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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion politics

OPINION: The Democratic Party does not represent the interests of the working class


Is the title too obvious? 

My friends on the political left have long known it to be true that the Democrats don’t represent the interests of the working class. The Republican Party doesn’t represent workers’ interests either, but only their most dishonest members would claim otherwise.  

So, if the left already knows the Democrats don’t stand with labor, and if the Republican Party knows deep down in their cold hearts the contempt they feel for labor, for whom is this column meant? It is meant for those dangerous compromisers – the liberals.  

The liberals that make up the Democratic Party must be shown to be the frauds that they are. President Biden has said he intends to be the most pro-union president leading the most pro-union administration in U.S. history. He had a chance to prove this on the issue of a potential nationwide rail strike. Instead of standing with the railway unions, he capitulated to the rail companies.  

Our nation’s rail workers currently receive zero days of paid sick-leave. This has been a main point of contention between rail unions and carriers. The Biden administration helped broker a tentative agreement between the unions and the carriers in September to avoid a possible strike. The agreement would increase pay for rail workers, amongst other things, but would provide just one day of paid sick leave. Four of the 12 rail unions – representing a majority of all the total rail workers – voted to reject this agreement.  

[Related: OPINION: The United States has never been a democracy]

And instead of supporting a majority of the workers, Biden called on Congress to force the tentative agreement upon them, once again in order to prevent a strike. Congress did just that, with overwhelming bipartisan support for disregarding the wishes of workers.  

Even the so-called “progressives,” the “democratic socialists,” voted to impose the tentative agreement on the workers.  

But, you might say, “these “socialists” also voted for an amendment which would grant seven days of paid sick-leave to the rail workers.” A separate amendment was doomed to fail in the Senate, which it did.  

It must be Charlie Brown making this argument. Nancy Pelosi pulled this same trick by separating the 2021 infrastructure bills – the weak bipartisan bill passed and Build Back Better failed. Now, the rail agreement the workers rejected passed, and the separate amendment failed. An agreement the workers rejected should have been voted down. Silly progressives! You’ve allowed the football to be pulled away from you once again!  

The liberal media have been the Democratic Party’s accomplices in crushing the rail workers. All one can read about the potential rail strike is how apocalyptic it would be for the economy. Supply lines would shut down, prices would soar, jobs would be lost all in time for the holidays.  

[Related: OPINION: Why American workers must unionize – and why that won’t be enough]

CNN’s Poppy Harlow had the audacity to pose this question to a labor leader: “Do you believe a strike is worth it if it cripples the U.S. economy?” 

This is, of course, the wrong question, or, at the very least, posed to the wrong person. Why aren’t the rail companies being asked if denying rail workers paid sick leave is worth crippling the U.S. economy? Why are the workers being cast as antagonists in the media?  

The answer is because the media, like both Democrats and Republicans, serve the capitalist class.  

It’s very funny to me when liberals critique various socialist societies for their one-party states. Sure, many of these states could stand to be more democratic. But the U.S. is a one-party state as well. Where is the choice for American workers when both parties are capitalist? With regards to the economy, is there truly a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans? 

I, for one, have heard enough meaningless words from fake socialists and “pro-labor” presidents. A worker’s party must emerge, one that actually seeks to represent the interests of labor. I don’t think such a party currently exists in America. Now is the time to build one. If the Democrats won’t serve labor, then labor must look to itself to create a party that will.  

Jared Quigg (he/him) is a junior studying journalism and political science.  

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