Tomorrow, Pittsburgh is going to be home to thousands of political activists from both sides of the aisle. (Although if you watch cable news you would think it was only the left.) Netroots Nation and RightOnline are both in town for their annual events. And although there will probably be little if any crossover traffic, there is certain to be crossover content.
Take, for example, card check, otherwise known as the inaptly named Employee Free Choice Act. Tomorrow at RightOnline the first afternoon session is titled: "Forced Unionization: Card Check, Mandatory Arbitration, & Right to Work," on why and how card check will cement progressive power.
At Netroots Nation, the AFL-CIO is hosting a session titled "The Secret Plan to Defeat the Right Forever," on why and how card check will cement progressive power. It's going on right now, but you won't find it on the AFL-CIO site. They recently deleted the blog entry discussing it. Curious.
I was able to interview Erik Telford of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, organizer of RightOnline, about just why it is that both the left and the right would have such a similarly themed session at the respective events. Keep reading for that interview PLUS: the blog post the AFL-CIO doesn't want you to see.
First, let's see the union blog's description of their course:
Netroots Nation: Eye On Employee Free Choice
August 11, 2009
Thursday kicks off the second annual Netroots Nation conference in Pittsburgh.
And at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, we’ll be discussing one of the most critical changes that progressives are fighting for, both online and off—the Employee Free Choice Act.
Here are the folks who will weigh in at the afternoon panel, “The Secret Plan to Defeat the Right Forever,” on why labor law reform like the Employee Free Choice Act must be a top progressive priority:
Stewart Acuff, special assistant to the president of the AFL-CIO. A longtime organizer and the former director of organizing for the AFL-CIO, Acuff has traveled the country in support of the Employee Free Choice Act.
Jake McIntyre, a front page writer at Daily Kos and assistant to the secretary-treasurer of the Bricklayers (BAC).
Tanya Tarr, director of legislative and political mobilization for the Texas AFT and a specialist on union voter turnout.
Elana Levin of Workers United, a writer with a long record in collaboration between the union movement and the progressive netroots.
Panelists will talk about:
Why union membership matters to workers, to communities and to the progressive movement.
How the current system for forming unions is broken, preventing workers from joining together.
How the Employee Free Choice Act will rebuild worker power.
Where we are in the fight for labor law reform, and how the netroots can take part.
It’ll be a great session. If you can’t be there in person, you can follow online, here at the blog or on Twitter.
Blatant, no? Of course, I have to say ... yep. I mean, we're on the same page here. EFCA and card check are about cementing the power of the progressive movement. It's not about Employees. Or Free Choice. Agreed.
At RightOnline, the topic is much the same. I asked Erik Telford why RightOnline was holding this session. "It's about educating," he replied. "It's such an important issue and the average citizen isn't very aware of the facts. We have to inform people about the devastating consequences to businesses, to our economy, if legislation like this is passed.
The problem is, as you can see in the deleted AFL-CIO post above, the EFCA is a power play. A naked power play. Go look at the Netroots website. It's littered with union talking points, union sessions on the agenda, and the union logos everywhere. And why? Because the nutroots and the unions are fellow travelers, they are the army of the Obama left. They have their President, they have their congress, and now they want to make their reign permanent.
Card check would force unionization on millions of workers. Growing the rolls, size, and of course, income from dues, gives the unions vast power and resources. They are already the DNC's mercenary force, using intimidation and altercation at the town hall events to alternately silence or discredit citizens who oppose Obamacare. They are already a source of vast campaign funding for Democrats. With the power that card check would drop in their laps, that force will be multiplied.
Some would have you believe that, because a few provisions have changed in the EFCA, card check is now dead and there's nothing more to worry about. But the bigger EFCA battle is far from over.
"What we're starting to realize," says Telford, "is that what's happening behind the scenes on this legislation, the provisions being discussed .. it's being keyed up to get pushed through very rapidly. It's a huge issue and it's clear they aren't backing off. That's why it's particularly important to educate people on this issue."
He also points out the hypocrisy and dishonesty of the media, and their complicity in these plans. "You watch MSNBC, CNN .. you see them accusing the right of astoturfing. They don't have me on the air unless they want to accuse me of busing, or astroturfing." As he was saying this, Markos Moulitsas was on my TV enjoying a puff-piece interview about Netroots Nation on MSNBC. "They accuse us of putting .. phony protesters in these town halls, of all this corporate money. And then it goes to a commercial break and you see pro-Obamacare commercials funded by big pharma!!" He also notes all the craigslist ads soliciting activists shows how blatantly disingenuous the Democrats are regarding astoturfing.
Telford also ominously points out that since the EFCA was last a hot topic, things have changed in favor of the Democrats' hard line. Franken is now a sitting senator, and Arlen Specter is a Democrat.
Ahh, Arlen. He's really a key here. And he's painted into a corner. Americans for Prosperity knows it, and they're hosting a Send Specter a Message rally tomorrow expected to draw nearly a thousand participants.
Look at the picture we have before us. Cap and Trade. Card Check. Obamacare. The massive power grab by the pernicious "progressive" movement is right before us, in black, white, and orange. Look at THEIR OWN WORDS! "The Secret Plan to Defeat the Right Forever!"
Only it's not so secret. It's happening before our eyes. That's why I'll be at RightOnline. That's why we should all be at town hall meetings, and at tea parties. The community organizer in chief is organizing against America. He's organizing against workers.
The left organizing against the right. It's time to organize right back.