By MIKE ALEWITZ

The product of labor belongs to the producer!

On Sept. 23, 1886, the United Labor Party (ULP) was established by the Central Labor Union (CLU) of New York, Brooklyn and New Jersey. CLU was an early trade-union federation that helped in the formation of the American Federation of Labor (AFL). CLU was a revolutionary union, organizing both Black and white workers—it was led by pioneering U.S. Marxists.

The United Labor Party was one of several working-class parties that emerged during this time. All of these groups understood that workers needed their own political voice. They opposed the capitalist parties—an obvious viewpoint that remains the historic position of most unions around the world.

Unfortunately, in the U.S. we are saddled with conservative labor bureaucrats that function as poodles and gofers for the employers’ two parties. Their dreadful policy of “lesser evil” politics has left once-powerful unions as weakened job trusts, with moribund, class-collaborationist officials unable to respond to the current economic and social crisis.

About the image: In 1996, workers from around the country gathered in Cleveland, Ohio, in another attempt to form a Labor Party. The new organization initiated a number of important campaigns. Artists created the Cultural Workers and Artists Caucus (CWAC), which carried on solidarity activities using music and art. CWAC: https://docs.google.com/…/1TKNbBRdxfb2f0VFYiDEnUFEC…/pub

Despite a valiant effort by thousands of activists, the attempt was unable to overcome the opposition of the Democratic Party and their labor official poodles. We can and must renew our efforts to create a party that represents our class—the new “democratic-socialists” are simply re-packaged corporate politicians. We need a party of, by, and for the working class.

7′ x 10′ Airbrushed Backdrop for the Founding Convention of the Labor Party by Mike Alewitz/ 1996