It is almost certain that the John Lewis Voting Rights bill will fail in the Senate, thus shifting the struggle to the states and courts and in doing so making the expansion of voting rights more difficult. I would hope that Into this churning cauldron, the leadership of the AFL-CIO and its affiliates will jump to the challenge and leave its unmistakable mark. They are, it is fair to say, uniquely positioned to do so, provided, of course, the will and commitment is there. In so doing, labor would become a tribune of voter democracy and quickly earn the respect of its allies, especially in communities of color who are already in the fight and the first victims of this great scar on our democracy.

Some might think this is a distraction from labor’s other priorities, including the fight for higher wages and unionization, but such thinking is shortsighted and self defeating. In fact, the reverse is true. It is also a test of the degree of class consciousness and development of the labor movement and working class in general