AFL-CIO tweets Marxist video calling to ‘seize the means of production’

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The AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the United States, has stirred controversy by tweeting a Marxist video and declaring: "We all need to seize the means of production."

Such language, contained in last week’s tweet promoting the video, is just the latest example of a risky emerging alliance between the rising socialist left and more traditional Democrat-aligned groups, political analysts say.


"This is yet another example of why union membership and appeal in the U.S. is losing ground," Michael Johns, a Tea Party co-founder, told Fox News.

"American workers properly look to their unions for support on workplace safety, benefits and wages but instead often find a politically driven union leadership that is more about advancing a far-left political ideology," he said.

He added that President Trump won in 2016 because blue-collar workers in Rust Belt and other states saw “union leadership that was not representing its interests and agenda properly, or sometimes even at all."

The video tweeted by the AFL-CIO features Dan Whelan, a self-described "Marxist roofer" who argues that society is mostly divided between those with capital to invest (capitalists) and those without. It was produced by "Means TV," which bills itself as "the world's first post-capitalist streaming platform."

Karl Marx came up with the idea of taking control of the means of production (meaning factories and equipment).

The video tweeted by the AFL-CIO goes further by challenging the concept of a “middle class,” calling it a “fiction” and labeling nearly everyone as “working class” instead.

“Most people, like 90 percent of us, are working class, and do not own the means of production. Damn!” the Marxist roofer says in the video.

But economists say that’s a myth, noting that in modern America, more than half of people own shares of stock – making most Americans small-time capitalists.

“The fact that so many American workers own shares of stock through their pension funds means that many of them already are part owners of the means of production,” Don Boudreaux, an economics professor at George Mason University, told Fox News.

Boudreaux added that, if unions really want to own the “means of production,” they can save up and buy them.

But to “seize” them, Boudreaux said, risks discouraging people from building machines and factories to begin with.

It has failed historically, Johns noted.

"Let's be clear about Marxism: No political ideology in the history of man has done more to decimate the living standards of its people than Marxism," he said.

"It is an ideology that has claimed the lives of some 100 million innocents since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. It is an ideology built on lies and class warfare and hate, and it is an ideology that has failed literally every place and every time it has been adopted."

The AFL-CIO did not respond to a request for comment. But on Twitter, the union won praise from the left.

“Proud to see you guys standing for something for once,” user “Business Bolshivek” tweeted.

“Yup and we are going to take it by a #GeneralStrike,” user “ComradeSagan” wrote.

Messaging geared towards the far left could harm traditional Democrat-leaning institutions going into 2020, some analysts say – especially as Trump and his allies have tried to portray Democratic presidential candidates as socialists.

"In the ideal world, union leadership would be partnering with both political parties to advance the agenda of working Americans, not assimilating into the agenda of the nation's far-left political movement and losing relevance," Johns said.

"Unions that are succeeding and growing have resisted this temptation. Those who haven't, including the AFL-CIO, have begun to lose support among their membership," he added.

Other analysts agreed.

“I'd like to see Richard Trumka come out and disavow this and say that it was an intern that was in charge of their Twitter,” Vincent Vernuccio, a labor lawyer and senior fellow at the Mackinac Center, which support free markets, told Fox News.

So far, the tweet is still live.

Maxim Lott is Executive Producer of Stossel TV and creator of He can be reached on Twitter at @MaximLott