Why hasn't a Labor or other Working Class political party formed in the USA?

It seems as though the Republican party looks after the interests of the rich and the Democratic Party looks after the interest of the educated middle class, but the working people are under-represented. Both existing parties pay lip service to the working class during elections but either abandon the causes of the workers once elected or even worse work against their interests.

What do you think?

14 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well, I'd disagree somewhat with your characterization of both parties, though there's some accuracy in it. But as to your question--that's something that historians of labor continue to debate. Here's a summary of some of what they have found.

    The United States never developed the kind of clearly differentiated classes that were the norm in Europe. In the early US (1800s) there was a high degre of social mobility (not as much as now, but way more than anyone had ever seen before). In addition, the working class was not excluded from voting and participating in pubic affairs. The result, according to some historians, is that the social barriers that forced workers in Europe and Britain to develop a sense of class consciousness didn't operate as strongly in the United States.

    Another factor, some historians believe, is racism. This played out in two ways. First, because of mistrust between black and white workers, they never really joined forces even though from a political and economic perspective, their common interests against unscrupulous employers made this the logical course. Second, employers were able to use the racial divide to continually play one group off against the other (enlisting white workers to support excluding blacks from some jobs, and using black workers as strike-breakers. And so on).

    My personal view is that a third factor was ultimately more important, although the first two are unquestionably part of the reasons why a Labor Party never really took root in the US. Beginning in the late 19th century, and since, employers learned to work with labor leaders to a degree. In effect, workers did get some real gains (better wages, working conditions, and so on). In return, they pressed for--and got--a more co-operative labor force.

    Granted, the above is a very short summary--but it gives you the idea. Today, we have a somewhat different situation. Beginning in the late 1940s, the legal support for workers was gutted by the Taft-Hartly Act. At that time, 1 in three of all American workers were union members, and although there was no "Labor Party" as such, labor had real political influence, especially with the Democrats. We seemed to finally be on our way to a real balance of power between capital and labor., but Taft-Hartly, rammed through by the conservative GOP based on smear tactics and lies that "unions were communist" cut short the gains labor had made.

    Today,organized labor has minimal influence. Part of the reason is that today's reason is that today's unions are what Michael Burawoy ("Manufacturing Consent") calls the "internal state." Briefly, unions have been co-opted into "the system." They do provide some benefits and protection for workers, but defuse activism by providing formalized grievance procedures. Workers end up "consenting" to the system by relying on it. This also has the effect of taking the poitical element out of labor issues.

    A final point. Up until the 1960s, labor supported the Democrats. However , during the civil rights era, the GOP was able to use racist propaganda and worker fears ( as blacks entered the shop floor in greater numbrs) to split large numbers of whites away from the Democrats--and from labor unions, who supported civil rights. And that is where things stand today. Unions support the Democrats, but are so emasculated they really aren't a factor. Workers (white) predominate in the religious right that is the "base" of the Republican Party. They continue to adopt racist attitudes out of fears passed along from one generation to the next. And so remain easy for their employers to manipulate.

    The GOP caters to the rich--not the working class. They don't need to, because they have successfully used racism (and today, fears of Hispanic immigrants) to manipulate and control white workers.

    The Democrats admittedly don't pay as much attention to labor as they should. But the reason is simple--it's a dtwo-way street. The Democrats focus on minorities and the middle-class because that's where they can get support. Uniions support Democrats, yes. But the rank-and-file blue-collar white workers continue to cling to racism and persist on voting for rich Republicans.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Many still cling to the democratic party because it was once the party of the working class. The democrats held uncontested power because they were the party of the people. Well the people have to work for a living. That's the one thing we all have in common and that's the one thing that no party seems to want to represent anymore.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I plan on running for Gov. and making a Middle Class Party.

    More Power to the People and The Hard Working Class.

  • eyebum
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Most likely because we have a 2-party system here.

    While other parties technically exist, they have no political power. It is VERY difficult for a 3rd party to gain any political power in the USA, unlike countries that use a "parliamentary"-style legislature, like the UK, or Israel.

    Any member of the Dems or Repubs that leaves their party only does so to move to the other one. Joining a 3rd party would be political suicide.

    The only way a 3rd party will come to power is to replace one of the existing parties, and that will likely only happen with a MASSIVE scandal. Politicians do everything they can to stay in power, so even that is not likely.

    Revolution now.

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  • 1 decade ago

    There is a minor party called Working Families. But for now I would be happy with a strong Democratic majority in all branches.

  • 1 decade ago

    There are many parties, the first one that comes to mind is the Communist Party of the USA. I was shocked that there even was one, but there they are. It's scary they have a kind of scary looking logo like the soviets.

  • 1 decade ago

    "By supporting business, everyone benefits."

    No. I'm sorry but that is completely wrong. Let me guess, the wealth trickles down? The USA needs a true left-wing presence to bring about true social changes.

  • 1 decade ago

    simple... Republicans are good because it is good to aspire to be rich. Democrats are good because it is good to aspire to be educated middle class. Labor party is bad because it is a party where nobody aspires because the government will give you everything.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You post shows you have no idea what you are talking about.

    By supporting BUSINESS, everyone benefits.

    To quote John F. Kennedy, a Democrat who was also accused of "tax cuts for the rich" and supported "Supply Side Economics"... his response was brilliant... "A rising tide lifts all boats."

  • 1 decade ago

    Because we already have 2 major socialist (which is the same thing as "working class") parties in American, the Republicans and the Democrats.

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