Two themes prevailed at AFL-CIO’s global convention held in Los Angeles last week. The first was a deep indignation over the unbridled growth of corporate interest and money power in American politics. The second was a quieter understanding that the unions that once anchored people power in this country must reinvent themselves to survive. That reinvention depends on a new awareness among American workers that their fate is bound to the fate of workers worldwide.
The outrage expressed by convention delegates over the metastasis of corporate power and the rise of inequality is important and justified. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz emphasized, the unconscionable level of inequality in the United States is not natural. It is manufactured through legislative deregulation, regressive taxation, and the weakening of collective bargaining rights, all propelled by money power.
But more important is how progressives respond to the second phenomenon — the dispersal of people power and the vulnerability of the union movement.This article was originally published in The Huffington Post.