AFL-CIO Goes All-In with Occupy

Union website hypes booklet from radical socialist economists.

The AFL-CIO has not been bashful about its support for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. And the union giant recently posted an article by Tula Connell hyping a booklet entitled “Economics 101 for the 99%.” The booklet was produced for the Occupiers by a socialist group called the Center for Popular Economics.

Connell wrote that the booklet will clarify “such concepts as the role of the Federal Reserve and the so-called austerity war.” The booklet is intended to “to help the ‘99%’ make a coherent argument for why we need to change our economic course.”

A glance through the booklet reveals standard leftist pap about the evils of capitalism and how the glories of socialism will make the world a better place. Strangely missing are examples of socialism’s actual track record. Greece, Spain and Italy appear nowhere in the booklet.

 (It does ask “why, if we are only to have a life expectancy equal to Portugal’s, we should spend over $4,000 more per person.” The simple answer: Portugal’s universal health care system is part of an unsustainable welfare state that necessitated a $100+ billion bailout by the EU two years ago. As a result, Portugal’s healthcare fees have doubled recently – not an easy pill to swallow in a nation where the average annual salary is $16,400 and income is expected to fall 3.25% in 2012. Other fun Portuguese facts: unemployment is 14%, a third of public hospitals are insolvent and, according to the Portuguese Society of Cardiology “1 in 4 Portuguese runs a high risk of dying of a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years, but only 30% of those at risk take adequate medication.)

The booklet explicitly promotes socialism to replace capitalism, and blames what it terms the “neoliberal paradigm” for the 2008 financial melt down. “Neoliberalism” is described as “tax cuts, attacks on social welfare programs, privatization, deregulation, ‘free’ trade, and anti-worker/union measures.” In short, neoliberalism is anything that moves power and resources away from the central government.

Some of the booklet’s prescriptions for what ails the U.S. economy:

  • “Repeal the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Raise the top marginal tax rate beyond 39 percent. (It was 91 percent during the Presidency of Dwight Eisenhower.) Eliminate the cap on taxable wages for Social Security so that income above $110,100 is not exempted.”
  • “Eliminate barriers to voting. Overturn voter-ID laws and all other laws that create artificial barriers to voting.”
  • “Create a socialist political party … to work within the existing political system to get socialists elected to every branch of government, with the end goal of having a socialist majority in Congress and a socialist President.”
  • “Build socialist labor unions, to persuade as many workers as possible to join them, and—when they have grown large enough—to bring down capitalism with a great nationwide general strike.”
  • “Use all available forms of popular resistance—strikes, occupations, civil disobedience, and so on—to build momentum for a widespread popular uprising. Those who support this approach are called revolutionary socialists. They envision capitalism being overthrown by large numbers of people confronting the authorities in the streets and occupying buildings and public spaces, as was recently seen in Egypt.”

If any of that sounds familiar, it’s because the Center for Popular Economics clearly states on its website that, “CPE supports and stands with the Occupy movement.” Among the economists of CPE are affiliations with an anarchist organization, the Union for Radical Political Economics, the George Soros-funded Bard College, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) – a socialist group also funded by Soros. At least one economist received a grant from INET, and another is featured on INET’s blog. Some of the economists, such as Maliah Safri, also participated in daily Occupy activities, and wrote to promote the Occupy movement.

The AFL-CIO has fully embraced the Occupy movement pledging to help Occupy “in every way, including working with Occupy DC and paid protesters to protest CPAC. All that is providing is in step with Big Labor’s increasingly strident hard-left positions and radical, violent rhetoric. At a Labor Day 2011 rally featuring President Obama, Teamster’s President James Hoffa Jr. warmed up the crowd, saying, “President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.”

Readers who find any of this news surprising shouldn’t. The Communications Workers of America, the AFL-CIO-affiliated that represents journalists, also supports Occupy.