By Jonathan Pelto
“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” – President John F. Kennedy
Yesterday the delegates to the 2014 AFL-CIO political endorsing convention heard from Republican Tom Foley and Democrat Dannel “Dan” Malloy.
In response to a question about why the leadership of the AFL-CIO decided to prevent Jonathan Pelto, the gubernatorial candidate for the Education and Democracy Party, from addressing the delegates who are charged with endorsing candidates in this year’s election, the head of the AFL-CIO said,
“The reality is I don’t like that we have a two party system. I wish it was different. But the playing field is what it is. The fact is, it’s going to be a major party that wins. Until that changes, we have some change in that electorate, then I am perfectly comfortable with how we decided to invite the candidates to come to this convention.,” – Lori Pelletier
So it came to pass that Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy went unchallenged when he told the delegates;
“I stand with labor, I always have, I always will. It goes back to who I am and what I am,” – Governor Malloy
Banned from speaking at the AFL-CIO convention, I was unable to point out the following…
- Malloy is the only Democratic Governor in the nation to have introduced legislation eliminating teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers working in schools “turnaround schools.” While we rightfully fight to prevent a so-called “Wisconsin moment,” Connecticut has a governor who actually proposed what the California judge ruled in his anti-teacher, anti-tenure ruling last week. But of course, in our case, we have a Democratic legislature that stopped Malloy’s outrageous attack on tenure and collective bargaining.
- Malloy’s 2011 tax increase unfairly and disproportionately raised income tax rates on the middle class while giving the rich a free pass. Instead of proposing a progressive income tax, Malloy told the Connecticut General Assembly that he wasn’t going to demand that the wealthy pay their fair share in income taxes because he didn’t want to punish “success.”
- And faced with a projected $1.3 billion budget deficit next year, Malloy failed to explain how he has determined that there will be NO deficit, that he will be able to pay for vital services, proper staffing of agencies and the scheduled raises and benefits for public employees and yet, under no circumstances, will he propose or accept any tax increase during the four years of his second term.
As I said in a press release yesterday and will repeat today,
“While I appreciate that reasonable people can disagree when it comes to politics and a number of union leaders have already committed to Malloy, the AFL-CIO leadership’s decision to refuse to allow me to speak to the delegates responsible for endorsing a candidate for governor is insulting and flies in the face of the democratic principles that are purported to be among the core values of unions …The decision to prevent me from addressing the union delegates is simply unfair and undemocratic.”
Yesterday the forces that seek to silence dissent and prevent the open and fair discussion of ideas won a short-lived victory, but the rest of us will not forget the words of Robert Kennedy, who so eloquently said,
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert Kennedy