What is in the Interests of Working People? Not Institution Telling People How to Live Their Lives

A party for working people would focus on health, education, income, and retirement security for all people. That means high-quality health care for everybody, a guaranteed job at a living wage or adequate compensation for unemployment and disability, an end to mass immigration and a return to domestic high-value industrial production, free public education through college for all who qualify and job training for those who do not (or do not wish to go to college), and a universal and guaranteed pension program. That’s it. Beyond these guarantees, life should largely be left to individuals to live as they decide. Indeed, guaranteeing basic rights to health, education, work, and leisure allows individuals the maximal degree of freedom to make something of themselves.

A party for working people would guarantee formal equality and promote in law and policy substantive equality. That means it would eschew the progressive politics of law and policies based on demands for equity and diversity. Such law and policies are discriminatory, privileging some individuals over others on the basis of group identities. Indeed, law and policies based on group identity should be categorically illegal. Proposed laws and policies should instead the necessity of individual rights and liberties regardless of race, sex, etc., for freedom’s sake. A working class party that represent all working people would demand that the government guarantee fundamental liberal and secular freedoms for all people, free speech, freedom of conscience, etc. It would explicitly reject political correctness and speech codes and vigorously protect the right of individuals to express their opinions and to be offensive.

A party for working people would operate on populist principles of individual rights and liberties while rejecting the progressive politics of perpetuating corporate power and class hierarchy legitimized by tokenism. A party for working people would promote a strong national government based on liberal and secular values and the ethic of individualism. Obviously, the Democratic Party cannot be that party. It is a progressive corporatist organization that works against the interests of working people and individual liberty. It pushes equity and diversity over equality and merit. It fragments the working class by promoting identity politics and multiculturalism. It interferes with free thought and expression. 

I hear people wonder aloud why working people would vote against their own interests by voting Republican, as if Democrats actually represented working class interests. Identity politics and political correctness are not in the interests of working people. Identity politics and political correctness comprise the hegemonic work of progressive capitalist power. This work is about fracturing the working class by identity and then subduing a patchwork of groups through tokenism while marginalizing other groups. It’s a divide-and-conquer politics. The Democratic Party is a dead end.

In light of this, it’s not difficult to understand why so many working class people vote Republican. They see in the Republican Party a negation of the work of the Democratic Party, the latter’s work representing a harm to their interests. Even if the Democratic Party guaranteed health, education, income, and retirement security for all people, it would still be objectionable if it did not also eschew leftwing identitarian politics. The Republican Party is not a viable option in the long run. But neither is the Democratic Party. Folks are going to have to come to terms with that fact.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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