As the strike by some 11,000 film and television workers in the Writers Guild of America (WGA) enters its fourth week, leading Democratic Party politicians, all of whom played a significant role in blocking the strike of 120,000 US railroad workers last year, are being elevated and promoted by the WGA leadership as “allies” of the striking workers.
On May 19, the official Twitter account of the Writers Guild of America West (@WGAWest) posted a photo of Democratic Representative Adam Schiff with a bullhorn on a writers’ picket line. According to OpenSecrets.org, two of Schiff’s top 20 contributors to his main 2021-2022 political action committee, Frontline USA, were Comcast and the Walt Disney Corporation. The former was the second largest contributor, providing the aspiring senator $29,509, while Disney, one of the major studios writers are striking against, was his 17th largest donor, at $14,996.
The photo of Schiff, approvingly tweeted by WGA West, was captioned, “‘Live long & pay us!’ Rep. Schiff joins picket lines @paramountplus #WGAStrong #1u #WGAStrike.”
Far from supporting workers’ democratic right to strike, Schiff was one of the 211 Democratic representatives who voted to ban railroad workers’ right to strike by voting in favor of H.J. Resolution 100 on November 30, 2022. This legislation forced railroad workers to accept a President Biden-negotiated tentative agreement that had already been rejected by a majority of railroad workers for failing to provide sick days or wages that kept pace with inflation or to get rid of the hated and dangerous “Precision Scheduled Railroading” system, a major factor in the deluge of deadly train derailments.
In addition to outlawing railroad workers’ right to strike, since he was elected to Congress over 20 years Representative Schiff has been an advocate of every major US war beginning with the criminal invasion of Iraq that has led to some 1 million Iraqi dead.
As the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff played a major role in advancing the conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump was an agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This lie was used to channel opposition to the hated Trump presidency behind the first impeachment effort in a right-wing campaign, diffuse mass opposition and strengthen the US-NATO war drive in Ukraine against Russia, which threatens to spiral toward World War III.
As part of the bipartisan campaign to whitewash the historical crimes of Washington’s fascistic proxy forces in Ukraine, Schiff was one of dozens of US politicians who welcomed members of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion to Congress last year.
Schiff was not the only Democratic politician who voted to ban railroad workers right to strike last year promoted by the WGA on social media and on the picket line during the last week.
Fellow California Democratic Representative Barbara Lee, who is likely Schiff’s Democratic opponent in a potential 2024 Senate race, posted photos of herself on a WGA picket line also on May 19 captioned “Proud to stand in solidarity with the heart and soul of the entertainment industry...”
Likewise, on May 19, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted out a video featuring striking writers and their supporters in New York City captioned, “I stand in solidarity with WGAWest/WGAEast workers on strike for a fair contract.” On Sunday, the WGA East Twitter account favorably retweeted a post from New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “supporting” the strike.
While Sanders was one of only 15 senators who did not vote to impose the railroad contract last year, his maneuvering in the Senate provided his Democratic Party allies, such as Democratic Socialists of America member Ocasio-Cortez, an opportunity to vote for an amendment to add seven paid sick days and also vote to impose the contract.
The WGA leadership’s providing a platform for Schiff, Lee and the rest to grandstand and promote themselves and the Democrats is diametrically the wrong and indeed treacherous way to proceed. It is a form of lying to the writers about who their “friends” are. It creates illusions in this party of Wall Street and war and turns the writers away from basic truths about their own struggle: that it is a fight against the conglomerates determined to impose the crisis of capitalism on their backs. In fact, it is a fight against capitalism.
Why should writers believe that politicians like Schiff and Sanders, who are backing a fascist-infested government in Ukraine which has banned strikes and imprisoned and killed their political opponents, should be listened to when it comes to their alleged “solidarity” and “support” for striking workers?
The fact is the Democrats, no less than the Republicans, are representatives of big businesses and the financial oligarchy. They are not “friends” of American, Ukrainian, Russian or Chinese workers but their dedicated enemies.
Striking writers’ real allies are not to be found in the halls of Congress or in state capitol buildings but in the mass of the entire working class, located in tens of thousands of factories, hospitals and offices, at ports along both coasts and warehouses throughout the US and internationally.
The promotion of Democratic Party politicians by WGA leaders is aimed at cutting off striking writers from their true allies, their class brothers and sisters in the United States and internationally.
From striking Clarios battery workers in Ohio, to thousands of West Coast dockworkers, UPS, Amazon and other sections of the working class, who like the writers, face the threats to their livelihoods, including automation without compensation through the introduction of artificial intelligence software and the transformation of formerly full-time work to “gig” or “part-time.”
The fight against the multinational corporations and their Wall Street owners that dominate the film, television and nearly every other industry requires the building of the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees (IWA-RFC). Unlike the nationalist trade unions, the IWA-RFC is completely independent of all capitalist politicians and is aimed at uniting workers in a common struggle against the capitalist system.
Workers interested in fighting a class struggle for the radical transformation of society to one based on human need, not private profit should contact the World Socialist Web Site today.
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