The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has launched a political education & leadership development program to articulate a uniform standard of skill sets across the national union to build, fight, and win for working people. The political activist training creates an ideological frame that unites all CWA political activists, creates an easy entry-point for new activists to get involved and also re-energizes our existing labor leaders and activists. Since 2013, the national CWA Political Program has been strengthening the working-class power of the union through training the membership to engage with the obstacles of our national reality and political economy today. This program serves membership who crave a deeper understanding of the political structures that impact our economic and social reality and how we can begin to build a working-class movement that will transform this country so that everyone can live a life with dignity and justice.
Today, we have seen the largest redistribution of wealth in our nation’s history, a Great Recession that has paralyzed communities and the lowest unionized workforce in decades. Still, many believe the losses working families have experienced are a force of nature and not created by people and institutions in power. Most importantly this training urges members to take action; by making it clear that if we — working people — don’t change our power relationship with the corporate power structures, then we are promised nothing more than the continued dwindling of the Labor Movement’s effectiveness and relevance.
This training is a tool for getting people involved in campaigns in their communities and states to bolster the interests of the working class above those of big corporations. It is through organizing and mobilizing CWA internally that the training has been successful at radically improving the membership’s organizing capacity. This has yielded a surge in the number of CWA activists, skills of these activists, people-power-building through our Political Action Fund (PAF), major local elections wins for progressive candidates who support CWA, and the working class struggle. The training teaches the importance of union engagement in broad social movements to build strong coalition and solidarity across rank and file struggles. We seek to build up a movement that fights on all fronts and all issues that impact the working class, from collective bargaining to voting rights, racial and gender justice, LGBTQIA rights and respect for the earth we live on. There are many fronts we must fight on, but one movement we are a part of.
The CWA Political Activist Training was first conceived after the 2012 election cycle by the National Political Director Rafael Návar when it was clear that there was a need for a larger and more sophisticated activist program that had a consciousness-raising component at its core. That said there have been many who have dedicated a tremendous amount of time, energy and creativity to make this program a reality and the subsequent revisions that have resulted in the curriculum you are reading today. We would especially like to lift up Osunbunmi Asili who has spent tireless hours leading the current revision process that included significant contributions from Kevin Cooper, Melissa Matos, Kate Shaughnessy, Daniel Carrillo, Hayden Mora, Margarita Hernandez, Derrick Osobase, Adrian Acosta, Bob Master, Rosita Lopez, and many others.