Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Organized labor in the USA lost its mission in the late 1940s. Actually, it abandoned its mission and replaced it with a different one: the building of a labor lobby within the context of the mainstream USA. More than anything else organized labor refused to accept the inevitability of class struggle and instead insisted that the elimination of the left-wing in labor helped to ensure that a productive relationship could be built with capital. The elimination of the left-wing was not only the elimination of people and organizations, but it was also represented by unconditional support for US foreign policy and the repudiation of any sense that organized labor had a direct responsibility to un-organized labor, i.e., to the rest of the working class.
Turning this situation around necessitates a reassertion of a mission focused on social and economic justice founded upon a cold appraisal of the realities of class struggle in 21st century USA, and for that matter the 21st century planet Earth. It is a mission that involves a level of global labor solidarity the likes of which most of us have not seen in our life-times. But it also involves the building of strategic alliances in the USA that aim towards winning power for working people.