Response from Bill Onasch
INC Midwest Chapter Representative
Revive LPA (Labor Party Advocates)
That there can be no genuine Labor Party without substantial union support is an old truism we cannot ignore. The promising Labor Party project launched in 1996 once had support from unions representing a couple of million workers, thousands of individual dues-paying members, and community based chapters and organizing committees in every region of the country.
Today union material support is nil, national dues have not been collected for years, and only a handful of state or local bodies continue to function. Nothing good comes from pretending this is the Labor Party.
Yet most of us involved agree the need for a Labor Party has never been greater. Without a party of our own the long term future of the union movement is problematic. The question is sure to be revisited, more likely sooner than later.
While the 1996 Labor Party passes away from material malnutrition it leaves behind a rich legacy of program, policy and democratic decision making that is worth preserving. There’s no need for future activists to reinvent the wheel before they can roll.
The approach that Dudzic and Isaac have taken in Labor Party Time? does not feed depression that so often follows disappointment. While this planting failed, the crop we hoped for remains needed more than ever and the seed bank preserved from the initial effort can take root again under more favorable future conditions. Like resilient family farmers, we don’t abandon our field; we seek another chance to plant.
I believe we should maintain the continuity of the struggle for a Labor Party by reviving Labor Party Advocates. Of course, a resurrected LPA will have to begin much more modestly than the original. We not only no longer have our Founding Brother; his union base, OCAW, is no longer available either. Nor are there any other deep pockets that I know of. Paucity of material resources would initially require mainly volunteer and in-kind efforts.
We can and should at least have an LPA structure similar to that of the Center for Labor Renewal. A web site with our basic labor party message could include an archive of whatever is in digital format on the present Labor Party site, along with links to the documents and past issues of Labor Party Press archived on an older site. We would also want an e-mail information and discussion list to keep in touch.
Such a low investment network keeps us alive and gives us the flexibility to quickly respond when new opportunities arise.