The AFT's communist comrades
The American Federation of Teachers, the massive teachers union, just completed its annual convention in Los Angeles. If you didn't notice, that's not surprising, given it wasn't front-page news. I, however, noticed, given that the convention was covered vigorously in a publication I read regularly: People's World.
People's World is the successor publication to the Daily Worker, the longtime Soviet-directed and Soviet-funded flagship publication of the Soviet-directed and Soviet-funded Communist Party USA. It's a horrible publication to page through but I do so as a professional obligation, given my research on American and international communism.
Reading People's World can tell you a lot about the American “progressive” left, especially who and what the left likes. And People's World more than likes the American Federation of Teachers. It sees the union as glorious fighters and partners — comrades, if you will.
People's World devoted three long, excited news articles to the AFT convention. No other event so dominated the Marxist organ's attention the last two weeks.
What was most remarkable was how seldom education was mentioned in People's World's coverage of this convention on (ostensibly) education. The teachers convention was portrayed as an endless rendition of calls for living wages, ObamaCare, gay rights, transgender rights, LGBT rights, women's rights, immigrant rights, voting rights and “social justice.”
One speaker did at least manage to mention education, as did some of the other activists. To that end, the AFT apparently doesn't like President Obama's Education secretary, who isn't “progressive” enough. “The American Federation of Teachers' convention has a blunt message for Obama administration Education Secretary Arne Duncan,” said the lead in one People's World feature. “You flunk the test of helping the nation's schools and kids, so leave.”
That lead ran aside a large photo of AFT women shouting and jumping with placards.
In short, People's World feels an intense solidarity with these brothers and sisters in the education front. The comrades are hailing the AFT as “an energized resistance to ongoing attacks on education.”
It's quite revealing that America's communists are gung-ho for the AFT, that they are so elated by the proceedings at the AFT convention. They are portraying the union to fellow communists as kindred souls marching forward to the same fundamentally transformed America.
A friend of mine who's a public-school teacher in Maryland once shouted at me: “The AFT is filled with a bunch of commies!” Well, that's certainly an exaggeration. But I can affirm that a bunch of commies — particularly at the flagship publication of the Communist Party — adore the AFT.
If I were a dues-paying member of the AFT, that would bother me.
Paul Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City College. His latest book is “11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative.”