Unions Have Embraced Anti-War Extremism, Report Says
July 7, 2008 - 7:23 PM
(CNSNews.com) - Labor leaders have established a close relationship with anti-American, anti-war activists as part of a move to the political left that began more than three decades ago, according to a recent report produced by a conservative think tank.
"Prominent self-styled 'peace activists' such as Cindy Sheehan, Leslie Cagan and Ramsey Clark rarely waste an opportunity to portray America as the number one obstacle to world peace," said Carl Horowitz, author of the report "Common Cause With America's Enemies: How Labor Unions Embraced Antiwar Extremism."
"What may be less known is the prominent role that many of the nation's labor unions have had in promoting this view," added Horowitz, who serves as director of the National Legal and Policy Center's Organized Labor Accountability Project.
"For more than 30 years, unions in this country have moved steadily leftward," the report stated, "forging strategic alliances with people who oppose America's rights of sovereignty and self-defense far more than they oppose war."
Groups in what Horowitz called "the tight and incestuous antiwar network that opposes U.S. interests, not just U.S. policy" include "Communist-allied organizations such as Code Pink, International Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R.) and United for Peace and Justice."
"Today, as during the Vietnam years," many anti-war activists "are casting America in the role of super-villain," the document argued. "Today, as then, they believe our enemies must have sound reasons for hating us.
"In other words, there are no bad anti-Americans," the report charged.
"But antiwar Leftists have a larger ulterior motive: discrediting capitalism and its main practitioner, the U.S.," the document claimed. "For them, the 9/11 terror attacks were sweet payback for the [alleged] wrongs we and our regional proxy, Israel, had inflicted upon the Middle East."
While acknowledging that "unions are no strangers to antiwar activism," Horowitz noted that "their embrace of anti-American antiwar activism is a fairly recent phenomenon."
Union officials presently serve as "high-profile players" in the "shadowy" anti-war network who "sign petitions, make speeches and steer member dues toward anti-American extremists claiming to further the cause of humanity," he charged.
These activities, Horowitz believes, are a radical departure from "the leadership of AFL-CIO President George Meany (1955-79) and Lane Kirkland (1979-95)." Those union leaders promoted what Horowitz described as "liberal anti-Communism," a mixture of social and economic issues with opposition to Communism under Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
The change, Horowitz believes, can be attributed to two causes. The first is the entry into unions by "New Left" activists, who "at once borrowed from traditional socialism and yet set themselves apart from it," while the second reason is "the growing receptiveness of union officials to their ideas."
"What made the New Left 'new' was its critique of elites in American society and its corresponding sense of kinship with 'the powerless,'" Horowitz wrote. "Capitalism was an unjust rogue institution, but it could be reformed so long as reformers could wrest power from the unelected, unaccountable few who set the ground rules."
The document stated that the relationship between labor unions and anti-war groups has intensified in recent years.
"By the end of January 2003, various union locals, central councils and state federations had passed resolutions opposing the pending Iraq war, including the American Postal Workers Union, the California Federation of Teachers and the Philadelphia Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO," Horowitz noted.
The report quoted Nancy Wohlforth, co-convener of a group known as U.S. Labor Against the War, who spoke at an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24, 2005.
"It's taken us 30 years, but we are here, and we're not going backwards, folks," Wohlforth reportedly said. "We took a step to get the message out that Labor is against the damn war, and that the connections between the attacks on working people and the war in Iraq have to be made.
"The unions have to be in the forefront of that struggle," she added.
Toby Chaudhuri, communications director at the Campaign for America's Future - which Horowitz claims is a "union-funded" group - told Cybercast News Service he believes the conflict in Iraq was caused by different partnership than the one discussed in the report.
"U.S. troops are mired in an occupation amid a growing civil war in Iraq because of a dangerous alliance between war profiteers and conservative lawmakers," Chaudhuri charged.
"From criminal mismanagement of Iraq's oil revenues to armed private security contractors operating with virtual impunity, this war has created opportunities for an appalling amount of corruption," he claimed. "Halliburton has become synonymous with war profiteering, but there are lots of greedy Republican fingers in this pie."
Union officials must 'disavow all ties' with liberal fringe groups
Horowitz said that "organized labor still has a way to go before it becomes fully integrated into the far Left." In the NLCP report, he recommends a number of actions to prevent that from happening.
"Union officials without delay must disavow all ties with groups such as A.N.S.W.E.R. and United for Peace and Justice," the report's author said. "Labor leaders who dance with the disloyal opposition know fully well that their partners are thoroughly at odds with what most Americans would consider core principles of a free society."
In addition, union "members need the tools with which to fight back," Horowitz said.
"Congress should repeal the forced-dues collection clause in the National Labor Relations Act," Horowitz wrote, "so rank-and-file union members are not required to subsidize subversion."
"Over the decades, the Left has shown they can be counted on to work against American interests," Horowitz said in the document. "Gradually, unions likewise are inspiring such expectations.
"Their members, and America at large," Horowitz argued, "deserve better."
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