From VT AFL-CIO Facebook page
Today Vermont AFL-CIO Executive Director Liz Medina, a UAW member) spoke from the floor of the National AFL-CIO Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in order to call on the labor federation to create an Anti-Fascist Taskforce tasked with formulating actionable recommendations to State and Local Labor Councils concerning how labor can effectively combat the rise of the far right in the United States.
Medina approached the podium while Delegates were considering a related resolution committing the AFL-CIO to center the struggle against racial discrimination in our Union work. Here Medina introduced a portion of the Vermont AFL-CIO resolution in support of a General Strike (should there be a second coup attempt in the U.S. in 2024) as an amendment to the anti-racist resolution under consideration.
Presiding officer, Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond, here asserted that the offering of an amendment from the floor was not in order, but asked Medina if it would be agreeable to her for the proposal for the formation of this Anti-Fascist Taskforce to be provided to the National AFL-CIO Racial Justice Commission for consideration. To this, Director Medina agreed. The racial justice resolution then went on to be unanimously adopted by the Delegates.
These are the words that Director Medina spoke from the floor:
“Thank you Secretary Redmond, and congratulations to you, as well as President Shuler, on your historic victory [as the first woman to be elected to the position of National President, and the first Black man to be elected to the position of National Secretary-Treasurer]. This resolution is critically important. It is so important, that I think it ought to go further by addressing other dangerous forces that drive racism, such as white supremacy and fascism.
“Fascism, essentially, is a way for the capitalist ruling class to maintain and expand their power over the working class, especially in times of economic crisis. We are currently in such a crisis. However, the fascist faction of the ruling class needs a large enough base to work for them in order to take control of the state and the means of production. White supremacy and racism is how fascists grow their base of support. Instead of economic concessions, fascists offer delusional and symbolic ones, such as a false sense of racial superiority.
“Over the years, we have been seeing an increasing threat of fascism in our country. From Charlottesville’s deadly ‘Unite the Right Rally’ in 2017; to Trump’s collaboration with right-wing fascist groups, such as the Proud Boys, who took part, among other fascist groups, in the January 6th insurrection; to the horrific massacre in Buffalo, near my own hometown of Baldwinsville. The Buffalo shooter, in his disgusting manifesto, describes himself as an ‘eco-fascist.’
“In light of this, I would like to make a motion to add the following amendment to create an Anti-Fascist Task Force:
“‘The AFL-CIO shall commit itself to combating the rise of fascism in the United States and the National AFL-CIO President, working with the Executive Board, shall form an Anti-Fascism Task Force which shall meet in order to formulate a plan of action to confront the rise of this dangerous ideology of hate. And further, that this task force shall communicate its recommendations to all affiliated State Labor Councils no later than May 1, 2023.’
“We, the Vermont AFL-CIO, offer to volunteer to serve on this Taskforce and help recruit members to it. Thank you.”
Director Medina’s words were met with wide applause.