Socialists, billionaires back LA’s minimum wage hike proposal

By Bre Payton | Watchdog.org

THEY WANT MORE: Last year fast-food workers across the U.S. protested to raise the minimum wage.

An activist group is pushing to raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles to $15 an hour with the help of philanthropic billionaires, tax dollars and a socialist workers party.

Armed with cash flowing from the likes of George Soros and Americans’ tax dollars, the Los Angeles Workers Assembly submitted a proposal to the city clerk last week to raise the local minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Media coverage, which bills the workers group only as a “new labor activist coalition,” leaves out a few hard facts about the group, including its history of organizing and support from hard-left groups.

A Google search for the Los Angeles Workers Assembly reveals a Facebook group page and a crowd-funding page, but no official website. The Go Fund Me page asks sympathetic donors for $6,250 to pay for costs associated with rallying, like printing signs and hiring youth organizers.

The crowd-funding, though, tells little about bulk of the group’s cash flow.

In the “About” section of its Facebook page, a link directs readers to the People’s Power Assembly, which is the activism arm of the International Action Center, an “anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist” group with local chapters in 16 cities across the U.S.

IAC has been active in Los Angeles as far back as 1998, and is currently located in the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice on Pico Avenue in Los Angeles.

LAWA and PPA are not recognized nonprofits, so tax deductible donations to these organizations have to go to the People’s Rights Fund, a nonprofit education fund based in New York.

The People’s Rights Fund collected $609,000 in 2012, and gave the International Action Center $35,661 to its Boston, Los Angeles and New York chapters.

PRF is headquartered in the Solidarity Center, which shares an address and phone number with the IAC, and the Workers World Party, a group that fights for a socialist society.

They are linked as business entities, according to the legal database LexisNexis.

DEAR LEADER: WWP is a huge fan of North Korea and its leaders. Like Kim Il Sung.

Over the Independence Day weekend, WWP hosted an educational weekend of Marxist-Leninist theory and practice. Attendees were told they would learn about “basic Marxist economics” and and the true meaning of revolution.

WWP is also a huge fan of North Korea and its leaders. They regard Kim Il Sung, founder of the communist country in 1948 as an “amazing revolutionary.”

WWP has several youth outreach arms including Revolutionary Socialist Youth and Fight Imperialism Stand Together.

They also organize Occupy for Jobs, which fights for guaranteed jobs and income.

The People’s Rights Fund has received donations from the Soros-funded Tides Foundation, a donor-advised grant making organization that has been granted $79 million in taxpayer funds since 1997.

Many nonprofits, including Watchdog.org’s parent organization, Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, receive funds from donor-advised groups.

But Franklin’s mission is education based, in-line with its IRS nonprofit designation, while Tides uses its massive budget with the intent of shaping legislation with a left-leaning agenda, Watchdog.org reported in the past.

The PPA isn’t new to the cause of raising the minimum wage, either.

AP file photo

ANOTHER DEAR LEADER: Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is an avowed socialist.

By looking at the PPA site, you can see earlier efforts to raise the minimum wage the group has organized for in the past.

In March and again in April, the group took to the streets of New York demanding $15 an hour and labor union representation.

On Oct. 8, the group plans to protest at the World Business Forum in New York City to send a message to the 1 percent: “Raise our wages! $15 & a union now!”

15 Now, the activist group that worked with Socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, to make $15 an hour a reality in the Washington state city, has recently mobilized to Los Angeles and is organizing to push for the change.

15 Now and LAWA will assemble on Saturday at the LA Trade College to rally in support for the $15 wage hike.

LAWA declined to comment and 15 Now could not be reached for comment.

Bre can be reached at bpayton@watchdog.org, or follow her on twitter @bre_payton.

Dustin Hurst contributed to this report.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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