Richard Trumka’s warning for the new year

“…When democratic capitalism is managed in ways that fail to provide good jobs, working people will turn in desperation toward authoritarian solutions. This is the great lesson of the 20th century, and we face the threat once again today. In industrialized countries all over the world, working people have come to believe that the institutions of liberal democracy have failed to protect them against the ravages of globalization. The leaders who exploit those very real anxieties are interested in power, not helping working people.”

in Richard Trumka, “Don’t Let Trump Speak for Workers,” op ed in the New York Times, 12/27/16.

Democratic capitalism or authoritarianism… the AFL-CIO leader is right to lay out the stark choice. It is what Europe faced after the upheavals of World War I, and Europe did not respond well. Our country can do better today, but we must always pay attention to the lessons of  history… and the lessons of literature. Anyone who needs more clarity could never do better that to reread George Orwell’s Animal Farm or 1984.

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