Is it possible for public-employee unions to get any less popular in the US than they are in the wake of the failed recall election in Wisconsin? Apparently, they’re willing to try:
Powerful public workers’ unions are throwing their weight — in public and behind the scenes — behind a Brooklyn Congressional candidate who has allied himself with despots like Muammar Qaddafi and Robert Mugabe, while calling Israel “the biggest terrorist in the world.”
The candidate, New York City Councilman Charles Barron, has made occasional appearances on the national stage — primarily Fox News — for his explosive statements about white people (he’d like to slap one, “for my mental health”), Jews (Black people are the real “Semites”) and foreign policy. But Barron, a self-described “revolutionary Pan-Africanist” who donned a red Nehru jacket with gold braid to receive the brutal Zimbabwean dictator at City Hall in 2002, has also been a steadfast ally of New York civil servants, many of them African-American and living in his East New York and Brownsville district.
Two major city public worker unions, District Councils 37 and 1707 of the giant American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, have already endorsed Barron against Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, a relatively moderate legislator who has championed charter schools, a union bugaboo.
And BuzzFeed has learned that their powerful federal parent union, known as AFSCME, is planning to dive into the race on Barron’s behalf. Another key New York State public workers union, the Civil Service Employees Association, meanwhile, blocked an AFL-CIO effort to endorse Barron’s rival.
I’ve been reading quite a bit about Barron lately, and not much of it good. If you want a taste of Barron’s apologetics for murderous dictators, here he is in 2008 defending Robert Mugabe, claiming that the only reason people oppose him is because he expropriated land from white farmers:
If you want a taste of why people really think Mugabe is a brutal dictator, feel free to peruse our archives. Meanwhile, Jeff Dunetz has much more on, well, all of the rest of Barron’s thoughtful and sensitive take on people and policy:
- At the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn, June 17, 2010, he said the Jews aren’t really Jews:
“I am tired every time you criticize Israel, you are anti-Semitic. Well technically my pastor taught me about the Semitic people, the Semites are black.”
- On The death of Qaddafi
“Out there, they don’t know that Qaddafi was our brother. … People say ‘Didn’t he kill all those people?’ I say, ‘I don’t know anything. The man was a freedom fighter,” Councilman Barron said exemplifying the pro-Qaddafi sentiment expressed at the event.”
- In June of 2010 he told CBS News
“[Gaza] is a concentration camp and you’re deliberately causing the death of people and you cannot continue to justify that by saying that you’re trying to secure Israel or you’re fighting against terrorism.”
- On Fidel Castro
Mr. Barron said that, comparing the American regime to the Cubans’, “There is no question in my mind that Castro is a better leader than Bush.
“If you want to look at morality and humanity,” the councilman said, “Castro has exported medical equipment and medical services and engineers and architects. … Every time you hear of Castro exporting something, it’s humanitarian aid. When America exports something, it’s killing and war machines and bombs and troops.”
In 1982, when Barron was head of the Black United Front’s Harlem Chapter, he and Preston Wilcox from the Institute of African Research led more than a dozen fellow protesters in attempting to “forcibly remove” a white employee, historian Robert Morris, from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where Morris worked as chief archivist (they believed the position should have been held by an African America).
Do America’s public-sector unions really want to hitch their star to Barron’s wagon? Is their opposition to school choice so adamant that they’re willing to embrace such an extremist over another Democrat who’s likely to support 100% of the rest of their agenda? It seems they are.
Pass the popcorn. If they do manage to get Barron elected, he’s going to give us plenty of headlines to feature over the next two years.