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January 25, 2010

Strange Bedfellows: Why the AFL-CIO teamed up with Citizens United

In my latest piece for Working In These Times, I examine the AFL-CIO's decision to throw in its lot with the conservative Citizens United to challenge campaign finance restrictions on corporate political advertising by corporations. Prediction: This won't end well for labor.


This kind of short-sighted foolishness and myopic self-interest on the part of the AFL-CIO is a great example of how we've gotten where we are. As a supporter of organized labor, it's immensely frustrating hearing about this, as it was to hear about labor caving on the excise tax. They need to understand that solidarity doesn't just apply to unions, it applies to all of us on the left - we have to hang together, or else we'll hang separately.

The AFL-CIO's raison d'etre is lack of solidarity with the left. If the AFL had not agreed to stop seeking universal health care in exchange for health and pension perks for its members, the US might have had universal health care by the 1950s.

This implication of your argument seems to be that restrictions on freedom of speech are OK as long as those restrictions benefit the left.
This ruling has removed unconstitutional restrictions on political speech. I don't know what the unintended consequences will be in the long run and I don't care. One of our most essential freedoms was restored last week. If you believe in freedom that is cause to celebrate.

Corporations aren't people, and money isn't speech. The CU ruling had nothing to do with restoring anyone's freedom, and everything to do with facilitating corporate bribery of public officials.

Alon Levy -

Do you have a link regarding the AFL deciding to stop seeking universal health care?

Eric: not right now, but I'll look for it. I think it was an article in the New Yorker written when GM was on the edge of liquidation a year ago.

" isn't speech."

By this argument making it illegal to pay someone to perform an abortion wouldn't violate a woman's right to choose.

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