When did Montana’s political parties abandon organized labor? Oh I know you will hear loud howls from the left that it ain’t so and siren calls from the right the Republicans will bring back the good paying jobs in mining and timber; in the meantime, organized labor dreams of the halcyon days of industry and union density when Montana workers ranked 12th in the nation in wages. Guess what, the good old days are done and we had better damn well figure out what’s next because if we continue like we are then the Greg Gianforte’s and Steve Daines’ of the world will continue to warp Montana’s political culture and feed the working class to the wolves of the 1%.
And it isn’t just on the national level that we have lost our political way, we have continually elected representatives and senators to the state legislature who don’t care about solving problems. These demagogues meet for 90 days every other year and instead of doing the business of the state spend 85 days of the session using anything and everything as a political football to the extent that they failed an infrastructure bill on the last day of the 2015 session in a vainglorious attempt to come away with what the tea party Republicans, led by Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen, called a victory. This victory costs Montana communities across the state much-needed improvements of deteriorating infrastructure and denied thousands of working men and women the opportunity at good paying jobs.
Now we are in the primary chase and then onto the general election. This is the time for some cold hard truths! Montana will never regain its status as a mining and timber producing giant. Montana politicians have to get off their asses and help grow the state’s economy beyond the obvious; and labor has to let go of the past, stop flirting with the right, sleeping with the left, and figure out what’s next for Montana’s working/middle class. Finally, the rank and file members of organized labor need to realize that Montana’s political parties have abandoned organized labor because they, the workers, have abandoned their unions. The last Gilded Age lasted almost thirty years; we are at least a decade past that mark now. It’s time Montana’s working/middle class woke up and got off their collective asses and reclaim their future.
‘Maybe all men got one big soul every’body’s a part of.’