Led by Antifa supporter, VT AFL-CIO backs Progressive slate

By Guy Page

The Labor Day Weekend began Friday with another sign that Vermont’s AFL-CIO labor organization has taken a hard turn to the left. Led by a president who is a self-described Antifa supporter, the 10,000-member umbrella group for smaller private and public sector unions fulfilled a 2019 promise to choose the Progressive Party (and the Green New Deal and ‘anti-fascist’ activism) over the Democratic Party.

On September 16 one year ago, when David Van Deusen was elected president of the Vermont AFL-CIO, he warned the Democratic Party to not take organized labor for granted: “We have endorsed dozens and dozens and dozens of candidates for state house every two years,” Van Deusen said. “Those candidates tend to win, and yet we have a very hard time moving a pro-labor agenda forward in Montpelier.”

The shoe dropped September 4 when an AFL-CIO press release stated unambiguously, “VT AFL-CIO backs Progressive slate in General Election.” A photo shows mostly Progressive challengers for legislative seats (and a few incumbents, like Brian Cina of Burlington).

Guy Page

The Democrat-controlled Legislature has been ignoring private-sector unions for years. By contrast, large, powerful public sector unions like the Vermont NEA and the Vermont State Employees Association are taken seriously when they pound the table and demand funding or legislation. They may not always get their way but their political influence is strong.

By contrast, private sector unions have been patronized and ignored, in part because the industries they work in have fallen out of favor with legislative priorities. For example, the AFL-CIO affiliate International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #300 representing Vermont Yankee workers spent decades fighting the State of Vermont’s efforts to close Vermont’s largest manufacturer of low-cost, low carbon electricity.

It failed. The Vermont Senate in 2010 denied VY a state permit to operate past 2012. Senate Pro Tem and then Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, used his considerable influence to prevent the signing of a power purchase deal between VY and Vermont utilities. The lack of a strong purchase agreement forced the plant to sell power on the open market, where prices had been driven prohibitively low by the emergence of cheap “fracked” natural gas electricity. Vermont utilities, with State of Vermont approval, signed power purchases with a New Hampshire nuclear power plant.

Friday’s Labor Day Weekend press release left no doubt the VT AFL-CIO has tired of its unresponsive Democratic “partner” and has taken up with the smaller, but more enthusiastic Progressive Party. “This unprecedented General Election move highlights an emerging solidarity and coordination between the Vermont AFL-CIO and the Vermont Progressive Party on the Vermont Left,” the release from the union’s executive board said. “Never before has the State Labor Council backed the entire Progressive Party slate…In past election cycles…. the State Labor Council often would issue endorsements for 60-100+ Democratic Party candidates for the VT General Assembly.”

This year the AFL-CIO endorsed only a chosen few Democrats: “nine Democratic Party House & Senate labor champions (all of which are members of the pro-Union Workers’ Caucus):  Emilie Kornheiser (For VT House), Mari Cordes (For VT House), Kevin “Coach” Christie (For VT House), Chip Troiano (For VT House), Peter Anthony (For VT House), Kari Dolan (For VT House), Mary Howard (For VT House), Bob Hooper (For VT House), Andrew Perchik (For VT Senate). Most of these candidates have such left-leaning voting records that reporters often double-check their Democratic Party affiliation on the state’s legislative website.

Driving this train bound for socialist glory is Dave Van Deusen of Cabot. He’s quoted in the 9/4 press release: “As we continue to struggle through the pandemic, the continuing economic crisis, systemic racism, attacks on the working class, and a rise of neo-fascism on the national stage, it is clear that politics-as-usual is insufficient in addressing the dire challenges that we are facing. We cannot mitigate a new economic depression through more austerity and cuts.  Rather we must seek bold systemic solutions both to racism and economic hardships.  The Vermont Progressive Party has time and again been a reliable ally in this fight.  We know that with a strong Progressive presence in the Vermont General Assembly, with Progressive David Zuckerman as our next Governor, we will be well-positioned to implement a Union-led Green New Deal.”

Who is Dave Van Deusen? His Facebook page says he studied at Goddard College from 1999-2002 and describes him as a “Writer, Whiskey Drinker, Harley Rider.” It’s the writer part that has elicited some interest from the Vermont media. Van Deusen has a lengthy writing career as an anarchist and supporter of Antifa. A compendium of his works, entitled “Anarchist, Socialist, and anti-Fascist writings of David Van Deusen, 1995-2018” appears on “The Anarchist Library” website.

His writings are not the sophomoric scribblings of an immature adult who later wised up. They are serious arguments based on his interpretation of historical events unknown to most Americans. Nor are they ancient history: in fall 2018 he backed Antifa’s role in the runup to the 2018 mid-term elections.

In a 2018 article entitled “Pipe Bombs From The Right — Antifa Mans The Wall,” Van Deusen says that Antifa and Antifa only stands between America and street level fascists:

In response we, the Left, and specifically the Labor Movement, need to build a powerful & militant political force which is steadfast in its resistance to the rise of Fascism….So while we may desire a Democratic victory in November, if for no other reason than to blacken the eye of the more reactionary Republican Party, do not expect any wave of change. But do expect street level Fascists to continue to escalate their attacks on the Left. And what will stand between them and a very disturbing future will remain Antifa.” He concludes with this footer: “SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ANTIFA BRIGADES.

Clearly Van Deusen doesn’t waste time with the specious, oft-heard argument that “Antifa doesn’t exist.” Nor would he limit Antifa street violence to big cities in other states. Under the “right” circumstances, it could and should happen here in Vermont, he says.

On August 24 Van Deusen told Vermont Daily via email: “The United States is not monolithic. The situation in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and Detroit is very different from that in Vermont. In my view people have an inalienable right to self defense (be it on the picket line or in their communities)…..If we had a situation whereby a political figure, such as the President of the United States, refused to honor the outcome of a democratic election and refused to relinquish power, all bets would be off. Under such a scenario not only would force be justified, it would become a moral imperative.”

And bear this in mind — Van Deusen does not support gun control. He likens himself and fellow anarchists to Ethan Allen who were willing to take up arms to oppose the oppressive British Empire. “And until and unless history comes to an end it would be utopian and childish to think that there will not be times when force is again required to defend democratic movements or institutions against those who would rather rule by decree.”

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Matthew Bisanz

31 thoughts on “Led by Antifa supporter, VT AFL-CIO backs Progressive slate

  1. It appears we’ve gone down the rabbit hole, headfirst. If indeed the Progressive party is able to unseat Scott and make some inroads in the House this biennium- then it will only hasten Vermont’s continued fall toward socialism and bankruptcy. This state is well on it’s way to become a socialist nirvana and economic hellhole already. Van Dusen’s rhetoric isn’t that different than Bernie’s rants during the 1980’s. Bernie’s biggest accomplishment is popularity, a “Pied Piper” of sorts…In reality, Bernie and Van Dusen are more akin to the “king with no clothes”. The still proven failing of socialism is what do “they” do when the money runs out. California and other extreme left leaning states have a population and economic base that can sustain the onslaught for a while. Vermont does not.
    Unfortunately, the most telling response to this article is “We’re Leaving!!!! Enough is enough”. I too will be making that statement soon enough.

    • Ben Franklin’s address to the 1787 Constitutional Convention forewarned of this time in our current history.

      “In these Sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its Faults, if they are such; because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

      We survived the Civil War and Lincoln’s assasination. But that’s no guaranty we’ll survive today’s strife. ‘Leaving’ is one thing. Where you go is another, entirely.

      “Examine the records of history, recollect what has happened within the circle of your own experience, consider with attention what has been the conduct of almost all the greatly unfortunate, either in private or public life, whom you may have either read of, or hear of, or remember, and you will find that the misfortunes of by far the greater part of them have arisen from their not knowing when they were well, when it was proper for them to set still and to be contented. — Adam Smith

  2. Eerily spoken like a jack-booted gestapoed madman – Dave Van Deusen in his own words – Joseph Goebbels and Adolph Hitler come to mind. Van Deusen has made clear he is advocating the same type of Maoist Cultural Revolution tactics – which is unmitigated violence aganst all who will not bow to their mob-rule Marxist style of government while placing it on par with our own revolution from monarchical government to a constitution-based framework which is supposed to allow the people to run our government as we are citizens not subjects to a crown.

    Under rule of fascists who falsely flag themselves as Antifascists – the style of government they demand once again removes personalized self governance replacing with a generic form of equality where we are *all * poor and have no choices – the ‘wealthy’ are made to finance the revolution until we run out of money and become another communist backwater with gulag system of slavery to avoid paying ‘the workers’.

    UN mandates render our world to a feudal form of governence where only the very wealthiest in our world benefit. Van Deusen would be considered a hick in globalist terms and fall under the same ball and chain or simply a low-level street thug doing their wetwork along with fellow murderers.

    If they cannot implement their fascistic world-view through the democratic process – they will do it via violent overthrow bloodshed, destruction of property. Rmember *all* communist revolutions have done it this way – it is not a selfless act of duty – but a terroristic takeover of governments by poster-childing the populace as the beneficiaries.

    When in fact they take all the treasure for themselves and micromanage every aspect of our lives – not to give but to take. Standard of living is lowered *for all* but thmselves. So they’re not taking from the rich to give to the poor – the poor stay poor as the take from all and give to themselves – this is the true goal of any totalitarian government.

    • Van Deusen’s edict comes on the heels of Democrat plot to steal the election by fundamentally altering and controlling voting apparatus – broing them ever closer to their perpetualized wetdream – nationalizing elections – their goal.

      With high hopes of a Democrat windfall of votes and – will riot everywhere if dubious election results are challenged ala 2000 Florida and hanging-chad nightmare.

      So iow if the communists and their mobrulership not accepted w/o question their answer will be bloodshed and destruction of our nation.

  3. Rino’s and Antifa on the totalitarian left? Seems a bit harsh Neil. Can we not be a bit more tolerant? And who do you suggest makes this biblical separation of the sheep from the goats?

    I strongly believe in the rule of law and its enforcement. At the same time I appreciate the free exchange of ideas as I am not a “true believer”, often have more to learn, and do change my mind on things if the evidence warrants it. It is something I have in common with many who love America and her ideals.
    Finally, the ability as a Vermonter to fulfill the oath, I took nearly 50 years ago, to vote for what I feel is good for our state without “fear or favor” of any person is something I hold dear.

    • Totalitarianism is a system of governance that is centralized, dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state. Totalitarianism is not mutually exclusive to the so-called ‘left’ or the ‘right’. History has experienced many instances of Totalitarianism on both sides.

      “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Nietzsche

      “And who do you suggest makes this biblical separation of the sheep from the goats?”

      Good question. Unfortunately, Messrs. Freitag and Johnson, continue to circuitously camouflage their sentiments by not answering the question directly, especially in the context of the specific circumstances confronting us today.

      • Jay,
        If you could be more specific in regards to “the special circumstances confronting us today” I would be glad to reply with my specific thoughts.

        In regards to making the” separation between the sheep and the goats”, I think that is best left to God’s judgement not man. My observation is there is quite a bit of sheep and goat in all of us. And as the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once wrote, “No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or enemy as from our own; therefore we are saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness”.

          • Jay,
            In a situation where there is a public health emergency, the government can if it deems necessary take appropriate steps to mitigate that health crisis. As this effects more than just the individual but others in society as well, this can include, should the facts warrant, that face masks be required.
            I think that Governor Scott has done a remarkably good job balancing competing needs and relying as much as possible on the good sense of the public rather than enforcing laws in our particular situation.

          • There is not nor has there been a ‘public health emergency’ to serve as impetus to predicate these actions. Stats show even the falsified numbers and deaths no different than the flu.

            DOH commish Levine and sidekick Chairman Phil are no heroes. Chose not to promote proven treatment HCQ-ZPak-zinc regimen which Drs have successfully treated Covid cases with up to 100% success rate. So ppl needlessly died to up the numbers to make plandemic look worse than it really was so these bumbling fools could have their very own crisis to manage and use for election.

            By including the Chittenden County nursing home numbers and deaths in news reports w/o parsing the numbers so VTers could see we are not nor were ever at high risk – only the already compromised and elderly were at risk for death and vast majority were in but one of fourteen counties.

            It’s the selfrighteous Democrats that are demanding masks – to avoid being ID’d as the communist whipcrackers among us. Benedict Scott is dutifully complying w/constituencey which is overwhelmingly Democrat.

            We shall know them by their masks.

          • Re: “In a situation where there is a public health emergency, the government can if it deems necessary take appropriate steps to mitigate that health crisis.”

            I take this to mean, then, that you believe the government should force its citizens to wear masks, when ‘necessary’. But who determines the necessity, and accepts responsibility for doing so? Does someone choosing not to wear a mask pose a danger to someone else who is wearing one? What kinds of masks are being considered? Are two masks better than one? What happens when scientists change their minds and disagree on the matter? Are the scientists held accountable? And if so, to what extent?

            Afterall, if wearing just one mask is ineffective in protecting the wearer from someone not wearing a mask, wearing a mask isn’t an effective mitigation in the first place. And suppose, for example, that being forced to wear a mask proves to be ‘inappropriate’, counter-productive, or, in fact, detrimental to an individual’s well-being. What then? Who is responsible for the damages that may occur? The government?

            If wearing a mask is an appropriate step to mitigate a health crises, isn’t it the government’s roll to protect the rights of its citizens to wear masks, if they so choose, not force them to do so against their better judgment?

          • Constitution of the State of Vermont, Chapter II, Section 20 and under 20 V.S.A. §§ 8, 9 and 11.

            If you had taken the time to read the Executive Order, you’d have seen the reference to ‘the law’ authorizing the order.

        • “Forgiveness is the final form of love.” Reinhold Niebuhr

          If one has yet to be offended, can one’s ability to forgive exist?

        • The false-flag forgivenik club are generally the troublemakers or it wouldn’t be a continuous refrain and a fixture to their plotmaking.

          They really want an end to any discussion for their own unending misdeeds in the form of ‘forgiveness’ but never forgive anything or anyone who doesn’t conform to their malevolent actions.

          • My goodness, I think Niebuhr was referring in his quote to Christ. Are Christians the forgivenik club you are talking about? They have indeed at a times been felt to be troublemakers and their talk about forgiveness a continues refrain and a fixture to their plotmaking.

            But I think you meant something else. Sorry to have mixed my faith with a discussion of politics. Like many it underpins much of my thought but perhaps not wise to include in this type of forum as can create misunderstandings. Now off to the river this afternoon with a three year old grandson rocking my chair as I write.

          • Re: “Sorry to have mixed my faith with a discussion of politics. Like many it underpins much of my thought but perhaps not wise to include in this type of forum as can create misunderstandings.”

            Again, you persist in apologizing, even when no offense is taken… a dilemma of faith to be sure. For without sin, forgiveness is but a figment of the imagination. This is why the Founders included in the first amendment that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

            I tend to emphasize the second clause, that Congress shall make no law“… prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, because so many people ignore it.

            Again, you have just as much right to mix your faith with politics as I have in not doing so. This is but one of the profound simplicities in the U.S. Constitution that binds us together. And thank God for it.

          • Um – no quote did not refer to Christ. May I suggest you work on reading skills.

            ‘Forgivenik club’ are the ‘churched’ and all others who demand forgiveness but cause the trouble and display the behavior of the opposition – not the ones who are good ppl.

            False-flag refers to the hypocrites who willfully do their dirtywork then demand forgiveness, or to end an argument or discussion. Another form of self preservation and selfrighteousness.

            You mischaracterize comment which is typical for you Mr Freitag and serves as an example thanks for being an object lesson. I did not villify Christians and consider self a believer but not a fan of the hypocricy.

  4. David Van Deusen is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    “And until and unless history comes to an end it would be utopian and childish to think that there will not be times when force is again required to defend democratic movements or institutions against those who would rather rule by decree.”

    This is a skillful example of pure sophistry – the use of a fallacious argument with the intention to deceive an unsuspecting audience. Carefully consider the point made in the Van Deusen quote. What are ‘democratic movements or institutions’?

    From Merriam-Webster – the Definition of ‘democracy’.
    1a: government by the people: especially rule of the majority.

    I’m giving Mr. Van Deusen the benefit of the doubt when I suggest that he doesn’t understand the U.S. Constitution and has likely never read Federalist Paper #10 by James Madison. Keep in mind, the United States was not established by the Founders as a direct or pure democracy with only majority rule. And for good reason. In fact, the word democracy is nowhere to be found in the U.S. Constitution.

    As has been often opined, ‘Democracy is like two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch’. The United States is a constitutional republic, specifically designed to limit the inevitable tyranny of majority rule and defend individual rights. For example, without the limitations inherent in our republic, if 51% of the people in a direct democracy wanted to enslave the other 49%, they could do so.

    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, is a slogan popularized by Karl Marx. Similarly, Vermont’s Progressive Party platform states: “We believe the economy should be democratically owned and controlled in order to serve the needs of the many, not to make profits for the few.”

    But the persistent question, ever unanswered by Marx, or the Progressives, is, in their democratically owned and controlled economy, … who is it that is authorized to define and determine one’s abilities and needs? The wolves or the lamb?



    1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.

    2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.

    3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament by the U.S. would be a demonstration of moral strength.

    4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliations and regardless of whether or not items can be used for war.

    5. Extension of long term loans to Russian and Soviet satellites.

    6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

    7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

    8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev’s promise in 1955 to settle the Germany question by free elections under the supervision of the U.N.

    9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic weapons tests because the U.S. has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.

    10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.

    11. Promote The U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If it’s charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one world government with it’s own individual armed forces.

    12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

    13. Do away with loyalty oaths.

    14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.

    15. Capture one or both political parties in the United States.

    16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

    17. Get control of schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers associations (unions) . Put the party line in text books.

    18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

    19. Use student riots to foment protest against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

    20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book reviews assignments, editorial writing, policy making positions.

    21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV and motion pictures.

    22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression.

    23. Control art critics and directors of art museums.

    24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.

    25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio and TV.

    26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as normal, healthy and natural.

    27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch”.

    28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principal of “separation of church and state”.

    29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a world basis.

    30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man”.

    31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it is only a minor part of “the big picture”.

    32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture – education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

    33. Eliminate all laws which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.

    34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

    35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.

    36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.

    37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.

    38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand and treat.

    39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

    40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

    41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from negative the influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding children to suppressive influence of parents.

    42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special interest groups should rise up and use “united force” to solve economic, political or social problems.

    43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self government.

    44. Nationalize the Panama Canal.

    45. Repeal the Connally Reservation so the U.S. cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction over nations and individuals alike.

  6. The parties are self dividing,

    Those who love America and those who don’t. It is happening in both parties. We would be wise as Americans to band together with those who also love America.

    Rino’s and Antifa on the totalitarian left,

    Conservatives and American loving Americans in the center. We should foster and help all who love America and her ideals.

    • Continued reluctance to recognize those voting under the Democrat banner as carriers of societal disease of Marxism is tacit support – no heroics required.

      Rinos – as self serving as they may be are not typically supporters of anything that will dig into their financial goals and interests or terrorism per se – they are simply unprincipled and not necessarily constitutionalists – so there goes that myth.

      Fully believe the moderate Democrats – if they love our country are quietly voting Trump-Pence 2020. However they as well as many Republicans and conservatives are terrified of the leftist terrorists in the Democrat Party as well as Progs who would do anything to damage them and livelihood so keeping it close to the vest.

      Democrat party on national scene and here in VT has wholeheartedly accepted UN mandates and have been quietly implementing Agenda 21 which is now Agenda 30 as Donald Trump threw a grenade into their fascistic goals. However the controlled destruction of our state continues apace here in the VSSR courtesy of your Democrat friends.

    • I band together with those who vote under the Republican Party banner as they are now the party of the working class. I *do not* band togther with anyone who votes under a party banner which supports fascism, totalitariansim or mob-rule aka the Democrat Party.

      • Democrats should take a long look in the mirror. If they condone the actions of their national party, believe the media lies and support BLM and Antifa they need to remember this election’s results. If the democrats win, their lives will be worse. How much more evidence do they need? The hive mentality will be complete. The uneducated masses will have sealed the deal to progressively ruin what is left of Vermont. The part that they miss is that these progressives do not care about the individual or the family or the state. They only care about control. They will come for you. All they care about is control. I would think that voters would be tired of being lied to, but I’m not surprised. It was 3% of the colonies’ population that defeated the most powerful military in the world. Totalitarianism will not last when the good people of Vermont have truly had enough. I’m not advocating it, but I am predicting what could happen when the good ole boys have had enough. No one can hide anymore and that should be remembered. Oppressive power breads resentment and resistance. History has shown that people with pitch forks have overthrown castles and mighty kings and history repeats itself. For the sake of sanity here in the green mountains vote as though your live depended on it, because it does! We need balance in our government, no more one party rule!

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