Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown on Thursday continued the political tradition of invoking Nazi Germany to criticize legislation.
Brown said that unions are an international force against authoritarian governments. Speaking on the Senate floor, Brown said that he supported a “more egalitarian workforce.”
His primary argument was that politicians should not oppose American unions while voicing support for unions abroad.
“You can support labor rights in Guatemala, but you better damn be sure that you are supporting labor rights in Wilmington, and Columbus, and Cleveland, and Detroit, and Dover, Delaware and everywhere else,” Brown said.
Brown stated that history offers examples of union-busting by authoritarian regimes.
“I look back in history and some of the worst governments we’ve ever had, you know one of the first things they did? They went after the trade unions. Hitler didn’t want unions, Stalin didn’t want unions, Mubarak didn’t want independent unions.”
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker has been compared to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other dictators by protesters opposed to his effort to reduce the power of the state’s unions.
“These autocrats in history don’t want independent unions,” said Brown.
Brown immediately followed the statement with a clarification. “I am not comparing what’s happening to the workers in Madison or in Columbus to Hitler and Stalin. But I am saying is that history teaches us that unions are a very positive force in society that creates a middle class and that protects our freedom.”