JERUSALEM – The enactment of a “single payer” socialist health-care system; passing laws to make joining a labor union easier; raising the minimum wage and increasing labor union support – all these are just some of the policies the Community Party USA has mapped out as crucial for Obama to push through during his term of office.
Just days after the party’s official newspaper lauded the role of labor unions in Obama’s election victory, another article in the Communist Party’s Political Affairs magazine by leading party member and Rutgers University history professor Norman Markowitz outlined the kind of “change” he expects Obama to bring to the U.S.:
“For the people who elected Obama and the increased Democratic majority,” Markowitz writes, “‘change we can believe in’ isn’t about bailouts for corporations and banks. It isn’t about wearing American flag pins on your lapel. …
“It is about ending the post-World War II policies that led to the long-term stagnation and decline of the labor movement,” Markowitz writes. “It is about creating a national public health-care program more than 50 years after it was established in other major industrial nations, and handling a national debt which has increased 10 times since Ronald Reagan became president in 1981.”
Markowitz urges Obama to implement a “single payer” national health system, or socialized universal medicine.
“A ‘single payer’ national health system … should be an essential part of the change that the core constituencies which elected Obama desperately need,” he writes.
As an Illinois state senator, Obama publicly supported universal health care and previously expressed support for “single payer,” although he later waffled. 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.
Markowitz also expressed hope Obama will pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which he says would make joining a union easier and would relax current requirements on creating unions.
Markowitz calls for labor unions to “expand the base of union voters who supported Obama by nearly 50 points on Nov 4.”
In an article last week titled, “Special Interest or Class Consciousness? How Labor Put Obama in the White House,” Political Affairs reported on polling data released that revealed 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.
“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. … There will be no gap or letdown.”
In his article, Markowitz goes on to suggest how Obama can win many Americans who voted for Sen. John McCain:
“The best way to win over the portion of the working class in the South or the West that supported McCain and the Republicans is to create important new public programs and improve the social safety net. National health care, significantly higher minimum wages, support for trade union organizing, aid to education should all be on the agenda. These programs will improve the quality of our lives directly, giving us greater security and establishing the social economic changes that will bring reluctant voters into the Obama coalition. That is how progress works,” he writes.
The New Zeal blog, which researched connections between Obama and the Communist Party USA, commented: “The best way to determine the Obama administration’s likely agenda is to read the communist press. Very few US voters would have any inkling that the approximately 3,000 members of the Communist Party USA have a huge influence on the policy and direction of the Democratic Party.”
Markowitz seemed to anticipate such attacks, and claimed it would be strategically beneficial if “the right-wing propaganda machine” labels Obama’s policies as socialist.
“The right-wing propaganda machine will scream socialism, and that is also a good thing,” Markowitz writes. “Because the more socialism comes to be identified with real policies that raise the standard of living and improve the quality of life for the working class and the whole people, the more socialism will be looked at seriously.”
And once America learns to accept socialism as a good thing, Markowitz writes, the country can more easily be pulled even farther.
“A stronger left that follows the tradition of the Communist Party,” Markowitz writes, “in its unbreakable commitment to a socialist future and to educating people about the value and necessity of socialist policies in the present could follow.”
To interview Aaron Klein, contact M. Sliwa Public Relations by e-mail, or call 973-272-2861 or 212-202-4453.