Millie Phillips (Steering Committee member, Labor Fightback Network)
It has been my life-long dream to see a successful political party organized by and representing the U.S. working class. I believe LCIP’s approach addresses three main obstacles that, in the past, have prevented successful challenges to the twin parties of the bosses:
First, LCIP seeks to build a coalition with both organized labor, which is the only representative of working class people based on class alone, and oppressed and marginalized communities, especially people of color, who bear the brunt of anti-working-class policies. Past efforts failed to center this vital connection.
The ruling class of this country very effectively uses racism and xenophobia to prevent many white workers from recognizing that their interests depend on supporting others who are oppressed and exploited. Thus, any new party that rightfully focuses on the working class as a whole is doomed to failure if it does not address racism and other specific forms of oppression or fails to include working class activists from oppressed communities within its central leadership from the very beginning. Yet, no matter how grounded in oppressed communities, a party that fails to recognize and engage the power of organized labor is likely to remain limited to support within its specific base.
Second, while LCIP seeks to build a party that will run working class candidates with a realistic goal of winning, it recognizes that a labor-community party must be built by engaging the issues faced in local communities. LCIP wants to develop candidates willing to run on platforms democratically developed by labor-community coalitions and willing to be held accountable to these platforms once elected. Without accountability, most independent or third-party office-holders get coopted. And, no politician, no matter how loyal to working class issues, can win much without well organized, issue-based constituents who remain active between elections.
Third, LCIP is practical. Past efforts often have been marginalized by focusing on quixotic presidential or state-wide campaigns. LCIP wants to start locally and build up, recognizing that electoral law and the prohibitive cost of most elections make it virtually impossible for working-class independent candidates to win any office above the local level. If a new party wins in local elections, then it is in a much better position to gain the volunteer base and money to run successfully for higher offices.