[For complete article reference links, please see source at CounterPunch here.]

Dennis Kucinich, the most “radical” of the progressive Democrats, waited until the last round before he threw in the towel to the health care industry. His capitulation is especially symbolic, as many progressive activists around the country remained in the Democratic Party solely because he was there. His inglorious surrender signals what many progressives already knew: the Democrats are a corporate dominated party, where liberal ideas are tolerated so long as they have no actual effect on policy.

With Kucinich and the other left Democrats now fully discredited, the Democratic Party has further undermined its credibility — what little remained. Those who hoped that the party could be reformed— that the corporate wing could somehow be out-muscled— will be duped no longer.

Also, the bill’s taxing of “Cadillac” health care plans will further alienate organized labor from the Democrats. What little faith the unions had in the Democrats will be badly shaken.

More significantly, those millions of people who are soon to be mandated to buy shoddy, corporate insurance will vent their rage solely at the Democrats. A significant portion of the currently uninsured will remain without insurance, and be penalized at tax time for not buying into the corporate healthcare scam. These millions will be never vote Democrat again.

The Democrats have a won a congressional battle against the Republicans, while sawing off the branches of support on which they are perched. The party that was once “the lesser of two evils” is now competing on equal footing with the Republicans.

With both political parties dominated by the big banks and corporations, there is ever growing political vacuum to the left (the vacuum to the right is being filled by the tea partiers).

There have been countless attempts to organize a mass third party. The numerous progressive political parties that currently exist do so on an insignificant scale.

What remains missing is the support of labor unions, which represent millions of working members. Labor is the only social force that currently exists on the left capable of creating a mass-based party with the resources capable of competing with the two parties of big business.

What the unions lack in funds they make up for with potentially millions of volunteers — door-knockers, phone bankers, fund raisers, community organizers, etc.

If labor were to finally declare its independence from the Democrats, and announce the drive to create an independent labor led party representing the majority of working people in this country, the “fractured left” would find instant cohesion.

If this labor based party were based on a progressive platform —including Jobs, Peace and Medicare for All — not only would the country’s millions of union members join and vote for it, but the tens of millions of working people disenfranchised by the Democrats would instantly jump on board.

The political void to the left needs to be filled quickly. Tea Partiers and Ron Paul Republicans are benefiting from this political black hole: many people who are progressive at heart are being tricked by these right-wing populists. A bold showing from America’s Labor Movement would stop this trend dead in its tracks and open the way for true majority rule.  
 
 
Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 

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