Freedom Rider: Working Families Party Betrayal

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

As the Democrats bear steadily rightward, their so-called “progressive” camp followers do likewise. In New York, the Working Families Party endorses businessman’s champion Andrew Cuomo and, in Chicago, an SEIU local donates $25,000 of the members’ money to corporate mayor Rahm Emanuel. From compromise to collapse, the left-liberals and union careerists are on the road to oblivion.


Freedom Rider: Working Families Party Betrayal

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Working people have few champions in the smoked filmed rooms of politics.”

Supposedly progressive politics in New York offer a cautionary tale for leftists across the country. The Empire State has a Democrat-in-name-only governor, Andrew Cuomo, and a mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, who gets more credit for being progressive than he deserves. New York also boasts a party, Working Families, whose name implies integrity it doesn’t possess.

Andrew Cuomo came to office and made beating up on public employee unions his first priority. He forced state workers to take pay cuts allegedly in exchange for job security but then laid off some of them anyway. Cuomo stood by while corrupt Democrats in the state senate cynically switched sides and gave Republicans the majority in that chamber and deprived the people of representation they had voted for.

The governor’s strategy of currying favor with the right wing continues unabated. When de Blasio proposed modest protections for public schools vis a vis charters, Cuomo delivered a very public smack down, and gave the charters more funding and political protection than they have anywhere else in the nation.

Nonetheless, de Blasio was among the cheerleaders at the Working Families convention urging an endorsement of Cuomo’s re-election campaign. In a video appearance Cuomo said that he would fight the “ultra conservatives in the Republican Party.” His combative spirit didn’t last very long. Just a few days after Working Families took a dive on his behalf, Cuomo thumbed his nose by announcing more tax breaks for big business and singing the praises of his Republican friends. “The lack of partisanship in Albany is something that I am very proud of. Democrats, Republicans we're New Yorkers first and that's how I govern and I'm not going back.” He also backtracked on a promise to help raise the minimum wage across the state. “I oppose municipalities being able to set their own wage. I did and I do.”

Cuomo gave the charters more funding and political protection than they have anywhere else in the nation.”

The Working Families party and the unions who fund it certainly hope that voters are stupid. They first claimed that they wouldn’t endorse Cuomo but after having done the deed changed their stump speech to claim that the stab in the back was an act of political shrewdness. Pundits outdid one another claiming that the betrayal was proof of progressive power when it was in fact just the opposite.

The pathetic showing is evident not only in New York but across the country. In Chicago, SEIU Local 73 made a $25,000 contribution to mayor Rahm Emanuel, champion of pushing the neo-liberal agenda in one of the country’s major cities. Emanuel’s lay-offs of teachers and other public employees and attempts to cut pensions apparently aren’t serious issues for SEIU. In New York or Illinois or anywhere else in the country, working people have few champions in the smoked filmed rooms of politics.

Black Agenda Report coined the phrase “black misleadership class” to describe the politicians and movers and shakers who promote their own interest at the expense of the masses of people. Labor unions are also part of a misleadership class that does much the same thing. It is true that the attacks on public employees and the de-industrialization of America devastated big labor. It is also true that they often snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

In Chicago, SEIU Local 73 made a $25,000 contribution to mayor Rahm Emanuel.”

The card check process would have made it easier for workers to unionize but it was never a priority of the Obama administration or Democrats in Congress. You certainly wouldn’t know that it failed by looking at labor union efforts to reinstall Democrats time after time. The Working Families Party in New York State exemplifies a much larger problem.

Unions provide good jobs to left leaning people who, like the black misleaders, then become part of a self-interested group with pretensions of fighting for those outside. They then become even more powerless because they have no intention of putting up a political fight. Despite the assaults on working people by the triumph of finance capital and ever-rightward shifting politics, big labor and their allies could do more.

The Working Families Party in New York could have declined to endorse Cuomo. There was no down side to letting him swing in the wind. The WFP might have exacted concessions but we’ll never know because they threw in the towel and handed victory to their enemy.

There was nothing shrewd or brilliant about the Cuomo endorsement. It is just the latest pathetic effort which shows the decline of the Democratic Party and of progressives who claim they want to fight back. There are so many misleaders and so little time.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)


What a joke.  Why is the

What a joke.  Why is the Working Family Party (WFP) endorsing any Democrat?  Shouldn't the WFP run its own candidates?  What kind of political party endorses candidates from other parties?  I wonder if the sheeple will ever awaken or will they continue this charade of voting for one side or the other of the two-party mafia.  From the looks of things, it's hopeless.  While a few are awaking to reality the bulk of them remain as brainwashed and ignorant as hell.

Forcing financial donations to politicians is legal?

How can it be legal for Union administrators to force its member's dues into hefty financial contributions to politicians who clearly represent the 1%, as Obama and Hillary Clinton have clearly done?

In order to reduce the inherent corruption in arbitrary decisions allowed to Union administrators, it is up to Union members to put an end to this loophole "right" of Union administrators to arbitrarily choose who recieves hefty political donations, while Union members have no say on which politician is chosen. 

If Unions really did represent it's members (who are required by law to pay dues to it), then it would have a majority-rule vote for ALL MEMBERS to decide which candidate the Union makes it's hefty financial contributions to. As far as I know, there is no law that allows any group to force it's member to spend it's dues on funding unwanted candidates. And furthermore, Union members are owed any back dues for all unwanted candidates that Union administrators have chosen without their member's consent.

But if it is legal for Union administrators to force its members to have their dues spent on financial contributions to unwanted politicians, then that law needs to changed, IMMEDIATELY!


I live in Seattle.  I belong to the SEIU 6 local union for Security Officers and Janitors.  I am a huge supporter of Kshama Sawant and 15 Now and RIGHT NOW.

My union supported Mayor Murray's plan which everyone around is celebrating BECAUSE most I speak with have no clue how his plan caved to business by delaying implementation for years.  I was one citizen who spoke at a hearing with the mayor.  My overall feeling was that his support is/was tepid at best.  His plan also enables this to be defeated under others who could come into power.  I see this delay as kicking it down the road.  

I support the Initiative now being signed to be on the ballet for voters to decide.  The scare tactics of "how bad this will be for small business" is the most common comment I hear.  The prevailing rhetoric is coming more from the Big Business interests than anyone else.

THE BIG Bidness interests are here:  and they are lying to the people.

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