Why Do Progressives Defend Communists and Terrorists?

September 30, 2010 15:24

When John Sweeney, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, became president of the AFL-CIO, the communists and their fellow travelers were officially welcomed in.

By Cliff Kincaid at AIM

As incredible as it may seem, the giant labor federation, the AFL-CIO, used to be run by a staunch anti-communist. George Meany had his disagreements with conservatives on domestic issues but he mostly agreed with them on foreign policy. Indeed, Meany was so anti-communist that he was dubbed a “right-winger” by liberals in the media. He criticized détente with the Soviet Union. He didn’t like communists and refused to allow them into his coalitions.

All of this changed over time. When the AFL-CIO staged a “Solidarity Day” rally in 1981, in order to protest President Ronald Reagan’s domestic policies, then-AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland refused to tell communists they were not welcome.

When John Sweeney, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, became president of the AFL-CIO, the communists and their fellow travelers were officially welcomed in. He hired veterans of the Venceremos Brigades such as Karen Nussbaum and Karen Ackerman. These were the groups of radical young people who had gone to Communist Cuba for indoctrination sessions back in the 1970s.  Some went for training in guerrilla warfare. The trips were arranged by Bernardine Dohrn of the terrorist Weather Underground.

As we noted in a recent column, Nussbaum, executive director of Working America, a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, is in charge of getting the unemployed to the ballot box on November 2 in order to prevent a conservative takeover of the U.S. Congress. Nussbaum, who served under Sweeney at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has refused to talk about her time in Cuba and the media won’t ask her any questions about it.

Ackerman, AFL-CIO political director since 2003, is also close-mouthed about her Cuba trip.

In this day and age, with the liberal media so willing to act as megaphones for the Obama Administration and left-wing labor leaders, it is not “news” that Ackerman, in charge of overall strategy and the spending of millions of dollars on behalf of liberal candidates, once went to Cuba for indoctrination. Nor is it “news” that the AFL-CIO, now under President Richard Trumpka, has joined a “One  Nation Working Together” coalition staging a Saturday rally with the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and other openly communist and socialist groups.

Consider Thursday’s Washington Post story about the “liberal” and “left-leaning” groups planning the October 2 march in Washington, D.C. Reporter Krissah Thompson says the coalition includes “environmentalists, antiwar activists, church and civil rights groups, union organizers and gay rights coalitions…” Nothing is said about the fact that the “One Nation Working Together” official list of “endorsing organizations” includes the CPUSA, best known for receiving Soviet funding and direction during the Cold War. But the CPUSA is not the only far-left group on the list. All that a reporter has to do is read it. But to report the facts would mean that organizers of the rally, led by a veteran Democratic Party operative, might have to be asked embarrassing questions. So the facts are ignored.

The liberal media bias and dishonesty aside, the change reflects how the progressive movement has capitulated to the forces of the anti-American left, in order to swell their ranks. It is a terrible development that is ominous for the future of the United States because of the hold that the progressives now have on the White House and Congress. It makes sensational reports of a few extremists in the conservative-oriented Tea Party movement look silly by comparison.

We noted in our recent column that the “peace director” of the “One Nation Working Together” rally ran an organization that defends accused Army traitor Bradley Manning. He talks openly about inviting communists to the rally. It doesn’t bother him in the least.

Unfortunately, this is the continuation of a trend we have seen since Barack Obama became President and hired communist Van Jones. After Trevor Loudon broke the story about Jones’ communist background and Glenn Beck of Fox News raised a ruckus, Jones left the administration, only to return to the group in Washington, D.C. where he had previously worked—the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress. This revolving door proves that the modern-day progressive movement is willing to work with communists and tolerate their destructive ideology. It is a tragic turnaround from the days when liberal Democrats shared the anti-communism that characterized U.S. foreign policy.

These communists are people who have always put the interests of foreign countries, most of them totalitarian in nature, ahead of the United States. They may not have the Soviet Union to depend on anymore, but they continue to get inspiration and guidance from Cuba. They represent an alien philosophy that has cost the lives of 100 million people through failed socialist schemes, violence, terrorism, and murder. As former FBI informant Larry Grathwohl has testified, the Weather Underground itself had plans to “re-educate” 100 million Americans and eliminate the 25 million who couldn’t be converted to communism.

To cite another example of this troublesome trend, consider that a so-called “progressive” media outlet called “Truthout” is circulating a column on women active in politics that glorifies convicted terrorists Lolita Lebron, Marilyn Buck, and Aafia Siddiqui. These women are called “political prisoners.”

The piece by someone named Linda Ford explains, “Lebron and Buck were anti-white supremacy/anti-imperialist activists from the 1950s-80s. Lebron, who was a Puerto Rican nationalist, died on August 1 at the age of 90. From the 60s through the 80s, in a serious, comprehensive and all-encompassing attempt at revolution, women participated in groups that favored radical action—even armed resistance—against what they saw as an oppressive American state.”

“In March of 1954,” Ford acknowledges, “Lebron wanted to dramatically tell the world that Puerto Rico was ‘a U.S. colony.’ Shouting ‘Viva Puerto Rico Libre!’ she led a small group which opened fire in the House of Representatives, firing 30 shots and wounding five Congressmen.”

Ford assures us that Lebron claims she only shot at the ceiling, not intending to hurt anyone. She was pardoned by President Carter and returned to her “activism.”

As for Buck, she “was an activist in the intense, politically charged atmosphere of the 60s and 70s, part of the huge movement challenging the American system: the capitalist state and white supremacy.”

In fact, Buck was involved with the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army (BLA) and served decades in prison, “where she wrote prize-winning poetry and analytic articles on the psychology of female repression,” Ford tells us. She was in prison for her involvement in multiple terrorist incidents, including bombings, murders and helping a BLA member named Joanne Chesimard escape from prison to Cuba.

Ford goes on, “Stewart and Siddiqui, who were also arguably victims of white supremacy and imperialism, have both felt the enormous consequences of the anti-‘terrorist’/anti-Muslim era, beginning with the 9/11 bombings.”

Aafia Siddiqui, known as “Lady Al Qaeda,” was sentenced to 86 years in prison for trying to kill American soldiers and was implicated in other terrorist plots. But Linda Ford questions the evidence and cites claims by “human rights groups” that “she is not an extremist.”

Stewart is terrorist lawyer Lynne Stewart, now serving 10 years in prison for providing illegal support to a client, terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, responsible for the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. But Ford casts doubt on these charges as well, saying that “Stewart thinks she was being made an example to deter other lawyers, male or female, from defending ‘controversial figures and causes.’”

These claims would be laughable were the issue of terrorism not so serious. How have we come to the point in the United States where a progressive media outlet, bankrolled by liberal foundations, would run such garbage?

But the “Truthout” site not only runs columns defending and praising terrorists. It distributes columns by such liberals as Paul Krugman and E.J. Dionne.

A statement on the website boasts the names of dozens of leading “progressives” and says that “We value and support Truthout in its efforts to promote democracy, social justice, accountability and peace. Truthout is an invaluable source of independent news and commentary, and provides a powerful voice for the progressive movement.”

The names and signers include Bernie Lunzer, President of The Newspaper Guild/Communication Workers of America; Michael Winship, President of the Writers Guild of America, East; Jeff Cohen, founder of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting; Carol D. Rothman, Secretary-Treasurer, The Newspaper Guild-CWA; and Mike Elk, labor writer for In These Times and The Huffington Post.

It is tragic but telling that the cause of “social democracy, social justice, accountability and peace” apparently justifies publishing not only a defense of terrorism but a glorification of terrorists who have served or are serving prison time.

But this is what the progressive movement has become. It is shocking and dangerous.

Cliff Kincaid is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and can be contacted at cliff.kincaid@aim.org.

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