A Failure to Plan


For some reason I have been getting the Wall Street Journal on my porch every morning. Don’t know why. I would never pay for anything put out by the Murdoch right-wing Republican propaganda machine.

But with that said I have to admit I have run into some very interesting information I would not have seen in the publications I do subscribe to. For example, I have never heard of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council. Have you?

A full page announcement in the Journal reads: “The CEO Council will focus on actions business can take to forge a new partnership with the public sector, to address pressing economic issues, and to restore public confidence.”

Looking through the council members it is obviously a list of “movers and shakers.” It is a meeting of the ruling class. Murdoch is listed, of course, as is Secretary of Defense Gates; Time-Warner Cable (soon to be owners of NBC); Duke Energy; Aetna; The Carlyle Group; Harvard; The Yale Center of the Study of Globalization; Ford; KKR and the list goes on and on! Corporate Amerika — all plotting, planning and scheming on “forging a new partnership with the public sector ...” That is: how to turn more tax dollars into their profits.

Make no mistake about it the CEO Council is not planning for the community good or for the benefit of the American People. So it occurred to me — who is on the other side of this planning equation? Who is planning for the commonweal, the nation — for “We, the people”.

The most obvious organizations to take up the cause of the “We, the People” are the Democratic Party and organized labor. In theory both respresent more communal-community-cooperative forms of economics and politics. But both the Democrats and Labor have a big problem of their own. They don’t plan!

I spent the better part of 40 years either working or holding office in labor unions; I was on staff for the Democratic Party Caucus in the Washington State Senate and at times an elected party officer. Not once in those 40 years have I ever seen the Democrats or Labor plan anything long term — not at the local, state or national levels. They are the living example of “A failure to plan is a plan for failure.” As for Democratic failures, need we look further than the 2010 election? Organized labor has had no plan or strategy for the last 50 years and its membership shows it — going from 35% of the private workforce in 1955 to a mere 7% today!

The Democrats were handed a huge victory in 2008 by the Republicans but in two short years failed to keep the faith of its members or develop any sense of political direction. The unions spent millions and put thousands of campaign workers on the streets in 2008 and yet with a Democratic Congress and President they got nothing! It all spells failure on the part of both groups. Certainly not anyone the CEO Council need be worried about!

Since the election I have watched and waited in vain for an urgent message by the Democratic National Committee or the AFL-CIO to learn either group was reaching out to its membership to tap into their energy, talent and goodwill for ideas or innovation so badly needed by the two organizations. Nothing! The Sounds of Silence! Neither Labor nor the Democrats apparently learned a thing from the election. They have not learned that, being the kind of organizations they are, they cannot operate top down like their corporate counterparts.

The power of the Democrats and Unions are their membership — the people. Without them they are nothing — they have no power. And without a plan — a plan with input from those members — the CEO Council will have total control of the future because they do have a plan!

And believe me that plan ain’t going to make you happy!

Bill Johnston is a retired staff organizer of the United Food and Commercial Workers. He is a member of the National Writers Union (Pacific Northwest Chapter). Email wfjohnstonehs@wamail.net.

From The Progressive Populist, January 1-15, 2011


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