, UFCW and other unions, along with students and women’s health professionals, slammed the conference that featured the vile anti-Semite Harmony Daws, and the discredited fraudster David Daleiden.

A CSWP spokesman emphasized that Democrats as well as Republicans were enemies of the working class and of women’s rights, and called to unchain the power of organized labor by breaking with the parties of our class enemies and building a class-struggle workers party.

A supporter of the "pro-life" conference (center) repeatedly urged motorists to run down CSWP picketers.
Above: a supporter of the “pro-life” conference (center) repeatedly urged motorists to run down CSWP picketers.

Friday April 15, 6 p.m. screening of “After Tiller”

"After Tiller" a film by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson. Screening April 15 at 6 p.m. IWW Hall, 2249 E Burnside St, Portland. Come and discuss why we fight for free abortion on demand, and why we need a class struggle fight for the right to abortion which is under attack by both Republicans and Democrats! Hosted by Class Struggle Workers - Portland.
Click for a printable PDF version.

Friday April 15, 6 p.m., screening of “After Tiller”, hosted by Class Struggle Workers – Portland

Come and discuss why we fight for free abortion on demand, and why we need a class struggle fight for women’s right to abortion, which is under attack by both Republicans and Democrats.

IWW hall, 2249 E Burnside St, Portland

We will be raising funds for the Network for Reproductive Options (NRO) Bowl-a-thon. Donate on-line here.

Saturday: Picket Anti-Abortion Conference

Defend Abortion Rights! Saturday 9 April 2016, 8:15 a.m. at the Portland, Oregon Airport Holiday Inn
Click image for printable file.

Facebook event page here.

Defend Abortion Rights!

Picket Oregon Right to Life and Guest Speaker David Daleiden

Saturday, April 9th at 8:15 am in front of the Portland Holiday Inn Airport, 8439 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland 97220

  • Free Abortion On Demand!
  • Mobilize Labor to Defend Abortion Rights!
  • Defend the clinics!

Oregon Right to Life will be hosting their annual conference in Portland on April 9th and their guest speakers include David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, infamous creator of the fraudulent Planned Parenthood attack video, which spurred frivolous Congressional hearings on abortion providers and their relationship with medical research. The leadership of Oregon Right to Life includes president Harmony Daws, writer for the National Prayer Network, a well documented anti-Semitic hate group, as well as executive director Gayle Atteberry another strident opponent of Planned Parenthood. Join with Class Struggle Workers Portland to defend abortion rights!

Bernie Sanders? No! We Need a Class-Struggle Workers Party

This article was first published in Bridge City Militant No. 1, Fall 2015.

The first votes won’t be cast for many months, but the presidential election season is already upon us, and pressure is building on the unions to choose their candidates. Among labor activists and the left, attention is focused on the figure of Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont. Sanders, who sometimes claims to be an “independent” and a “democratic socialist” is running to be nominated as the Democratic candidate for president in 2016. Labor Notes, the voice of “progressive” union bureaucrats who sometimes pose as “troublemakers,” hyped Sanders in a 17 July 2015 article by Dan DiMaggio:

“Sanders’ platform includes a $15-an-hour minimum wage, guaranteed vacations and sick leave, lifting the payroll tax cap on Social Security, and single-payer health care. He’s a vocal opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the latest corporate-friendly trade deal. He rails against income inequality and how the ‘billionaire class’ dominates politics.”

Cheap talk. Class-struggle militants are not “feeling the Bern.” We are anti-Bernie, anti-Hillary, anti-Democrat, anti-Republican, anti-Green. Yes, we’re pretty much against everything that passes for “politics” these days, because it’s all about who will be the CEO of bloody, racist U.S. capitalism, and Bernie is no exception. We will oppose any endorsements or other forms of support by our unions for Sanders or any of the current candidates.

Many critics have pointed out that Bernie Sanders, the nominal “independent” who votes with the Democratic Party caucus in the Senate, has already made it clear that he will support whoever gets the Democratic Party nomination: presumably, Hillary Clinton’s lavishly-financed establishment campiagn. Sanders supporters are certainly chumps for Wall Street’s preferred party: “energizing” the “base” – the workers, poor people, oppressed racial minorities, and women – to vote for the “lesser evil” party of their oppressors. It’s a con game.

But what if he wins the nomination? He is surging in the (mostly meaningless) early polls. Or what if Bernie, under the ardent “pressure” of his fans, does the opposite of what he has repeatedly promised to do, and goes “independent”?

We would still not support him. In the Senate, he sometimes opposes U.S. military policy in words – but votes for war budgets. He voted for the genocidal sanctions against Iraq, that killed millions of innocent civilians and paved the way for the war he “opposed.” He opposed the Orwellian PATRIOT Act – in words – and voted for the USA Freedom Act, which continued massive government spying. His “radical” economic proposals amount to tinkering with the tax code and the anti-labor laws. Even if the millionaires’ Congress goes along with his talk of a $15/hour minimum wage (keep dreaming!) this would be a poverty wage. The rest is standard Democratic Party primary populist bluster about the “middle class.”

American workers should take note: not so long ago, last winter, a very radical-talking capitalist party – SYRIZA, the Coalition of the Radical Left – won the national elections in Greece. They were full of tough talk against the bloodthirsty banks that were condemning Greek workers to double-digit unemployment and starvation wages. The mouthpieces of high finance shrieked with terror. And then, SYRIZA imposed worse “austerity” measures on the Greek workers and poor than preceding right-wing governments had ever dared to.

A President Bernie Sanders – a milquetoast moderate compared to the Greek “radicals” – would likewise do what Wall Street will need of him. Wall Street can live with higher taxes: Warren Bufffet and Bill Gates agree. But it can’t live without endless war abroad and racist police-state repression “at home” to guarantee its property and its exploitation of labor. Bernie is not Wall Street’s candidate, but the decisive issue for us is that he seeks to rule on behalf of Wall Street, as a “socialist” who supports private property and demonstrably is willing to make whatever compromise this support requires.

This fundamental problem – the problem of class, as in which class should rule – is obvious when we seriously consider the most burning issue in American politics, the “color line.” And it should be clear that supporting Bernie Sanders, critically or not, will do nothing to end the oppression of black people in this country.

Black Lives Matter activists grabbed the spotlight by crashing Sanders appearances at the Democratic Party “Net Roots Nation” conference in Phoenix, Arizona, and again at a rally in Seattle to celebrate the anniversary of Social Security. The response from Sanders fans ranged from incredulous shock to ugly racist heckling. Oh how dare they! Don’t they realize that Sanders is the lesser-lesser evil? Is the fact that black women and men are being hunted and killed like animals on the streets by the police really a reason to interrupt the circus of Democratic politics-as-usual?

So Sanders appointed a new campaign spokesperson, the black activist Symone Sanders (no relation to the senator), and published a platform for “racial justice” on On MSNBC’s August 11 Chris Hayes show, BLM founder Alicia Garza claimed “that interruption really forced Bernie Sanders to have a strong platform on race and racial justice.”

So what is his platform? A laundry list of police training and policy reforms that are already in place in many major cities like New York, Oakland and Baltimore, and do absolutely nothing to stop the legal lynching of black people! Systematic state violence against black people is not just a policy, it is a fundamental feature of American capitalism. More training, different arming, or more black and latino cops and police chiefs, among other pseudo-reforms, have done nothing and will do nothing. Demilitarize the police? Eric Garner was strangled by hand on a busy New York City street in broad daylight, and the “justice system” let his killers walk without charges. On the mass incarceration of blacks, Sanders the “socialist” isn’t against prisons, just private prisons, and isn’t against drug laws, just mandatory minimum sentences. A lot of hot air and precious little substance: that’s a “victory” for the dead-end politics of pressuring the Democratic Party.

Sanders supporters and labor “radicals” in general tend to look back sentimentally to the era of president Franklin Roosevelt, and the segregationist imperialist war chief’s “New Deal.” But the massive labor upsurge that created the modern American labor movement was not created by any legislation, and the key victories of 1934 – Longshore on the West Coast, Teamsters in Minneapolis, and auto workers in Toledo – were victorious because they were willing to struggle independently from and against the labor laws and the Democratic and Republican governments that administered them. The decades-long decline of the labor movement that class-struggle militants seek to reverse is fundamentally the result of the labor leadership’s support for and loyalty to the bosses’ parties and their government.

To revive the labor movement we must break with all the capitalist parties, including the slightly-lesser-evil ones. The greater evil by far is the continued subordination of the unions to their class enemy through the instrument of the Democratic Party.

CSWP stands for class struggle, not illusions in capitalist election games. The unions can only rely on our own forces, the irresistible power of millions of workers, to fight poverty wages, to smash racist oppression, to champion the rights of women, sexual/gender minorities and immigrants. To coordinate this fight we propose a different kind of party, a workers party with a program of class struggle. ■