by Bob Master in Convergence
February 14, 2023
Midterm wins bought organizing time for pro-democracy forces, but MAGA authoritarianism still menaces US politics. In “Pro-democracy Organizing Against Autocracy in the United States,” scholar/activists Erica Chenoweth and Zoe Marks map the threat and steps that could help defeat it. Convergence interviewed the two and will be publishing reflections and responses to the report. Bill Fletcher Jr. got the responses rolling. Here, Bob Master takes a close look at labor’s role in defending democracy.
In “Pro-democracy Organizing Against Autocracy in the United States,” Erica Chenoweth and Zoe Marks issue a clarion call to progressive and social movement leaders to begin strategizing about how to defeat the authoritarian regime the ascendant faction of the Republican Party seems intent on imposing in this country. The two professors warn that the US is not immune from what they call a global “third wave of autocratization,” and identify key pillars of an effective pro-democracy, anti-authoritarian strategy. The centerpiece of this strategy is the construction of a broad, multiracial, cross-class united front, comprised of a wide range of state, local and national progressive, constituency and movement organizations, which could begin planning a multi-faceted resistance to authoritarianism.
The authors argue that the labor movement has a crucial role to play in this alliance, including organizing strikes and slow-downs to build “coercive” pressure on an anti-democratic government, should one come to power. But interviews with half a dozen high-ranking current and former union staffers suggest that the US labor movement is largely unprepared for—if not downright skittish about—taking up the question of how to contest a fundamental assault on democracy. Only in states like Texas—where far-right assaults on voting rights, local government autonomy, and educational free speech pose an existential threat to workers’ rights—has the labor movement fully engaged in the struggle to safeguard democracy.
Bob was the longtime political and legislative director of District One of Communication Workers of America, and a co-founder and organizer of Working Families Party.
Read the rest at Convergence
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antiracismdsa (blog of Duane Campbell)
Hatuey's Ashes (blog of José G. Pérez)
Authory and Substack of Max Sawicky
Online University of the Left
In These Times
The American Prospect
Black Agenda Report
Dollars and Sense
Working Families Party
Poor People's Campaign
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Progressive Democrats of America
Democracy for America
Black Lives Matter
Movement for Black Lives
The Women's March
Jewish Voice for Peace
National Abortion Rights Action League
National Organization for Women
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights