Yes, Virginia, There is a Socialist Plot

We’ve seen the Obama administration appoint czar after unconfirmed and unaccountable czar. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared carbon emissions a threat and is now prepared to impose emissions standards by executive fiat if Congress fails to pass cap and trade legislation. The health care reform monstrosity making its way through Congress would alter the Social Security Act to give the executive branch unprecedented new power over Medicare, which could potentially allow the president to impose a single-payer health care system on the nation without congressional approval.

Libertarians and conservatives have condemned the consolidation of power in the executive branch. We worry about the impact on our republican system of government, which is threatened whenever the separation of powers is rejected and any branch of government can act without checks and balances. We’re raising questions and sounding the alarm bells, and we’re pointing to parallels between what’s going on here and now and what has gone on under socialist regimes elsewhere. And then the left calls us crazy conspiracy theorists, hate and fear mongerers. Our opponents insist that socialism is not behind the breathtaking expansion of executive power.

Contrary to the left’s adamant insistence that there is no socialist plot (methinks they doth protest too much), socialists certainly do seem enthusiastic about the executive power grab — so enthusiastic, in fact, that the largest socialist organization in the United States is hoping that the executive branch will impose sweeping new rules that would give labor unions more power over the American economy than ever before.

Labor’s Next Best Hope: NLRB Rulemaking

Writing for Talking Union (a blog sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America), labor lawyer Dmitri Iglitzin explains the socialist strategy for the compulsory unionization of the American economy with or without congressional approval. Iglitzin begins by lavishing praise on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) now pending in Congress, offering a Campaign for America’s Future estimate predicting that the “EFCA would increase private sector union membership by 10%.”

Although clearly in favor of the EFCA, Iglitzin unmasks socialist frustration with that pesky legislative process and proposes circumventing it entirely:

Yet EFCA is currently stalled behind health care and climate change legislation, and nobody knows when it might actually be considered by Congress, much less if it will be enacted in anything like its present form. In the face of that legislative inaction, it may be that the best available solution is for the administrative agency with authority in this area, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), simply to impose some badly needed fixes.

And what precisely is it that Iglitzin wants the NLRB to do? Brace yourselves:

Most legal scholars believe that the NLRB has the authority to enact procedural changes that would, among other things:

  • drastically shorten the time frame for holding the elections that determine whether or not a group of workers are entitled to unionize;
  • eliminate cumbersome pre-election procedures that allow employers to dispute who is eligible to vote in such elections;
  • require the employer to turn over employee names, addresses and phone numbers early in any union organizing drive; and
  • require equal access to both workers and the workplace for unions during campaigns.

Iglitzin states very clearly that such changes in the rules would ensure that “much of what organized labor hoped would be accomplished through EFCA” could in fact be accomplished without congressional approval. He also acknowledges, however, that “the NLRB has not exercised its rulemaking authority this broadly” in the past. So what’s changed? Why would Iglitzin believe that it is now possible that the NLRB will change the rules and tilt the scales decisively in favor of organized labor?

Surprise! Chairman sorry, President Obama has nominated two pro-union radicals to join a fellow radical already on the five-member board. In other words, Obama is seeking to create a majority on the NLRB that would be disposed to enact just such sweeping new rules as Iglitzin is proposing.

A Tale of Three Radicals

Wilma Liebman was first appointed to the board by Bill Clinton in 1997 and was twice reappointed by George W. Bush. She had previously worked in the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Prior to her gigs working for the federal government, she served as counsel for the Bricklayers and Teamsters unions. As Iglitzin notes, Liebman has been a faithful socialist disciple. In May 2008, National Right to Work caught Liebman lamenting the possibility that “an individual rights regime” could take issues like “distribution of wealth, control, and direction of economic enterprises” off the table.

Elections have consequences. Wilma Liebman is now the NLRB’s chairwoman, having been elevated to this position by President Obama on January 20, the day of his inauguration. She is one of the three radicals who, in Iglitzin’s words, represent “Labor’s Next Best Hope.”

The second member of this radical triumvirate, Mark Pearce, is relatively unknown. What we do know is that his entire career thus far has been devoted to practicing pro-union labor law. We also know that socialists like Iglitzin believe he’s their guy, as does the leftist American Prospect. National Right to Work and HR Observations have what few details there are about Pearce’s career, including his representation of former Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union local president Frank Ervolino. Ervolino and his wife were convicted in 2000 of redistribution sorry, embezzlement of union funds to the tune of $235,000.

Completing this troubling trio is Craig Becker, “who has business interests petrified” according to Iglitzin. He should have all of us petrified. He is Associate General Counsel to both the AFL-CIO and the thuggish Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Yes, that SEIU — the union that has engaged in a campaign of intimidation against the American people on Barack Obama’s behalf. Yeah, that SEIU — the union that is so radical that it is loathed even by other unions with which the SEIU has been aggressively competing. Michelle Malkin has everything you need to know about Becker.

It’s no coincidence that Obama’s NLRB nominees are so radical, nor that socialists are so excited about the prospect of compulsory unionization by executive fiat. After all, socialists didn’t just stumble into such good fortune. This is all the result of the decades of hard work they have done to completely coopt the Democratic Party and, through it, fire the first political shots in a top-down Marxist revolution.

This is Not a Drill

The libertarian/conservative coalition that has formed to resist the radical policy proposals of the Democratic Party and the most aggressive expansion of executive power in America’s history must take the threat from the NLRB seriously. This isn’t just a case of socialist wishful thinking. Writing for the American Spectator, Philip Klein sees the potential for Obama bureaucratic appointees to completely circumvent Congress to implement his radical agenda. Obama’s NLRB nominees are first on his list of worrisome bureaucrats.

Senate Republicans must do everything they can to prevent the confirmation of Mark Pearce and Craig Becker. By the way, they’ve already made some progress there: A Republican senator has placed a hold on Becker’s nomination. Care to guess which one? Well, he’s the maverick routinely reviled by many on the right and even occasionally labelled a RINO. That’s right, Sen. John McCain has placed a hold on Craig Becker’s nomination. And we should all applaud him for it.

Aside from the procedural efforts that must be undertaken to block Obama’s radical NLRB nominees, all of this illustrates the need for a smart and principled strategy to take back Congress next year. The only way for us to truly ensure that Obama’s radicals won’t find their way onto the NLRB is to elect a Republican Senate that will vote against his confirmation. But it can’t be just any Republican Senate. If we elect flaky opportunists sorry, centrists like Charlie Crist and Trey Grayson instead of principled conservatives and libertarians like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, there’s no guarantee that a few traitorous sorry, moderate Republicans won’t vote with Democrats to confirm Obama’s radicals.

Eventually, the heat will be on. Democrats will insist that Republicans are perpetuating a deadlocked National Labor Relations Board that can’t make rules or resolve disputes. The Republican response should be to acknowledge that this is the case and point out the radical records of Obama’s NLRB nominees. We need to tell the American people very plainly that we believe a deadlocked NLRB is better than one that will implement the radical vision of the Democratic Socialists of America, a vision apparently shared by President Barack Obama.

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  • Jason Schulman  On December 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I won’t get into a (pointless) debate about EFCA here. But I do want to set the record straight about democratic socialists and executive power.

    Simply put, democratic socialists oppose strong executive power, whether it’s in the hands of George W. Bush or Barack Obama or Hugo Chavez or whomever. We want the elected legislature to dominate, not the executive. We support proposals to radically democratize the state, such as for the right to elect and recall all public officials; for public officials to be paid only an average skilled workers’ wage; for universal military training and service, democratic political and trade union rights within the military; for self-government in the localities: i.e., the removal of powers of central government control and patronage and abolition of judicial review of the decisions of elected bodies; and generalized trial by jury.

    Somehow I think this goes beyond what most capital-L Libertarian “republicans” are willing to support when it comes to “limiting” the state.

    • Nate Nelson  On December 21, 2009 at 8:41 pm

      Aside from the military aspects, Jason, I think you would be surprised with how much of that a libertarian Republican would agree with.

      But I’m going to have to challenge you a little bit on your statement that “democratic socialists oppose strong executive power.” I see what you say in your comment and what Mr. Iglitzin said in his post and the two contradict each other. Iglitzin is very clearly advocating for the executive branch to make sweeping new rules that would fundamentally alter the relationship between employers and employees, without the approval of Congress. And he is doing so on a blog maintained by the Labor Commission, sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America.

      So while I’m willing to acknowledge the point that some socialists might oppose strong executive power — particularly younger folks in the Young Democratic Socialists, for example — I think it’s also clear that some socialists, like Iglitzin, are fine with strong executive power. And we can clearly see from the actions of the Obama administration which kind of socialists they’re listening to. In the infamous words of the Weather Underground: “It doesn’t take a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing.”

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