Communists, socialists rallying support behind Madison protests

Communist and socialist groups — including the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party, the Communist Party USA, Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and the Democratic Socialists of America — are voicing their support for the public-sector unions protesting Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s plans to curtail their collective bargaining abilities.

The communist and socialist groups have parroted many of the union talking points being used by the unions on their websites and in their publications, such as those accusing the governor of trying to break their unions. They have also compared Walker to former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

“Egypt, whose revolution has been a constant source of inspiration here, reflected in signs and chants — and Walker’s new nickname, Gov. Mubarak,” an article reads from the International Socialist Organization’s webzine.

The webzine also describes the unions’ protest of Walker’s plans to force a vote on curtailing public-sector unions as “class war in Wisconsin” and as an affront to “the standard of living of working people.”

The formerly Soviet-backed Communist Party USA (CPUSA) echoed similar talking points.

“Using the deficit as a scare tactic, the right-wing corporate Republicans are on a fast track to defeat every initiative of the Obama administration, to destroy unions and public services at the federal, state and municipal level, and at the same time protect tax breaks for the richest few,” Joelle Fishman, chair of the CPUSA’s Political Action Commission, wrote in an article posted on her party’s website.

Fishman went on to call on a “broad alliance of forces for social change (labor, racially oppressed, women, youth)” to reframe the debate for the 2012 elections.

The website of the Socialist Workers Party’s newspaper, The Militant, bears a photo of a sign proclaiming “Walker is an enemy of the people.”

Over in the Workers World Party’s newspaper Workers World, the presence of the student participants in the demonstrations is described as “as one of the most urgent tasks for young people at the moment.”

This says a lot more about the unions’ political orientation than it does about these fringe groups that have thrown their support behind the union protesters, according to noted author and former communist-turned-conservative activist Ron Radosh.

Radosh doesn’t believe the communist and socialist groups have been orchestrating the protests, but their willingness to speak the same language as the unions shows how far to the left the public-sector unions have moved.

“Their positions are the same as the unions, and that’s not surprising,” Radosh said. “But if you try to prove or show the level of cooperation there, it is very difficult to show that.”

At the same time, Radosh says both the communists and the unions have resorted to trotting out the same talking points communists and other radicals used in the 1930s.

But he cautions against labeling the unions as socialist or communist because they largely do not advocate overthrowing the current system.