Keelan: A splendid gift to Vermont Republicans 

by Don Keelan

Vermont Republicans may now back away from advancing any criticism of the Biden Administration and the Democratic Party: they have been given a gift from the leader of the Vermont AFL-CIO. 

Vermont’s 11,000-member AFL-CIO labor council has always been the citadel of the Democratic Party in Vermont (and elsewhere). Until now. For decades, the union’s leadership has backed most Democratic Party candidates and policies, even though many members might not have. 

In 2019, a new brand of leadership gained control of the Vermont Union, headed by David Van Deusen. To place Van Deusen’s political conclusions in perspective, his posting in the September 2021 VTDigger noted that Vermont AFL-CIO is the most progressive state labor council in the United States. 

Don Keelan

That is an understatement. When you analyze his political statements, especially his recent commentaries, Van Deusen makes Senator Bernie Sanders appear more like an Eisenhower Republican. 

For example, the union leader ripped at President Biden in the June 20, 2023, Bennington Banner. I quote, “ Yes, the same President Biden from the same National Democratic Party who screwed union rail workers.” 

My advice to the Vermont Republican Party officials: why say a word against the President or the Democratic Party? Leave it up to Van Deusen; he makes as fine an effort as any Republican could provide. Another shelling from the labor leader’s recent Bennington Banner piece: “And yes, this is the same Biden and the same Democratic Party, capitalist to the core, which remains seemingly hell-bent on World War III and who does not take any action in Washington, DC that is not first approved by their billionaire backers.” Wow. This is from a Vermont labor union leader. Who would have ever expected this? 

As far back as I can remember, most labor unions have placed their stock with the Democratic Party, nationally and state-wide. Now, here comes a Vermont labor union leader, a big one, just blasting away at the Democratic Party and the President. The Vermont Republican Party should just sit on the sidelines and be quiet.

Van Deusen does not back off from where he stands; he is a socialist/progressive, and in 2020, according to his Internet bio, was once a leader of the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective, which is now extinct. I had no idea there was such a movement in Vermont. 

In his VT Digger posting, the union leader advocates for the pulling out (by Israel) of the occupied lands in Palestine. It gets closer to home: he is against the U.S. embargo of Cuba. 

Regarding the latter, I suspect he favors the Chinese Communist Party’s military getting closer to setting up spying posts and training camps in northern Cuba, as was recently noted in the Wall Street Journal

Many years ago, in the early ’60s, I, too, was a labor union member. Two in fact: The Brotherhood of Teamsters (when I drove a route truck in New York. Then, a bit earlier, a member of the Butchers and Bakers union.) I find it difficult to believe that Vermont union members would support the radical positions of their current leaders. 

Van Deusen is relentless. In his Banner piece, he emphatically states his feelings for the Democratic Party: “The lies they tell on the campaign trail aside, this is a party (Democrats) of the capitalist billionaires, not us (the working class).” 

The Democratic Party, nationally and in Vermont, is joined at the hip with the leadership of various unions, especially unions representing government/municipal and school district employees. After reading what the leadership of the Vermont AFL-CIO says, the hip appears to have been fractured. 

I leave the Vermont Republican Party officials with an adage: “ Never look a gift horse in the mouth.” In other words, now is the time to keep quiet.

The author is a U.S. Marine (retired), CPA, and columnist living in Arlington, VT.

Categories: Commentary

5 replies »

  1. He also published a Marxist analysis or commentary on what labor unions should do. I lost it when my computer windows crashed.

  2. As a reformed Union Thug. The AFL-CIO is all about getting Commiecrats elected. The gift Keelan talks of is a pipe dream.

  3. “…he favors the Chinese Communist Party’s military getting closer to setting up spying posts and training camps in northern Cuba, as was recently noted in the Wall Street Journal.”
    Why bother? The CCP already has several established outposts in several major cities in the US, and the current administration is accommodating them by reversing the previous administration’s attempt to monitor them:

  4. Without compulsory membership and dues paid, union influence would diminish… Vermont’s Progs ensure the continued status quo