The decision of a handful of labor leaders to meet with Trump is an example, to put the best spin on it, of sectional, not class thinking. Class thinking begins with the needs and desires of working people as a whole. It is attuned to the unequal and uneven ways in which Trump’s policies in particular and exploitation and oppression in general scar the lives of working people.
It considers the struggle for equality to be at once organic to and independent of working class formation, consciousness, and unity. It is also mindful that the fortunes of the labor movement, especially now, depend on deep and durable alliances with its key allies – people of color, women, young people, immigrants, seniors, LGBT people, and many others.
Finally, class thinking is repelled by anything that normalizes Trump and his policies at this moment. If labor leaders are anxious to meet, meet with Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, and the leaders of various congressional caucuses, meet with the organizers of the Women’s march, meet with the new social movements, meet with Muslims and other communities of faith, meet with those who will immediately feel the pain of Trump’s executive orders and policies, meet with young people in the community and on campuses, meet with the editors of major news sites, and meet with the whole array of leaders of the broad democratic movement.
It is only in such conversations and the actions that come out of them that the worst of Trump’s policies will be blocked and conditions will be created for a new burst of freedom that insures economic well being for all, expands and deepens democracy and equality, respects difference and the preciousness of life, and safeguards peace and our planet in its beauty and diversity.