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Stern words.

I enjoyed the Q&A with Andy Stern ("On the Line," by David Bacon and Philip Maldari, April issue). I have held leadership in my union (AFSCME) and the Democratic Party. While Stern feels that "workers don't have a party right now that speaks clearly and precisely to their economic interests," it is obvious to me that no party on the horizon speaks more clearly and precisely than the Democrats. They may have to become clearer and more precise, but our grassroots hearts and minds are with the working people of America.

Labor was an impediment to the single most important piece of domestic legislation in the first year of the Clinton Presidency. Clinton's national health initiatives were successfully resisted by both labor and the Republicans. I remember chiding my labor council for its resistance. Labor was unwilling to give up its superior health benefits gained through collective bargaining for the lesser benefits that would have been provided to all by a national health plan.

Now labor and management struggle to contain health benefit costs. Instead of enjoying a national health plan, we pay more and more to provide less care to fewer and fewer.

If we are to be a nation that promotes social, economic, and political justice, labor and the Democratic Party must rebuild and strengthen their traditional alliance.

Kent Hanson

Everett, Washington

Andy Stern is right. Workers don't have a party right now that speaks to their interests, and we need to build an alternative to the existing parties.

If the millions of us who feel we no longer have a party see this as the opportunity it is and work together, we can get out of the political wasteland in which we have been left to wander.

The first step for each of us is to ratify our independence by revoking our party affiliation. The next is to urge everyone we know to do the same.

Independents now make up a third of the electorate and Democrats another third. If those of us who were dismayed--even outraged--by the Democratic Party's fumbling efforts in the last two Presidential elections can unite with the many independents who share our sense that these perilous times desperately require new leaders and new policies, we can form a new majority. An alliance of independent voters could change the way things are done.

Our votes do not belong to any party and cannot be taken for granted. They will be cast only where and when they are earned.

Robert Richardson

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Title Annotation:Letters to the Editor
Author:Richardson, Robert
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jun 1, 2005
Words:422
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