1) Event sponsor: Blue Skies Campaign, Students for Peace and Justice
University of Montana, South Ballroom, Missoula, MT 59812
Wednesday, April 11th, 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM
2) Event sponsor: Missoula MoveOn, Montana Organizing Project, MACLC
Missoula, Missoula, MT 59808
Saturday, April 14th, 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM
Saturday, April 14th, 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM
3) Event sponsor: Montana Organizing Project, UNITE HERE Local 427, SW Mont. Central Labor Council, MoveOn.org,
Carpenters Union Hall, Butte, MT 59701
Saturday, April 14th, 10:00 AM until 4:30 PM
Saturday, April 14th, 10:00 AM until 4:30 PM
The following organizations have called for a 99% Spring:
Jobs With Justice, United Auto Workers,
NATIONAL PEOPLE'S ACTION (NPA)
Trapp, a former Methodist minister, was trained in community organizing by a Saul Alinsky protege named Tom Gaudette, lead organizer of the Northwest Community Organization in Chicago. Trapp is also the author of several books and pamphlets on community organizing, including Dynamics of Organizing, wherein he writes that “the professional organizer … sees the oppressed and the oppressor, those with power and those without power, and works toward the day when the roles shall be equalized or reversed.”
- Alinskyite community-organizing group
- Co-founded by the authors of the Community Reinvestment Act
- Focuses on "progressive social change" and "economic and racial justice"
See also: Community Reinvestment Act
Founded in 1972 by Methodist minister Shel Trapp (1935-2010) and activist Gale Cincotta (1929-2001), National People's Action (NPA), also known as National People’s Campaign, is a Chicago-based Alinskyite community-organizing group dedicated to "progressive social change" and "economic and racial justice." NPA serves as an umbrella organization for 24 groups in 13 states and Washington, DC.
One of NPA's top initiatives is its Immigrant Justice campaign, calling for “comprehensive immigration reform” that “includes broad legalization of immigrants” and “strong civil liberties” protections for illegals. Also advocating “strong worker protections,” NPA condemns “the cruelty of immigration raids.” Further, the organization supports “equal access” to taxpayer-funded “quality education” for immigrants regardless of their legal status, and is a steering-committee member for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement.
NPA co-founders Trapp and Cincotta are widely credited with having authored the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), landmark legislation that ranks high among the primary causes of the 2008 financial crisis. Blaming banks rather than the CRA for that crisis, NPA sometimes uses terms such as “credit segregation” to imply that bank lending practices are based on racism rather than on objective financial considerations. NPA proudly takes credit for having forced banks to invest “over $4.7 trillion … in low and moderate income communities.”
As part of its “Showdown in America” campaign, NPA in 2009 demanded that Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke “exhibit the same resolve toward helping families facing foreclosures that he displayed in helping bail out large financial firms.” Toward that end, NPA staged numerous protests – some involving hundreds of people – not only at financial institutions across the United States, but also at the private homes of some bank executives.
In addition to their work with NPA, Trapp and Cincotta also founded (in 1972) the National Training and Information Center (NTIC). Between 2000 and 2003, congressional earmarks steered millions of dollars in federal grants to NTIC, which in turn used that money to train community organizers. A subsequent federal audit and criminal probe (investigating misappropriation of funds and illegal lobbying activities) ended with the executive director of NTIC pleading guilty to undisclosed charges and serving five months in prison.
Cincotta was likewise a strong believer in the ruthless mob tactics of the Alinsky method of organizing, in some cases bringing hundreds of activists to camp out in front of officials’ homes until they agreed to meet with the protesters.
Since 2007, NPA's director has been George Goehl, who, before joining the organization in 1996, had worked as a “strategist and field organizer” for the Center for Community Change.
In 2010, NPA participated in a protest designed to intimidate bank lobbyists and to show support for sweeping anti-bank legislation which was pending in Congress. Other key organizers of the demonstration included the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the AFL-CIO, and Americans for Financial Reform (headed by Heather Booth).
In February 2011, NPA took part in a “Rally to Save the American Dream” (RSAD), which was organized as an expression of solidarity with Wisconsin public-sector union employees who were striking in protest against Republican Governor Scott Walker's state budget. In an effort to close a $137 million budget shortfall, Walker was proposing that state public employees should pay 5.8 percent of their own pension contributions (up from less than 1 percent), as well as 12 percent of their own healthcare premiums (up from 6 percent). In response to these proposed measures, NPA and its allies called for “an end to the attacks on worker's rights and public services across the country.” Moreover, they “demand[ed]” not only that additional taxpayer “investment” be used help “create decent jobs for the millions of people who desperately want to work,” but also that “the rich and powerful” begin to “pay their fair share.”
Other key participants in the RSAD rally included MoveOn.org, the SEIU, the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Color of Change, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, 350.org, People for the American Way, USAction, Democracy for America, the Daily Kos, Green for All, the Campaign for America’s Future, the Apollo Alliance, True Majority, the Energy Action Coalition, the United States Student Association, the Sierra Club, Media Matters, Campus Progress, the Blue Green Alliance, Progressive Majority, Health Care for America NOW, the Progressive States Network, Common Cause, Public Citizen, and Faithful America.
National Domestic Workers Alliance, MoveOn.org,
New Organizing Institute,
- Established by MoveOn.org in November 2005
- Grassroots program that trains young political organizers to work for progressive campaigns and organizations
NOI’s mission is threefold: "to train and support a new generation of technology-enabled campaigners"; "to consolidate and disseminate knowledge gained in the field of political technology and online organizing"; and "to conduct new research and post-campaign investigations that employ results-focused, systems thinking to make progressive campaigns and organizations more efficient."
The first NOI training event was held from February 24 through March 4, 2006 in Washington, DC. Approximately three-dozen trainees took part in intensive seminars and brainstorming sessions, followed by mock campaign simulations that were the capstone of each day's activities. Another training session was held in August 2006. According to NOI, "graduates" of its trainings would be assigned to "2006 Democratic campaigns in key roles." "After Election Day," said NOI, New Organizing Institute personnel would "help find participants another job, in the world of Democratic Party politics or in a progressive organization."
NOI training is modeled on Campaign Corps' "Campaign School," a progressive training program for recent college graduates, initiated by EMILY's List in the summer of 2005. The Campaign School selected and educated 41 young progressives and then dispatched them to work on key campaign races. EMILY's List is an organizer of NOI.
NOI also holds occasional day-long workshop/trainings for high-level campaign managers, party officials, political consultants, union leaders, and executive directors of leftist organizations. The goal of these workshops is to "fill that gap and overcome the insecurity and alienation felt by too many of our leaders about technology." Within the first two years, NOI anticipates introducing "hundreds of new, talented and trained online organizers and technologists into the job market."
Movement Strategy Center, The Other 98%,
Service Employees International Union,
- One of the largest labor unions in North America
- Donates millions of dollars to Democratic lawmakers and politicians who promote government expansion and higher taxes
- Assets: $69,750,737 (2009)
- Grants Awarded $0 (2009)
The earliest roots of SEIU date back to 1921, when seven small janitor unions combined to form the Building Service Employees International Union (BSEIU), whose members were mostly immigrant workers. Over time, BSEIU began to organize other types of service workers as well, including doormen, elevator operators, nonacademic school employees, healthcare workers, public employees, and people employed in such venues as bowling alleys, stadiums, and cemeteries. In 1968, BSEIU changed its name to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
With 2.2 million members across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, SEIU is today the fastest-growing union in North America. Representing both public- and private-sector employees, its mission is "to improv[e] the lives of workers and their families and creat[e] a more just and humane society,” particularly for “people of color,” who make up 40 percent of the union's membership. In its quest to recruit new members, SEIU aggressively pursues unskilled, low-wage service workers, who constitute the vast majority of its members.
By and large, most SEIU members work in three key service sectors:
- Healthcare: With more than 1.2 million members employed in this industry, SEIU is America's largest health-care union.
- Public Services: Representing more than a million local- and state-government workers, public-school employees, bus drivers, and childcare providers, SEIU is the second-largest union of public-service employees.
- Property Services: Representing more than 225,000 workers who protect and clean commercial and residential office buildings, SEIU is the largest property-services union in America. It is also the largest security union, with 50,000 private security officers and public-safety workers on its membership rolls.
Under John Sweeney, who served as SEIU's president from 1980-1995, the union initiated the use of "Muscle for Money" (MfM), an Alinsky strategy featuring highly aggressive, organized efforts not only to discredit and intimidate opponents, but also to pressure business leaders and public officials to support the union's agendas -- i.e., its desire to unionize additional workforces. MfM campaigns include such tactics as congregatingattending and disrupting company functions like banquets.
Moreover, SEIU parlayed MfM into aggressive "corporate campaigns" -- coordinated assaults, often conducted in alliance with social and religious activist groups, against the reputations of companies resistant to unionization. Such campaigns typically feature boycotts, picket lines, public demonstrations, literature distribution, letter-writing, and negative-publicity initiatives in the media. Corporate campaigns of this sort originated in the 1960s with "New Left" organizations like the Students for a Democratic Society.
SEIU would continue to employ tough, even violent, tactics long after John Sweeney's departure in 1995. In April 2009, California Nurses Association executive director Rose Ann DeMoro condemned the union's "ugly pattern ... of physical abuse and tactics of intimidation that have no place in either our labor movement or a civilized society." outside the private home of a company official to embarrass and intimidate his or her entire family, or
By the end of Sweeney's tenure as SEIU president, the union hierarchy was thoroughly saturated not only with his penchant for ruthlessness but also with his far-left politics. Indeed, as the socialist New Party was becoming established in the mid-1990s, the national newsletter of the Democratic Socialists of America characterized the young organization as essentially the “electoral arm” of ACORN and its allied SEIU locals.
Sweeney was succeeded as SEIU president by the former New Leftist Andrew Stern, who filled the post from 1996-2010. Under Stern’s leadership, the union's membership grew by more than 1.2 million.
Designated as a “527 organization,” SEIU in 2003 became a national partner in the America Votes (AV) coalition. AV, in turn, belongs to the so-called Shadow Democratic Party, a nationwide network of leftwing unions, activist groups, and think tanks engaged in supporting the Democrats. To view SEIU's fellow partners in America Votes, click here.
In November 2003, SEIU dispatched thousands of volunteers to work on the presidential campaign of Howard Dean. After Dean dropped out of the race in early 2004, Andrew Stern played a major role in persuading the Democratic nominee, John Kerry, to select John Edwards as his running mate. By June 2004, SEIU had already committed $65 million to voter-registration, voter-education, and voter-mobilization initiatives on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Moreover, the union pledged to assign 50,000 of its members as get-out-the-vote “volunteers” just prior to, and on, election day.
In September 2005, SEIU and six other unions -- the Teamsters, UNITE HERE, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Laborers, the Carpenters, and the United Farm Workers -- broke away from the AFL-CIOformed the Change to Win federation.
In 2006, George Soros's Open Society Institute awarded a $100,000 grant
In 2008, SEIU spent approximately $60.7 million to help elect Barack Obama to the White House, deploying some 100,000 pro-Obama campaign volunteers who "knocked on 1.87 million doors, made 4.4 million phone calls … and sent more than 2.5 million pieces of mail in support of Obama." During his campaign, Obama told an SEIU audience: “Your agenda has been my agenda in the United States Senate.... Just imagine what we could do together...Imagine having a president whose life’s work was your work...” After Obama's election, the SEIU became an enormously influential force in his administration: and to SEIU.
- Former SEIU lobbyist Patrick Gaspard served as the Obama campaign's national political director and as transition deputy director of personnel.
- SEIU played a key role in promoting the appointment of two Obama cabinet appointees: Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Labor Department secretary Hilda Solis, the latter of whom had previously received both money and ground support from SEIU during her first congressional campaign in 2000.
- SEIU secretary-treasurer Anna Burger was appointed to Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
- In May 2009, California officials reported that the Obama White House had given SEIU an unprecedented degree of influence in the negotiations over federal stimulus funds.
- As of October 30, 2009, SEIU president Andrew Stern had visited the White House 22 times since Obama's inauguration -- more than any other individual.
SEIU's positions on political issues of import invariably fall under the heading of doctrinaire leftism:
- Representing more immigrants than any other union in the United States -- approximately one-fourth of its members are Hispanic immigrants -- SEIU supports a path to citizenship for illegal aliens and has emphasized the need "to build a powerful, new immigrant electorate" that will support progressive candidates and causes. SEIU Local 1877 provided security for the massive pro-amnesty marches that were held in Los Angeles in 2006. At a June 2009 Washington conference sponsored by America's Future Now!, Eliseo Medina, SEIU's international executive vice president, said: "We reform the immigration laws, it puts 12 million people on the path to citizenship and eventually voters."
- SEIU advocates a taxpayer-funded, government-run health-care program. In 2009, former SEIU organizing director Margarida Jorge was employed as a national field director with Health Care for America Now.
- Viewing the United States as a nation where discrimination against nonwhites and women is widespread, SEIU in 2000 endorsed Pay Equity Now! -- a petition jointly issued by the National Organization for Women and two other organizations to "expose and oppose U.S. opposition to pay equity" for women.
- SEIU supports the Employee Free Choice Act.
- In 2004, SEIU endorsed the Civil Liberties Restoration Act, which was designed to roll back, in the name of protecting civil liberties, post-9/11 national-security policies such as the Patriot Act.
To boost its effort to create an ever-expanding supply of social activists and labor-union leaders, SEIU has established “Institute for Change,” a program that seeks “to advance social and economic justice by helping SEIU locals develop their leaders, strengthen their organizations, and increase the power of the labor movement.”
A noteworthy affiliate of SEIU is its powerful and militant, New York City-based Local 1199, which has more than 300,000 members and is the world’s largest union local. Sixteen years after its 1932 founding, 1199 was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee on suspicion of Communist "infiltration." When the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) split in 1991, several officials of Local 1199 took many comrades with them into the breakaway group, the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. One of those officials, Rafael Pizarro, also went on to help establish the New Party, a socialist organization that Barack Obama would join in 1995. At a March 2007 meeting, 1199's executive vice president Steve Kramer spoke enthusiastically about the role which CPUSA had played in building up his union.
SEIU has extensive ties to the community organization ACORN:
- Between 2005 and 2008, SEIU spent $9 million on ACORN training programs and organizing services.
- SEIU hired ACORN founder Wade Rathke to lead the union's national organizing programs.
- Rathke became the chief organizer of SEIU's New Orleans-based Local 100, an ACORN affiliate which he founded.
- SEIU’s local 880 in Chicago was first established as an offshoot of ACORN.
In the fall of 2009, SEIU's Anna Burger told a congressional hearing that her union had "cut all ties to ACORN." But according to a House Oversight Committee report, when ACORN changed the names of a number of its affiliates later that year, it transferred significant resources to several SEIU chapters.
Between 1989 and 2010, SEIU gave $29,140,232 to political parties and campaigns. Of that total, 95 percent went to Democrats and 3 percent went to Republicans. For a list of these recipients, click here.
Mary Kay Henry, who has worked with SEIU since 1979, succeeded Andrew Stern as SEIU president in 2010. She is a founding member of SEIU's gay and lesbian Lavender Caucus, whose purpose is "to facilitate open and respectful communication between the L/G/B/T community and the labor movement." She is also a member of the executive board of Families USA.
In February 2011, SEIU took part in a “Rally to Save the American Dream” (RSAD), which was organized as an expression of solidarity with Wisconsin public-sector union employees. For a list of other key participants in the RSAD rally, click here.
SEIU sponsored a May Day 2011 rally in Los Angeles, where many participants displayed banners openly advocating communism.
Also in 2011, SEIU sponsored the national conference of Netroots Nation. To view a list of other notable organizations that have sponsored NN conferences, click here.
SEIU has had many affiliations, past and present, with prominent leftist organizations and coalitions. For example:
- Beginning in 2007, SEIU was a member organization of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. Other members included Americans United for Change, Campaign for America's Future, Campus Progress Action, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, MoveOn.org, USAction, the United States Student Association, Vote Vets, Win Without War, and Working Assets.
- As of December 2008, SEIU was a partner of the Democracy Alliance, along with such key organizations and individuals as these.
- SEIU is an endorser of the Apollo Alliance, along with the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, ACORN, and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, among others.
- SEIU is a member organization of Alliance For Justice (AFJ). To view profiles of other prominent AFJ members, click here.
- SEIU has worked collaboratively with By Any Means Necessary on a number of pro-affirmative action initiatives.
- SEIU is a member group of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), a coalition of more than 200 national organizations. To view profiles of some fellow LCCHR members, click here.
- SEIU endorsed the October 2, 2010 “March on Washington” organized by One Nation Working Together, an event whose purpose was to inspire “an intensive voter-mobilization program for Election Day 2010.” For a list of other notable endorsers, click here.
- SEIU is a partner organization of the Global Campaign for Climate Action. For a list of additional GCCA partners, click here.
- America's largest labor federation
- John Sweeney’s leadership from 1995 to 2009 was instrumental in transforming unionism into a progressive cause.
- Gives tens of millions of dollars to Democratic lawmakers and politicians who promote government expansion and higher taxes
- Is the main proponent of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would outlaw secret ballots in the process whereby workers decide whether or not to unionize
- Supports government-run, universal health care and the open-borders movement
See also: John Sweeney Richard Trumka
The American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is the largest labor federation in America, consisting of 57 autonomous and international unions. It was formed in 1955 when the American Federation of Labor (AFL) combined with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). At the time of the merger, membership totaled 15,913,077. By 2010, the AFL-CIO represented 11.5 million members, a decline of some 4.4 million since 1955.
From 1955 to 1995, the AFL-CIO struggled for labor unity not only domestically, but globally. When George Meany (1894-1980) became president of the American Federation of Labor in 1952, he inherited a profoundly divided labor movement. He worked immediately for labor unification and, when the AFL and the CIO merged in 1955, he was unanimously nominated president, a position he held until 1979.
Meany’s 25-year tenure underscores the centrist liberalism of the labor movement during that time. Meany was a strong voice for human and civil rights, in America and around the world, speaking out against colonial exploitation of the developing world, supporting the state of Israel, fighting for the freedom of the states of Central Europe, advocating for Soviet Jews and supporting the fights against South African apartheid and against the military dictatorships in Spain and Chile. The federation was also a bastion of anti-communism during the Vietnam era. Meany invited Alexandr Solzhenitsyn to speak at AFL-CIO meetings and brought awareness of Soviet human-rights abuses to U.S. audiences.
Lane Kirkland succeeded Meany as president of the AFL-CIO from 1979 to 1995, continuing his predecessor's work for labor unity as well as his anti-totalitarianism. Kirkland supported America’s involvement in Vietnam and was instrumental in the AFL-CIO's refusal to endorse the anti-war candidacy of Democratic Senator George McGovern in 1972. During his tenure as president, Kirkland also used his power to funnel more than $6 million in aid to Polish workers. This aid, which consisted chiefly of cash and communications equipment, was considered instrumental in Solidarity's successful effort to end 50 years of Communist Party rule in Poland. President Bill Clinton awarded Kirkland the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.
After Lane Kirkland’s retirement in 1995, John Sweeney became president of the AFL-CIO and was able to repeal an AFL-CIO rule prohibiting Communists from being leaders of its member unions. Abandoning the blue-collar industrial unionism of the past, Sweeney, a member of Democratic Socialists of America, was instrumental in remaking labor into a progressive movement led by people such as the following:
- Linda Chavez-Thompson was executive vice president of the AFL-CIO from 1995 to 2007. She is also vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, which controls the Democratic Party.
- Steve Rosenthal worked in the Clinton administration and, in 1995, became AFL-CIO’s political director. On August 8, 2003, Rosenthal and feminist activist Ellen Malcolm founded America Coming Together (ACT), the most powerful of the organizations forming the core of George Soros’s Shadow Party.
- Former New Leftist Andrew Stern worked began working for the AFL-CIO in 1973 but later led the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) out of the AFL-CIO and became SEIU president.
- Bill Fletcher Jr., former education director for the AFL-CIO and assistant to President Sweeney, is also a leftwing activist. He founded the Black Radical Congress and authored the book Solidarity Divided.
- Richard Trumka, former secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, became president of the federation in 2009. That same year, President Barack Obama named Trumka to his Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
In 1997 the AFL-CIO was one of more than 100 organizations that co-sponsored and launched the “Progressive Challenge,” in an effort to unite their activities and talking points under a “multi-issue progressive agenda.” To view a list of many of these co-sponsors, which worked closely with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, click here.
Under John Sweeney’s leadership, the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions donated large sums of money to Democratic candidates. Overall, it is estimated that $800 million in union dues was spent on political campaigns during the 2000 election cycle alone; of that total, 90 to 95 percent was given to left-wing candidates.
During the Bush administration, the AFL-CIO charged that the right of American workers to form unions was under attack. Thus in the 2004 election cycle, the federation allocated $44 million to its (unsuccessful) effort to defeat President Bush's re-election bid.
As of December 2008, the AFL-CIO was a “partner” of the Democracy Alliance, along with such notable individuals and organizations as Patricia Bauman, Rob Glaser, Norman Lear, Peter Lewis, Rob McKay, Drummond Pike, Simon Rosenberg, Herb and Marion Sandler, George Soros, Rob Stein, the AFL-CIO, and the Service Employees International Union.
With the power of unions greatly in decline and an American public warier of unions than ever before, the AFL-CIO has sought in recent times to renew the influence of unions by expanding their membership numbers. In the 2008 campaign cycle, for example, the federation donated $53 million to Democratic candidates, particularly seeking support for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which (despite the name) sought to ban secret ballots for any workers considering joining a union. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka called the EFCA an “important part of the economic recovery program,” and he used his clout in the Obama administration to drum up support for this cause.
In March 2009, President Obama promised a group of union leaders that the controversial EFCA would become law. To gain further political momentum and support for EFCA, the AFL-CIO pledged to spend even more money in the 2010 midterm elections than the $53 million it had spent in 2008, focusing particularly on “six states, California, New York, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, […] especially around Senate candidates like Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).”
The AFL-CIO’s campaign for EFCA also targeted Democrats who “do not support labor.” As Gerald McEntee, then AFL-CIO chair of the Executive Council’s Political Education Committee, told the press: “If you are not with us, then you are against us.” One of the first Democratic politicians to come under attack was Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. When she spoke against the EFCA's “card check provision,” the AFL-CIO threatened to fight her and pledged $3 million to the opposing candidate for the May 2010 Democratic primary.
The AFL-CIO has also taken a firm stand in favor of comprehensive universal health care, which it views as a "basic human right." "[W]hile the market has an important role to play," says the union federation, "our government—as the voice of all of us—must play the central role in regulating, financing and providing health care." To promote such a policy, in 2009-2010 the AFL-CIO affiliated itself with a number of progressive heath-care groups, the most prominent being the George Soros-funded Health Care for America Now! (HCAN) and its ally, the Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN). Nick Unger, the health-care campaign training director of the AFL-CIO, was a prominent member of UHCAN’s board as well as a spokesman for its mission.
In 2009, Heather Booth served as the AFL-CIO's national healthcare campaign director.
An active supporter of the pro-amnesty, open-borders, immigration-reform movement, the AFL-CIO has planned and organized numerous "immigrant rights" rallies alongside such groups as the SEIU, the Center for American Progress, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Council of La Raza, and the National Immigration Law Center.
The AFL-CIO endorsed the October 2, 2010 "March on Washington" organized by One Nation Working Together. To view a list of its fellow endorsers, click here.
On December 5, 2010, John Olsen, head of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, was honored at a Communist Party USA awards ceremony in that state.
In February 2011, the AFL-CIO took part in a “Rally to Save the American Dream” (RSAD), which was organized as an expression of solidarity with Wisconsin public-sector union employees. For a list of other key participants in the RSAD rally, click here.
The AFL-CIO is a member group of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), a coalition of more than 200 national organizations. To view profiles of some fellow LCCHR members, click here.
The AFL-CIO is also a coalition partner in the Advancement Project's Voter Protection initiative, a partner organization of the American Dream Movement., and a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Rebuild the Dream,
Color of Change,
- Founded by Van Jones and James Rucker, a former director of MoveOn.org
- Accuses the Republican Party and the Tea Party Movement of engaging in “fear-mongering and coded racism”
- Part of the Net-neutrality lobby
Founded in 2005, Color of Change (COC) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation and an Internet grassroots organization. Van Jones (President Obama’s former “green jobs czar” and founder of Green For All) and James Rucker (a former director of MoveOn.org Political Action and Moveon.org Civic Action) created COC “to strengthen Black America’s political voice.”
COC advocates such empowerment as a means of combating what it depicts as America's systemic racial oppression. According to the COC website, “Hurricane Katrina made it clear that our lack of a political voice has life-and-death consequences. With no one to speak for them, hundreds of thousands of people—largely Black, poor, and elderly—were left behind to die.” As COC saw things, the supposed abandonment of Louisiana’s African-American population illustrated the problem of racism in America. COC’s leaders, moreover, have consistently accused their opponents of being racists and bigots, portraying instances of hate not as isolated aberrations in American culture, but as a central feature of conservatism itself.
COC’s founders are connected to some of the most powerful groups in the progressive movement and to the Democratic Party. Van Jones -- a close associate of Joel Rogers, George Soros, and the Center for American Progress -- was instrumental in creating the concept of “the green economy.” James Rucker, the current Executive Director of COC, followed his work at MoveOn.org by co-founding (in 2006) the Secretary of State Project, a “527” organization supporting Democratic candidates.
Like Rucker’s other organizations, COC aims its criticisms chiefly at prominent conservative and Republican figures. In 2005, the organization attacked Republican leader Bill Bennett for uttering “racist lies” and attempted to have him boycotted from the Salem Radio Network (which aired his radio show) and from CNN (where he worked as a commentator).
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in late August of 2005, COC collaborated with MoveOn.org Civic Action to screen the Spike Lee film When the Levees Broke, which alleged that the federal government had dynamited the Gulf-area levees in an effort to flood the black neighborhoods of New Orleans -- a view popularized most famously by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
In January 2006, COC initiated a Senate letter-writing campaign to galvanize opposition to Samuel Alito’s nomination (by President George W. Bush) to the Supreme Court. Alito “has consistently demonstrated his hostility towards laws that ensure racial equality and protect the civil rights of Americans,” COC claimed. “If history is a guide, Alito’s presence on the Supreme Court will put some of our most basic civil rights protections in jeopardy.” Notably, COC never clarified which rights it expected Alito to oppose.
During the 2008 presidential elections, COC was part of the progressive effort to associate the presidential ticket of Senator John McCain (and his running mate, Sarah Palin) with racism. In an open letter which it widely disseminated, COC declared:
“Senator McCain and Governor Palin, rhetoric at your campaign events has taken an increasingly dangerous tone that seems to ignore the precarious state of our progress when it comes to race and ethnicity. […] Supporters at your rallies and other events have used hateful language and called for violence against Sen. Obama yelling ‘kill him!’ ‘off with his head!’ and ‘bomb Obama.’”
Subsequent investigations, however, showed no evidence that these racial slurs and threats of violence had ever been uttered.
One of COC’s longest-running campaigns has smeared Fox News as a disseminator of racism and bigotry. Beginning in March 2007, COC denounced that station for “consistently attack[ing] Black people, leaders, and cultural institutions.” Moreover, COC launched a campaign to stop the news channel from co-hosting the 2008 presidential debates with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. When Fox News’ Glenn Beck exposed the radical communist past of Van Jones in 2009, eventually leading to Jones’ resignation of his White House post, COC began a letter-writing campaign to the CEOs of companies that advertised on the Fox News Channel, demanding that they pull their ads due to “Beck’s racially divisive rhetoric.” In September 2009, COC claimed victory, stating (falsely) that its efforts had led to Beck losing 50 percent of his advertising dollars.
In March 2010, COC began a campaign against the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party. Said James Rucker: “[T]he Tea Party movement has been marked by racially inflammatory and violent outbursts since its inception.” Added Rucker, the movement had vincreased its “venomous rhetoric” when “angry mobs flooded town hall meetings” in the summer of 2009. At a later date, Rucker described the Tea Party movement as “part of a growing pattern of violent rhetoric, racially charged imagery, and paranoid conspiracy theories.” Rucker also claimed that the Republican Party was complicit in this allegedly hateful phenomenon:
“Republicans officials have contributed to this atmosphere with fear-mongering and coded racism, and they have actively courted this element of their party.”
COC also champions “Net neutrality,” progressive legislation that would allow government regulatory control over the Internet. Like Free Press, which aggressively lobbies for legislative action in Washington, COC demonizes big telecommunication and cable companies, particularly Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. Such companies, COC argues, would impose a “corporate filter” on freedom of speech, making it “much harder for grassroots groups, individuals, and small businesses to compete with large corporations and well-funded special interests.” By May 2010, COC had organized an Internet campaign where 53,000 people petitioned Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski to “reestablish” government regulation of the Internet.
- Plagued by division, political infighting, and corruption
- Uses card-check to bully companies
- Supports progressive candidates and causes
On July 9, 2004, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE) merged with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) to form the politically progressive UNITE HERE! (UH). The new union grew out of a successful 2003 campaign against Yale University, in which UNITE had given financial assistance and manpower to HERE. Bruce Raynor, the President of UNITE from 2001-2004, was elected General President of UH, and John W. Wilhelm, President of HERE from 1998-2004, was also elected President but without ultimate authority. Wilhelm eventually assumed Raynor’s position when he was elected President of UH on June 30, 2009, at the union’s first constitutional convention.
UH’s history has been plagued by political infighting, bitter division, scandal, and corruption. In 2005, UH challenged John Sweeney’s leadership and withdrew from the AFL-CIO union federation to join the Andrew Stern-founded and Anna Burger-run Change to Win (CTW) coalition. Just four years later, in March of 2009, UH’s board voted to split with CTW and to rejoin the AFL-CIO. UH accused the SEIU, one of the member unions of CTW, of interfering with its membership.
The split, however, underscored a division within UH itself. Bruce Raynor and John Wilhelm sued one another and vied for control of key financial resources, particularly the Amalgamated Bank, with its $4 billion of assets and prime Manhattan real estate which UNITE had originally brought to the merger. The internal battle also threw the local union chapters of UH into confusion and violent confrontation. In early 2009, Raynor broke away from UH with 150,000 members to form a new SEIU-aligned union called Workers United, although the dispute between the two sides was expected to continue for years to come.
Prior to the merger, HERE had been beset by legal problems and charges of corruption for decades. In 1986, the President's Commission on Organized Crime stated that criminal infiltration of HERE had been going on for dozens of years. In 1995 the commission filed corruption charges and installed a federal monitor to oversee the union. Even when federal oversight ended in 2001, a National Institute for Labor Relations Research report alleged continuing corruption:
- In January 2001 New Jersey State Police announced they had charged five people with embezzling at least $71,000 from the union severance fund.
- In March 2002 a local union President in northern New Jersey was discovered to have paid $542,000 in severance to a former union official following the latter's expulsion from the union for associating with mobsters.
- In August 2003 a New York City union official was charged with stealing $170,000 from the local union, money he used to persuade a female clerk from going public with the fact that the official had used union funds to pay for his own sexual trysts with prostitutes.
- There is also evidence to suggest that UH President John Wilhelm once rigged an election at the union’s Local 1 in Chicago.
In 2003 and 2004, UNITE likewise engaged in illegal activity and was eventually found guilty of unlawfully accessing confidential personal information. In 2006, U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzel ordered the union, now a part of UH, to pay compensation to the employees of the Cintas Corporation.
Charges of corruption and shady union practices would continue after the merger in 2004. In July 2006, a jury in North California found that UH had libeled the Sutter Health hospital chain and was guilty of having acted with “fraud, malice, and oppression.” Later that month, UH was ordered to pay $17.3 million in compensatory damages for that conviction, money which would come directly from union member dues.
UH has also drawn criticism for its use of "card-check," the Employee Free Choice Act's controversial provision to ban secret union ballots. When Raynor was president of UH he stated unequivocally that “there’s no reason to subject the workers to an election.” UH has used the card-check policy as a weapon with which to bully companies into becoming unionized. According to Raynor, these tactics are highly successful because employers “think we are out of our minds and the result is we win … because we’re willing to do what’s necessary. We’re not businessmen, and at the end of the day, they are. If we’re willing to cost them enough, they’ll give in.”
According to a number of UH members, their union officials have pressed them to reveal highly personal information (about such tragedies as their past encounters with sexual abuse or alcoholism), and have subsequently forced them to recount these tales repeatedly to workers whom UH was trying to unionize; the UH officials believed that such stories would make an emotional impact on potential recruits and thus would make them more likely to join the union. This particular practice is commonly known as "pink-sheeting," after the color of the paper on which the private details are recorded.
UH has given millions of dollars in “hard” and “soft” money contributions to political candidates; the vast majority of these funds have gone to Democrats. In 2008 UH supported Barack Obama during the Democratic presidential primaries, running attack ads against Hillary Clinton that injected racial politics into the election.
UH is also a part of the pro-amnesty lobby on immigration reform and helped to organize major "immigrant-rights" rallies in 2006 and 2010.
- Most prominent group on the environmentalist Left
- Attempted to blockade ships delivering supplies to coalition forces in Iraq
- Leads environmentalist opposition to technological progress
Founded in 1970 as a loose assortment of Canadian anti-nuclear agitators, American expatriates, and underground journalists calling themselves the "Don't Make a Wave Committee," Greenpeace is today the most influential group of the environmental Left. Its stated mission is to "use non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and force solutions for a green and peaceful future." After a schism in the late 1970s, the various organizations originally comprising Greenpeace have today united into 41 affiliates and two main branches, Greenpeace USA and the Amsterdam-based Greenpeace International.
As their maiden act in 1970, a group of Greenpeace activists sailed to Amchitka Island, a part of the Aleutian Island chain, to disrupt an underground U.S. nuclear weapons test. They claimed that the test could trigger a powerful earthquake and a subsequent tidal wave that, as Greenpeace member Bob Hunter put it, "would slam the lips of the Pacific rim like a series of karate chops" and exact irreparable harm to the local sea otter population. The test went on as scheduled and did not produce those results.
During the ensuing years, Greenpeace conducted sustained attacks on the whaling and fishing industries, whose practices it claimed were decimating populations of those creatures. In the early 1990s, the organization turned its attention to the purported threat that chlorine posed to the world's water supplies. At the time, Greenpeace asserted that it would accept nothing less than the blanket prohibition of the element. "There are no uses of chlorine which we regard as safe," declared Greenpeace activist Joe Thornton, author of Pandora's Poison.
Strongly opposed to America's March 2003 invasion of Iraq, Greenpeace has strived to obstruct the war efforts of the U.S. and its allies. In January 2003, the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior attempted to blockade a British military supply port so as to "cut the military supply chain to the war in Iraq." Greenpeace staged a nearly identical action two months later, when the Rainbow Warrior led a procession of activist-laden rafts in attempting to blockade a joint U.S.-Spanish naval base in southwestern Spain and thereby prevent an American freighter from delivering supplies to coalition forces in the Gulf. Also in March 2003, Greenpeace activists tried to block off the residence of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, citing Australia's support for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein as their motivation. In the Netherlands, Greenpeace blockaded a ship transporting U.S. military equipment that the group claimed was bound for Iraq.
Greenpeace's current campaigns include the following:
- Stop Climate Change: This initiative seeks "[t]o go from a world powered by nuclear and fossil fuels to one running on renewable energy," so as to check the rise of "[h]uman-caused climate change" and to "avert the worst effects of a warming world."
- Save Our Seas: This campaign warns of "the crisis facing our oceans from the Azores to Antarctica."
- Protect Ancient Forests: "These magnificent ancient forests are under threat. … in the next 10 to 20 years, the world looks set to lose thousands of species of plants and animals."
- Eliminate Toxic Chemicals: "The production, trade, use, and release of many synthetic chemicals is now widely recognized as a global threat to human health and the environment."
- End the Nuclear Threat: "[T]he use of nuclear power has never been 'peaceful.' … the planet is left with the legacy of nuclear waste, which will be radioactive for tens or hundreds of thousands of years."
- Encourage Sustainable Trade: "The World Trade Organization (WTO) promotes free trade for the gain of private interests, over and above our health and the environment. … In essence, the WTO is a tool of rich and powerful countries. Poorer countries are losing out to the interests of the industrialised world."
- Abolish Nuclear Weapons: "Only when all countries pursue nuclear disarmament in good faith can we begin putting the nuclear genie back in the bottle by banning the use and manufacture of the nuclear materials at the heart of the bomb."
- Say No to Genetic Engineering: "These genetically modified organisms (GMO) can spread through nature and interbreed with natural organisms, thereby contaminating non-'GE' environments and future generations in an unforeseeable and uncontrollable way."
Taking issue with Greenpeace's anti-biotech stance, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore left the organization and now laments that the group has become "dominated by leftwingers and extremists who disregard science in the pursuit of environmental purity."
According to a December 20, 2005 New York Times report, "the F.B.I. investigated possible financial ties between [Greenpeace] members and militant groups like the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front."
Greenpeace is a member organization of the United For Peace and Justice antiwar coalition, the Win Without War antiwar coalition, and the Abolition 2000 antiwar coalition.
An expose of Greenpeace's fundraising practices carried out in 2003 by Public Interest Watch (PIW), a nonprofit watchdog group, led to a report disclosing that Greenpeace uses its Greenpeace Fund, a tax-exempt entity debarred from engaging in political advocacy and lobbying by the IRS tax code, to illegally direct funds to Greenpeace Inc., a tax-exempt organization permitted to engage in lobbying and advocacy but not to accept tax-deductible funds. PIW calculated that in 2000, $4.25 million was provided by the Greenpeace Fund in this way.
Greenpeace is heavily funded by many foundations, among which are the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Bauman Family Foundation, the Blue Moon Fund, the Columbia Foundation, the Compton Foundation, the Minneapolis Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, Ted Turner's Turner Foundation. The organization has also drawn support from numerous celebrities, including singers Sting, Tom Jones, and Elton John, who have sponsored its "save the rainforest" campaigns. In 2004, Greenpeace received $15,844,752 in grants, and held net assets of $1,893,548. That same year, the Greenpeace Fund received grants totaling $6,866,534 and held net assets of $7,532,018.
Institute for Policy Studies,
- America’s oldest leftwing think tank
- Has long supported Communist and anti-American causes around the world
See also: Samuel Rubin Foundation Cora Weiss
Richard J. Barnet Marcus Raskin
The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a leftwing think tank which was founded in 1963 with seed money (derived from a fortune made in cosmetics sales under the Faberge trade name) from the Samuel Rubin Foundation. (The Stern Family Fund also contributed substantial seed money to help bankroll the nascent IPS.) Samuel Rubin (1901-1978), who established the foundation that bore his name, was a dedicated socialist and a member of the Soviet Comintern. He was also the father of Cora Weiss, who headed the Samuel Rubin Foundation from its inception and played a major role in the funding decision to create IPS. Weiss' husband, Peter, served as chairman of the IPS board of trustees from the group's founding until the 1990s. He has also held prominent positions with the National Lawyers Guild, the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms.
To serve as the official founders and co-directors of IPS, the Weisses selected Richard J. Barnet (a State Department worker) and Marcus Raskin (an assistant to McGeorge Bundy, President Kennedy's national security adviser). The FBI would later identify Barnet as a "communist" and "a potential espionage agent" who not only had "known contacts with intelligence agents from Soviet and Soviet bloc countries," but was "willin[g] to use his position of influence with the IPS to discredit and undermine U.S. policy, both foreign and domestic." Raskin, too, had numerous socialist and communist ties. The Capital Research Center describes Barnet and Raskin as "two disgruntled minor officials in the Kennedy administration who found the American system of government unsatisfactory and who decided to wage political war against it."
IPS's founders and leaders tried to present their new Institute as a benign “progressive” group committed to participating in the democratic process, but their true objective was to transform the United States by altering public attitudes, changing laws, and reversing foreign policy through an Academy that reached every nexus of the national nervous system. And indeed, throughout its history IPS would commit itself to the task of advancing leftist causes. It worked with agents of the Castro regime and championed environmentalist and anti-war positions in the 1960s and 1970s; it declared against the Reagan administration's efforts to roll back Communism in the 1980s; it joined the vanguard of what IPS hailed as the "anti-corporate globalization movement" in the 1990s; and it furnished policy research assailing the U.S.-led war in Iraq during the George W.Bush administration.
According to a Capital Research Center (CRC) analysis, IPS holds a "political outlook" that is "classically Marxist" and portrays capitalism as the chief cause of human suffering, not only in the U.S. but worldwide. "Since its founding in 1963," CRC elaborates, "IPS has attacked capitalism as the scourge of the poor, the economic system that props up the nation-state, and the cause of war and 'imperialism.' Only the business class—the 'bourgeoisie'—prospers under capitalism. The rest of the world suffers."
As soon as IPS opened its doors in 1963, it immersed itself in the anti-Vietnam War movement. In 1965, Marcus Raskin and IPS associate fellow Bernard Fall edited The Vietnam Reader, which became "a textbook for [anti-war] teach-ins across the country." Two years later, Raskin and IPS fellow Arthur Waskow co-authored "A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority," a document that helped launch the draft-resistance movement. Further, the Institute organized Congressional seminars and published a number of books that challenged what IPS disdainfully termed "the national security state."
Also in the mid-sixties, several leading black activists joined the IPS staff and transformed the Institute into a base of support for the civil-rights movement. IPS fellow Bob Moses, for one, organized trainings for field organizers of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Council. A number of Black Panther Party members also found safe haven at IPS. One IPS employee, Jean Wiley, had formerly been a personal secretary to black militants Stokely Carmichael and H. “Rap” Brown.
The young IPS disseminated its ideology by way of “front” groups masquerading as educational institutes. The W.E.B. DuBois School of Marxist Studies, for one, was a Communist Party USA front seeking “to organize the people and to spread as widely as possible a knowledge of Marxism as the Science of Social Change.” IPS likewise sponsored the Venceremos Brigades, which, organized and trained in guerrilla warfare techniques by Fidel Castro's intelligence agency, covertly transported hundreds of young Americans to Cuba to help harvest sugar cane and interact with Havana’s Communist revolutionary leadership. Cora Weiss, meanwhile, helped establish the radical disarmament group Women Strike for Peace, which, throughout the Cold War, sought to derail American efforts to develop a nuclear deterrent against Soviet aggression.
In the 1960s as well, IPS staked out a spot near the forefront of the feminist movement and has remained there ever since. Institute fellow Charlotte Bunch organized a major women’s liberation conference in 1966 and later founded two feminist periodicals, Quest and Off Our Backs. In the 1970s, IPS staffer Rita Mae Brown published Rubyfruit Jungle, a lesbian coming-of-age novel. And in the early 1980s, the now-famous socialist Barbara Ehrenreich led the Institute’s Women in the Economy Project.
As IPS began to establish itself as a major force on the Left, the organization's Washington, DC headquarters quickly became a resource center for national reporters and a place for KGB agents from the nearby Soviet embassy to convene and strategize; further, they frequently tried to recruit IPS members.
Beginning in 1964 (and continuing to the present day), IPS held seminars designed to persuade U.S. congressmen and their assistants to support socialist ideals. These included "Housing and Property" seminars that promoted preferential mortgage-lending policies for nonwhite minorities who were underrepresented among homeowners. One such seminar in 1969 – which brought together speakers from big-city tenants councils, neighborhood legal services, FHA insurance, savings-and-loans entities, and the Shannon and Luchs Realty Company – was among the earliest in a long chain of events (another of which was the 1977 passage of the Community Reinvestment Act) that would eventually result in the U.S. housing crisis of 2008. Also in 1969, IPS conducted "Experimental Education" seminars for federal legislators and their aides; a notable guest speaker at these events was Bill Ayers.
The Liberation News Service (LNS), which became a news source for hundreds of "alternative" publications (with openly pro-Marxist perspectives) nationwide, was founded in 1967 with IPS assistance and became a propaganda tool for the North Vietnamese Communists. According to author David Armstrong, LNS had "worldwide contacts among Western radical groups and Third World guerrilla forces." (By the early 1980s, LNS would be defunct.) Still another anti-war propaganda front, the Dispatch News Service (founded in 1968), was bankrolled by Richard Barnet and IPS board-of-trustees chairman Philip Stern.
In 1973, IPS established an Amsterdam-based daughter organization known as the Transational Institute (TNI), an anti-corporate network (with hundreds of affiliates worldwide) that collaborates with labor unions, churches, environmental groups and other activist entities to slash corporate profits and dismantle the free market. As Marcus Raskin and Michigan congressman John Conyers wrote in a 1979 New York Times op-ed piece: "Government’s responsibility is to revitalize the nation’s economy through creative forms of public ownership."
IPS has long been as hostile toward U.S. intelligence agencies as toward capitalism and the American military. Thus did Marcus Raskin (in 1970) tell the group Federal Employees for Peace that “government agencies such as the FBI, Secret Service, intelligence services of other government agencies, and the military should be done away with in that order.”
The Center for National Security Studies (CNSS) was a 1974 IPS spinoff and strove to compromise the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence agencies. In 1975, Morton Halperin became the director of CNSS.
Also in 1975, the aforementioned Transnational Institute (which IPS had created two years earlier) came to the aid of Philip Agee, a onetime CIA agent who had since allied himself with Fidel Castro's Cuban intelligence apparatus. Agee in 1975 publicly revealed the identities of some 250 CIA operatives and then promptly took refuge in Britain; but when Britain announced soon thereafter that it planned to expel Agee, the Transnational Institute immediately invited him to Amsterdam.
Other noteworthy organizations that were launched and/or financed by IPS during the sixties and seventies included the following:
- The North American Congress on Latin America, which was created in 1966 as a New Left intelligence-gathering agency
- The Middle East Research and Information Project, which was begun in 1971 by IPS fellow Joe Stork, who is now a director with Human Rights Watch
- The progressive magazine Mother Jones, which was founded in 1975 by the IPS spinoff, Foundation for National Progress
- The socialist journal In These Times, which was established in 1976 and was funded by IPS until 1982
- The Institute for Food and Development Policy (a.k.a. Food First), which has spent years finding fault with the quality of America's food gifts to the Third World and helped give rise to Medea Benjamin’s organization, Global Exchange
- The Council on Economic Priorities, which received IPS money with a view to exposing corporate skullduggery and passing judgment on companies' social conscience
Cora Weiss headed one of IPS's most successful forays -- into Riverside Church in Manhattan; she was invited there in 1978 by the Reverend William Sloane Coffin to run the church's disarmament program, which sought to help consolidate Soviet nuclear superiority in Europe -- in the name of "peace." In 1982 Weiss helped organize the largest pro-disarmament demonstration ever held. Staged in New York City, the rally was attended by a coalition of communist organizations. During her decade-long tenure at Riverside, which became home to the National Council of Churches, Weiss regularly received Russian KGB agents, Sandinista friends, and Cuban intelligence agents.
In a 1978 National Review article, Brian Crozier, director of the London-based Institute for the Study of Conflict, wrote: “The IPS is the perfect intellectual front for Soviet activities which would be resisted if they were to originate openly from the KGB.” Five years later, 12 U.S. senators and 70 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to then-Secretary of State George Shultz describing IPS as an organization "which has for 20 years consistently supported foreign policy objectives that serve the interests of the Soviet Union."
In Target America -- James L. Tyson's 1981 expose of the Soviet Union's massive "propaganda campaign designed to weaken and demoralize America from the inside" -- the author states that then-IPS fellow Saul Landau "figured prominently" in "anti-intelligence activity and elsewhere in the work of the Far-Left Lobby." Tyson reveals that Landau, in a letter to a friend in Cuba, once wrote: "I think that at age 40 the time has come to dedicate myself to narrower pursuits, namely, making propaganda for American Socialism ... we cannot any longer just help out third world movements and revolutions, although obviously we shouldn't turn our backs on them, but get down to the more difficult job of bringing the message home." On other occasions, Landau advocated on behalf of "Revolutionary Socialism." (Now an author and filmmaker, Landau remains an IPS senior fellow to this day.)
IPS continued to undermine American efforts to combat Communism throughout the 1980s. In 1985, for instance, as President Reagan pressed Congress to fund the Contras in Nicaragua, IPS fellow Peter Kornbluh arranged for Senators John Kerry and Tom Harkin (an IPS board member at the time) to fly to Managua to meet with Communist Sandinista leaders. Convinced by the Kerry-Harkin report on the allegedly happy atmosphere in Managua, Congress denied the funds, though it reversed itself a few weeks later when Sandinista President Daniel Ortega met with his Soviet friends in the Kremlin.
Also in the eighties, IPS was closely linked to many of the Left's most prominent anti-war and anti-nuclear groups. Among these were the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE), the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Promoting Enduring Peace, Business Executives for National Security, the Nuclear Research and Information Service, the World Information Service on Energy, and European Nuclear Disarmament.
IPS's involvement in the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s, coupled with its crusade against "corporate-driven globalization," paved the way for the Institute to embrace the agendas of radical environmentalism. By 2011, IPS would emphasize "the urgency of the climate crisis," the potential for "environmental collapse," and the need for "transformational policies" that could bring about "solutions to global warming" while "protecting the 'commons'."
In 2001, IPS convened the meeting that led to the creation of the massive United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) anti-war coalition. The Institute subsequently became a steering committee member of UFPJ. Moreover, IPS endorsed a May 1, 2003 document titled "10 Reasons Environmentalists Oppose an Attack on Iraq," which was published by Environmentalists Against War. That same year, it was reported that IPS, in conjunction with the National Organization for Women, was making some of its Washington, DC office space available (at no charge) to the feminist antiwar group Code Pink, headed by Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans.
The consistently anti-American positions adopted by IPS are frequently expressed in tandem with condemnations of Israel. In February 2005, for instance, IPS fellow Phyllis Bennis published a commentary depicting the United States as a cynical manipulator seeking only to extract favorable deals for its ally, Israel, no matter how negatively those arrangements might affect the Palestinians. Bennis further denounced Israel for its efforts to “demolish Palestinian homes" (a reference to IDF demolitions of the homes of Palestinian terrorists and their enablers); for its "assassination policy" (a reference to IDF's targeted killings of Palestinian terrorist leaders); and for its "land-grab known as the Apartheid Wall" (a reference to the anti-terror security barrier designed to stop the infiltration of suicide bombers from the West Bank).
Central to IPS's worldview is the think tank's unyielding opposition to free-market economies. Viewing capitalism as a breeding ground for “unrestrained greed,” IPS seeks, through its reports and programs, to "create a more responsible society." In their 2004 book Alternatives to Economic Globalization: A Better World Is Possible, IPS director John Cavanagh and IPS board president Jerry Mander call capitalism "a system in crisis," and they appeal to "an alliance of leading activists, scholars, economists, researchers, and writers" to take up the ideological cudgel against globalization. Similar sentiments are purveyed by the Institute's in-house team of scholars, which in recent years has featured such radical activists as Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Gore Vidal, Norman Birnbaum, and Richard Falk.
In 2010, IPS helped organize the massive “One Nation Working Together” demonstrations which were held in New York and Washington.
Notable current members of IPS's board of trustees include Robert Borosage (who served as the Institute's drector from 1979 to 1988), Harry Belafonte, John Cavanagh, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jodie Evans, Marcus Raskin, and Katrina vanden Heuvel.
IPS's current major campaigns include the following:
- The Break The Chain Campaign seeks "to prevent and address the abuse and exploitation of migrant women workers through holistic direct services, leadership training, community engagement and survivor-driven outreach and training."
- Cities for Peace "is building a network of local elected officials who are working to highlight the local costs of U.S. foreign policy and to put pressure on the U.S. government to end the war in Iraq, prevent a military strike against Iran, and press for a non-militarized foreign policy."
- Cities for Progress is "a growing network of locally-elected officials and community-based activists working together for social change."
- The Drug Policy Project "combines scholarship with activism to transform drug control policy both at home and abroad. The Project works with the grassroots, media, and policy makers to shift away from the drug 'war' paradigm and its disastrous impacts on the environment toward holistic policies that address public health and safety."
- Foreign Policy In Focus is a project that "connects the research and action of more than 600 scholars, advocates, and activists seeking to make the United States a more responsible global partner."
- The Global Economy Project produces books, articles, films, and educational materials designed to "strengthe[n] citizen responses to the global economy." The chief objective is to delegitimize capitalism while emphasizing the benefits of wealth redistribution, collectivism, and socialism.
- The Inequality and the Common Good program "focuses on the dangers that growing inequality pose for U.S. democracy, economic health and civic life."
- The New Economy Working Group seeks "to address the social and environmental imperatives and opportunities of the 21st Century," focusing especially on "economic justice, environmental sustainability, and peace."
- The New Internationalism project, which was introduced in 1996 and is directed by Phyllis Bennis, reflects IPS's unquestioning faith in the righteousness of the United Nations. Focused on "education and activism aiming to change the failed and failing U.S. policies," this initiative strives "to challenge U.S. domination of the UN" while "help[ing] democratize and empower the global organization." The ultimate goal is to hamstring American foreign policy and bring it under the control of the UN -- an objective founded upon the planted axiom that the United States is a rogue nation that poses a grave threat to international peace and stability. Phyllis Bennis made this point succinctly in a 2002 article wherein she asked: "Haven't we -- and the rest of the world -- had enough of Washington's rogue behavior?"
- The Nuclear Policy Project focuses on three issues: "strategic integration of nuclear material management into nuclear arsenal reductions and ending production of nuclear explosives; accountability of the nuclear weapons states to their citizens relative to social, environmental, safety, and health impacts; and structural collapse of Cold War nuclear institutions."
- The OtherWords project, formerly known as Minuteman Media, "distributes commentary and cartoons aimed at making progressive analysis more ubiquitous in the national conversation." This project sends a weekly editorial package -- free-of-charge and publication-ready -- to some 1,700 newspaper editors.
- The Paths for Reconstruction in the 21st Century project "links knowledge to the betterment of the human condition through thinking and practical action." The project is "based on the assumption that a renaissance of moral action and thought is on the immediate horizon."
- The Social Action and Leadership School for Activists offers "affordable evening classes in Washington, D.C., to make D.C.-based activists and organizations more effective."
- The Sustainable Energy and Economy Network "works in partnership with citizens groups nationally and globally on environment, human rights and development issues with a particular focus on energy, climate change, environmental justice, gender equity, and economic issues, particularly as these play out in North-South relations."
Financial support for IPS comes from such foundations as the Ford Foundation, the Ploughshares Fund, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Arca Foundation, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the Compton Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Energy Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Tides Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Surdna Foundation, the Town Creek Foundation, and the Turner Foundation.
 James L. Tyson, Target America (Chicago: Regnery Gateway, 1981), p. 2.
 Ibid., pp. 201, 209.
PICO National Network, New Bottom Line, Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, SNCC Legacy Project, United Steel Workers,
National Education Association,
- America's largest labor union
- Advocates leftist positions on a host of issues, including abortion, sex education, teen pregnancy, school prayer, socialized medicine, affordable housing, drug testing, prisoner rights, bilingual education, global warming, and health care
- Opposes merit pay for teachers
- Opposes school vouchers
- Ranks among the leading funders of the Democratic Party
- Has contributed vast sums to many leftwing organizations
- Assets: $143,563,347 (2009)
- Grants Received: $352,393,169 (2009)
- Grants Awarded: $114,391,503 (2009)
Based in Washington, DC, the 3.1 million-member National Education Association (NEA) is the largest labor union in the United States. It represents public school teachers and support personnel; faculty and staffers in colleges and universities; retired educators; and college students preparing to become teachers. The NEA’s mission is “to advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.”
The NEA pursues these goals through its 14,000+ local affiliate organizations (which are active in fundraising, conducting professional workshops, and negotiating teacher contracts); its 51 state affiliates (which “lobby legislators for the resources schools need”); and its Washington, DC-based national headquarters (which “lobbies Congress and federal agencies on behalf of its members and public schools, supports and coordinates innovative projects, works with other education organizations and friends of public education, [and] provides training and assistance to its affiliates”).
The NEA was founded in 1850 as the National Teachers Association, and adopted its present name in 1857. Promoting government-owned public schools and “modern” pedagogical ideas, this union permitted no private school teachers to join its ranks. These government-owned-and-run schools were modeled on statist European education in Prussia, and attracted socialist activist teachers who saw public school students as perfect subjects for re-engineering society. That remolding began with the anti-Catholic objectives of Horace Mann (1796-1859) and expanded to the anti-religious humanism of John Dewey (1859-1952).
In a 1935 report presented at the 72nd annual NEA convention, the union's future Executive Secretary Willard Givens wrote: “A dying laissez-faire must be completely destroyed and all of us … must be subjected to a large degree of social control…. The major function of the school is the social orientation of the individual. It must seek to give him understanding of the transition to a new social order.”
In a 2003 article titled “NEA Hastens Death of American Education,” veteran journalist Ralph de Toledano wrote that in 1938 “the Institute for Social Research, founded by the Comintern, appeared on the Columbia University campus, taking over the Teachers College, the country’s most influential school of education.” “Better known as the Frankfurt School,” de Toledano continued, “… [the Institute] eschewed the economic aspects of Marxism and promulgated a substitute based on Marx’s 1843 preachments. Later labeled neo-Marxism, the program called for the destruction of religion, the family, education and all moral values, along with the capture of the intellectuals and the instruments of mass communication such as the press, radio and films. To this it appended a new Freudianism, which reduced human relationships to rampant sexuality and the grossest pleasure principles -- a program its secret founder boasted ‘will make America stink.’”
Added de Tolenado: “The Frankfurt School’s program, implemented by the NEA, made the goal of education not to educate the young but to give them an anarchic ‘self-esteem’ and deprive them of any sense of what’s wrong or right ... [a]nd it preached the alienation of children from parental guidance, urging them to ‘inform’ on their families, as in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.”
The NEA’s explicitly stated quest to “foster positive self-esteem” in schoolchildren continues to this day. In his book Inside American Education, Thomas Sowell observes: “Perhaps nothing so captures what is wrong with American schools as the results of an international study of 13-year-olds which found that Koreans ranked first in mathematics and Americans last. When asked if they thought they were ‘good at mathematics,’ only 23 percent of Korean youngsters said ‘yes’ -- compared to 68 percent of American 13-year-olds. The American educational dogma that students should ‘feel good about themselves’ was a success in its own terms -- though not in any other terms.”
As of 1957, the NEA had more than 700,000 members. (By way of comparison, in 1907 the union's membership had stood at 5,044; in 1917 it was fewer than 9,000; and by the World War II era it was just over 200,000.)
In 1966 the NEA merged with the historically black American Teachers Association (ATA), which was originally founded as the National Association of Colored Teachers. The NEA and ATA had long enjoyed a close working relationship prior to the merger.
In the 1960s and 1970s, teachers were becoming unionized at a faster pace than ever before. Precisely at this time, student SAT scores, a popular and objective achievement barometer, deteriorated dramatically. Confronted by this embarrassing fact, the NEA responded by calling for the abolition of standardized testing of students.
At the 1976 NEA Annual Conference, NEA president Catherine Barrett delivered a speech in which she made the following comments regarding what she viewed as the changing role of the teacher:
"[D]ramatic changes in the way we raise our children in the year 2000 are indicated particularly in terms of schooling, and ... these changes will require new ways of thinking...
"We will need to recognize that the so-called 'basic skills,' which currently represent nearly the total effort in elementary schools, will be taught in one quarter of the present school day. The remaining time will be devoted to what is truly fundamental and basic—time for academic inquiry, time for students to develop their own interests, time for a dialogue between students and teachers. When this happens—and it is near—the teacher can rise to his true calling. More than a dispenser of information, the teacher will be a conveyor of values, a philosopher. Students will learn to write love letters and lab notes. We will help each child build his own rocket to his own moon....
"Finally, if our children are to be human beings who think clearly, feel deeply, and act wisely, we will answer definitely the question 'Who should make what decisions?' Teachers no longer will be victims of change; we will be the agents of change."
In recent decades the NEA has been outspoken about its positions vis a vis a host of social and political topics, including abortion, sex education, teen pregnancy, school prayer, socialized medicine, affordable housing, drug testing, prisoner rights, and bilingual education. In July 1997 the union formally adopted a series of resolutions that called for:
- “making available all methods of [taxpayer-funded] family planning to women and men unable to take advantage of private facilities,” and “the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel”
- “sex education programs, including information on ... birth control and family planning ... [and] diversity of sexual orientation”
- “programs for [teen parents] that include flexible scheduling and attendance policies, development of self-esteem, on-site child care services ...”
- opposition to “any federal legislation or mandate that would require school districts to schedule a moment of silence”
- a rejection of “efforts to legislate English as the official language, [which] disregard cultural pluralism [and] deprive those in need of education, social services, and employment”
- “programs [that] increase acceptance of, and sensitivity to, gays and lesbians”
- increases in Social Security funding
- the prohibition of “mandatory and/or random drug and alcohol testing of employees and job applicants,” on grounds that it “is an unwarranted and unconstitutional invasion of privacy”
The NEA also specifically advocated:
- statehood for the District of Columbia
- the reparation of American Indian remains
- a nuclear freeze by the United States military (Notably, the NEA currently endorses the anti-military-recruitment organization Leave My Child Alone, which is a project of Working Assets, ACORN, and Mainstreet Moms Operation Blue.)
- “affordable, comprehensive health care [as] the right of every [U.S.] resident”
- the notion that “all members of our society have the right to adequate housing”
- the idea that “incarcerated persons … are entitled to equal access to educational, recreational, and rehabilitative programs within all correctional systems”
Nine years later, at its 2006 national convention, the NEA proposed that all public schools should unequivocally support homosexual marriage and other forms of marriage (polygamy, etc.). In the NEA’s view, this perspective should be transmitted -- via classroom instruction and textbooks alike -- to all children at all age levels, without any requirement for the permission or knowledge of parents.
At its 2007 national convention in Philadelphia, the NEA passed a number of additional resolutions -- some founded on the axiom that American society is inherently discriminatory and unjust, and others advocating massive increases in taxpayer funding of school programs and extra-curricular activities. For example, the NEA stated that:
- “funds must be provided … to eliminate portrayal of race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identification stereotypes in the public schools”
- “full-day, every day kindergarten programs should be fully funded”
- “federal, state, and ... local governments should provide funds sufficient to make pre-kindergarten available for all three- and four-year-old children”
- tax dollars should “suppor[t] early childhood education programs in the public schools for children from birth through age eight”
- early childhood education programs should "be available to all children on an equal basis"; "should include mandatory kindergarten with compulsory attendance"; and "should include a full continuum of services ... including child care, child development, ... diversity-based curricula, special education, and appropriate bias-free screening devices"
- “excellence in the classroom can best be attained by small class size … an optimum class size of fifteen students in regular programs and a proportionately lower number in programs for students with exceptional needs”
- “to achieve or maintain racial diversity, it may be necessary for elementary/secondary schools, colleges, and universities to take race into account in making decisions as to student admissions, assignments, and/or transfers” (i.e., the NEA supports busing and similar measures to micro-manage racial balance)
- “all members of the educational community [should] examine assumptions and prejudices, including, but not limited to, racism, sexism, and homophobia, that might limit the opportunities and growth of students and education employees”
- "any immigration policy that denies educational opportunities to immigrants and their children regardless of their immigration status" should be rejected
- “financial aid and in-state tuition to state colleges and universities” should be accessible for students who are illegal aliens
- “[illegal] students who have resided in the United States for at least five years at the time of high school graduation should be granted amnesty by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, granted legal residency status, and allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship”
- “[non-English-speaking] students should be placed in bilingual education programs to receive instruction in their native language from qualified teachers until such time as English proficiency is achieved”
- “[m]ulti-cultural education should promote the recognition of individual and group differences and similarities in order to reduce racism, homophobia, ethnic and all other forms of prejudice, and discrimination and to develop self-esteem as well as respect for others”
- educational programs should promote: "an awareness of the effects of past, present, and future population growth patterns on world civilization, human survival, and the environment; solutions to environmental problems such as nonrenewable resource depletion, pollution, global warming, ozone depletion, and acid precipitation and deposition; [and] the recognition of and participation in such activities as Earth Day"
- “global warming causes significant measureable damage to the earth and its inhabitants,” and “humans must take steps to change activities that contribute to global warming”
- “educational strategies for teaching peace and justice issues should include … activities dealing with the effects of ... weapons of mass destruction, strategies for disarmament, [and] methods to achieve peace"
- "curricular materials should ... cover major contributing factors to conflict, such as economic disparity, demographic variables, unequal political power and resource distribution, and the indebtedness of the developing world”
- “proven conflict-resolution strategies, materials, and activities” should be utilized "at all educational levels"
- “home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience"
- "home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools”
- “every child should have direct and confidential access to comprehensive health, social, and psychological programs and services” which include “comprehensive school-based, community-funded student health care clinics” and, “if deemed appropriate by local choice, family-planning counseling and access to birth control methods with instruction in their use”
- “hiring policies and practices must be nondiscriminatory and include provisions for the recruitment of a diverse teaching staff”
- “affirmative action plans and procedures ... should be developed and implemented”
- “affordable, comprehensive health care, including prescription drug coverage, is the right of every [U.S.] resident”
- “the United Nations furthers world peace and promotes the rights of all people by preventing war, racism, and genocide”
- “the United States should ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and recognize and support its authority and jurisdiction”
- “the governments of all nations must respect and protect the basic human and civil rights of every individual, including equal access to education as embodied in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights”
- “efforts to legislate English as the official language disregard cultural pluralism [and] deprive those in need of education, social services, and employment”
In addition to the foregoing resolutions, the NEA supports “the movement toward self-determination by American Indians/Alaska natives” and believes that these groups should control their own education. It further holds that all schools should designate separate months to celebrate Black History, Hispanic Heritage, Native American Indian Heritage, Asian/Pacific Heritage, Women’s History, Lesbian and Gay History. This proposal is founded on the premise that members of these demographics are victimized by persistent, widespread discrimination.
In the NEA's estimation, America's alleged inequities are by no means limited to the domestic sphere but extend also to U.S. foreign policy. After 9/11, for instance, the union's position was that America had long mistreated and exploited the peoples of other nations, and thus essentially had sown the seeds of the rage that ultimately found its expression in the 9/11 attacks.
Immediately after 9/11, the NEA issued guidelines on how teachers should discuss the topic with their students. These guidelines stressed the need for children to be tolerant and respectful of all cultures -- and said virtually nothing about the fact that the U.S. was at war with an enemy that was aiming to annihilate it. The NEA came so close to blaming America for having provoked the 9/11 attacks, that a public outcry ensued and the union was forced to remove the teacher guidelines from its website.
In the summer of 2002, as the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks neared, the NEA again posted guidelines on its national website stating that classroom teachers should not “suggest any group [was] responsible” for the previous year's atrocities. Rather, the union advised teachers to have their students “discuss historical instances of American intolerance.”
The NEA directed special praise to a 9/11 curriculum designed by Milwaukee fifth-grade teacher Robert Peterson, who explained the importance of helping students to: (a) “understand that they live in a global village”; (b) ask “why” the attacks may have been aimed against America; and (c) develop empathy for people elsewhere in the world. The NEA summarized what it considered to be one of Peterson's exemplary lesson plans:
“[Peterson] leads the children in a study of world population and distribution of income, and then takes them outdoors to illustrate their research on a large world map drawn on the playground blacktop. With each child representing 240 million people, the kids spread out—15 students in Asia, three in Europe, three in Africa, one in North America, two in South America, none in Australia. Chocolate cookies are then distributed according to each continent's gross domestic product. Six cookies are shared by the 15 people in Asia. Nine are shared by three Europeans, one cookie for South America, just half a cookie for Africa, eight for the lone North American. Most students have strong reactions and many questions. Why are there so many people in Asia? Why are the Europeans and Americans so rich? Some try negotiating with other ‘nations,’ while others even suggest war to even the odds. Peterson says his students begin to glimpse how the world's enormous inequalities could lead to animosity.”
Of course the NEA concerns itself not only with social and political issues in the U.S. and abroad, but it also is actively involved in negotiating the terms under which its member teachers work. For example, the union adamantly opposes merit pay (or "performance contracting") for public school teachers -- characterizing such a system as “detrimental to public education." Delegates to the summer 2000 NEA convention openly declared their categorical opposition to “any … system of compensation based on an evaluation of an education employee’s performance.” In 2007 the union elaborated, “competency testing must not be used as a condition of employment, license retention, evaluation, placement, ranking, or promotion of licensed teachers”
Not only is the NEA opposed to merit pay, but for decades it has manifested a marked hostility toward outstanding teachers. The example of world-famous math teacher Jaime Escalante is instructive. According to Escalante (the subject of the 1988 Hollywood movie Stand and Deliver), who developed the most successful inner-city math program in America, teacher union officials chastised him for attracting “too many” students to his calculus classes. When Escalante finally resigned from the high school which he and his students had made famous, local teacher union officials circulated a celebratory note that read: “We got him out!”
The NEA is similarly opposed to vouchers which would permit parents to divert a portion of their tax dollars away from the public school system, and to use those funds instead to help cover the tuition costs for private schools to which they might prefer to send their children. In the NEA's calculus, such voucher programs "compromise the Association's commitment to free, equitable, universal, and quality public education for every student.” (Helping the NEA to lobby against vouchers and parental choice have been such organizations as People for the American Way, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the NAACP.)
The NEA ranks among the most influential entities in modern American politics. Wrote journalist Ralph de Toledano in 2003: “The NEA’s openly avowed goal today: ‘To tap the legal, political and economic powers of the U.S. Congress. [It wants] … sufficient clout [to] roam the halls of Congress and collect votes to reorder the priorities of the United States of America.’”
Specifically, the NEA's closest political ties are with the Democratic Party. In 1976 the union used its financial resources and manpower to help elect Jimmy Carter to the U.S. presidency. After the election, Carter in turn thanked the union by creating the Department of Education in 1979, prompting one NEA executive to boast that this was the only union in the United States with its own cabinet department. At recent Democratic National Conventions, up to a quarter of the delegates have been members of teachers unions.
Today the NEA is a member organization of the America Votes coalition of get-out-the-vote organizations. America Votes is itself a member of the so-called Shadow Party, a nationwide network of activist groups whose agendas are ideologically Left, and which are engaged in campaigning for the Democrats. NEA’s fellow America Votes coalition members include: ACORN, America Coming Together, the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations); AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees); the American Federation of Teachers; the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (renamed the American Association for Justice); the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund; Democracy For America; EMILY's List; the League of Conservation Voters; the Media Fund; the MoveOn.org Voter Fund; the NAACP National Voter Fund; NARAL Pro-Choice America; People for the American Way; the Planned Parenthood Action Fund; the Service Employees International Union; the Sierra Club; USAction; and 21st Century Democrats.
Of the $341 million the NEA received from September 2004 to August 2005, some $295 million came from member dues. In turn, many of those revenues were used to promote political agendas and candidates -- almost all of them Democrats. For several decades the NEA has been among the largest contributors of money and personnel to the Democratic Party and its candidates. Between 1990 and 2008, 93 percent of the union's political donations went to Democrats. (And virtually all of the rest went to the most liberal Republicans running in primaries, not in general elections, to tilt the political playing field even farther left).
As reporter Lowell Ponte puts it, “The astronomical amount of political money thus coerced from workers is the lifeblood of [the] Democratic Party.... The NEA functions as a giant money-laundering machine for the Democrats. Democrats impose laws that let the union take a big piece of every employee’s paycheck, which in public schools comes from the taxpayers. And the unions pay for this power and privilege by splitting this taxpayer money with partisan Democrat politicians to keep the machine operating. Public schools are an ultimate example of this synergy, not only because they are government monopolies but also because already-taxed parents are required by law to school their children, to offer their offspring as hostages to this money-extorting government-union machine.” Because the NEA works so closely with the Democratic Party, it promotes the leftist ideologies and worldviews reflected in its aforementioned resolutions.
Studies have shown that as few as 40 percent of NEA members are Democrats, the remaining 60 percent splitting evenly between Republicans and independents. According to the NEA’s own internal polling, half of the union's members identify themselves as conservative. Yet the NEA, like other unions, claims an absolute right to spend dues as it sees fit, regardless of the viewpoints of the teachers it nominally represents.
The NEA has a permanent, paid, full-time staff of at least 1,800 United Service (UniServ) employees who function as political operatives -- more than the Republican and Democratic Parties combined. In a presidential election year, this army of union foot soldiers is tantamount to a political donation of more than $100 million to Democrats. They are trained at radical boot camps, paid and typically given graduate school credit for attending. One NEA handbook is titled Alinsky for Teacher Organizers and teaches activists how to use the confrontation and pressure tactics of the late radical leftist Saul Alinsky.
As Joel Mowbray reports in a Capital Research Center study, the Virginia-based Landmark Legal Foundation (LLF) in recent years has investigated the NEA for possible illegal use of tax-exempt funds. According to LLF President Mark Levin, the NEA has “kept information from its dues-paying members and the general public that clearly shows improper use of tax-exempt money to influence elections.”
LLF’s investigation traces its path back to the 1996 presidential election, when the NEA was a key constituent of a “National Coordinated Campaign Steering Committee” (NCCSC) whose function was to help Democrats win as many national, state, and local elections as possible; to determine campaign strategy for Democratic candidates at all levels of government; and to coordinate spending on their behalf. Joining the NEA on this Committee were the AFL-CIO, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the 1996 Clinton-Gore Campaign, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Leadership Campaign Committee, the Democratic Governors Association, and EMILY's List.
Because the NEA is a tax-exempt organization, the federal government places certain restrictions on how the union may use its immense revenues. Specifically, the government requires that whatever funds a union earmarks for political activities designed to influence an election, must be disclosed on IRS Forms 990 and 1120-POL. The latter of these must be filed by any tax-exempt group whose political expenditures exceed $100 in a single calendar year, and requires some disclosure about the details of those donations.
Yet from 1994-96 the NEA reported that it spent no money at all on politics. This is because an honest disclosure of its political expenditures would have entitled union members, if they objected to having their mandatory dues used to finance Democrat causes, to recover the portion of those dues that had been so earmarked. Also, union revenues used for partisan political purposes were taxable in certain cases.
Contrary to its claim that its political expenditures were nonexistent, the NEA not only spent millions of dollars on issue ads and get-out-the-vote drives for Democrats, but it also coordinated its campaign strategies with the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Confirming this was a key piece of evidence acquired by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) -- an unsigned Coordinated Campaign memo from Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge. This memo stated: “When the DNC and its national Partners including … the AFL-CIO and the NEA … agree on the contents of a plan, each national partner will give their funding commitment to the state.”
In other words, if the NEA disapproved of a particular state strategy, it could prevent its "partners" -- the DNC and AFL-CIO -- from funding it, and the measure could effectively be stopped. This was akin to a veto power over Democratic Party political action plans. In other words, the NEA dictated terms to the DNC, not vice versa.
“Those of us who have long dismissed the National Education Association as a tool of the Democratic Party have been badly mistaken,” wrote columnist William McGurn in 2001 in the Wall Street Journal. “Apparently it’s just the opposite ... it’s the Democratic Party that is the tool of the NEA.”
Beginning in 2005, new federal rules required large labor unions like the NEA to report in greater detail (to the U.S. Department of Labor) how they spent their money. Under these new disclosure regulations, it was confirmed that an immense amount of NEA money was being spent for purposes having nothing to do with the union's purported priorities (i.e., better wages, benefits, and working conditions for teachers and school staff). For example, the NEA reported that during the 2004-05 fiscal year, it had spent $56.8 million on "union administration," $25 million on "political activities and lobbying," and $65.5 million on "contributions, gifts, and grants." In other words, it is possible that up to $90.5 million (the sum of the latter two categories of expenditures) was earmarked for leftist political candidates, organizations, and causes. Among these expenditures were the following:
- $5,070,192 to various Democratic political consultants and strategists
- $500,000 to Protect our Public Schools, to campaign against public charter schools in Washington state
- $300,000 to Citizens United to Protect Our Public Safety, to oppose property tax limits in Maine
- $25,000 to the National Coalition on Health Care, which supports a taxpayer-funded system of socialized medicine
- $5,000 to the National Conference of Black Mayors, a group representing the ideals of its overwhelmingly leftwing members
- $75,000 to the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, which seeks to help leftwing organizations “more effectively to fight for social, environmental, and economic justice”
- $45,000 to the League of United Latin American Citizens
- $25,000 to the North Carolina Democratic Party Building Fund
- $400,000 to the Fund to Protect Social Security, which seeks to defeat personal investment accounts
- $10,000 to the Rock the Vote Education Fund, which aims to register new young voters who will support leftwing causes and candidates
- $14,000 to the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition
- $249,000 to the Floridians for All Committee, which supports "the construction of a permanent progressive infrastructure that will help redirect Florida politics in a more progressive, Democratic direction”
- $250,000 to Alliance for Nevada's Working Families, "to support [a] ballot measure to increase minimum wage"
- $600,000 to Communities for Quality Education, a political advocacy group created by the NEA
- $5,000 to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a 1.4-million member union that is the Democratic Party’s top donor
- $5,000 to Amnesty International
- $5,000 to the Center For Women's Policy Studies
- $39,940 to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
- $35,000 to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
- $45,000 to the Economic Policy Institute, a leftwing think tank that which regularly issues reports claiming that education is underfunded and teachers are underpaid
- $10,000 to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which makes policy recommendations to counter what it views as America’s inherently racist, discriminatory society
- $5,000 to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
- $5,000 to the National Association for Bilingual Education
- $7,900 to the National Council of La Raza
- $5,000 to the National Women's Law Center
- $5,000 to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Media Awards
- $13,000 to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, which views affirmative action as a policy necessary to help offset America's allegedly rampant bigotry
- $15,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization
- $5,000 to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow / PUSH Coalition
- $5,000 to United South and Eastern Tribes, dedicated to “protecting Indian rights and natural resources on tribal lands”
- $5,000 to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which views the U.S. as a nation that discriminates heavily against homosexuals
- $20,000 to Rebuild America's Schools, which seeks to expand taxpayer funding of school construction and repairs
- $25,750 to the Democratic Leadership Council
- $10,648 to the Children's Defense Fund
- $51,200 to People for the American Way
- $6,000 to USAction
- $6,000 to the Council on Foreign Relations
- $40,148 to Brazile & Associates, a firm headed by longtime Democratic Party consultant and campaign manager Donna Brazile, which provides diversity training for American businesses, and all types of training for political activists.
"What wasn't clear before is how much of a part the teachers unions play in the wider liberal movement and the Democratic Party," said Michael Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency, a California-based watchdog group. "They're like some philanthropic organization that passes out grant money to interest groups."
As of 2006, the NEA's $58 million payroll included over 600 employees and officers, more than half of whom earned salaries exceeding $100,000 per year. NEA President Reg Weaver's salary was $439,000. As of 2004-05, NEA Vice President Dennis Van Roekel earned $273,000, and Secretary-Treasurer Lily Eskelsen earned $272,000. By contrast, the average classroom teacher earned $48,000.
Though the NEA consistently complains that education in the U.S. is underfunded, government spending on education has in fact outpaced overall economic growth by more than 50 percent since the early 1900s. As of 2004-05, the government was spending an average of $8,701 per year per public-school student.
According to its 2007 financial report, the NEA’s total assets were $188,710,730. Its total receipts for the year were $352,958,087. Moreover, the NEA's aggressive lobbying of Congress has enabled it to benefit from an archaic law freeing it from having to pay its $1.6 million in annual property taxes. No other labor union in America has been able to negotiate such an arrangement.
An analysis of the NEA's financial disclosure report for the 2007-08 fiscal year revealed that the union contributed $11.7 million to a wide variety of leftwing advocacy groups, including: ACORN, the AFL-CIO, Campaign for America's Future, the Center for Community Change, the Children's Defense Fund, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Democracy Alliance, the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Urban League, the National Women's Law Center, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Service Employees International Union, USAction, and the WAND Education Fund.
In November 2009, the NEA website posted a page titled "Recommended Reading: Saul Alinsky, The American Organizer." This page praised Saul Alinsky's two books -- Rules for Radicals and Reveille for Radicals -- as "an inspiration" to "every organizer" and "anyone contemplating action in their community."
In the 2008 and 2010 election-campaign seasons, the NEA gave a combined total of more than $15.3 million in contributions to federal candidates; 97 percent of that money went to Democrats.
Working Families Party,
- Front group for ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now)
- Functions as a political party in New York State and Connecticut, running or cross-endorsing candidates for local, state, and federal office
- Works closely with Hillary Clinton
Currently composed of some 30,000 members, the Working Families Party (WFP) is a front group for ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). WFP functions as a political party in New York State and Connecticut, promoting ACORN-friendly candidates. Unlike conventional political parties, WFP charges its members dues -- about $60 per year -- a policy characteristic of ACORN and its affiliates.
According to the party's website, WFP is a coalition founded jointly by ACORN, the Communications Workers of America, and the United Automobile Workers. However, ACORN clearly dominates the coalition. New York ACORN leader Steven Kest was the moving force in forming the party, and WFP headquarters are located at the same address as ACORN's national office, at 88 Third Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.
An outgrowth of the socialist New Party, WFP was created in 1998. According to a 2000 article by the Associated Press, its objective was (and still is) to "help push the Democratic Party toward the left." In pursuit of this goal, WFP runs radical candidates in state and local elections. Generally, WFP candidates conceal their extremism beneath a veneer of populist rhetoric, promoting bread-and-butter issues designed to appeal to union workers and other blue-collar voters, Republican and Democrat alike.
In order to gain “permanent” status on the New York state ballot, WFP needed to win a minimum of 50,000 votes in at least one political election. The fledgling party accomplished this in 1998 by cross-endorsing Democratic City Council Speaker Peter Vallone in that year's election gubernatorial race. Vallone lost the election, but his moderate Democrat politics -- which were utterly incompatible with ACORN's doctrine of militant class struggle -- helped to lure 51,325 unwitting New Yorkers into voting on the WFT line, thus qualifying the party for ballot status.
Having established itself in this surreptitious manner as a legitimate political party, WSP began seeking concessions from the major-party candidates, gaining leverage through its power to grant or deny its endorsements. Shortly after the party's launch in 1998, co-founder Bob Master said, “We are very clear that we are not abandoning the Democratic Party.” As another WFP organizer put it, the Working Families Party sought to move the Democrats “toward the progressive end of the spectrum.”
WFP benefits from a quirk of New York State (and Connecticut) election law which allows parties to "cross-endorse" candidates of other parties. Thus when Hillary Clinton ran for the Senate in 2000, she ran on both the Democratic Party ticket and the Working Families Party ticket. After receiving WFP's endorsement, Hillary vowed to wage a "people's grassroots campaign." "I consider this the beginning of a partnership," she told a cheering crowd of supporters. During the campaign, Mrs. Clinton spoke at numerous WFP events, most memorably at the party's debut convention, held March 26-27, 2000 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany -- an event which the Communist newspaper People's Weekly World approvingly called "a turning point in New York politics."
"Candidates know that when they're on our line, they're committed to certain things," said Bertha Lewis, who served as WFP co-chair and New York ACORN Executive Director. Speaking days before Mrs. Clinton won her Senate seat in 2000, Lewis noted, "Hillary knows that if she wins, we're going to be knockin' on her door. She won't be able to hide."
Of the 3.4 million popular votes Mrs. Clinton received from New Yorkers in the Senate election, the Working Families Party delivered 103,000.
In the November 2000 election, WFP also cross-endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, winning 80,000 votes for him. "[T]here have been few candidates in history more supportive of our issues than Al Gore and Hillary Clinton," proclaimed WFP campaign literature.
In the 2004 election cycle, a new force entered New York politics: billionaire financier George Soros. The Soros-funded Drug Policy Alliance -- a drug legalization lobby through which Soros often funnels political contributions -- gave $81,500 to the Albany County District Attorney campaign of Democrat David Soares. Instead of donating the money directly, however, the Drug Policy Alliance laundered Soros' contribution through the Working Families Party -- an illegal act according to New York State law.
WFP expanded into Connecticut in 2004, and promised that it would soon be active in all ten states where "fusion voting" -- that is, cross-endorsement of candidates by multiple parties -- is still legal. Those states include Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Vermont.
In 2006, WFP exhorted voters to “help stop the Bush agenda and elect a Democratic majority to the House of Representatives” by supporting its “Take Back Congress” project.
In 2008, Barack Obama and Joe Biden were listed on the WFP presidential ticket as well as the Democratic Party ticket.
In 2009, WFP supported New York State's newly increased "millionaire's tax" on the income of individuals earning $500,000 or more per year. When New York billionaire Tom Golisano (whose tax liability rose to $13,000 per day as a result of the tax hike) announced that he would be moving to Florida (which has no state income tax), WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor Called Golisano's move "selfish." "It's a disgrace," said Cantor, "that this is how he pays back the state where he was presumably educated and that's been so good to him. Taxes are the price you pay for civilization."
In the fall of 2011, WFP supported the anti-capitalist movement known as Occupy Wall Street (OWS). In October of that year, the Party posted a help-wanted ad on Craig's List, whose caption read: “Make $350-650 a week 'protesting' on Wall Street." Said the ad as well: "You must be an energetic communicator, with a passion for social and economic justice."
Communications Workers of America,
United States Student Association,
Calling itself America's "oldest and largest national student association," the United States Student Association (USSA), founded in 1947, is the principal lobbying group for American students. Its platform includes support for racial and ethnic preferences in academia, the expansion of public education benefits for illegal immigrants, and ardent opposition to America's war on terror. USSA states that it "tracks and lobbies federal legislation and policy, and organizes students from across the country to participate in the political process, through testifying in official Congressional hearings, letter-writing campaigns, and face-to-face lobby visits between students and their elected officials."
Pursuing its aim of "expanding retention and recruitment programs for underrepresented students," on October 28, 2003 USSA pressed for the creation of National Take Affirmative Action Day. Falling within USSA's definition of "underrepresented students" are illegal immigrants and drug users. Rebecca Wasserman, the current President of USSA, has worked to increase access to public education for members of both those groups. An outspoken supporter of the 2003 Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which grants illegal immigrant high-school students an opportunity to attend college or serve in the U.S. armed forces, Wasserman has sought to make illegal immigrants eligible for subsidized in-state tuition. At the same time, she has lobbied to end restrictions of federal aid to drug users. Testifying before the House of Representatives on May 12, 2004, she said that USSA would not endorse a partial repeal of a no-drug-use provision in the financial aid application form. Said Wasserman, "We must pass a full repeal to guarantee access to education for all students, and education is the best rehabilitation."
A 2002 USSA declaration authored by Julia Beatty, who was the group's President at the time, and Kristy Ringor, who was the Communications Director during Beatty's tenure, condemned the American-led liberation of Afghanistan. The USSA declaration rejected any "military action our government has taken since September 11," and argued that "destroying the resources of an already impoverished nation does not promote peace and justice." The authors then equated the PATRIOT Act with the terrorist attacks of September 11, writing that the Act had "succeeded in adding another casualty to the thousands we have seen since September 11: freedom." Finally, they decried “the harsh racist policies of law enforcement” and pledged to “not stand idly by while our brothers and sisters are subject to racial profiling and hate crimes because of their race and religion.”
USSA is a member organization of the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition, which is led by Leslie Cagan, a longtime committed socialist who aligns her politics with those of Fidel Castro's Communist Cuba. USSA has participated in numerous anti-war rallies condemning America's post-9/11 military campaigns and exhorting the U.S. government to divest from Israel.
USSA is a sponsoring organization of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride Coalition, an open-borders entity that seeks to secure amnesty and full civil rights and liberties for illegal immigrants, as well as policy reforms that diminish or eliminate restrictions on future immigration.
USSA has received funding from the Ford Foundation; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the W. K. Kellogg Foundation; ChevronTexaco Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Public Welfare Foundation.
Rainforest Action Network,
- Activist organization that conducts negative publicity campaigns and boycotts of companies whose activities it deems harmful to the environment, particularly rainforests and old-growth forests
- Participated in the 1999 WTO protest riots in Seattle
- Took part in anti-Israel and anti-Iraq-War rallies
Staffed by 35 full-time employees in San Francisco (California) and Tokyo (Japan), RAN has an annual operating budget that exceeds $3 million, much of which it uses to fund pressure campaigns such as those described above. RAN identifies six "campaigns and programs" that it oversees:
(a) Global Finance: This campaign explores "ways to reconcile the existing economy with the real limits of the Earth's ecology … to redirect the global economic system away from environmentally and socially destructive activities and into clean, sustainable, and socially just alternatives."
(b) Old Growth: This campaign "[w]orks to preserve the Earth's remaining ancient forests by driving old growth wood products out of the marketplace and by promoting the use of sustainable alternatives."
(c) Zero Emissions: This campaign "[w]orks to stop global climate change by convincing the auto industry to eliminat[e] greenhouse gases by 2020." It identifies Ford Motor Company as "the biggest brand and worst polluter in the industry."
(d) The 12-Step Program: "From extraction to pollution, our oil addiction is a common thread in all of our campaigns. We need to get off this toxic chemical today, and RAN has put together a 12-Step program to do it."
(e) Rainforests in the Classroom: This program sends a monthly email newsletter to more than 5,000 schoolteachers. It features lesson plans, fact sheets, poetry, poster and letter drives, and contests "designed to encourage decision-makers to think about how their actions will affect future generations."
(f) Protect-an-Acre: This program was established in 1993 "as a tool to protect the world's forests and the rights of their inhabitants by providing financial aid to traditionally under-funded organizations and communities in forest regions." Its projects focus on "gaining legal recognition of indigenous territories, … the development of locally-based alternative economic initiatives, community organization, and resistance to destructive practices such as logging, fossil fuel development, and large-scale infrastructure projects in forest areas."
In 2004, RAN members took part in a direct action against the logging practices of the Washington-based Weyerhaeuser logging company to protest cutting in old-growth forests. RAN activists scaled a downtown Seattle construction platform to hang a 2,400-square-foot protest banner denouncing the company. Said RAN, "[W]e can not sit back and watch one of the world's largest corporations destroy our last original forests. These forests are the lungs of our planet and home to some of the most beautiful and oldest living ecosystems. Many of these living systems have existed for over seventy million years. Yet, every day from British Columbia to the Amazon, thousands of acres of these natural cathedrals are logged and turned into toilet paper, two-by-fours, grocery bags, plywood and legion of other products for human consumption and disposal." RAN also endorsed the Heritage Tree Preservation Act, which seeks to ban all logging in old-growth forests.
RAN was a signatory to a 1999 petition of so-called "civil society" organizations that opposed globalization, big business in general, and "any effort to expand the powers of the World Trade Organization [WTO] through a new comprehensive round of trade liberalization." RAN also endorsed a May 30, 2000 document similarly condemning the WTO.
RAN has participated actively in the movement against the war in Iraq, and is a member organization of the Abolition 2000 anti-war coalition. At a 2003 San Francisco event titled "Environmentalists Against the War Eco-rally," RAN demonstrators were joined by representatives of Earth Island Institute; Greenpeace; the Sierra Club; and the Ruckus Society. RAN also endorsed a May 1, 2003 document titled "10 Reasons Environmentalists Oppose an Attack on Iraq," which was published by Environmentalists Against War.
Other RAN direct actions include: leading a boycott of Burger King, to protest its use of beef imported from countries where forests are cleared to provide grazing land for cattle; participating in protests -- which caused over $5 million in damages and led to more than 1,300 arrests -- during the 2000 meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.; and taking part in a 2002 Palestinian Solidarity March which condemned Israel and defended Palestinian suicide bombers.
In an effort to produce skilled activists to spearhead its campaigns, RAN has formed a "Strategic Action Training" program that is "committed to giving activists the tools they need" to battle "the world's largest corporations." The training sessions, which range in length from one day to a week, coach attendees in such activities as: direct action planning and implementation; fundraising; media relations; and climbing, so that members can conduct "tree-sit" protests to prevent logging companies from doing their work. Prior to its participation in the anti-World Trade Organization riots in 1999, RAN doubled its training efforts to instruct activists in the tactics of civil disobedience.
Stating that RAN's efforts are aimed at "those in the industrial North who have their foot on the throat of the rainforest," the organization’s founder Randy Hayes proclaims his hatred of capitalism, which he calls "an absurd economic system [that is] rapidly destroying nature."
The Program Chair of RAN's Board of Directors is Jodie Evans, co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink for Peace. Honorary Board members of RAN include actor Woody Harrelson; musicians John Densmore and Bob Weir; actress Ali McGraw; and singer Bonnie Raitt.
RAN receives funding from the Ford Foundation, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the Compton Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Turner Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Blue Moon Fund, the Columbia Foundation, the Foundation for Deep Ecology, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
American Federation of Teachers,
- One of the few unions still increasing its membership
- A powerful member of the Shadow Party.
Founded in Chicago in 1916, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) was almost immediately welcomed into the American Federation of Labor by the latter's President, Samuel Gompers. The AFT would quickly charter 174 locals in its first four years, gaining a membership of approximately 10,000 during that period. The decade after World War I, however, was a period of intense struggle for the union. While the AFT fought for academic freedom and tenure laws, school boards conducted campaigns that pressured teachers to resign from it -- often forcing them to sign “yellow-dog” contracts in which they promised not to unionize. By the end of the 1920s, AFT membership had dwindled to 5,000. But in 1932, the Norris-LaGuardia Act outlawed "yellow-dog" contracts, and the union was able to rebuild its membership to 32,000 by the end of the decade -- though its growth was significantly slower than that of other labor unions because the New Deal’s National Labor Relations Act, which allowed collective bargaining, did not extend to public employees.
Unlike the National Education Association, which from its founding in 1850 had attracted administrators and socialist activist teachers, the AFT was much more geared toward representing public workers from urban areas, including cafeteria workers and bus drivers. Whereas the NEA often championed policies that would help institute “a new social order,” the AFT largely focused on academic freedom and tenure laws, particularly challenging the “yellow-dog” contracts.
Like the labor movement in general, however, the AFT was infiltrated by members of the Communist Party, particularly during the latter years of the Great Depression.
In 1943 the AFT published the book America, Russia and the Communist Party in the Postwar World, authored by John Childs and George Counts. This book promoted the diminution of U.S. sovereignty, the formation of a singular world government, and an acceptance of the benefits that socialism could bring to the American people. Among the book's assertions were the following:
- Only the United Nations could forge a “just and lasting peace” between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
- “The main obstacle” standing “in the way of good relations between America and Russia” was “not differences in social systems and ideologies," but rather “a twenty-five year legacy of mutual suspicion, fear, and active hostility.”
- America “must … banish from her mind the naïve doctrine, which controlled her relations with the Soviet Union in the early years of the Russian Revolution, that a collectivist state, being contrary to the laws of human nature, economics, and morality, must sooner or later collapse.”
- The U.S. "must convince the Russian people she will have no part whatsoever in any effort to isolate, to encircle, and to destroy their collectivist state.”
- “[T]hose privileged groups in our own society which are fearful of any change in our property relations [free enterprise system] and which were primarily responsible for the shaping of the earlier policy must not be permitted to determine our postwar relations with Russia.”
- In light of “Russia’s stupendous achievements,” the United States “must … have a vivid consciousness of the weaknesses in her own domestic economy.... In the process of rebuilding, perhaps we may be able to learn something from the experiences of the Russian people.”
Soon thereafter the AFT began a process of purging its ranks of Communist influence, a process that was given particular urgency when President Truman issued Executive Order 9835, which called for federal employees to be investigated for subversive activities. Soon after, the AFT revoked the charters of numerous locals for submitting to Communist control, most prominently the New York City and Philadelphia locals. Whereas during the 1920s teacher unions, including the AFT, had fought to protect radicals in the system, AFT members in 1952 voted not to defend any teacher proven to be a Communist.
Called the father of the modern teachers’ union, Albert Shanker became the most influential leader within the AFT in the 1960s, eventually becoming its President from 1974 to 1997. He also served as President of the AFT-affiliated United Federation of Teachers (UFT) from 1964-1984. In his early years at the UFT's helm, Shanker was instrumental in legitimizing collective bargaining for teachers, which, in turn, helped to fuel massive increases in membership. In 1960 in New York City, he convinced thousands of teachers to go on strike. Although he and many of his colleagues were arrested, Shanker was able to win a decisive victory over the school board and, by the end of the decade, union membership increased from 5 percent of New York City’s teaching staff to 97 percent.
During the late 1960s, Shanker fought radical activists and black racists who sought to splinter the teachers’ union movement along racial lines. In 1967, the Ocean Hill-Brownsville neighborhood became the locus of this clash. The Board of Education had previously merged the black community from Ocean Hill-Brownsville with the largely white, middle-class East Flatbush section of Brooklyn into one district. East Flatbush residents, however, controlled all the seats on the local school board. In an attempt to gain representation, the Ocean Hill-Brownsville community broke away from the Board of Education and formed its own school board. Shanker and the UFT initially supported the community’s efforts, but when black district leaders moved 13 teachers and 6 administrators to other districts based on their ethnicity, Shanker saw this as a threat to the union's ideal of integration; thus he organized strikes in 1967 and 1968 that shut down the New York City school system. Viciously attacked by radical activists who labeled him a racist and union thug, Shanker was nonetheless victorious when the Board of Education finally agreed to establish separate school boards throughout the city, thereby giving the Ocean Hill-Brownsville the representation that it had originally sought. In 1969, Shanker quickly built upon his success by organizing the “paraprofessionals,” a group of mostly black and Latino teacher aides, and integrating them into the union with the promise of education, better pay, benefits and security.
Like George Meany and Lane Kirkland of the AFL-CIO, Shanker maintained a centrist political vision for his union, the AFT. Thus he clashed with factions within the American Left. While he always advocated a larger role for government, he was staunchly anti-communist, defended America’s war efforts in Vietnam, criticized liberals for their lack of support for democratic forces in Poland and in Nicaragua, and cautioned against the Democratic Party's transition from a working-class party to one that centered on identity politics. Where the AFT had 60,000 members in 1960, it grew to one million by the end of Shanker's tenure.
After Shanker’s death in 1997, he was succeeded by Sandra Feldman, who slowly “re-branded” the union, allying it with some of the most powerful left-wing elements of the New Labor Movement. Pressuring John Sweeney to share power, Feldman and the rest of Andrew Stern’s “gang of five” -- Bruce Raynor of UNITE, Terence O'Sullivan of LIUNA, and John Wilhelm of HERE -- were able to get temporary concessions from Sweeney.
When Feldman died in 2004, Edward McElroy was elected President, followed by Randi Weingarten in 2008. All of them kept the union on the leftward course it had adopted in its post-Shanker period.
The AFT is currently part of America Votes, a national coalition of leftwing grassroots, get-out-the-vote organizations. The AFT also co-founded and and provides funding for Free Exchange on Campus, which is also heavily funded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute. As part of the progressive campaign for single-payer healthcare, the AFT joined forces with the Soros-funded Health Care for America Now! in 2009. In December of that year, the AFT also co-founded Defend Education, a leftist coalition that opposed private schools and called for increased funding for public education.
Leadership Center for the Common Good, UNITY, National Guestworker Alliance,
- Global movement-building organization dedicated to achieving intergovernmental regulations to counteract global warming
- Opposed the 2009 “cap and trade” bill because it was not extreme enough
- Partners with such organizations as Greenpeace, Pax Christi, the Regeneration Project, and the U.S. Climate Action Network
See also: Bill McKibben
Founded and led by Bill McKibben, 350.org is an international campaign to promote global environmentalism and to generate support for intergovernmental regulations on greenhouse-gas emissions. The group derives its name from the measurement "350 parts per million" (350 ppm), which some scientists believe is the maximum amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that should be permitted to exist in the earth's atmosphere. The leaders of 350.org contend that if the benchmark of 350 ppm is not reached in the near future, a global catastrophe will result. Indeed, 350.org maintains that many harbingers of such a cataclysm are already evident: polar icecap melting, worldwide increases in disease, food shortages, and general environmental degradation.
350.org is the international reinvention of Mckibben’s 2007 "Step-It-Up" campaign, an initiative aimed at generating support for environmental regulation in the United States. Both 350.org and Step-It-Up cite the Sustainable Markets Foundation (SMF) -- a grantee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller Family Fund -- as their fiscal sponsor. In 2006, SMF gave approximately $200,000 to the Step-It-Up campaign. In 2007, while still supporting Step-It-Up, SMF earmarked some $243,000 for 350.org.
According to McKibben, the Step-It-Up rallies that took place across the United States in 2007 were instrumental in prompting then-Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to commit to the goal of cutting carbon emissions in the U.S. by 80 percent by the year 2050. Moreover, the success of Step-It-Up encouraged McKibben to bring the project to the international stage, in the form of 350.org.
Especially important to the mission of 350.org was the work of Dr. James Hansen, head of the NASA Institute for Space Studies in New York City. Hansen, who is a 350.org "messenger," has worked to promote the idea that 350 ppm is a necessary carbon-dioxide ceiling. Much of 350.org’s activity is designed to make the “350” number, and by extension its environmental significance, a universally recognizable meme.
350.org vehemently opposes the use of fossil fuels, particularly oil and coal. Likewise, the organization opposes off-shore oil drilling. In the wake of the massive 2009 Gulf Coast oil spill, 350.org launched a campaign to protest off-shore drilling and the use of fossil fuels in general.
Also in 2009, 350.org opposed the American Clean Energy and Security Act ("cap-and-trade"), which was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives but was stymied in the Senate. In conjunction with other radical environmentalist organizations, 350.org offered opposition to the market-based legislation because: “capitalism is at the heart of the climate crisis”; “carbon trading is based in the ideological belief in the omnipotence of the market”; and economic growth is undesirable because it leads to “unnecessary” energy use.
Most of 350.org’s ongoing campaigns are geared toward organizing concerted events and demonstrations around the world. This is especially true in advance of landmark global-warming conferences such as the 2009 global-climate summit in Copenhagen. In an effort to generate public support for the summit within the faith community, 350.org partnered with the World Council of Churches to enlist houses of worship in numerous countries to ring their bells 350 times during the weekend of December 11-13, 2009, while the Copenhagen conference was in session. Notable participants in this bell-ringing initiative included Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. In addition, 350.org collaborated with such luminaries as Tutu and Avaaz.org executive director Ricken Patel to organize a candlelight vigil promoting the Copenhagen talks.
In 2010, 350.org participated in the "World’s People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth," which was sponsored by the Bolivian government. This event, like the Copenhagen Climate Conference of 2009, demanded that countries around the world commit to drastic reductions in carbon emissions.
Also in 2010, 350.org initiated a "10/10/10" campaign which featured “work parties” -- gatherings where people engaged in environmentalist activities -- that took place on October 10, 2010. Partnering with 350.org on this project was the Global Greengrants Fund (GGF), which is bankrolled by numerous far-left funders including the Ford Foundation, the George Soros-headed Foundation to Promote Open Society (a sister organization of the Open Society Institute), and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
In yet another 2010 project, 350.org partnered with the Energy Action Coalition and other organizations on the “Great Power Race,” a competition to encourage citizens of the United States, China, and India to undertake environmentalist projects. In a separate campaign that same year -- the “Put Solar On It” project, which promoted the use of solar panels to heat and power people's homes -- 350.org partnered with Greenpeace.
350.org identifies a coterie of “messengers” -- which it describes as "writers, scholars, activists, leaders, and visionaries" -- who support the organization's agendas. Among these individuals are Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa; and Van Jones, founder of Green For All and the former "green jobs czar" of the Obama administration.
350.org's partners and allies include such groups as Avaaz, Greenpeace, Pax Christi, the Regeneration Project, the U.S. Climate Action Network, the Rainforest Action Network, and the United Nations Foundation.
The Ruckus Society,
- Trains radical activists in "direct action" techniques
- Sparked violence in Seattle WTO protests
The Ruckus Society's mission is to provide "environmental, human rights, and social justice organizers with the tools, training, and support needed to achieve their goals." Toward this end, it trains activists in "direct action" and "guerrilla communication" techniques for the promotion of radical agendas. Viewing the United States as a nation rife with "injustice and oppression," the Ruckus Society "struggle[s]" to "prioritize the voices and visions of youth, women, people of color, indigenous people and immigrants, poor and working class people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, gender queer, and transgendered people, and other historically marginalized communities."
A spin-off of Earth First!, the Ruckus Society was formed in the San Francisco Bay area in 1995 by Howard "Twilly" Cannon, who was on the front lines of sea-going confrontations for Greenpeace, and Mike Roselle, a co-founder of both the Rainforest Action Network and Earth First!
The Ruckus Society's logo features two large meshed gears of a machine with a monkey-wrench wedged into their teeth to stop them -- signifying the group's endorsement of "monkey-wrenching," a term meaning the sabotage of logging or construction equipment. In 1995, after President Clinton signed into law the Timber Salvage Rider, a pro-logging bill, Roselle and Cannon conceived of a training program where aspiring environmental activists could learn effective tactics to counter such political moves. They organized a training seminar called "Forest Action Camp" -- which provided training in tree climbing, blockades, forest monitoring, media, and communications -- in the summer of 1995 in Oregon's Mount Hood National Forest. Out of that, the Ruckus Society was born.
Since its inception, the Ruckus Society has trained thousands of activists in the use of "agitation and disruption techniques." The training sessions contain "cerebral elements as well as physical, classroom-style instruction for action planning, communicating with the media, building leadership and political analysis, and nonviolent philosophy and practice." Among the topics taught are "street blockades," "police confrontation strategies," and "using the media to your advantage." Trainees learn ways to goad police into overreaction and to cause problems for those they target. Dozens of leftist groups send their elite protestors to Ruckus Society trainings. Many of the trainees are members of the Rainforest Action Network, Earth First!, and the Earth Liberation Front.
Ruckus Society trainings take place in two venues: Action Camp and microRuckus. Action Camp is a week-long, intensive training program where “participants split their time between theoretical and strategic workshops focusing on a wide array of advanced campaign skills and hands-on technical training in tactics for nonviolent actions.” MicroRuckus is a “one-to-four-day training created in partnership with local organizations in key areas of the U.S. and Canada.”
Ruckus Society training includes several program areas:
(a) The Indigenous Peoples' Power Project: "As much as ninety percent of the world's remaining natural resources are on indigenous peoples' lands. The extraction of those resources promises nothing but continued genocide for native people, as the land is stripped bare and the people left destitute and disenfranchised ... so that a few can profit from water dams, uranium mines, nuclear waste dumps and coal, gas and oil extraction projects."
(b) The Not Your Soldier Project: This counter-recruitment campaign "gives youth the tools they need to stop the military invasion of their schools and their communities." Condemning "the corporations that profit off of war," the project is a collaborative effort with the War Resisters League, the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth, Code Pink, and the American Friends Service Committee.
(c) The Jumpstart Ford Campaign: A joint venture with the Rainforest Action Network and Global Exchange, this program seeks to break America of its "deadly addiction to oil." Says the Ruckus Society, "We are demanding that Ford increase the average fuel efficiency of its fleet to 50 mpg by 2010 and that they reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2020."
The Ruckus Society played a major role in the 1999 riots in Seattle protesting a World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting there. Many Ruckus-trained activists smashed store windows, set cars ablaze and did millions of dollars in property damage. "Violence to me is [only] against living things," Ruckus' Executive Director John Sellers once told Mother Jones magazine. "But inanimate objects? I think you can be destructive, you can use vandalism strategically. It may be violence under the law, but I just don't think it's violence." On another occasion Sellers declared, "Anarchism has gotten a really bad rap, like communism."
The Ruckus Society's Action Planning Training Manual endorses property destruction as a patriotic means of making a political statement, in the tradition of the Boston Tea Party, which it calls "[o]ne of the most famous direct actions ever." "As activists,” says the manual, “we often have a more sophisticated understanding of an issue than the general public."
The Ruckus Society was a signatory to a petition of so-called "civil society" organizations that opposed globalization, big business in general, and "any effort to expand the powers of the World Trade Organization through a new comprehensive round of trade liberalization."
At the 2000 Republican Convention in Philadelphia, Ruckus-trained leftists planned to bring the city to a halt with rioting. Police stopped them, and in the process seized improvised weapons, gasoline-soaked rags, and piano wire that the protestors intended to string across streets to trip police horses. In the melee 23 police cars were damaged and 15 officers were injured. More than 400 protestors were arrested.
The Ruckus Society is a member organization of the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition . The Ruckus Society also endorsed a May 1, 2003 document titled "10 Reasons Environmentalists Oppose an Attack on Iraq," which was published by Environmentalists Against War.
Financial backers of the Ruckus Society include the Turner Foundation, the Tides Foundation, the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the Ben & Jerry's Foundation, the Compton Foundation, and others.
Citizen Engagement Lab, smartMeme Strategy & Training Project, Right to the City Alliance, Pushback Network,
Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment,
- Founded in 2009 as the reconstituted California chapter of ACORN
Formally established on January 12, 2010, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) is the new name for the California chapter of ACORN. After massive scandals in 2008 and 2009, ACORN’s California chapter (which had 37,000 dues-paying members, making it the largest affiliate in the ACORN network) elected to change its name in an effort to distance itself from what it called “a campaign of lies, media distortions and incessant attacks” that had been directed against the parent group. A key consideration in this decision was California ACORN's desire to keep tax dollars and foundation grants flowing into its coffers.
ACCE characterizes itself as "an independent state-wide organization with no legal, financial or structural ties to ACORN." But ACCE's Executive Director is Amy Schur, who served more than 20 years as a loyal ACORN employee. During that time, Schur helped lead ACORN's national campaigns; she also participated in an eight-year-long coverup of a nearly $1 million embezzlement by ACORN employee Dale Rathke, brother of ACORN co-founder Wade Rathke.
ACCE's office address is also precisely the same as that of California ACORN -- 3655 South Grand Avenue, Suite 250, in Los Angeles, California.
Journalist Matthew Vadum explains how ACORN commonly uses front groups like ACCE as escape hatches through which it seeks to evade public scrutiny and accountability for its acts of malfeasance:
“ACORN plays a game of corporate musical chairs when it gets into trouble. When an ACORN affiliate does something admirable, ACORN emphasizes the ties it has to that affiliate. When an affiliate does something infamous, ACORN plays dumb and its byzantine organizational structure allows it to claim plausible deniability. Such chicanery is standard operating procedure at ACORN, according to ACORN lawyer Elizabeth Kingsley. In an internal legal memo in 2008 Kingsley described the hoops that ACORN jumps through to create the façade that its affiliates are independent of each other.”
Rep. Maxine Waters – a California Democrat and a longtime ACORN ally – immediately expressed her support for the newly created ACCE in January 2010.
Progressive Democrats of America,
- Founded to provide a “philosophical home within the Democratic Party for the progressive community”
- Co-founded and led mostly by activists from failed 2004 presidential campaign of Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a leader of the radical Progressive Caucus
- Helped install Howard Dean as head of Democratic National Committee
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), founded in July 2004, is clear about its mission: “We dedicate ourselves to beginning the long, patriotic, nonviolent, and ultimately unstoppable process of transforming the Democratic Party." PDA reflects the far left wing of the Democratic Party and boasts that it helped install Howard Dean as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
"We believe that the greatest need of our nation," says PDA's Progressive Plan to Change America, "is to redirect the resources of our government from destruction to creation, from war to peace, from military spending to social spending, from sickness to health, from selfish desires to universal needs. The future of humanity and our planet are at stake."
The core of activists who founded and currently run Progressive Democrats of America came from the failed 2004 presidential campaign of Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a leader of the radical Progressive Caucus. PDA's co-founder and National Director is Tim Carpenter, who in 2004 was Deputy National Campaign Manager for Kucinich’s presidential run. Carpenter describes himself as "a social and political activist who, for more than 30 years, has worked for causes such as nuclear disarmament, peace and justice, abolishing the death penalty, defending the homeless, and fighting for clean elections and campaign finance reform."
PDA's Political Director is Kevin Spidel, who was National Field Director for the 2004 Kucinich campaign. Prior to that, he worked as Western Field Coordinator and "grassroots trainer" for Amnesty International. Spidel was co-founder of the leftist group Progressive Vote, which merged with PDA in fall 2004.
"The far right has the Christian Coalition, Rush Limbaugh, Heritage [Foundation] and Carol [sic] Rove. Now we have the PDA!" wrote Spidel. "Without the Progressive Democrats of America, we simply will not have an organized grassroots lobby to effectively counter the powerful and well funded right wing, which currently has the political strength to privatize Social Security, dismantle Medicaid and Medicare, and dramatically reduce funding for affordable housing, education, and job programs."
PDA's Press and Media Team Coordinator is David Swanson, who was Press Secretary for the 2004 Kucinich campaign. He worked for three years as Communications Coordinator for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Since May 2004 Swanson has been Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association (ILCA), an organization of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). He also serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA.
PDA's Promotions and House Party Coordinator is Judith Shattuck, who "studied grassroots organization at the University of Chicago with Saul Alinsky during a year-long seminar in the 60s" and managed the Kucinich presidential campaign's office in Washington State. Other PDA staff from the Kucinich Washington State campaign include its online newsletter Editor Rita Weinstein and its Information Technology Coordinator Nancy Ging.
Aaron Rubin, PDA's Rapid Response Action Coordinator, has worked with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and with the 2004 TrueMajorityAction propaganda campaign of Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, as coordinator of its "PantsOnFire" stunts to grab media attention during the presidential campaign.
Progressive Democrats of America’s short official list of "Alliances, Partners and Friends" prominently features "Frank Llewellyn, National Director, Democratic Socialists of America [DSA],” which is the principal American affiliate of the Socialist International. Congress's Progressive Caucus, of which Rep. Kucinich is a leader, had its own pages on DSA's website until 1999, when conservative press reports prompted both groups to conceal their connections with one another.
Other names on this list include Tom Hayden, who co-founded Students for a Democratic Society and is a former California State Senator; Rep. Barbara Lee, who cast the lone congressional vote opposing the post-9/11 U.S. war against the Taliban and who, in the 1980s, collaborated with the Marxist dictatorship in Granada against the United States, while working in the office of then-Congressman Ron Dellums; Jeff Cohen, the founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR); and Jodie Evans, co-founder of Code Pink for Peace and Board member of the Rainforest Action Network.
Several of PDA's closest allies are Hollywood actors. One is James Cromwell, best known for his roles as the crooked police captain in L.A. Confidential and as President Bob Fowler in the Tom Clancy nuclear terrorism movie The Sum of All Fears. Another is David Clennon, whose career includes a role in the leftwing TV series thirtysomething, which introduced the term "Politically Correct" to most Americans. Clennon is best known for playing Joshua Nankin in the anti-CIA TV series The Agency. PDA's Honorary Chair and "Acting President" is actress Mimi Kennedy, best known for playing the hippie mother of Dharma on the television sitcom Dharma and Greg. She was active in the Kucinich campaign in Hollywood and was a charter member of Artists United to Win Without War, among many other leftist causes. Actor Ed Asner, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and an outspoken advocate for socialism, has been an active supporter and fundraiser for PDA.
On July 29, 2004, PDA National Director Tim Carpenter was a moderator at a gathering of approximately 1,000 progressives at Roxbury Community College in Massachusetts. This conference, "Beyond Boston: Building the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party," featured among its invited speakers former Vermont Governor and failed Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., Rev. Jesse Jackson (Sr.), and James Zogby (head of the Arab American Institute), Tom Hayden, Medea Benjamin, and former Democratic Congressman Tom Andrews (who founded Win Without War). The organization Muslims for Kucinich described this gathering as "the first-ever Progressive Democratic Convention."
PDA sharply criticized DNC Chairman Howard Dean for telling an American Civil Liberties Union gathering in Minneapolis on April 20, 2005 that, with regard to U.S. forces in Iraq, "Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out. The President has created an enormous security problem for the United States where none existed before. But I hope the President is incredibly successful with his policy now that he's there." PDA's Tim Carpenter urged Dean to reverse his statement and call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. To this end, Carpenter announced that PDA would work with United for Peace and Justice to flood congressional offices with telephone calls during the week following Memorial Day 2005.
In December 2004 PDA also joined forces with Jesse Jackson, Rep. John Conyers and other progressives in challenging the Ohio vote count that, by a margin of more than 100,000 votes, re-elected Republican President George W. Bush.
PDA is a member organization of the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition.
PDA is an organizational supporter of the Free Gaza Movement (FGM). Another noteworthy FGM backer is Code Pink, whose co-founders, Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, both sit on the PDA board.In a September 7, 2010 Resolution, PDA declared:
"We ... hereby affirm our support and endorsement of the U.S. aid ship The Audacity of Hope, due to set sail for Gaza in October of this year, as an expression of our insistence that Israel meet its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and end its occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands. As peace and justice advocates, PDA considers it our obligation not only to criticize immoral and illegal acts, but to back up that criticism with action."
Change to Win,
- Created as a result of a leadership crisis in the AFL-CIO
- Was founded by progressive activist Andrew Stern of the SEIU
- Led by Anna Burger, powerful union leader and vice-Chair of Democracy Alliance
- Funds Democratic candidates and lawmakers
- Supports single-payer health care, the Employee Free Choice Act, and amnesty for illegal aliens
Former New Leftist Andrew Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), founded Change to Win (CTW) as a union federation in 2005. Stern was prompted to form the new group as a result of infighting with John Sweeney over the leadership of the AFL-CIO. At its founding, CTW had more than 6 million members and was composed of seven unions. By 2010, it had 5.5 million members and five unions: the SEIU, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Laborers' International Union of North America, the United Farm Workers of America, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
CTW claims to protect the “American dream for America’s workers,” a dream that is “under threat today as never before in our lifetimes.” According to its constitution, CTW seeks to “hold global corporations and elected public officials accountable to working people.” In its mission statement, CTW outlines four principal goals that labor can achieve for its members:
- A paycheck that supports a family
- Universal health care
- A secure retirement
- The freedom to form a union to give workers a voice on the job
The power of CTW intersects with a host of other leftist organizations. Anna Burger, the first and current Chair of CTW, best exemplifies the network between big labor and progressive advocacy. She is the International Secretary-Treasurer of the SEIU and the Vice Chair of the George Soros and Peter Lewis-funded Democracy Alliance. With the financial power of CTW and several institutions at her disposal, Burger has been able to direct tens of millions of dollars toward Democratic candidates and radical organizations like ACORN. Since 2000, the SEIU, one of the five member unions of CTW, spent “at least $187,500,000 through combined lobbying, PAC and 527s group donations, and expenses on candidates and policy issues – nearly 100% of which went to Democrats and to liberal policy initiatives.”
Supporting single-payer health care, CTW participated in the Soros-funded Health Care for America Now! campaign, raised funds for progressive reform, and celebrated the March 21, 2010 passage of the Health Care Bill in the House as a historic victory. CTW is also a leading advocate of the Employee Free Choice Act and waged a national campaign to ensure that President Barack Obama would pass the bill after his election in 2008. Since “workplace elections are not free or fair,” CTW claims, workers need to be protected from corporations.
In 2009, CTW collaborated with the AFL-CIO to draft a five-point proposal on immigration reform, designed to defend U. S. workers, "reduce the exploitation of immigrant workers," and "reduce the employers’ incentive to hire undocumented workers rather than American workers." While the CTW maintains that it does not seek amnesty, a principal element of its advocacy is family reunification, which would allow tens of millions of additional aliens into the nation. CTW is also fiercely anti-free trade. “Much of the emigration from Mexico in recent years,” it claims, “resulted from the disruption caused by NAFTA, which displaced millions of Mexicans from subsistence agriculture and enterprises that could not compete in a global market.” On March 21, 2010, CTW participated in the pro-amnesty March for America. Advocating immigration reform and “economic justice,” CTW was joined by a host of progressive organizations like the AFL-CIO, the SEIU, the Center for American Progress, the National Council of La Raza, Progressive Democrats of America, and many others.
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance,
Campaign for America's Future,
- Progressive organization that supports increased taxes to pay for an ever-growing number of social welfare programs
- Has received funding from George Soros
Working to "revitalize a progressive agenda" and to “expose the conservative agenda that has made things worse,” Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that supports tax hikes, socialized medicine, and a dramatic expansion of social welfare programs. UndueInfluence.com describes CAF as a "labor-dominated lobbying and electoral network heavily influenced by progressive plutocrats and secret donors working on anti-corporate, anti-military, welfare-state, and other 'progressive' programs."
CAF was co-founded in 1996 chiefly by: (a) Robert Borosage, who previously served as Director of the Institute for Policy Studies and founded the Progressive Majority political action committee; and (b) Roger Hickey, who co-founded the Economic Policy Institute and was the Media Director for the National Center for Economic Alternatives. (Borosage and Hickey also co-founded CAF's sister organization, Institute for America's Future or IAF, in 1999.) All told, some 130 people played a role in founding CAF. Among the other notables were Mary Frances Berry, Julian Bond, Heather Booth, Robert Borosage, John Cavanagh, Richard Cloward, Peter Dreier, Barbara Ehrenreich, Betty Friedan, Todd Gitlin, Tom Hayden, Denis Hayes, Roger Hickey, Patricia Ireland, Jesse Jackson, Joseph Lowery, Frances Fox Piven, Robert Reich, Mark Ritchie, Arlie Schardt, Susan Shaer, Andrew Stern, John Sweeney, and Richard Trumka.
CAF (in conjunction with IAF) focuses its efforts on the following major issues and projects:
(a) Healthcare for All: “47 million Americans remain uninsured and millions of families are plunged into bankruptcy when serious illness strikes. Everyone in America deserves high quality, affordable health insurance. That’s why [CAF] is launching a national effort to discuss and debate progressive solutions to the [challenge] of covering all Americans.”
(b) Revitalizing Education: While criticizing the Bush Administration’s “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001, CAF supports an across-the-board increase in federal funding for public education. Specifically, the organization calls for "universal pre-school care [including] health and nutritional programs in addition to traditional academic development activities”; “the expansion of Head Start to all qualified applicants”; “immediate increases in federal school construction and maintenance funds”; “a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1”; higher pay for new teachers and for “skilled/experienced teachers … working in disadvantaged areas”; “universal access to after-school programs [which] will require increased investment at the local, state and national level”; and more "grants and subsidized loans" for higher education.
(c) Protecting Social Security: CAF seeks to “educate the public about Social Security and the pitfalls of privatization.”
(d) Accountable Congress: In 2005, CAF purchased television airtime to broadcast commercials demanding the removal of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for ethics violations. The ads solicited donations of up to $2,500. Says CAF: "Tom DeLay is finally gone, and we're not stopping there. We're turning our guns on DeLay's successors—with the same unapologetic and sustained campaigns to expose their corruption and make them accountable to their constituents."
(e) Straight Talk: CAF produces both online and print media “designed to serve up ammunition to progressives who have the opportunity to challenge the grip that the right has had on our imaginations and our policies over the past quarter century.”
(f) Energy Independence: CAF helped create the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor, environmental, and social justice groups professing a commitment to the development of “good jobs and energy independence.” United by their belief that America is a chief source of worldwide “environmental disruption, rising social inequity, and … fundamentalist anger,” Apollo Alliance’s endorsing organizations and partners include Greenpeace, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation, the Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and ACORN. Apollo Alliance’s National Steering Committee and National Advisory Board members include, among others, Robert Borosage, Carl Pope of the Sierra Club, Julian Bond of the NAACP, Gerry Hudson of the Service Employees International Union, and U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. Apollo Alliance has also received strong support from the socialist Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, and from New York Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.
(g) Each year, CAF holds a “Take Back America” conference, which the organization describes as “a catalyst for building the infrastructure to ensure that the voice of the progressive majority is heard.” In 2005, prominent speakers at this conference included Howard Dean, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Edwards, Jesse Jackson, Arianna Huffington, and Bill Moyers. CAF credits “Take Back America 2006” with helping to secure progressive wins in that year's midterm congressional elections. Participants in the 2006 event included John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Topping the agenda for CAF’s “Take Back America 2007” event were the issues of “affordable education and health care for all”; “the right to join a union”; and “pushing for a vote to get U.S. troops out of the middle of the civil war in Iraq.”
In the 2004 presidential election, CAF partnered with both the Democratic Party and a number of far-left special interest groups in a campaign to oppose tax cuts. The Democratic National Committee stated, “The Democratic Party is partnering with MoveOn.org, People for the American Way, Campaign for America's Future, and dozens of other groups representing millions of Americans to organize a massive public mobilization … [J]oin us by calling and emailing your representatives in Congress to let them know that the majority of Americans oppose more irresponsible tax cuts ...”
CAF also endorsed “Invest in America,” an anti-tax-cut statement supported by: ACORN; Alliance For Justice; the American Friends Service Committee; the Center for Community Change; the Center For Women's Policy Studies; the Children’s Defense Fund; the Democratic Socialists of America; the Environmental Working Group; the League of United Latin American Citizens; the League of Women Voters; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; the National Council of La Raza; the National Lawyers Guild; the National Organization for Women; the National Women's Law Center; the Older Women's League; Peace Action; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Planned Parenthood; Public Citizen; the Service Employees International Union; the United States Student Association; Veterans For Peace; and Women’s Action for New Directions.
A notable Senior Fellow for CAF is Rick Perlstein, a political commentator for the Village Voice.
CAF has received funding from George Soros, the Agnes Gund Foundation, the Arca Foundation, and the Rockefeller Family Fund.
In March 2008, CAF presented its Lifetime Leadership Award to Norman Lear, recognizing him “for his work as both a groundbreaking television producer and an outspoken progressive activist and benefactor”; for “fighting the rising influence of the religious right in American politics”; and for founding People for the American Way, “an organization that has been a staunch critic of the right and a fierce defender of the principle that progressive Americans must have their faith and their patriotism acknowledged and respected.” CAF also honored Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky “for her advocacy in Congress.”
At its March 2008 “Take Back America” conference in Washington, DC, CAF joined six fellow leftist organizations in announcing plans for “the most expensive [$350 million] mobilization in history this election season” -- an initiative that focused on voter registration, education, and get-out-the-vote drives. The other members of CAF’s coalition included MoveOn.org, Rock the Vote, ACORN, the National Council of La Raza, the Women's Voices Women Vote Action Fund, and the AFL-CIO.
In June 2010, CAF held an “America’s Future Now” conference in Washington, DC, which featured such guest speakers as Andrew Stern, Arianna Huffington, Van Jones, and Nancy Pelosi. Sponsors and partners for the event included the National Education Association Foundation and the AFL-CIO.
CAF's board of directors includes MoveOn.org president Eli Pariser and NAACP Washington bureau director Hilary Shelton.
Public Campaign Action Fund, Fuse Washington, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, Citizen Action of New York, Engage, United Electrical Workers Union, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, Alliance for a Just Society, The Partnership for Working Families, United Students Against Sweatshops, Presente.org, Get Equal,
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees,
- One of the biggest union contributors to the Democratic Party
- Uses card-check and stealth strategies to boost membership
With 1.6 million members, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is one of the largest unions in the AFL-CIO. Mostly representing workers in local and state government and in the health-care industry, AFSCME is one of the few unions to have continually increased its membership since its inception. Under the leadership of Gerald McEntee, AFSCME has been instrumental in transforming labor into a progressive outfit.
AFSCME was founded in 1936. During the late 1930s and 40s, its membership grew to more than 50,000 people and it lobbied primarily for civil-service laws based on merit. In the 1950s, AFSCME began to shift its priorities toward collective bargaining, which was illegal for the vast majority of public employees.
During this period of development, Jerry Wurf emerged as the leader to guide the union to prominence and influence. From 1947 to 1964, Wurf worked as an organizer for the AFSCME local, District Council 37, in New York City and was able to increase its membership from 1,000 to 38,000. This dramatic rise was due to Wurf’s push to legalize collective bargaining for public employees. In 1958, his campaign resulted in Mayor Robert Wagner recognizing collective bargaining as a right for public employees. Wagner’s Executive Order 49 became the model for President Kennedy’s 1962 Order granting organizing rights to a wide range of federal employees.
Wurf became AFSCME’s President in 1964, at which time the union had 220,000 members. By the time Wurf died in 1981, AFSCME's membership had grown to approximately 1 million. Wurf had developed the union into one of the most powerful in America and had also steered it politically leftward with his fierce criticism of the Vietnam War. It was Gerald McEntee, however, who instituted AFSCME’s definitive shift towards progressivism when he succeeded Wurf as the union’s President. McEntee aligned himself with the most powerful players in the New Labor movement: John Sweeney, Andrew Stern, and Steven Rosenthal (co-founder of America Coming Together, which represented AFSCME in the Government Union wing of the Shadow Party).
In 1995, the year of Sweeney’s election as AFL CIO President, McEntee became chairman of the AFL-CIO’s political committee and helped to guide the liberal federation into a new era of progressive labor. McEntee also employed Paul Booth -- radical union activist, former New Leftist, former national secretary of the Students for a Democratic Society, and co-founder of the Midwest Academy -- as his assistant. Booth, who had previously trained radicals to infiltrate the labor movement, was now able to inundate a much vaster labor arena, heading the AFL-CIO’s "Union Summer" training camp, a 10-week educational internship where participants are indoctrinated in radical ideology, developing "skills useful for union organizing drives and other campaigns for workers' rights and social justice." (Today, Booth is McEntee's executive assistant at AFSCME.)
From his position of power, McEntee has ensured AFSCME’s absolute support for the Democratic Party as well as its partnership with America Votes. Between 1990 and 2010, AFSCME alone donated $42 million -- 98 percent to Democrats -- and it remains the leading union contributor to the Party.
Many questions have surrounded McEntee’s role in funneling such vast sums of money into political causes. During the Bill Clinton administration, McEntee was implicated in Teamstergate, an illegal funding operation in which at least $1 million was laundered by Project Vote, Citizen Action, the National Council of Senior Citizens, Teamsters for a Corruption-Free Union, the AFL-CIO, and the Democratic Party itself.
In order to increase its membership, AFSCME has also waged numerous card-check campaigns and found other ways of gaining membership through backroom deals and stealth strategies. In the state of Washington, for example, AFSCME helped the Democrats gain full control of the legislature in 2002. Democrats, in turn, lifted collective bargaining restrictions from state employees and, within three years, unions were able to double their membership by targeting government workers. With the huge increase in dues, moreover, the unions doubled their political donations to the Democratic Party.
During the 2010 election-campaign season, AFSCME made $2.2 million in political contributions, with only $6,000, or 0.3 percent, going to Republicans; recipients of AFSCME's donations included 339 House and Senate Democrats, and only 3 Republicans.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Corporate Accountability International, American Federation of Government Employees, Training for Change, People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER), Student Labor Action Project, Colorado Progressive Coalition,
Green for All,
- Founded by President Obama’s former “green jobs czar” Van Jones
- Aligned with Joel Rogers, George Soros, and Al Gore, among many others
- Environmental partner of progressive labor
Founded in 2007, Green For All (GFA) was created by Van Jones to lobby for federal climate, energy, and economic policy initiatives. Joel Rogers, founder of the Apollo Alliance and the Emerald Cities Collaborative, also helped to establish GFA through his primary Wisconsin organization, COWS. Both Jones and Rogers are major players in the push for Cap and Trade legislation, and they have collaborated in an effort to transform America’s environmental policy. Jones also credits Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx and a fellow at the MacArthur Foundation, for helping to launch GFA.
Van Jones’ projects have long been bankrolled by George Soros’ Open Society Institute, which gave $1 million to the Jones-founded Ella Baker Center before becoming a major donor to GFA. Along with Soros, a host of powerful progressive funders give money to GFA, including Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the New World Foundation, the Schwab Charitable Fund, the Streisand Foundation, the SEIU, the Tides Center and Foundation, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Ford Foundation, theNathan Cummings Foundation, the Overbrook Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Urban Ecology Institute, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Wallace Global Fund.
Jones has also identified emerging green organizations that work in partnership with GFA, among them: the Energy Action Coalition, the Corps Network, the Blue-Green Alliance, the Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change, and the Social Venture Network.
While "holding the most vulnerable people at the center of [its] agenda," GFA aims to "build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty" by "creating millions of quality jobs and careers." The key to realizing this goal, GFA explains, is to "leverag[e] government funding" in conjunction with "private investment."
In its first conference, titled “The Dream Reborn,” GFA portrayed itself as a continuation of the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. -- in the sense that it was striving to improve the lives of those on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. More accurately, Jones’ organization operates as the environmental linchpin of progressive labor:
- Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, who succeeded Jones as CEO of Green For All and is also a board member of the Joel Rogers-foundedEmerald Cities Collaborative, was the former head of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council and of Working Partnerships USA (WP-USA), whose board is composed of labor leaders from the AFL-CIO, the SEIU, and UNITE HERE!.
- GFA board member Donald Cohen is a co-founder and president of the Center on Policy Initiatives; he works with WP-USA and the Partnership For Working Families, whose board is also composed of labor leaders;
- GFA board member Juliet Ellis is the Executive Director of Urban Habitat and a board member of Partnership For Working Families; and
- GFA board member Cynthia Ryan is the principal of theSchooner Foundation, a chair at Human Rights Watch, a partner in the Democracy Alliance, and a trustee of both the Nation Institute and the Ploughshares Fund.
In 2007, GFA helped to pass the Green Jobs Act, which authorized $125 million in taxpayer dollars each year to train workers for employment in a variety of green industries.
In 2008, GFA sought to amplify its Washington lobbying efforts by launching the Climate Equity Alliance, which seeks to "limit carbon emissions" by imposing -- as Cap-and-Trade plans would mandate -- monetary penalties on companies whose emissions are above a certain level. Members of this Alliance include such organizations as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Center for American Progress, the SEIU, the NAACP, the National Hispanic Environmental Council, the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change,Change to Win, Oxfam America, Democracia USA, the National Council of Churches, First Focus, the Economic Policy Institute, Redefining Progress,USAction, the Coalition on Human Needs, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, ACORN, Enterprise Community Partners, and the NETWORK Lobby.
Attempting to earmark $60 billion in taxpayer funds for "green jobs training," in 2010 GFA strongly supported the Cap-and-Trade Climate Bill that Barbara Boxer introduced to the U.S. Senate.
In local lobbying efforts, GFA persuaded the U.S. Conference of Mayors – 1,200 mayors nationwide – to adopt its Green Jobs Pledge. GFA also launched its Green Cities Program with the Apollo Alliance, and its "Retrofit America's Cities" Program with Joel Rogers. The latter initiative seeks to "perform energy-efficiency retrofits at a city-wide scale"; these would include upgrades to such items as the insulation, duct sealing, water heaters, HVAC units, windows, roofing, and doors in people's homes. Because GFA's objective is to redistribute wealth (as indicated by its professed desire to "lift people out of poverty"), such retrofit projects would aim to employ low-income people who had completed "green jobs" training programs funded by federal taxpayer dollars.
In 2008, GFA and Al Gore's WE Campaign launched the Green For All Academy. By training “leaders from low-income communities and communities of color,” this Academy seeks to “expand, educate and engage the base of support for climate solutions and a clean energy economy in America.”
In 2009, GFA expanded its programs and lobbying efforts, achieving an unprecedented level of success for green progressivism. President Barack Obama appointed Van Jones as his Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
GFA was also able to expand its Green For All Academy -- training, in two consecutive years, 100 Fellows, many of whom had previously worked for such prominent progressive groups as the Illinois League of Conservation Voters, Global Exchange, Democracia USA, Human Rights Watch;,Progressive Majority, the Sierra Club, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and MoveOn. Other GFA Fellows had formerly worked for luminaries like Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich .
Another GFA initiative, known as “Green the Block,” asks people to pledge to take the following environmentally conscious measures: unplug their electrical appliances when they are not in use; use less water; convert to using compact flourescent light bulbs in their residences; recycle; use public transportation; eat organic foods; use reusable bottles and bags; purchase secondhand rather than new products whenever possible; and purchase products with minimal packaging. Members of the “Green the Block” coalition include ACORN, the Apollo Alliance, Color of Change, the National Wildlife Federation, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the National Urban League, and the AFL-CIO.
DC Jobs with Justice,
- Training organization that teaches radical activists the tactics of direct action, targeting, confrontation, and intimidation
- Has deep socialist roots
See also: Heather Booth
The Midwest Academy (MA) was founded in 1973 by Heather Booth and Steve Max. Describing itself as “one of the nation's oldest and best known schools for community organizations, citizen organizations and individuals committed to progressive social change,” this leftist training institute seeks to bring about “economic, racial, environmental and social justice” by teaching activists how to “alter the relations of power in our society where too much power is concentrated in the hands of too few.” As of January 2011, MA had trained more than 30,000 activists.
From MA's earliest days, its training programs consisted of role-playing exercises coupled with readings, lectures, discussions, and first-hand observation sessions at actual demonstrations. Strongly emphasizing “class consciousness” and “movement history,” the organization exposed students to the efforts and achievements of veteran activists from earlier decades. MA's recurring “socialism sessions,” taught by Heather Booth, focused on everything from Marx, Engels, and Lenin, through Michael Harrington’s democratic socialism and the factional struggles of the Students for a Democratic Society.
Knowing that many Americans would not be receptive to straightforward, hard-left advocacy, MA in its formative years was careful not to mention its socialist ideals explicitly in its organizing and training activities. The group's inner circle was committed to building a socialist mass movement, but stealthily rather than overtly. As Steve Max and the prominent MA-friendly socialist Harry Boyte agreed in a correspondence during that era, “every social proposal that we make must be couched in terms of how it will strengthen capitalism.” Because MA has long sought to keep its socialist agendas hidden below the proverbial radar, Stanley Kurtz, author of Radical-in-Chief, calls it a “crypto-socialist organization.”
By the late 1970s, MA emphasized grassroots organizing as a means of infiltrating, participating in, and influencing the political establishment in the mode of Saul Alinsky. Most community groups of the era resisted this approach, fearing that such assimilation might dilute their members' revolutionary zeal for wholesale societal transformation. But when the conservative Ronald Reagan was elected U.S. President in 1980, these organizations began to adopt MA's approach as seemingly the most pragmatic means of changing American political values, albeit incrementally.
In the 1980s, MA was indirectly responsible for funding Barack Obama’s early organizing work, which began in June of 1985 in Chicago. At the time, Obama received key support from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and the Woods Fund of Chicago. In both cases, Ken Rolling -- who was a high official with the Midwest Academy, a Woods Fund board member, and a longtime member of CCHD's national committee -- likely played a major role in dispensing this money.
To this day, MA continues to indoctrinate its students in “us-versus-them” ideology, thereby producing an ever-growing cadre of radicalized activists. One prominent MA graduate is Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president Andrew Stern.
MA's training sessions -- titled “Organizing for Social Change” -- are typically five days long. They teach techniques of “direct-action organizing,” whereby people are made “aware of their own power” to “take collective action on their own behalf” and address such societal issues as “rising inequalty in income and wealth.” MA's openly confrontational modus operandi is reflected in a quote, attributed to Frederick Douglass, which appeared on the Academy website's homepage as of January 2011: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will.” The chief objectives of MA's tactics are interrelated: “electing our people to office” and “changing laws and regulations.”
MA training sessions cover such topics as “choosing problems and issues” on which to focus, “understanding preconditions for social change movements,” and obtaining “good media coverage.” Role-play techniques are used in order to help students determine what tactics work best in various situations: e.g., “stand or sit, shout or remain calm, make threats or try to reach consensus.”
An inviolable core principle undergirding all of MA's tactics is that in every case, activists must “target” a “decision maker”; i.e., a “person or persons” who can be “forced” to “give you what you want.” Observing a central tenet of Saul Alinsky's community-organizing doctrines, MA emphasizes: “The decision maker is always a person, never as institution.” (Alinsky taught that the people's discontent must be directed, without exception, at an identifiable face -- “a personification, not something general and abstract like a corporation or City Hall.”)
Toward this end, MA activists commonly employ a technique known as the “accountability session,” whereby they target a specific person -- e.g., a government official or corporate CEO who possesses the authority necessary to make a decision vis a vis a matter of concern to MA. The activists arrange to meet with this person, telling him or her that they merely wish to have a certain existing policy or plan explained to them. At the meeting, however, the official is confronted by a large number of angry protesters; their activities are directed by an experienced organizer who has analyzed the official's personal and family life, political connections, and career to find vulnerabilities where pressure can be applied.
To provide an overall structure for its training programs, MA has produced a 425-page manual titled Organizing for Social Change, co-authored by former MA trainer Kim Bobo, MA co-founder Steve Max, and current MA executive director Jackie Kendall. This publication is widely used by radicals and community organizations around the world as a textbook on how to conduct direct-action organizing. Such groups as the Sierra Club, NARAL, the United States Student Organization, and the Children's Defense Fund have used the manual for training purposes. The AFL-CIO has incorporated the manual's teachings into its “Union Summer” training camp for labor organizers. Former AFL-CIO president John Sweeney and the Rev. Jesse Jackson have highly encouraged their supporters to read it.
In December 2005, MA announced its establishment of an annual “Heather Award,” in honor of Heather Booth’s decades of work as an activist leader. To view a list of this award's past recipients, click here.
In 2008, MA executive director Jackie Kendall served on the team that developed the first volunteer-training program for "Camp Obama," a two-to-four day intensive course -- run in conjunction with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign -- designed to cultivate political activists who could help the Illinois senator win the White House.
MA endorsed the October 2, 2010 “March on Washington” organized by One Nation Working Together, an event whose purpose was to inspire “an intensive voter-mobilization program for Election Day 2010.” For a list of other notable endorsers, click here.
A key member of MA's board of directors is Heather Booth's husband, Paul Booth.
The Midwest Academy has received funding from numerous foundations, including, among others, the Arca Foundation, the Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, the DeHaan Family Foundation, the Elias Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the H. W. Buckner Charitable Residuary Trust, the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Lilly and Company Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the New York Community Trust, the New York Foundation, the Nicholas H. Noyes, Jr. Memorial Foundation, George Soros's Open Society Institute, the Retirement Research Foundation, the Wieboldt Foundation, the Woods Charitable Trust, and the Woods Fund of Chicago. (Courtesy of The Foundation Center and UndueInfluence.com)
As of 2008, the Midwest Academy's net assets totaled $654,041.
The Coffee Party, International Forum on Globalization, UFCW International Union, Sunflower Community Action, Illinois People's Action, Lakeview Action Coalition, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, International Brotherhood of the Teamsters, Resource Generation, Highlander Research and Education Center, TakeAction Minnesota,
Energy Action Coalition,
- Member of Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection
- Leading project funded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute
Founded in 2004, the Energy Action Coalition (EAC) describes itself as “a coalition of 50 youth-led environmental and social justice groups working together to build the youth clean energy and climate movement.” For EAC, this means “dismantling oppression” according to its principles of environmental justice, which emphasize:
- "ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things";
- "universal protection from nuclear testing, extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and poisons";
- "the right of all workers to a safe and healthy work environment";
- "the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and provided fair access for all to the full range of resources";
- "a halt to the testing of experimental reproductive and medical procedures and vaccinations on people of color";
- opposition to "the destructive operations of multi-national corporations";
- opposition to "military occupation, repression and exploitation of lands, peoples and cultures, and other life forms";
- "the education of present and future generations which emphasizes social and environmental issues, based on our experience and an appreciation of our diverse cultural perspectives."
In addition, EAC’s articles of belief also require “victims of environmental injustice to receive full compensation and reparations for damages as well as quality health care.” As such, EAC believes in the eradication of “environmental racism” so as “to secure” the “political, economic, and cultural liberation that has been denied for over 500 years of colonization and oppression.”
With offices in New York and Washington, DC, EAC is a prominent member of Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. EAC's 50 constituent groups include such organizations as: Campus Progress; the Chesapeake Climate Action Network; 1Sky; the Earth Day Network; the Van Jones and Joel Rogers-founded Green For All; Global Exchange; the Greenpeace Student Network; Campus Ecology of the National Wildlife Federation; the California Student Sustainability Coalition (a project of the Earth Island Institute); the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (a project funded by the Tides Center); the Indigenous Environmental Network; the Responsible Endowments Coalition; the Sierra Student Coalition and the Sierra Youth Coalition, (both youth-led chapters of the Sierra Club); the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund; the Ruckus Society; the Rainforest Action Network; the United States Student Association; the Southwest Workers Union; the Rutgers-based New Jersey Public Interest Research Group; SustainUS; the Student Environmental Action Coalition; and the Southern Energy Network.
EAC emerged out of the first "Fossil Fools Day" on April 1, 2004, which was held primarily on college campuses across the United States. Billy Parish, one of the principal coordinators of the event, is the most prominent founder of EAC. In 2005, with the new coalition well established, Parish and his partners were able to double the size and impact of Fossil Fools Day.
Parish became EAC’s first Executive Director, but to soon left to become an Ashoka fellow working to coordinate the efforts of EAC member groups Green for All, 1Sky, and Black Mesa Water Coalition. Jessy Tolkan, another key EAC organizer and a former United States Student Association (USSA) organizer, took over Parish role. When Tolkan herself eventually left EAC in 2009 to join Green For All, Courtney Hight, another former national organizer for the USSA, replaced her at EAC. Previously, Hight had worked as USSA's get-out-the-vote director for the 2006 midterm elections; she then joined the Barack Obama presidental campaign in early 2007; and she was selected to serve on the White House Council on Environmental Quality after Obama's presidential victory in 2008.
As head of EAC, Hight has championed President Obama’s promise to transform the American “system.” For her, the purpose of the energy revolution can be crystallized in a complete rejection of “Big Oil and its harmful cohort Dirty Coal.” To my generation,” Hight wrote, “it seems pretty simple. Stop. Stop using oil. Stop subsidizing an entire industry that is literally destroying us.”
Adams Hlava, EAC’s operations director, also has experience organizing political campaigns for Democratic candidates. In 2006 he worked for Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle’s successful re-election effort, and in 2008 he was a manager for former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen’s successful Senate bid.
Of the six leaders currently running EAC, two of them, Anjali Helferty and Whit Jones, come from youth chapters of the Sierra Club, America’s oldest and most powerful environmental organization.
One of EAC’s chief projects is the Campus Climate Challenge, which was initiated at EAC’s founding meeting as a plan to hold an Energy Independence Day on October 14, 2004 -- a series of concurrect demonstrations that were held in more than 280 separate locales. By 2007, EAC was able to mobilize even larger rallies. In January of that year, "Rising to the Climate Challenge" became, according to EAC, “the largest youth mobilization in the history of the youth climate change” with events held on almost 600 campuses in 49 states and eight Canadian provinces.
Funders of EAC’s Campus Climate Challenge include the Bullitt Foundation, the Botwinick-Wolfensohn Family Foundation, Clear the Air, the Energy Foundation, the Hull Family Foundation, the Kendall Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, the Lynford Family Charitable Trust, the Laird Norton Foundation, the Merck Family Fund, New York Community Trust, George Soros’ Open Society Institute, the Overbrook Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Surdna Foundation.
Since 2007, EAC has held annual youth-climate summits. The first of these events, "Power Shift 2007," took place at the University of Maryland and was attended by some 6,000 students from all over the United States. Guest speakers included Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA), and Barack Obama’s future "green jobs czar" Van Jones.
In 2008, EAC transformed its summit into a "Power Vote" campaign in an effort to unite 350,000 young voters behind a call for clean and "just" energy. EAC’s get-out-the-vote campaign operated at party conventions, presidential debates, and hosted a webcast with Al Gore.
In February 2009, EAC held its Power Shift summit in Washington D.C. According to Billy Parish, the event doubled its attendance from 6,000 in 2007 to 12,000 and featured a variety of speakers from Congress and the White House, including Representatives Ed Markey and Donna Edwards (D -MD), Ken Salazar (President Obama’s Secretary of the Interior), and Lisa Jackson (Obama's Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency).
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