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Communist Party hails role of labor unions in Obama win

Posted By Aaron Klein On 11/13/2008 @ 10:30 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled

The official magazine of the Communist Party USA has lauded the important
role of labor unions in electing Sen. Barack Obama and quotes
socialist-aligned labor leaders hoping the unions can work with the president-elect to enact policies related to jobs, retirement security and health-care reform.

In a separate article, the Communist Party’s Political Affairs magazine
quotes a prominent socialist activist and longtime Obama friend petitioning the
president-elect to push through a “single payer” health-care system, or
socialized universal medicine.

In an article titled, “Special Interest or Class Consciousness? How Labor
Put Obama in the White House,” Political Affairs reports on polling data released earlier this week revealing the extent of union support for Obama.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations,
or AFL-CIO, sponsored a poll showing union members supported Obama by a 68-30
margin and strongly influenced their family members.

According to the survey, Obama won among white men who are union members by 18 points. Union gun-owners backed Obama by 12 points, while union veterans
voted for Obama by a 25-point margin. In the general population, Obama lost
these groups by significant margins.

Political Affairs quoted AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, a longtime member
of the Boston chapter of the Democrat Socialists for America, expressing
hope labor unions can continue working with Obama.

“We have taken the first crucial steps to build a better future for our
children and grandchildren. And what we’ve seen – the stunning voter
participation and the common call for change – is an indication of the history we can
continue to make together,” Sweeney said.

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“The election is just step one in delivering the change we need,” Sweeney said. “Working men and women are poised to keep the energy pumping to help the Obama administration lead the change we need. There will be no gap or letdown.”

The communist magazine said priorities for labor unions are “regulating Wall Street and restoring fairness to international trade,” as well as “health-care reform” to provide coverage to “nearly 50 million people without insurance and make medical care affordable for all.”

In an adjacent article, the communist magazine features a plea from Quentin Young, a long-time Obama friend and socialist activist, calling for socialized medicine, which is is a major platform issue for both the Communist Party USA and the Democratic Socialists for America.


Quentin Young and Barack Obama

“The only effective cure for our health-care woes is to establish a single, publicly financed system, one that removes the inefficient, wasteful, for-profit private health insurance industry from the picture,” said Young, who is the national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program.

“Our country is hailing the remarkable and historic victory of Barack Obama and the mandate for change the electorate has awarded him.”

Young said the adoption of a single-payer health system should be a “major component of the new president’s economic rescue of Main Street.”

Young noted Obama previously expressed support of a single-payer universal health-care program, although he later waffled when asked about his position.

As an Illinois state senator representing a mostly black district on the south side of Chicago, Obama publicly supported universal health care. He also co-sponsored the Bernardin Amendment, which did not pass but which would have amended the Illinois State Constitution to add health care to the list of basic rights for residents.

The New Zeal blog documents how Young has been active in Chicago socialist circles and was previously accused of membership in a communist group. In 1992, Chicago’s branch of the Democratic Socialists of America awarded Young, a member, with their highest honor – the Debs Award.

Young has had a relationship with Obama, particularly in the 1990s, when he reportedly advised Obama on issues of health care. Young was reportedly present at a 1995 meeting at the home of former Weathermen terrorist Bill Ayers that was said to have launched Obama’s political career.

In a recent interview, Young said his opinion of Obama changed in 2005 after he voted to confirm Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state and waffled on supporting single-payer health care.

“I knew him before he was political,” Young said of Obama, speaking to the Health Care Now website. “I supported him when he ran for state senate. When he was a state senator he did say that he supported single payer. Now, he hedges. Now he says, if we were starting from scratch, he would support single payer.

“Barack’s a smart man,” Young said. “He probably calculated the political cost for being for single payer – the shower of opposition from the big boys – the drug companies and the health insurance companies. And so, like the rest of them, he fashioned a hodge podge of a health insurance plan.

“When I heard about the vote [to confirm Rice], I wrote him a letter,” Young said. “I told him I was disappointed in him. Rice was the embodiment of everything that was wrong with this administration. So, he called me back and he said ‘Why didn’t you pick up the phone and call me?’ And he said, ‘Do you think Bush would ever send to the Senate a nominee for secretary of state who I could vote for?’ I said you are the constitutional lawyer. It’s about advice and consent, right? You should have denied him your consent.”

The Communist Party USA seems to be thrilled with Obama’s win. WND reported earlier this week a newspaper identified with the party hailed Obama’s election as a victory for the “working class” and called on the president-elect to carry out his promises, including his noted commitment to “spread the wealth.”


To interview Aaron Klein, contact M. Sliwa Public Relations by e-mail, or call 973-272-2861 or 212-202-4453.

 


 



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