Unions Veer Sharply to the Left

March 22, 2019 Updated: March 22, 2019

Among the deadly sins is envy. It is a malevolent undercurrent, a dark side of human nature that despises success. And throughout history, envious people have sought to undermine and subvert the best in us.

Any effort to progress in society is sabotaged by this group of people. The late Dr. Jack Wheeler called it the Evil Eye. He quoted sociologist Helmut Schoeck, who describes it in “Envy: A Theory of Social Behaviour” as:

“A self-pitying inclination to contemplate another’s superiority or advantages, combined with a vague belief in his being the cause of one’s own deprivation. … Whereas the socialist believes himself robbed by the employer, just as the politician in a developing country believes himself robbed by the industrial countries, so primitive man believes himself robbed by his neighbor, the latter having succeeded by black magic in spiriting away to his own fields, part of the former’s harvest.”

How transparent that communist idealists claim to promote a world of selfless purity while promising their prospective converts a bounty of spoils to be confiscated from the “selfish” rich. Is it any wonder that all their “workers’ paradises” without exception devolve into ruthless, parasitic kleptocracies unable or unwilling to even feed their own?

Yet that’s what America’s radical left wants for us. Their entire edifice has been built on the primitive emotion of envy. We are seeing this agenda being acted out writ large before us on a daily basis now.

Much of America’s union leadership personifies that malevolent, destructive passion, seasoned with a healthy dose of greed, and they are using unions, often against the will of the rank-and-file, to obtain “justice.” They have become a poisonous spear, thrust deep into the heart of America’s spirit, and today threaten our very way of life. How did we get here?

Union History

Since their infancy, unions in the United States have been relentlessly targeted by communist activists. Virtually every radical leftist movement identifies with unions as organizations of the proletariat, and sees them as the vehicle to bring about their utopian vision.

The American labor movement was heavily influenced by socialist ideas, but union leader Samuel Gompers and his American Federation of Labor (AFL), founded in 1886, gradually drifted away, seeking accommodation with business. He believed in organizing skilled tradesmen. Restricting entry through trade unions would both maintain wages within those trades and provide greater bargaining power with employers, in order to obtain the trade unionists’ “fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work.”

Industrial unions sought to organize all workers, skilled and unskilled, in all industries, and had much more radical intentions. Communists, anarchists, syndicalists, anarcho-syndicalists, and other union radicals found their home in Eugene Debs’s Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, or “Wobblies”) organization, birthed in 1905.

The Wobblies used to be ridiculed in history books, but they’re still around, plying their trade, much of which has little to do with employee rights. For example, they have a Gender Equity Committee, a Friends of Palestine Workers Group, and a General Defense and International Solidarity Community.

The IWW openly declares its class warfare ideology: “The capitalist class of bosses, financiers, landlords, and their cops wage relentless and violent class war upon the working class.”

The preamble to the IWW constitution starts with the following statement: “The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.”

This overt statement of class envy reveals IWW’s primary motivation. Envy is the device used by all communists. It is also a lie. The U.S. middle class is better off than any other in the world. And while we might sympathize with America’s ghetto poor, the poorest U.S. citizen has more material wealth than most other people in the world, especially the communist world. The poorest people in the United States are better off than Russia’s top 10 percent.

Industrial unions believe in an eventual showdown with capitalism. They are willing to accept accommodation in the short run, but ultimately no reconciliation is possible. The radicals promise that once they obtain enough power, capitalism will be utterly destroyed.

The IWW uses, in its logo and flags, the red and black of the anarcho-syndicalists—i.e., revolutionary industrial unions, of which IWW is one. The same color scheme is seen in today’s Antifa flags. They are the same thing, anarchy and communism.

The left makes frequent use of symbolism. Former President Barack Obama described himself as “a union guy.” The night of his 2008 victory speech, he, his wife, and children all dressed in the symbolic red and black of anarcho-syndicalists. He was likely signaling his particular form of unionism to his fellow radicals. Michelle, meanwhile, doubled the message by wearing a ghastly dress featuring the ubiquitous red-on-black hourglass pattern of the black widow spider.

Purge of Union Communists

Communist activism in unions was undermined for a time. The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), an industrial union that had many communists in influential positions, began purging those members first under the leadership of Phillip Murray, then under Walter Reuther in the 1940s.

They were aided in this effort by the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, passed by Congress during one of two brief periods of Republican control. Its best-known provision was a requirement that union leaders sign non-communist affidavits, which were later declared unconstitutional.

As a radical industrial union, the CIO had been bitter enemies with the AFL, but over time the AFL began to accept industrial unions while CIO’s leadership became markedly less radical. The two organizations merged in 1955. The communists meanwhile, went underground, but never really disappeared.

Today, they are back with a vengeance, and this explains the frequent sightings of communists, socialists, and other radicals marching arm-in-arm in street protests with union members proudly displaying their union banners. Forget about “workers’ rights.”

This started in 1995, when the AFL-CIO elected the “New Voice” leadership team of John Sweeney, then head of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Richard Trumka, president of United Mine Workers, and Linda Chavez-Thompson of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

All three are radical leftists with communist ties. Sweeney is a proud member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the United States. Both Sweeney and Trumka received the Eugene V. Debs Award in 1994, along with writer and activist Barbara Ehrenreich, covert Communist Party member Howard Zinn, and a host of other radical leftists. Trumka told Bloomberg News that “being called a socialist is a step up for me.”

These three lifted the decades-old ban on communists assuming union leadership positions, and welcomed Communist Party members with open arms. According to news source WND, in 1996, CPUSA National Chairman Gus Hall stated, “The radical shift in both leadership and policy is a very positive, even historic change.”

And so it has been—radical, anyway. Trumka, who is currently president of AFL-CIO, personifies the thuggish attitude of today’s unions. As head of the United Mine Workers, Trumka called a strike in 1993, telling strikers to “kick the [expletive] out of every last one” of the UMW members who didn’t go along. After non-union employee Eddie Cole was murdered by a striking UMW member, Trumka said, “I’m saying if you strike a match and you put your finger in it, you’re likely to get burned.” Trumka and the UMW quickly settled a four year, $27 million wrongful death lawsuit with Cole’s wife when prosecutors threatened to release evidence from the trial of the suspected killer.

In that same strike, UMW thugs, according to the National Legal and Policy Center, “vandalized homes, fired gunshots at a mine office, and cut off the power supply to another mine, temporarily trapping 93 miners underground.” At a “Future of Unions” meeting in Detroit in April 2011, Trumka exclaimed, “Forget about the law; this is about more than that.”

The radical change in leadership at AFL-CIO signaled a change in direction for unions overall. The Democrat Party has always relied on unions for support, but most unions sought protections for American workers.

No more. As an example, today’s unions are by-and-large in favor of mass immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens, regardless of the cost to American workers. A practical reason may be to increase dwindling membership, but the greatest reason is political. Unions have gotten behind much of the Democratic Party’s agenda, regardless of the cost to its workers. And despite their extremism, today’s unions are influential in spheres you wouldn’t expect. For example, the AFL-CIO has a seat on the board of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Obama Era and Occupy

Both Trumka and then-SEIU President Andy Stern were regular visitors to the Obama White House. Trumka bragged that he spoke with the White House every day, while Stern gained distinction early on as the White House’s most frequent visitor.

Stern spent virtually all of his time using his union influence for partisan politics. He even learned partisan street tactics at the radical left training school Midwest Academy. Following his election as president of the SEIU in 1996, he announced that he wanted “every leader at every level of this union—from the international President to the rank-and-file member—to devote five working days this year to political action.”

With little doubt about his politics, Stern famously told PBS’s Bill Moyers: “We’re trying to use the power of persuasion. And if that doesn’t work we’re going to use the persuasion of power.” He went on to quote Marx’s famous slogan “Workers of the world unite,” and added, “It’s not just a slogan anymore.”

Stern helped write the infamous 2007 “Demographics Is Destiny” memo to billionare Democrat financier George Soros and other leftwing fat cats that described how mass immigration was changing the face of America and could obtain undefeatable majorities for Democrats. Stern was joined by Anna Burger, dubbed the “Queen of Labor,” and leftist insider John Podesta.

Stern resigned from his SEIU position in 2010 under a cloud of corruption, but went on to create a coalition of unions named Change to Win. He had earlier withdrawn SEIU from AFL-CIO membership because he wanted the AFL-CIO to continue to spend money on Democratic politics, while AFL-CIO leadership wanted to use it to build membership. Change to Win was the long-term consequence of his efforts to direct unions to more political activity.

SEIU is probably the most radical of all unions and has a reputation for violence. The most notorious example was the 2009 St. Louis, Missouri, town hall event when two SEIU thugs jumped and severely beat videographer Kenneth Gladney, a diminutive black Tea Party member. Despite video evidence and the thugs describing in courtroom testimony how and why they beat Gladney, they were let off.

In another case, hundreds of SEIU protesters swarmed the home of Greg Baer, deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America, blowing bullhorns. No one was home except his 14-year-old son, who locked himself in his closet until his father returned.

Eliseo Medina, who was an honorary chair of Democratic Socialists of America, held several leadership positions at SEIU until recently and may be the most prominent amnesty advocate in the United States. At a 2009 Campaign for America’s Future conference, he outlined the strategy for the Democratic left to “create a governing coalition for the long term, not just for an election cycle” by granting amnesty to illegal aliens.

Approximately 70 percent of Hispanics vote Democrat. At the current levels of between 22 million and 30 million illegal aliens in the United States, amnesty would give Democrats from 15 million to 21 million new voters. Game over. This is the real reason Democrats refuse to budge on the wall. They want more illegal aliens here. Unions have fallen in because that “win” would guarantee them unfettered power for the foreseeable future as well.

The American Federation of State, Municipal, and County Employees (AFSCME) has approximately 1.6 million members and is a member of the AFL-CIO. Until 2012, the AFSCME president was Gerald McEntee, a radical leftist who took control in 1981 following the death of former AFSCME President Jerry Wurf. When John Sweeney assumed leadership of the AFL-CIO, McEntee became AFL-CIO political committee chairman.

McEntee hired Paul Booth, co-founder of the aforementioned Midwest Academy. Booth had trained radicals to infiltrate unions. Now he could head the AFL-CIO’s “Union Summer” training camp, where he could teach the entire AFL-CIO membership to be radicals. Booth died in 2018 of cancer. Among other things, McEntee’s AFSCME partnered with America Votes, a Soros-funded operation that targets political races in key states and jurisdictions.

The public face of unions always parrots the latest leftist complaint. Professionally made pro-union signs are a familiar sight at left-wing protest rallies all over the country. From what appears on TV, you would think that the union rank and file are agitating for revolution. These days they are, but union demonstrations are conducted by paid professional agitators. This is their job.

Occupy Wall Street was not a spontaneous uprising but planned anarchy. Kalle Lasn, publisher of Adbusters magazine and inspiration for Occupy, is an anarchist. Lead OWS organizer Lisa Fithian is an anarchist, and even spoke freely about it in an Al-Jazeera-produced propaganda history of OWS. Signs of anarcho-syndicalism also are quite evident in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

United Steel Workers boss Leo Gerard joined Fithian in the 1999 Seattle riots protesting the World Trade Organization talks. He delivered 1,400 union thugs to help out. As an adviser to Obama, he freely expressed his Occupy sympathies to MSNBC’s Ed Schultz: “You’re … right Wall Street occupiers speak for us. They do in Pittsburgh, they do in Chicago, they do in Oakland, they do in San Francisco, they do all across the country. And I think what we need is, we need more militancy.”

In another article written by left-wing activist Carl Davidson, Gerard was quoted as saying: “We don’t have a deficit crisis; we have a jobs crisis. And we better face up to the fact that we have to hit the streets, kick some [expletive], and mobilize to do something about it. We know we can’t do it alone. The labor movement can’t work in isolation from the environmental movement, in isolation from the women’s movement, the civil rights movement, and so on.” While he was talking about jobs, Gerard was inadvertently acknowledging that unions are a piece of the whole radical left movement.

Until the election of President Donald Trump, the Occupy movement was one of the left’s ugliest and most blatant expression of the virulent envy motif. Unions supported, funded, and participated in Occupy protests nationwide and have assisted in its more violent expressions—but, like a syphilitic blister, it is merely the visible symptom of a toxic disease raging through the left’s political body, evident now more than ever.

As Trump brings unprecedented prosperity to all Americans, but especially minorities who are enjoying the lowest unemployment rates in history, and as his economic policies have engendered a rebirth of American industry, the radical left is literally clamoring for his head.

Role of the National Education Association

The Communist School for Social Research was established in Frankfurt Germany in 1923 under direction of the Soviet KGB. Known as the Frankfurt School, its goal was to “organize the intellectuals” to undermine the foundations of Western culture, and make it “so corrupt it stinks.” Following Karl Marx’s prescription to “criticize everything existing,” these scholars invented something called critical theory. In his seminal article “Frankfurt School: Conspiracy to Corrupt,” Timothy Matthews outlined critical theory’s societal goals:

  1. The creation of racism offenses
  2. Continual change to create confusion
  3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children
  4. The undermining of schools’ and teachers’ authority
  5. Huge immigration to destroy identity
  6. The promotion of excessive drinking
  7. Emptying of churches
  8. An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime
  9. Dependency on the state or state benefits
  10. Control and dumbing down of media
  11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family

In 1933, mostly Jewish Frankfurt School professors had to flee Nazi Germany. John Dewey, the pro-Soviet, so-called “Father of Public Education,” helped reestablish the Frankfurt School at Columbia University Teachers College. As an NEA council member, Dewey introduced the NEA to Frankfurt School leaders and critical theory concepts. The devastating consequences are now ascendant in our public schools, institutions, and culture.

The NEA has conducted periodic surveys of its members since 1971 titled “Status of the American Public School Teacher.” The results may be shocking. In every survey since 1971, the overwhelming majority of teachers identified themselves as conservative. In the latest survey, published in 2005, 55 percent of all teachers described their political philosophies as conservative or tending to be conservative. Only 45 percent classified their political philosophies as tending to be liberal or liberal. It does not seem to affect what they teach or how they teach it, however—that is dictated by the education bureaucracy.

Despite the conservative bent, according to the Center for Union Facts, “between 1990 and 2010, 93 percent of donations made by National Education Association political action committees and individual officers went to Democrats.” Between 1989 and 2012, the equally radical American Federation of Teachers spent more than 99 percent of their political donations on Democrats. Republicans got 0.7 percent. According to The Center for Responsive Politics in 2018, 98.7 percent of NEA political donations went to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 1.3 percent went to Republicans and conservatives. The AFT spent $20 million (99.97 percent) on Democrats, and a grand total of $6,500 (0.032 percent) on Republicans.

These figures underscore why Democrats and their union allies fight so hard to require union dues for all employees, whether or not they want to be in a union, and why they battled former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tooth and nail when he introduced public employee union reform in that state.

But despite loyalty to the Democratic Party, some unionists can’t overlook what Trump has done for the American worker. Last March, USW leader Leo Gerard said of Trump’s efforts on steel, according to Real Clear Politics: “It’s going to make it very hard for our members to ignore what he just did and what makes me sad is we’ve been trying to get Democrats to this for more than 30 years. … All we’re asking for is a level playing field and with the president has done is send a signal that he’s going to help us get a level playing field.”

James Simpson is an economist, former White House budget analyst, businessman, and investigative journalist. His latest book is “The Red-Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration and the Agenda to Erase America.” Follow Jim on Twitter and Facebook.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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