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Travis Rowley: Hitting the Wall

Saturday, January 07, 2012


Recently GoLocalProv guest mindsetter Daniel Wall, a member of the Providence teachers union, called my overall assessment of organized labor “shameful,” particularly my claim that Marxist philosophy largely influences the modern labor movement. Wall writes that he “would have more respect” for me if I abandoned “sensationalized claims” and that I actually provided some “evidence.”

Consider this Part One in a series of responses to Wall’s critique.

In addition to organized labor, the overall political culture of the Left – ethics, strategy, etc. – is another regular focus of mine. And I often reveal how, and why, leftists choose to smear and ridicule their conservative rivals, rather than confront their ideas. By crafting an op-ed, Mr. Wall obviously managed to sidestep that impression.

Except to those who actually read it.

A careful examination of his column reveals that Mr. Wall, in fact, perfectly toed the leftist line by falsely describing an absence of argument within my writings. While the complete opposite is true, at the end of Wall’s column it is clear that readers are meant to believe that I am the one who avoids “debate, deliberation and discussion,” deciding instead to “besmirch” and cast “unfounded accusations.”

Entirely ignoring my arguments, Wall implies that I provided none, and then simply went on to sound as dignified as possible by primarily pontificating about lofty and untouchable ideals such as “unity,” “loyalty,” “due process,” “honesty,” and “keeping promises.” Oh, and the wisdom of George Washington.

By denying the existence of my arguments and accusing me of his own misdeeds, Wall employed a typical left-wing tactic; that is, he dodged the debate over union-Marxism, and turned me into a conservative caricature that weak liberal arguments could overcome. In this sense, the entire article was just another leftist smear.


Wall ends his column by comparing me to the 1950s Republican Senator Joe McCarthy, the Left’s favorite fallback whenever faced with criticism. After decades of establishing a tarnished legacy for Senator McCarthy – namely for his attempts at exposing covert communist schemes within the United States – the Left had armed itself with a political device that would serve to discredit, shame, and silence any future detractors.

The irony is that the charge of McCarthyism became a reckless and erroneous charge itself – designed by the Left for the express purpose of reflexively painting their critics as something they are not.

“Actually, Mr. Liberal Democrat, the progressive income tax is a Marxist concept. Marx advocated for it in the Communist Manifesto.” Hey! That’s McCarthyism!

While Senator McCarthy’s tactics may have been destructive to the democratic process, left-wing revisionists have never acknowledged these truths from the McCarthy era: Senator McCarthy was confronting full-blown deception; those called before his congressional committees were, in fact, found to be members of an international conspiracy that served Soviet interests; there never would have been a need for McCarthyism if American communists weren’t disguising themselves as “progressives” within “popular front groups;” if the communists invoking the Fifth Amendment were simply honest about their intentions, then Senator McCarthy wouldn’t have had to resort to questionable inquiries.

Bottom Line – McCarthy was a patriot. American communists were liars.

As former Trotskyite Max Eastman wrote in 1953, “We are dealing with conspirators who try to sneak in the Moscow-inspired propaganda by stealth and double talk, who run for shelter to the Fifth Amendment when they are not only permitted but invited and urged by Congressional committee to state what they believe. I myself, after struggling for years to get this fact recognized, give McCarthy the major credit for implanting it in the mind of the whole nation.”

As I’ve warned of before, today we face a similar dilemma with our own “progressives.” They are more than they portend to be.

Dishonesty Via Ignoring “Evidence”

Mr. Wall accuses me of having a “political agenda” – an agenda other than the truth, which he professes to value. Meanwhile, however, Wall conveniently snubs the evidence that supports my claim of a Marxist-labor connection, including the writings of two prominent socialist professors applauding organized labor for its longstanding commitment to collectivism, that “promot[ing] their fortunes in the aggregate…has sustained the labor movement in the face of a counter pull from the ideal of individual achievement.”

Within the column that Wall focused on, I went on to support my argument by quoting Brenda Stokeley, a former AFSCME official in New York City, who said in 2003, “The first thing we have to do is remind ourselves that we are fighting for socialism.” I also quoted SEIU president Andy Stern: “There are opportunities in America to share better in the wealth, to rebalance the power. And unions and government are part of the solution.” Peter Asen was highlighted in the column as the quintessential “progressive,” a community organizer known for making submissions to a “revolutionary socialist” website, who was once an officer of the RI Democratic Party, and who now works as a “policy analyst” for the state’s Democratic General Assembly, “focusing on health care and labor policies.” I mentioned that NEA-RI executive director Bob Walsh once sat on the Board of Ocean State Action, a “progressive” organization once run by Asen. I referenced Netroots Nation, a “progressive” organization that proudly features the self-declared communist Van Jones on its website’s homepage; an organization that flatly admits that co-opting the labor movement is crucial to their plans to redistribute the nation’s wealth; and that lists the AFL-CIO, the NEA, the AFT, SEIU, AFSCME and other labor organizations as their “premier sponsors.” Finally, I explained how public union leaders’ utopian scheme for their members included the establishment of a series of “promises” and “contracts” that would force the government to raise taxes in the event that public pension funds were discovered to be poorly funded – in effect, socializing the losses.

And in previous writings, such as here I further elaborate on the deep and disturbing connections between unions, Democrats, and socialists.

Without mention of any of this, Mr. Wall – a man who claims to “have read and heard many of Rowley’s comments on the ‘evils’ of American labor unions” – somehow concludes that this all represents a void of “evidence” and “unfounded accusations.”

Whether one agrees or disagrees with my assessments, what could explain this failure to observe my overt attempts to provide proof of all my claims? Perhaps Mr. Wall has adopted another tactic of the radical Left that I am fond of writing about – lying, lying, lying, and more lying.

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is the chairman of the RI Young Republicans and a consultant for the Barry Hinckley Campaign for US Senate.


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