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Leaders Launch Organizing Committee for a Major New Party
Date 19/03/15/04:32
*Union and Progressive Leaders Launch Organizing Committee for a Major New

*Labor-Community Campaign for an Independent Party (LCCIP)*

*Washington, D.C. -- Following a meeting in the nation's capital, they have
formed a 29-person organizing committee with representation at the highest
levels of American labor to lay the groundwork. Today
the committee released this statement of intent:*

We, the undersigned unionists and activists, met on February 24 and 25 in
Washington D.C. to discuss the next steps to a labor-based party. We
unanimously concluded that Americans need a major new party rooted in
labor, the struggles of working people and communities of the oppressed. We
hereby constitute ourselves as the *Organizing Committee of the
Labor-Community Campaign for an Independent Party* for this purpose.

In the wake of the Gilded Age of robber barons and monopolies, unions and
community groups organized mass strikes and social protest movements, and
banded together in independent parties that led to landmark progressive
reforms, from child labor laws to the eight-hour work day, from food and
drug regulation to Social Security. They came close to establishing a major
party for working people.

In the midst of this second Gilded Age of big finance and tech
corporations, labor and community are uniting again to finish what they
started. Together we will build an independent party of and for working
people that can achieve the landmark advances of the early 21st century,
from Medicare for all to free public college, from an end to mass
deportation to the abolition of police violence against Black and Brown
communities, from a Green New Deal to a federal jobs guarantee, from full
labor rights to budgets that fund social needs at home, not wars and
interventions abroad.

Our decision to form this organizing committee is rooted in two
groundbreaking resolutions adopted by the AFL-CIO at its October 2017
national convention. The first affirms that, “whether the candidates are
elected from the Republican or Democratic Party, the interests of Wall
Street have been protected and advanced, while the interests of labor and
working people have generally been set back.” The resolution also affirms
that whether “labor’s candidate wins or loses the election, the results for
labor and the 99% remain fundamentally unchanged.” The second resolution
concludes that, “the time has passed when we can passively settle for the
lesser of two evils politics.”

The implications of those statements are urgent and profound. Accordingly,
our Organizing Committee will pursue two intertwined objectives:

1. We will build labor-community assemblies that engage around pressing
local issues and run independent city and state candidates beginning in
2019. These assemblies will bring together local unions and community
organizations to serve as the building blocks of a major new party.
Assemblies will develop platforms rooted in the struggles of working people
and select candidates to represent them.
2. We will promote widely within the labor movement the formation of a
labor-based party and rally supportive unions to speak with a powerful
collective voice.

The Organizing Committee will meet biweekly, organize labor-community
assemblies, unite unions and progressive social movements, engage in local
struggles on the issues, form a speakers’ bureau to present the campaign to
interested organizations, develop a grassroots and membership dues-based
fundraising model, design a cutting-edge digital and social media strategy
to reach millions, and map out in greater detail the path to a party for
working people.

With inequality skyrocketing, health care and student debt mounting,
climate change roiling the planet, civil and human rights under assault, and
wages and benefits evaporating, the majority of Americans are now calling
for a major new political party, including an even greater number of young
and working people.

With 80 percent of Americans now living paycheck to paycheck with little to
no savings, a precarious nation is at its limits. Within a year, working
people will be subjected to another economic downturn and another rigged
Democratic primary. By taking steps now, we can be prepared to offer a
genuine alternative in the face of those crises. Without it, Trump and the
far right will continue to fill the growing void in political

The Organizing Committee will build on the progress of the Labor-Community
Campaign for an Independent Party. Founded last fall, the campaign has
grown to 15 unions and organizations

more than 100,000 members, plus labor leaders, AFL-CIO executive council
members, and some of the leading progressive voices of our time, including
Dr. Cornel West, Abby Martin, Oliver Stone, and Chris Hedges.

In 2015, a Princeton study revealed that the American public’s influence
over the Democratic and Republican parties is so minuscule that the U.S.
does not meet the definition of a democracy. The study found that the
preferences of working people have a “near-zero, statistically
non-significant impact upon public policy,” whereas billionaires write the

Public trust in government has plummeted from 80 percent to 20 percent in
the last 50 years. The loss of confidence stretches across the
institutional fabric of American society, including public schools, the
criminal justice system, big business, and the media. A remarkable 93
percent of Americans now say that their views are left out of the political
process. A collapse of trust of this magnitude signifies a loss of the
consent of the governed and a deep yearning for a new political and
economic system.

In response, tens of millions of American have left the establishment
parties*,*creating a swelling ocean of independents. Pew Research found
that for nearly 70 years after the Second World War, more Americans
identified as Democrats than Republicans. But about 10 years ago, the share
of independents surpassed both parties and has risen sharply to the highest
percentage in more than 75 years. This January, Gallup reported that 42
percent of Americans are independent, while only 30 percent are Democrats
and 26 percent are Republicans.

As the *New York Times* stated last week, new parties on the left and the
right are sweeping to power around the world, replacing establishment
parties that have reigned for decades in those countries. “Long-established
political parties across the democratic world are blowing up,” the column
states. “Could America’s parties be next?”

U.S. unions have spent billions of worker dollars propping up the
Democratic and Republican parties over the past several decades. In return
these parties have given us mass incarceration, skyrocketing healthcare
costs, crushing student debt, job-killing trade deals, unprecedented
inequality and endless war. The corporate bosses would never tolerate that
kind of return on investment, and neither should we.

We invite union members and community activists across the country to join
the Labor-Community Campaign for an Independent Party. Share the campaign
with your friends, colleagues, union locals, and community groups.
Encourage them to endorse and join the campaign here

*Signed by the Organizing Committee members*
(Organizations and titles listed for id. only)

*Baldemar Velasquez*
President, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC); AFL-CIO executive
council, MacArthur Fellow; Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico’s highest award
for a noncitizen, Toledo, OH

*Nancy Wohlforth*
Secretary-Treasurer Emerita, Office and Professional Employees Union
(OPEIU); former chair, Pride at Work; former AFL-CIO executive council,
Washington, DC

*Donna Dewitt*
Past President, South Carolina AFL-CIO; Co-Chair of the SC Labor Party;
Steering Committee, Labor Fightback Network; Southern Workers Assembly;
former National Council, Labor Party, Orangeburg, SC

*Chris Silvera*
Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 808; former President, Teamsters
National Black Caucus; Co-Convener, Million Worker March, Long Island City

*Nick Brana*
National Director, Movement for a People’s Party; former National Political
Outreach Coordinator, Bernie 2016; former Electoral Manager, Our
Revolution, Washington, DC

*Alan Benjamin*
OPEIU Local 29 delegate to SF Labor Council; Past Executive Committee
member, SF Labor Council; Editorial Board member, The Organizer Newspaper,
San Francisco, CA

*Don Bryant *
Steering Committee, Labor Fightback Network; National Association of Letter
Carriers (NALC), retired, Cleveland, OH

*Michael Carano*
Tallmadge City Council member; Teamsters Local 348, retired; Adjunct
organizer, Kent Part-Time Faculty Alliance, Tallmadge, OH

*Linda Carnes*
Secretary Treasurer, South Carolina Labor Party, SC

*Lindsay Curtis*
Socialist Organizer, CA Faculty Assn. National Committee, Sacramento, CA

*Sandy Eaton*
Massachusetts Nursing Association, Quincy, MA

*Carol Ehrle*
Political Director, Movement for a People’s Party; fifteen year journalist
with the Detroit Free Press and McGraw-Hill World News (Business Week);
former publicist with Paramount Pictures and Michael Douglas; former
publicist with Roots Canada, San Mateo, CA

*Marivel Fernández*
Auxiliary member-at-large, APWU; radio show host for Latino Workers in
Vermont, Enfield, VT

*Omar Fernandez*
President, APWU of Vermont; Tour 1 Steward, APWU Local 520; executive board
member, VT AFL-CIO, Enfield, NH

*Eleanor Goldfield*
Host and producer, Act Out!, Art Killing Apathy; poet and singer; author,
Paradigm Lost; host, Common Censored, Washington, DC

*Wesley Irwin*
SEIU 1948; MPP WA State Director; Chair of the WA State Caucus Advisory
Group; Field Organizer and National Delegate, Bernie 2016; Seattle, WA

*Todd Jelen*
Negotiator and organizer American Federation of Musicians; MPP National
Organizing Team, Cleveland, OH

*Jim Lafferty*
Executive Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild, L.A.; Chair, Board of
the Office of the Americas; Fellow, University of Southern California,
Institute for the Humanities; Host, The Lawyers Guild Show on Pacifica
Radio, Los Angeles, CA

*Werner Lange*
Academic Coordinator MPP; Labor Education & Arts Project; Poor People's
Campaign; Association for Humanist Sociology; Professor of Sociology, Walsh
University, Newton Falls, OH

*Jerry Levinsky*
Steering Committee member, Labor Fightback Network; SEIU 509, Amherst, MA

*Mícheál Madden*
IATSE Local 16, San Francisco, CA

*Millie Phillip*s
Editorial Board, The Organizer Newspaper; Past Co-chair, Golden Gate
Chapter, Labor Party; Retired, IBEW Local 1245, Oakland, CA

*Al Rojas*
Co-founder with César Chávez, United Farm Workers of America (UFW);
National Coordinator, Driscoll’s Boycott Campaign; Executive Board,
Sacramento Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (AFL-CIO),
Sacramento, CA

*Eduardo Rosario*
President, New York City chapter, Labor Council for Latin American
Advancement (LCLAA-AFL-CIO), New York City, NY

*Ralph Schoenman*
Member, Socialist Organizer National Organizing Committee; Taking Aim,
Vallejo, CA

*Mya Shone*
Past vice-chair, Tri-County Chapter (Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo,
Ventura), Labor Party; Member, Socialist Organizer National Organizing
Committee; Taking Aim, Vallejo, CA

*Tom Sodders*
Steering Committee member, Labor Education & Arts Project; Cleveland, OH

*Clarence Thomas*
Co-Convener, Million Worker March; Convener, Past Secretary Treasurer, ILWU
Local 10, Oakland, CA

*Lawrence White*
IATSE Local One, Local One PAC; NYC, NY

[View the list]