And union dues, my union dues, helped foot the bill for it.
Now come on Darren, you're thinking. You think everyone who doesn't agree with you is a communist! And while that is somewhat true, it's also true that International A.N.S.W.E.R., an organization with a tent set up within the perimeter of the rally, is an anti-American Stalinist group. Who says? That bastion of conservative media, the New York Times. The Instapundit links to a New York Times article on them here. A.N.S.W.E.R. is not the type of organization we should want to be associated with.
And what about the socialists? I don't understand the appeal of socialism--it's certainly not what made America great, it makes a mockery of the federalism the Founders created, and it should be an affront to anyone who works hard. The extreme socialism of the Soviet Union caused that country to collapse economically, Chinese communism/socialism is giving way to capitalist tendencies, and socialism is choking economic development in Europe. I guess some people don't understand the difference between a utopian theory and lousy practice, but socialism is an example of both. Yet here were avowed socialists, carry signs and handing out newspapers at this rally. These are not the type of people we should want to be associated with.
Unions don't usually admit to being PACs of the Democrat Party, despite the fact that everyone knows they are. The last time I was in the CTA office in Citrus Heights, a calendar from the Democratic National Committee was hanging on the wall. Has the CTA every recommended a Republican for President or Governor? Still, you'd think they'd want to at least maintain the charade of non-partisanship, have some believable deniability. But apparently not. There was the local Democrat machine, registering voters at the rally. I saw no such tent for the Republicans, that's for sure.
Dozens of buses showed up, bringing in people from across the state to attend the rally. There were plenty of people from the San Francisco Bay Area, about 2 hours from here. For a rally that started at 4:00 they had to leave at 2 pm or earlier. Did their schools have minimum days? Did they all get subs? This couldn't have been a wildcat issue--there had to be coordination between those local unions and their respective school districts. Something about that just doesn't sound kosher to me.
The Governor made some mistakes, no doubt about it. I addressed them in the post identified here, but to summarize, he crafted his proposals to attack teachers and nurses instead of just their unions. That might turn out to be a strategic error, as it gave the unions something around which to rally the troops.
And then the unions chose to associate themselves with the ilk mentioned above--ardent leftists, socialists, and Stalinists. Let's read again what the NYT said about A.N.S.W.E.R.:
Answer, whose name stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, was formed a few days after Sept. 11, 2001, by activists who had already begun coming together to protest policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Some of the group's chief organizers are active in the Workers World Party, a radical Socialist group with roots in the Stalin-era Soviet Union. The party has taken positions that include defense of the Iraqi and North Korean governments and support for Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugolav president being tried on war crimes charges.
As the Instapundit said here:
And allowing these people at your rally is not just poor form, it's poor thinking. When you lie down with dogs, you're going to get fleas.
Antiwar protesters aren't Communists by definition.
But A.N.S.W.E.R. and the WWP basically are. (And of the extra-nasty Stalinist variety.)
Communists are, in my opinion, as bad as Nazis: mass murder, totalitarianism, etc. (And calling them "Marxists" instead doesn't fool anyone.)
Going to a march organized by Communists doesn't make you a Communist, any more than going to a march organized by Nazis makes you a Nazi.
But knowingly going to either one makes you icky. And calling it McCarthyism when people point that out, or point out that the Communists really are Communists, makes you either dishonest, or stupid.
To see the pictures from the rally, click here and (depending on the date you do this) either scroll down to May 27th or go to the May 2005 archives and scroll down to see the pictures.
Update, 5/28/05 10:32 am: In my May 21st post I commented on the flier I received about the upcoming rally, and also predicted what kind of rally it would be. How prescient were my words! Here is a snippet:
That'll rally people to our cause, whatever our cause is. "Bring your own sign or poster. Keep to Alliance message." What is the Alliance message? I guess it's just anti-Schwarzenegger--or, more likely, anti-capitalist/anti-Republican/anti-American.
Could I have been any more accurate? And I'm glad I followed this advice from the flier:
"Do not be provoked by taunts or insults."
Update, 5/31/05 6:37 pm: I wrote here about the CTA's socialism. I'm not making this stuff up, folks--go look at the pictures posted on 5/27. Read the quotes that I quote. See the CTA for what it is, and stop it before it's too late.