America’s largest labor federation plans to send employees to a conference this month in North Africa where they will be able to attend discussions on the evils of the United States, Israel, capitalism, and meat-eating.
The 2013 World Social Forum (WSF) will take place in Tunis, Tunisia, from March 26 to March 30. The Forum is an annual gathering of radical, leftist, and revolutionary groups.
Representatives of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), which represents more than 11 million unionized workers in the United States and abroad, will attend through the union’s Solidarity Center.
Union officials will brush shoulders with officials from radical organizations such as Code Pink and the Occupy movement, earning a rebuke from critics.
The antiwar radicals of Code Pink were last seen congratulating Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) on his 13-hour talking filibuster of CIA director John Brennan.
"If this reflects [the AFL-CIO’s] understanding of how the world’s economy works, then it’s no wonder they’re losing members," said Fred Wszolek, a spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute.
Wszolek said he thought many of the union’s rank-and-file members "would actually be insulted" by the political tenor of the event, particularly in regards to Israel.
The union is "wasting a huge amount of their members money" attending the conference, Wszolek added.
The National Lawyers Guild of the United States will participate in a "people’s tribunal," where attendees will "try" Israel for its alleged "on-going ethnic cleansing and military repression of the Palestinian people."
Left-wing activist group Public Citizen will also attend.
Free market capitalism will also be a popular topic at the WSF, with events on capitalism’s "inevitable demise," hope for an anti-capitalist "transformation" of the global economy, and open hostility to "the obsession of [economic] growth."
Public Citizen, Code Pink, and the AFL-CIO did not return requests for comment.
The WSF’s website says it was created to devise ideas "to solve the problems of exclusion and social inequality that the process of capitalist globalization with its racist, sexist and environmentally destructive dimensions is creating internationally and within countries."
The Forum features a number of groups that brand themselves as part of the Occupy movement, the loose affiliation of anti-capitalist protesters who camped out in public spaces for months in 2011 and 2012.
The AFL-CIO, Public Citizen, Code Pink, and the National Lawyers Guild all allied themselves with the Occupy movement, which came under fire for a litany of crimes that took place at encampments nationwide.
"The Occupy movement may have, for the most part, disappeared from our streets, but the extremism they promote is deeply ingrained not only in those who took up their cause, but also in the groups with which they affiliate," said market researcher Anne Sorock.
Sorock said the WSF "signals both the connections between this radical movement and groups with great influence over our republic, such as the AFL-CIO, as well as the growing boldness of their anti-American rhetoric."
Less hot-button topics will also receive some attention at the WSF.
One event on the evils of meat eating will explore "speciesism/carnism," and aims to demonstrate that "all forms of oppression are interconnected," including "oppression" of livestock and household pets.
Requests for comment made through the WSF’s website were not returned. The website states that no individual or group may speak on behalf of the conference as a whole.