Newsletter subscribe


Michigan votes for freedom, unions prefer fascism

Posted: December 11, 2012 at 6:02 pm   /   by

At first blush, the novice may look at the title of this post and assume that I have just violated Godwin’s Law.

I have not.

There are three reasons why the characterization is apt, and especially so in the current situation. Before we get to those, however, let’s start with the news, in case you missed it.

Michigan lawmakers pass ‘right-to-work’ law

The Republican-led House on Tuesday adopted one measure by a 58-51 vote, freeing government workers from compulsory union membership. A second bill, for private-sector workers, is expected to be passed later Tuesday.

Adoption of the laws would make Michigan the 24th “right-to-work” state.

Gov. Rick Snyder has indicated that he will sign the bills as early as this week.

Just as they were in Wisconsin when Scott Walker and the Wisconsin legislature took away some of the special treatment unions there have for so long enjoyed, unions in Michigan are outraged. And they are behaving very badly, which brings us to the first reason why our title is apt . . .


Quintissential fascist street violence

Starting with the 20th century European variant, street thuggery and violence were a programatic part of fascism.

Mussolini summed it up:

A few months before [Mussolini] became prime minister of Italy, he replied truculently to a critic who demanded to know what his program was: “The democrats of Il Mondo want to know our program? It is to break the bones of the democrats of Il Mondo. And the sooner the better.” “The fist,” asserted a Fascist militant in 1920, “is the synthesis of our theory.” Mussolini liked to declare that he himself was the definition of Fascism. The will and leadership of a Duce was what a modern people needed, not a doctrine.

Similarly, in “Liberal Fascism,” Jonah Goldberg reminds us that Hitler, when informed that some were questioning his economic program, became angered and asked if these critics had any stormtroopers of their own . . . and suggested that fighting it out in the streets would determine whose economic program was superior!

Union goals are narrower, and many of their members are not street thugs, but the rapidity with which many union members descend into street violence, death threats, knee-cappings, and numerous other forms of thuggery and intimidation is indicative of this same tendency.

And so, enter the street violence in Michigan:

(Note, these are unions members, so a blanket LANGUAGE WARNING is in effect . . . although bad language is the least of their offenses.)


Here, a sensible union member tries to stop his fellow union members from tearing down the tent, saying that it will reinforce the impression the rest of us have that union members are thugs. Nice try, Mr. Sensible, but it’s a little too late to put the toothpaste back in that tube.


Here, a thug slugs Steven Crowder:


With that, we move on to reason two why the reference to fascism is apt . . .


Denial of Human Rights

If there is one thing that fits into just about everyone’s definition of “fascism,” it is a the notion of a large, oppressive government systematically taking away individual human rights. No doubt the unions and their allies are using the term “fascist” to describe Michigan’s Republican legislators and governor at this very moment. But who are the real fascists here? Whose rights are being taken by whom?

Let’s look at what has really been taken away from unions in Michigan? Not the right to form a union. Not the right to bargain, or even to have the government force management to sit at the bargaining table (as the 1935 Wagner Act forces does). Simply the ability to force unwilling workers to pay union dues. The unions are losing the ability to violate individual workers’ rights—the right to choose, and the right to sell one’s labor to a willing purchaser of that labor at terms mutually agreeable. That’s it. The unions still get to do their thing, they just don’t get to force others to pay for it it if they don’t want to.

And yet, this is being portrayed as a crime against humanity. In fact, a quintessential union street thug with the name Hoffa put it this way:

RT @teamsters: #Hoffa: ‘#MI Michigan People should NOT have a choice to join a union or not…thats Unamerican

The way Hoffa and union members justify this nugget of Orwellian profundity is to say that people who refuse to pay union dues are “freeloaders” who benefit from union contracts and collective bargaining efforts without having to pay. Unfortunately, this doesn’t fly.

First, there is no reason to believe that an individual worker might not be able to work out a better deal with an employer. Union contracts don’t only raise up workers—sometimes, they hold high-achieving workers back.

Second, there is no moral justification for forcing a union contract on anyone. The worker may not simply wish to avoid paying dues, he may very well also not wish to be represented by a union contract at all. It is immoral to force him to be. It takes away his choice. It takes away his rights.

Third, we have to state again that forcing someone to pay money for something he does not want, and preventing him from freely negotiating the sale of his labor, are actual violations of human rights. THAT’S “Unamerican.”

But, the unions have convinced themselves of the righteousness of their cause, or at least they would like you to think their cause is righteous:

This thuggishness is a deliberate and familiar union political strategy: Cause as big a ruckus as possible in hopes of making right to work seem radical when it’s already the law in nearly half the country.

For unions, street violence is just an extension of collective bargaining. It is either programatic or so frequent as to be de facto programatic, and hence highly reminiscent of classical fascist tactics. And, whatever their Orwellian justifications, their bottom-line goal is not human rights or more freedom or even a better deal for workers. It is a better deal for a select group of workers, at other workers’ expense. It is to get the government to pass laws allowing them to force their agenda on everyone—on nonunion workers, on management, and on taxpayers.

The third reason gets us pretty far into the weeds, so we’ll just mention it briefly . . .


Fascist Corporatism

The economic systems of most of the classical fascist governments began with a core of socialism, and then made two major adjustments.

First, they applied their principles in a national rather than international context. It wasn’t “workers of the world unite,” as it was for the internationalist-leftist USSR. It was “Italians” (or Germans) of all classes unite.” The focus was nationalist, even though most of the economic concepts were socialist.

Second, they made adjustments to the socialist economic program to make it more quickly and effectively applicable in a nation with an existing free enterprise system. Rather than attempt to bulldoze that system in one revolutionary stroke, as the USSR did, they adapted socialism into a system called “fascist corporatism.” There’s plenty on the subject available with a simple internet search, but the basic idea of corporatism is a scenario in which government, management, and labor work together to hash things out to their advantage, almost always at everyone else’s expense. Government is, of course, the senior partner, exerting a controlling influence over this cooperative arrangement and over the economy itself.

The union focused version of this kind of corporatism is called syndicalism, and it shares many roots with fascist corporatism.

Scanning the environment today . . .

  • Government taking over private enterprises, voiding contracts at the expense of shareholders and giving unions sweetheart deals, and unions returning the favor with campaign contributions,
  • Unions being given waivers from Obamacare at several times the rate of any other industry,
  • And so much more

. . . it is not at all unreasonable to see today’s America moving closer to corporatism than it has been in a long time. And unions are front and center in so very much of this movement.

Michigan did the right thing, and the American public is getting to see, just as they did with the Wisconsin situation, unions doing what unions do.

Here’s more from


Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

Leave a comment

Michigan votes for freedom, unions prefer fascism