Sandy Eaton, RN — Former chair, Legislative Council, National Nurses United
The United States has perhaps the most corrupt electoral system in the developed world. Our oligarchy rules through a two-party system which offers the illusion of choice, but the acceptable range of policy choices steadily shrinks and shifts to the right. Many struggle valiantly, but largely in vain, within this orbit to win fundamental victories over corporate control of all aspects of the economy. Every advance that is won is in constant danger so long as the ultimate power remains in the hands of the capitalist class.
As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for healthcare justice within our hospitals, unions, community groups and reform movements, I am frustrated and furious at our slow pace and at the blockade thrown up by industry elites and the State apparatus to maintain the deadly status quo.
In my home state of Massachusetts, for example, the Democratic Party has held a veto-proof supermajority in both chambers of its legislature for as long as anyone can remember. No matter who sits in the corner office, corporate control of our extensive healthcare system has been maintained and strengthened. Our single-payer healthcare bill has never been allowed out of committee for a floor debate and vote. The same is true of other efforts for fundamental change.
So many of our unions and community organizations are bound to the Democratic Party. This 2019-2020 presidential election cycle provides a good example of candidates’ posturing regarding the Medicare for All question. The Democratic Party and its elite are tied to finance capital, which now controls almost all aspects of the medical-industrial complex and for whom health care provides a rich revenue stream.
Only a militant movement of the working class, organized in the workplace and in the community, can lead us out of this morass. We need a critical mass of unions and communities, particularly communities of color, to break free of the Democratic Party orbit and speak out with a unified voice. Political independence leading to the formation of a mass political party of the working class will shift the balance of power and allow us to win — and hold onto — decent jobs, affordable housing, safe infrastructure and a sustainable environment. Our unity will grow to the extent we end the attacks on people of color, women, immigrants and LGBTQ folks.
We need a united front against austerity, racism, war and fascism, an independent political movement bringing together these streams of struggle into a mighty force. Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP) provides the basis for this unity in action for peace, prosperity, unity and hope.