Will U.S. Labour Challenge Austerity?

Source: Brian Tierney, Global Research, January 12, 2011

Across the U.S., working-class people are struggling, scraping together meager sums in order to get by. In state and local governments throughout the country, workers are watching public services slashed in the name of balanced budgets. Trillions of dollars have been doled out to Wall Street titans and big banks. And while the epidemic of home foreclosures and cuts to public services rages on, corporate profits are soaring to record highs, and banks are sitting on hordes of accumulated capital. Still, we are told, there simply isn’t enough money to help the millions struggling in these economic hard times….

…But Democrats have also joined the efforts to demonize public workers. The campaign of Democratic Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo of New York included calls for public-sector unions to grant massive concessions in order to ease the state’s budget gap. The incoming governor is rallying business-lobbying groups to his side to launch a $10-million anti-union effort against worker in the public sector.

Meanwhile, Obama’s deficit commission, with its crosshairs trained on Social Security and other “entitlements,” has set the terms for congressional debate on reducing the nation’s deficit through punishing austerity measures.

So it’s fair to ask how far to the right Obama and the Democratic Party will shift before the labour movement can no longer support them. How much longer can labour leaders continue to justify to their membership the massive sums of money spent to prop up Democrats, whose allegiance to corporate welfare surpasses whatever expressed interests they share with working-class people?

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