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AIFLD to ACILS: New Labor Foreign Policy or Old Wine in New Bottles? By Mike Olszanski Term Paper ForL580 Comparative Labor Movements Indiana University Northwest Spring 2005
Olsazanski April 28, 2005 There were [AIFLD] personnel who had nothing to do with the CIA. In many ways and in the long run they were doing more harm. -Ruth Needleman, 2005 interview This is the patent age of new inventions/ for killing bodies, and for saving souls,/ all propagated with the best intentions. -Lord Byron, quoted by Graham Greene in The Quiet American The road to hell is paved with good intentions. - frequently attributed to Karl Marx and anonymous, but occurrences of Samuel Johnson, Rita Disbennett, Delenn, Jane Austen and Richard Baxterand have been noted as well.
Olszanski 1 L580 Comparative Labor Movements AFL Foreign Policy: Why Should I Care? American Federation of Labor (AFL) and later AFL-CIO foreign policy has been,and is today pro-business. As such it cannot help but be anti-worker. Sociologist KimScipes calls it no less than “Labor Imperialism.”1 This is the result of the dominance ofbusiness unionist2 ideology in the organization. American workers throughout thehemisphere are weaker, more disorganized, and less able to resist the class warfaremanifest in the ongoing global neoliberal assault by corporations and their friends ingovernment against workers, because this convoluted and confused ideology leads theminto collaboration with the class enemy. Therefore, I argue here, AFL-CIO foreign policyacts against the interests of North, South and Central American workers, and needs to bechanged by U.S. workers by substituting social unionism in place of business unionism. As this is being written, former military dictator General Augusto Pinochet is ontrial in Chile for the torture, murder and disappearance of thousands of his own and U.S.citizens during his administration of the country after the September 11, 1973 coup whichkilled democratically-elected president Salvadore Allende. Given the now widely knownfacts, it is no exaggeration to call the Pinochet regime fascist. A favorite tactic ofPinochet’s minions was said to be throwing captive dissidents into the ocean from planesto eliminate all trace of them.3 For some time it was feared he would cheat justice usingthe excuse of his age and infirmity, but the Chilean courts finally judged him fit to standtrial early in 2005. Also well documented is the fact that the U.S. Central IntelligenceAgency (CIA) and its partner in Latin America, the American Institute for Free LaborDevelopment (AIFLD) engineered, facilitated and largely paid for the Coup.4
Olszanski 2 L580 Comparative Labor Movements My personal interest in Chile, and the involvement of Nixon, Kissinger and theU.S. labor movement in the 9/11/73 coup and subsequent fascist dictatorship began withwhat I, like millions of U.S. workers, saw on my television screen in the early 1970’s.The events in Chile happened at a time when my own political consciousness was rapidlydeveloping. I was a steward in United Steelworkers of America (USWA) Local 1010,representing workers at Inland Steel Company’s giant Indiana Harbor Works on LakeMichigan. Ignorant, as most in the United States were, of Latin American politics and therole in them of the U.S Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and an organization called theAmerican Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) I watched a live televisionaddress by Salvadore Allende circa 1971, explaining to the people of the United Stateshis need to nationalize the copper industry. Still a bit naïve and conflicted about hisMarxism (I was not quite ready to call myself a socialist at that time) I none-the-less sawAllende as a democratic president doing what had to be best for the Chilean people,exploited as they were by the same U.S. corporations who were screwing me and myunion brothers and sisters here. He was right to do it, I thought then. But I sensed in hisvoice and his demeanor that he must know and fear the danger he faced taking onNixon’s white house. Then I watched in disbelief on TV two years later as strikes and“internal” strife tore Chile apart, and finally precipitated (so we were told) the coup andAllende’s “suicide.”5 It would be another year or two before, again in front of the T.V.set, I heard CBS TV’s Walter Cronkite report on allegations that the CIA, and theAmerican Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) affiliateAIFLD had in fact engineered and funded the coup. By then it was no surprise to me thatour government would do such a thing. And I had by then come to see George Meany,
Olszanski 3 L580 Comparative Labor MovementsI.W. Abel and other leaders of the labor movement as business unionists who might be asanti-communist as they claimed to be pro-worker. But my union aiding and abettingNixon and Kissinger in this perfidy? My union dues, mixed up with dirty CIA dollarsused to pay for a military coup against a democratically-elected friend of workers? Bythat I was stunned. Shortly after that revelation, at my first USWA convention in 1976, all of usdelegates were given a little book containing president I.W. Abel’s lecture at Carnegie-Mellon University in which he proudly announced, “The American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD), an auxiliary of the AFL-CIO, is beginning its eleventh year of activities aimed at helping the efforts of the workers in Latin America to improve living standards, overcome Communist infiltration and subversion, and develop effective and responsible trade unions.”6The irony in that statement is profound. By 1976, if not earlier, Abel surely knew quitewell the role of AIFLD in the Chilean atrocity, not to mention similar antidemocratic,anti-worker, anti-union activities throughout Latin America. And he gloated to thebusiness community about it. For this, as much as for his dictatorial rule of the USWAand sell-out to the steel companies, his name will forever live in my mind in infamy. 7 Years later, trying to understand the role of my own union in AIFLD and itsnefarious activities, I found Fred Hirsch’s comprehensive and very well documentedstudy, published in the Mickeljohn Institute’s weighty two volume collection of essaysThe Cold War Against Labor. Coincidentally I had a small article of my own publishedin the same anthology. I strongly identified with Fred, who calls himself a “PlumberWho Gets Curious About Exporting McCarthyism.” My own story might just as well be
Olszanski 4 L580 Comparative Labor Movementstitled “A Steelworker Who Also Gets curious…” With all the indisputable evidence anddocumentation now available, the case against AFL-CIO leaders like George Meany asaccomplices to crimes against humanity is pretty strong. But setting aside, for themoment the CIA and military dictatorship involvement, for their collaboration with thebosses—foreign and domestic—the USWA constitution might be construed asdenouncing leaders like them as “devoid of principle and destitute of honor.” Unless, asmany of them would undoubtedly argue, the anticommunist clause trumps theresponsibility to the members clauses. AFL and later AFL-CIO support of reactionary U.S. cold war foreign policythrough groups like AIFLD, reflected the triumph of business unionism in the UnitedStates. That business unionism—the narrow view that unions dare not question corporatecapital’s domination of production and the world, for that matter, but should limitthemselves to collective bargaining for hours, wages and working conditions for theirmembers—has severely undermined the power and status of American workers throughforeign policy, as well as through the destruction of militant trade unionism domestically.American workers—North, South and Central American workers—have all paid a hugeprice for the collaboration of AFL-CIO leaders with the U.S. government in the interestof U.S. corporations in places like Latin America. While they should have been fightingfor the interests of all American workers, and indeed supporting world wide labororganization and solidarity, AIFLD-CIA policy in Latin America undermined real,militant unions there, and funded company unions which sold out the workers. The effecton American copper workers in places as distant as Chile, Peru, Montana and Arizona
Olszanski 5 L580 Comparative Labor Movementswas devastating, as for example trans-national copper corporations like Anaconda,Phelps-Dodge and Kennecott played U.S. workers against their Latin Americancounterparts for years with impunity, while the labor movements of the countriesshunned cross border organizing and solidarity.8 Business unionism advocated by the AFL triumphed over social unionism withthe purges of left wing militant unions and unionists by the CIO in the late 1940’s andearly 1950’s.9 The merger of the AFL and CIO in 1954 was in fact a recognition of thisaccomplished fact—a surrender of social unionism as epitomized by the CIO’s left-ledunions to the old class-collaborationist tendency of the AFL. Business unionismweakened the U.S. labor movement in many ways. With the adoption by the AFL-CIO ofU.S. cold war foreign policy, and its collaboration with the CIA around the world, thisideology added a new dimension to its undercutting of U.S. workers and their unions—itworked against and in fact effectively precluded cross border organizing and internationallabor solidarity.10 Even before the cold war mentality twisted the minds of many intobelieving that the communist enemy required an alliance of capital and labor to defeat it,the AFL under Gompers was busy making deals with the bosses in return for a smallpiece of the pie. When business unionists smashed the CIO’s social unionism, calling it’sadvocates Communists, traitors and un-American, a creature like AIFLD became notonly possible, but a logical extension of class-collaborationist thinking. In Latin America, the pro-corporate, anti-communist foreign policy initiative byAFL leadership through AIFLD negatively impacted the union movements of virtually allthe countries of the hemisphere. This was truly a Cold War against “American” workers.
Olszanski 6 L580 Comparative Labor MovementsPresident of Chile’s militant CUT in the 1970’s, Luis figeroa called the AFL-CIO “aninstrument of [U.S.] imperialism,” and called AIFLD’s activities in Latin America“thirteen years of massive social espionage.”11 One does not build cross-border norinternational labor solidarity on such treachery. AFL-CIO’s criminal behavior in Latin America hurt union members in the U.S. ina number of ways, some general and some specific. First, union leaders were sitting downand plotting with corporation heads about how to undermine “communist” militantunions in other countries, when they should have been meeting with their own membersand developing strategies to fight the corporate bosses, and especially fight theirexploitation of cheap foreign labor which was used to replace union labor here. Thehours, days, weeks they spent collaborating were hours they were paid by the members torepresent our interests and build our unions. Both the (dues) money and the time werefrom this standpoint misspent. The staff they assigned to AIFLD and the other CIA frontswere staff who should have been organizing workers, perhaps in fact organizing cross-border where appropriate, or more likely assisting Latin American labor movements thatwere fighting their (and our) Pan-American bosses. Indeed, instead of purging its mostmilitant, effective and politically smart leadership the CIO could have better served itsown members by utilizing its strong left wing to help organize the unorganized, buildinternational solidarity and fight the bosses globally—as CIO leftists had proven theirability to do effectively during the 1930’s and 40’s. U.S. union leaders should also havebeen sitting down with the leaders of labor organizations like the CUT in Chile andplanning joint actions, against corporations who were putting U.S. copper workers incompetition with their Chilean counterparts, thus driving down the wages of both. AFL-
Olszanski 7 L580 Comparative Labor MovementsCIO leaders should have been building international labor solidarity to confrontglobalization. Instead they were training business unionists, building company unions andconducting espionage for the corporations, military regimes and the CIA. Ironic, in viewof the collaboration, that the CIA has become known by those working for it as “thecompany.” Had the AFL-CIO eschewed active participation in foreign policy completely, thetime, effort and resources devoted to AIFLD could have been well spent organizing theunorganized in this country, training union leaders here in effective, militantrepresentation of workers and our interests, and political action on working class issues,perhaps even building a real labor party to advance the social agenda of a class-consciouslabor movement. Instead, resources and energy desperately needed to build andstrengthen the U.S. labor movement, if not a world-wide labor movement, were turnedover to trans-national corporations and their CIA agents and used to destroy militant tradeunionism throughout the Americas, even while here in the U.S. class-collaborationistleadership of the AFL-CIO weakened and disabled our own labor movement. The members noticed. Union membership in the U.S. dropped precipitously afterthe purges. And alienation of the members from the leadership grew. Today many unionmembers see the union as merely a dues collecting organization which is not interested intheir input or their problems. And too many workers in non-union enterprises are loatheto join unions, which they see as of little help since they have failed to protect their ownmembers from capital’s neoliberal assault. What use is it to join a union which is all toooften on the side of management, in this country as well as in other countries?
Olszanski 8 L580 Comparative Labor Movements Why did (does?) the AFL leadership, and more importantly the “best andbrightest” young trade unionists hired to do foreign affairs allow themselves to be used ascapitalist dupes in the service of U.S. Business Imperialism? As I will argue, the road tohell may well be paved with their good intentions. And the middle of the road, as weknow, has nothing in it but a long yellow stripe, and road kill. Union Internationalism Subverted Internationalism—the union goal of building a global federation of unions andunion members with which to confront multi-national and trans-national capital reached ahigh point in 1945 with the creation by the British and Soviet labor movements and theCIO of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) at a conference in London. By1949, the CIO’s Philip Murray had denounced the WFTU as Communist dominated, andcreated the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) dominated bybusiness unionists.12 In the cold war double speak of the Company/Union/Governmenttriumvirate that emerged after 1949, “free” came to mean not just anti-communist, butavidly pro-business. If the militant, progressive unions AIFLD sought to underminewere “communist dominated” the unions AIFLD promoted, bribed or created were forthe most part company unions. As J. Peter Grace, CEO of W.R. Grace Company and firstchair of AIFLD put it, AIFLD’s goal was to “Teach workers to help increase theircompany’s business [and] promote democratic free trade unions, to prevent communistinfiltration, and where it exists, get rid of it.”13 What that meant in practice became alltoo clear with the eventual disclosure of AIFLD espionage and subversion in Chile.
Olszanski 9 L580 Comparative Labor Movements Cloak & Dagger Bedfellows If, as I argue, AFL-CIO leadership was in bed with U.S. corporations since theyran the militants out in the 1940’s, they officially got into bed with the CentralIntelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1960’s. A CIA front, intelligence-gathering operationand money-laundering apparatus, AIFLD (commonly pronounced “A Field” with a longA) was created in 1961. 14 AIFLD trained business unionists in Chile and other Latin American nations, andarranged for selected union members with “leadership potential” to get further training atFront Royal, Virginia. In the process of inculcating AFL ideas in potential labor leaders,did AIFLD also keep records of those who showed signs of leftist tendencies? Might suchinformation have been passed on to the CIA, to eventually find its way into the hands ofthe likes of Pinochet’s military, where it was used to round up and dispose of dissidents?“Our” kind of trade unionists (pro-business, anti-communist) were schooled, funded andpromoted into the ranks of “Our” kind of Latin American “democratic” trade unions.Those who could not be bought or persuaded to think like AIFLD were black-listed—andthese lists could mean, in places like Pinochet’s Chile, exile, torture, disappearance ordeath. Hence it is not a stretch to say that AIFLD was to some degree complicit in theworst crimes of the regime.15 Is Sweeney’s Foreign Policy Better? The dissolution of AIFLD by incoming president John Sweeney was heralded bymost labor progressives as a new day for AFL-CIO foreign policy. Sweeney replaced
Olszanski 10 L580 Comparative Labor MovementsAIFLD, and the other regional institutes with the American Center for InternationalLabor Solidarity (ACILS) in 1997 to replace the four regional institutes. But two factscast serious doubt on the thoroughness, if not the sincerity of the Sweeny reforms. Firstin Venezuela, as Tim Shorrock and Kim Scipes have noted, there is strong ifcircumstantial evidence that the in-country agents of ACILS may have been up to someof AIFLD’s old dirty tricks once again. Supporting the right wing Confederation ofVenezuelan Workers Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV) which allegedlyplotted with business forces to incite a military coup, ACILS has been accused ofplaying Venezuela’s workers much as they did the workers in Chile. 16 The AFL-CIOdoes not deny cooperation between FEDECAMARAS, the Venezuelan Chamber ofCommerce and Carlos Otega, president of the CTV, but defend the strike called by theCTV as legal, justified, and in no way connected with or aimed at inciting the coup—anargument which calls for quite a stretch of the imagination, based on the preponderanceof facts.17 Calling Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez a “populist” who promulgatedlaws which limited collective bargaining rights in the oil industry, the AFL-CIO arguesthat their “partners” in the CTV “invited” ACILS to help them with a process of “internaldemocratization” and that ACILS is only interested in supporting “free, fair anddemocratic” unions in places like Venezuela.18 It was their support for “core values” likethe right to strike which led them to support the CTV’s strike against the government,which according to AFL sources was only coincidental to the attempted coup. The AFL-CIO defends its actions in Venezuela as strictly pro-democracy and pro-union, andcontinues its attacks on the leftist Chavez administration with a web site posting (in2003) calling on the Chavez administration to lift a detention order against Carlos
Olszanski 11 L580 Comparative Labor MovementsOrtega and release business magnate and FEDECAMARAS president Carlos Fernandas,both accused of “treason, civil rebellion, instigation of crimes, gang activity anddevastation.”19 “Today,” as Cathy Feingold puts it “Cold War divisions are less andless” important to the AFL-CIO.20 Yet somehow, ACILS activities opposed to thedemocratic but leftist Chavez administration in Venezuela produced consequences whichverged on disaster for that country’s workers. And refusal of the AF-CIO to accept ameasure of responsibility for the bloody coup attempt begs questions about the sincerityof its leaderships intentions. As Scipes has also found, the Advisory Committee on Labor Diplomacy(ACLD) created in 1999 under President Clinton was until recently a joint operation ofthe Bush State Department and “AFL-CIO foreign policy leaders”: Top AFL-CIO officials have been involved in the committee, including John Sweeney and Linda Chavez-Thompson, as well as William Lucy, Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME, an AFL-CIO Executive Council Member, and oversees the International Affairs Department (IAD) for the Executive Council. Former AFL-CIO President (and long-time Secretary- Treasurer), and Board Member of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Thomas R. Donahue, chairs the ACLD. Another participant from Labor is the former President (1979-1999) of the Bricklayers, John Joyce.21 Scipes claims this AFL-CIO/State Department collaboration did not challengeBush administration foreign policy, but pretty much rubber stamped it.22 The AFL-CIO’sCathy Feingold argues otherwise, and says the committee’s 2 year mandate has not beenrenewed by Bush.23 Perhaps most telling is the allegation that today’s AFL-CIO has
Olszanski 12 L580 Comparative Labor Movementsrefused to “come clean”—either about the details of AIFLD’s involvement in LatinAmerica, or ACIL’s support of reactionary elements in Venezuela. Transparency,essential in a democratic labor movement seems, in the U.S. labor movement’s topleadership, seems sadly lacking. Feingold argues that more and more documentation ofACILS activities is in the process of being made publicly available on the AFL-CIOwebsite, so that the issue might very well become moot in the near future.24 What no onein the AFL-CIO leadership seems ready to come to grips with are the fundamentalcontradictions inherent in its continuing business unionist ideology, that seem to continueto drive its foreign as well as domestic labor policy. Why? A Case of Pyles? The McCarthyite anticommunists used to say of militant trade unionists and otheraccused Communist “sympathizers” that they were either co-conspirators or unwittingdupes. One or the other. Or some of both. Given the facts known about recent ACILSactivities in Venezuela around the time of the unsuccessful coup against democratically-elected president Hugo Chavez , a similar question might be asked of AFL-CIOpersonnel involved. Certainly Sweeney and the old hands should know better. Newrecruits are another question. Like novelist Graham Greene’s Quiet American “Pyle” (afitting name for the pain in the ass the young CIA agent is shown to be) many ofSolidarity Center’s young recruits mean well, just as Needleman says of many AIFLDoperatives who had no direct connection with the CIA in Chile. In his classic andprescient 1955 novel, Greene describes U.S. “innocence” in 1950’s Viet Nam as “like a
Olszanski 13 L580 Comparative Labor Movementsdumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm,” and hencemuch to be feared for the unwitting damage they can wreak.25 Naive, “innocent,” true-believers in “America’s” superior knowledge and virtue, ACIL’s in-country liberalbusiness unionists likewise seem to blunder on in their befuddlement, threatening tocause much bloodshed and misery for the workers of Venezuela and wherever else in theworld they alight. Anticommunist if not consciously pro-capitalist, moved by “terriblenotions of duty” they appear to seek, like Greene’s paternalistic Pyle, to help the“ignorant” Latin American workers find a “third way” or “middle way” 26 betweencommunism and neocolonialism through “independent” (but pro-business and pro-U.S.)unionism. “I know the harm liberals do,” says Greene’s hard-bitten news correspondent“Fowler,” of the attempt of the CIA to introduce “textbook notions of democracy andfreedom” into 1950’s Viet Nam. 27 Like the young, idealistic CIA agent Pyle, might notACIL’s exuberant missionaries, in their zeal to “do God’s work”28 instigate unintendedand disastrous consequences? Suspicious of and ideologically opposed to the leftist laborleaders, they end up on the side of business—and in the case of Chile and more recentlyVenezuela—terrorists and coup-plotters. The old hands should know better. Is it simplyhubris—of the variety that seems to have infected formulators of U.S. foreign policysince we first became a world power? Have our labor leaders not learned the lessons ofViet Nam, nor of the AIFLD’s bloody bungling? God knows they mean well. Obsessedwith “pluralism” and “freedom of association” as measures of “democracy” theyengineer “an impressive process of internal democratization” highlighted by “free andfair” elections in Venezuela’s CTV labor center. The result: “nearly all the parties of theleft” included in the leadership (how many, at what level they don’t say) but also strong
Olszanski 14 L580 Comparative Labor Movementsrepresentation for the bosses, who by all accounts used Ortega and the CTV to help setthe stage for a military coup against democratically -elected President Chavez. Do“Workers Rights” according to AFL-CIO foreign policy, include the right to havemanagement or at least management interests represented in union leadership—aconcept somewhat at odds, it would seem with U.S. Labor law ?29 The unintendedconsequences of ACIL’s Venezuelan effort were (perhaps unwitting) support for a nearlysuccessful coup, which sought to tear up the constitution and return the country to rule bythe oligarchy. And union members throughout the world are watching. Are these peoplestupid, we must ask ourselves, or just confused by their twisted ideology? This problem of ideology—or the lack of clarity about it—and the “third way”were addressed by AIFLD’s Joseph Palisi, interviewed by Ruth Needleman in 1974.Identifying himself as “against the business unionism of the AFL,” he says introducing itinto Latin America was the result of “not having an ideology…having no ideals orguidelines,” “that the bread-and- butter orientation of the AFL leads to a repugnant grab-what-you [can] psychology which sees any kind of underhanded tactic or dirty trick asthe proper way to go about getting things.”30 This concept of (left) ideology as an antidoteto opportunism in the labor movement was elaborated concisely by my mentor, JohnSargent, several times president of 18,000 member USWA Local 1010: A young fella who becomes active in the union, who hasnt got a broader perspective than just the union, sees the union as a stepping stone to security for himself, either to get a job in the union...or to use the union to get a job with the company, as a foreman, for instance... Unless the guy has a socialist viewpoint, or some kind of broader view-point of what this whole thing means, youre not gonna get good leadership. Thats an important part of it.31
Olszanski 15 L580 Comparative Labor Movements“You gotta stand for something, or you’re gonna fall for anything,” is the way Hoosierrocker John Cougar Mellencamp put it. In striving to walk the yellow line down themiddle of the road between communism and neoliberalism, ACIL’s liberals are at risk ofgetting run over in places like Venezuela. More importantly, workers who try to followthem along that convoluted, tortuous path are also at grave risk of becoming road kill asultra right and left clash over the future of the country. ”God save us always from theinnocent and the good,” as Greene puts it. In reality, the AFL-CIO leadership really doesend up taking sides in situations like this. Unfortunately, as it has for a hundred years,when push comes to shove, it usually ends up on the wrong side, not the workers’ side.The twisted ideology of the liberal “third way” and “a pox on both your houses” leadsinevitably to collaboration with the bosses. No one can serve two masters. And the mostalienating situation imaginable for North, South and Central American workers is to haveto wonder of U.S. labor leaders, “Which side are you on?” Kim Scipes, Tim Shorrock, Fred Hirsch and others argue effectively that theSweeney administration needs to “come clean” about AIFLD and ACILS and open thesealed archives which may reveal even more about the AFL-CIO anti-worker activitiesthroughout Latin America and the world. But fundamentally, nothing will really changeuntil labor’s rank and file demand a leadership which clearly understand that in today’sworld, just as in the eighteenth century of Adam Smith, business and labor are onopposite sides of the class struggle—now indeed a class war. And the role of laborleadership is to always and in every way be on the side of the workers, not the bosses.
Olszanski 16 L580 Comparative Labor MovementsSome concepts are terribly complex. This idea is not. The evidence is all around us, everyday.
Olszanski L580 Comparative Labor Movements BibliographyAbel, I. W. Benjamin Fairless Memorial Lectures 1975: Collective Bargaining LaborRelations in Steel: Then and Now. Pp. 38-39Aguilera, Pilar and Fredes, Ricardo, Eds. Chile: The Other September11. Melbourne: OceanPress. 2003.Ancel, Judy. Response I: On Building an International Solidarity Movement. Labor StudiesJournal, Vol. 25, No. 2 Summer 2000Pages 26-35American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations. International AffairsPolicy Resolutions, adopted December, 1965 AFL CIO Sixth Constitutional Convention.Washington, D.C.: AFL-CIO. February 1966Davy, . Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. March 21, 1974. Transcript in author’spossession.Douglas, William. Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. March 19 &21, 1974. Transcript inauthor’s possession.Feingold, Cathy. AFL-CIO International Affairs Dept., phone conversation with author, 4/27/05.Friedman, Jesse. Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. March 20, 1974. Transcript in author’spossession.Gooden, Joan. Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. March 20, 1974. Transcript in author’spossession.Griffith, Neville. Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. March 1, 1974. Transcript in author’spossession.Hirsch, Fred and Virginia Muir. 1987. “A Plumber Gets Curious About Exporting McCarthyism” in Ann Fagan Ginger and David Christiano, eds., The Cold War Against Labor (2 volumes). Berkeley: Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute: 723-768.LaFeber, Walter. Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America. New York:W.W. Norton & Company. 1993.Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me. New York: The New Press. 1995.Meany, George. Clean Democratic Trade Unions. Washington, D.C.: AFL-CIO. Circa 1956.Morris, George. CIA and American Labor: The Subversion of the AFL-CIO’s ForeignPolicy. New York: International Publishers. 1967.
Olszanski L580 Comparative Labor MovementsNeedlman, Ruth. Taped interviewed by author. April, 2005O’Grady, John. Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. March 1, March 14, 1974. Transcript inauthor’s possession.Olivera, Cochabamba!: Water RebellionParenti, Michael. Against Empire. San Francisco: City Lights Books. 1995.Radosh, Ronald. American Labor and United States Foreign Policy. New York: RandomHouse. 1969.Roman, Peter. Peoples Power: Cuba. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.2003.Rosenblum, Jonathan D. Copper Crucible. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press. 1995.Scipes, Kim. Its Time to Come Clean: Open the AFL-CIO Archives on International LaborOperations. Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 25, No. 2 Summer 2000Silberman, Allen. Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. March 15, 1974. Transcript in author’spossession.Sims, Beth. Workers of the World Undermined: American Labor’s Role in U.S. ForeignPolicy. Boston: South End Press. 1992.Stebenne, David L. Arthur J. Goldberg, New Deal Liberal. New York: Oxford UniversityPress. 1996Stephansky, Ben. Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. February 27, 1974. Transcript in author’spossession.Winn Victims of the Chilean MiracleMcLellan, Andrew. Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. March 28, 1974. Transcript in author’spossession.Legge, Wallace. Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. March 19 & 29, 1974. Transcript inauthor’s possession.
Olszanski L580 Comparative Labor MovementsPalisi, Joseph. Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. April 5 & 10, 1974. Transcript in author’spossession.Martin, Ben. Interviewed by Ruth Needleman. March 1, 1974. Transcript in author’spossession.Scipes, Kim. Taped interview by author. April, 2005 Internet Sources“The AFL-CIO and Worker Rights in Venezuela” on the AFL-CIO website.http://www.aflcio.org/issuespolitics/globaleconomy/ns04262002.cfmAFL-CIO website statement on Venezuela, February 27, 2003 http://www.aflcio.org/aboutaflcio/ecouncil/ec02272003i.cfm“AIFLD on the Prowl Along the Border” in BorderLines 8 (Volume 2, Number 4, December 1994) Americas Program, A New World of Ideas, Analysis and Policy Options.http://www.americaspolicy.org/borderlines/1994/bl8/bl8aifld.htmlDavis, Robert Gorham . “In Our Time No Man is a Neutral,” New York Times, March 11, 1956 inwww.nytimes.com/books/00/02/20/specials/greene-quiet.htmlFinn, Janet “Intimate Strangers: The Interlocking Histories of Butte, Montana and Chuquicamata,Chile,” article excerpted from Tracing the Veins of Copper, Culture and Community from Butte toChuquicamata, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.www.his.state.mt.us/education/cirguides/buttearticfinn.aspShorrock, Tim. “Labor’s Cold War,” The Nation, May 19, 2003 seewww.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20030519&s=shorrockUSAID Website: http://www.usaid.gov/
Olszanski L580 Comparative Labor Movements End Notes
1 Kim Scipes, “The AFL-CIO’s Foreign Policy Since 1995:Labor Imperialism Redux?” in Monthly Review,May, 2005, pre-publication draft. When I interviewed him on March 31, 2005, Scipes added that, “For yearsthe early stuff that came out all blamed labor’s [AFL-CIO] foreign policy on external factors—the U.S,Government, the White House, the CIA, the State Department, etc. I’m convinced that that’s wrong. U.S.labor’s foreign policy comes out of labor, at the very highest levels….This is an attack on everything wethink the American labor movement [should] stand for—the democracy, the rank & file control, etc.And..it’s a very conscious effort to keep working people and our unions ignorant of what they’re doing.”2 By business unionism I mean the narrow view that unions dare not oppose capital’s ownership of themeans of productions and hegemony over production and the world, for that matter, but should limitthemselves to bargaining for hours, wages and working conditions, each union for its own members. It is aview that tends to divide workers along national and even industry lines (formerly also along craft lines)rather than uniting us world-wide to challenge the capitalists politically and socially as well as economically—as social unionism tends to advocate. Business unionism in my view is fundamentally pro-capitalist, hencetend to be strongly anti-communist and anti-socialist.3 With the right-wing think-tanks’ continued use of Pinochet’s Social Security “Reforms” as a model for theU.S., one cannot help but speculate at the use of such measures to reduce the surplus senior citizenpopulation—a very effective (if slightly Draconian) way to cut Social Security costs?4 Documentation of AIFLD perfidy in Chile and its role in the bloody coup is widely available from manyreliable sources. Perhaps the best place to start is Fred Hirsch and Virginia Muir, 1 “A Plumber GetsCurious About Exporting McCarthyism” in Ann Fagan Ginger and David Christiano, eds., The Cold WarAgainst Labor (2 volumes) Berkeley: Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, 1987, pp. 723-768. Primarysources were available to me from Ruth Needleman, who interviewed numerous AIFLD, State Departmentand related officials just after the coup, in 1974. Excellent resources are also the numerous recent works onthe subject by Kim Scipes, Tim Shorrock, Judy Ancel and others.5 Hortensia Bussi, widow of the president Allende, claims he fought off the army with a machine gun to theend, and was murdered. See Pilar Aguilera and Ricardo Fredes, Eds., Chile: The Other September11.Melbourne: Ocean Press, 2003.6 I.W. Abel, 1975 Benjamin Fairless Memorial Lectures, Collective bargaining Labor relations in Steel:Then and Now, New York: Columbia University Press, 1976, p 39.7 At the 1968 USWA Convention, president I.W. able had proudly introduced to the delegates, top officers ofAIFLD including Angelo Verdu, Samuel Haddad, and Alberto Garza along with former USWA staffrepresentative and then U.S. Department of Labor Chief of the Trade Union Exchange Programs Division,Edward Lonergan, and no less than 25 other AIFLD operatives. That same convention heard reports on theprevious year’s nine month copper strike, during which transnational copper Corporations were able toincrease output from their Latin American facilities, and the International Longshoreman’s association wasasked to boycott foreign copper imports. AFL-CIO President George Meany addressed that convention,defending AFL-CIO foreign policy against attacks by Walter Reuther’s United Auto workers (UAW) oversupport for the Viet Nam War.(See USWA Proceedings of the Fourteenth Constitutional Convention,Chicago, Illinois, 1968 pp. 44, 74-76, 94-96)At the 1984 Steelworkers Convention, Angel Rodriguez, president of Local 616 in Morenci Arizona, pleadedfor support for the copper miners striking against Phelps Dodge, who were being decertified. USWAPresident Lynn Williams announced a Corporate Campaign against Phelps Dodge, showed a film entitled“High Stakes in Morenci” and passed the hat. (See USWA Proceedings of the 22nd ConstitutionalConvention, Cleveland, Ohio pp. 113-118)8 See Janet Finn, “Intimate Strangers: The Interlocking Histories of Butte, Montana and Chuquicamata,Chile,” article excerpted from Tracing the Veins of Copper, Culture and Community from Butte to
Chuquicamata, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.www.his.state.mt.us/education/cirguides/buttearticfinn.aspThe USWA copper strike of 1983 saw the destruction of a local union and a town, and might have been wonif not for the copper corporations’ ability to increase Latin American production while their U.S. operationswere struck, as well as hire replacement workers due to a weakened U.S. labor movement’s inability to stopthem.(See Jonathan Rosenblum, Copper Crucible, Ithaca, N.Y. ILR Press, 1995.)9 Murray, long an advocate of collaboration with capital, turned on communists and other radicals in 1947,and in 1948 replaced CIO chief counsel (and Communist) Lee Pressman with former OSS anti-communistArthur Goldberg, an advocate of the liberal “middle way” that aimed for a triumvirate of capital, labor andgovernment. See David L. Stebenne, Arthur J Goldberg, New Deal liberal, pp. 42-43, 53-54, 65, 71.Goldberg’s anti-communist “middle way” sounds very much like the “third force” advocated by the CIAagent “Pyle” in Graham Geenes’ Viet Nam novel The Quiet American.10 Such solidarity, first advocated by Marx in the Communist Manifesteto (“Workers of the world, unite!”)as the antidote to capitalist global expansion and trans-national operations is absolutely essential if workersare to have any chance of survival in the face of global capital’s neoliberal assaults. Starting from thepremise that the interests of the worker are antithetical to those of capital (as Adam Smith declared in 1776,Marx elaborated upon, and left leaders of the CIO took for granted) collaboration with the bosses is simplyunthinkable. Given this basic assumption, trying to understand the convoluted, tortuous logic which led theleaders of the “free world’s” premier labor organization to join forces in a troika with business and pro-business government would require no less than a kind of Orwellian double-think. But business unionistsnever really adopted this basic premise. For them it is not workers of the world against the bosses, it is morelike, plumbers and plumbing contractors of Philadelphia against the world.11 Luis Figeroa Speeches: 9/11/74 Stockholm and March 1975 Mexico City cited in Hirsch and Muir, p 755.12 The CIO delegation’s Sidney Hillman played a major role in the formation of the 66 million memberWFTU, which included delegations from 55 nations. Its declared program was to “promote worldcooperation and peace, full employment and a rising standard of living for all workers.” Retired UnitedElectrical Workers (UE) vice president Ernest DeMaio was chosen to represent the WFTU at the UnitedNations, where he served for many years. By 1949, however, the CIO under Phillip Murray had renounced itmembership in the WFTU (and expelled the UE) claiming both were “dominated by communists.” The CIOformed a rival organization, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) which excludedunions in “socialist and developing nations.” While the WFTU grew to a membership of 230 million workersin 126 countries by 1978 without U.S. participation, the ICFTU, which became a cover organization forAIFLD and other world wide CIA subversive operations “never rose above 25 million” members. SeeElenore H. Binkley, Reflections on the Labor Movement of the USA, New York: New Outlook Publishers,1983 pp. 221-22513 This quote has been widely published, by friend and foe alike of Grace and AIFLD. AIFLD’s own booklet“AIFLD: A Union to Union Program for the Americas”, 9/16/65, used it. It was published in U.S. News andWorld Report, 3/19/84, p. 60, as well as in Grace’s bio in Who’s Who in America, Volume 24. Hirsch andMuir cite it on p. 742.14 AIFLD was created by the Labor Advisory Committee on Foreign Assistance. Incorporated as a “non-profit Delaware Corporation” in 1961 so that it could “receive foundation money legally” AIFLD’s firstpresident was George Meany and business magnate J. Peter Grace of W.R. Grace Company chairman of theboard. In June 1962 the Institute opened for business. Initial funding came from a $100,000 grant byPresident John Kennedy, “hand-carried” by Arthur Goldberg— USWA and CIO general counsel appointedby Phillip Murray to replace Communist Lee Pressman. Goldberg was a staunch anti-communist, and chiefof the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Labor Division during World war II. He wrote the first anti-communist clauses into the CIO and USWA constitutions. His position as confidant and aide to PhillipMurray put him at the center of USWA as well as CIO policy. Goldberg would mold cold war AFL-CIOforeign policy to conform with State Department and CIA strategy throughout the world (See Hirsch andMuir, 737. See also David L. Stebenne, Arthur J. Goldberg, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996 pp.
73-119).Former Office of Strategic Services (OSS) agent Serafino Romualdi headed up the initial group. Romaudi,who had worked for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) president David Dubinsky,was the key organizer of AIFLD’s predecessor the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers(Spanish acronym ORIT) just after World War II. People like former Communist, later virulent anti-communist Jay Lovestone were on-board from 1943, setting up the AFL’s foreign policy arm the Free TradeUnion Committee (FTUC). “One of Romualdi’s first contacts in Latin America, Wenecslao Moreno,” wasapparently a CIA agent working to undermine and eliminate the militant 2 million-member left wingNational Labor Center Central Unitaria de Trabajo (CUT). AIFLD was aimed at creating “free” (that is,CIA controlled and U.S. business-friendly class collaborationist) trade unions in Latin America, andundermining, subverting or destroying “Communist” (that is, militant, class-conscious, confrontational)unions in that area of the world. Continued funding came from the U.S. Agency for InternationalDevelopment (AID), an agency whose avowed mission is to “ provide economic and humanitarianassistance in over 100 countries to provide a better future for all.” (See USAID Website:http://www.usaid.gov/ ) AID picked up 90% of all further funding.( Hirsch and Muir, p 741) Labor Institutes were also created for Africa and Asia. See Fred Hirsch and Virginia Muir, p 741, also KimScipes, “It’s Time to Come Clean: Open the AFL-CIO Archives on International Labor Operations,” LaborStudies journal, Summer 2000.15 Needleman argues that this kind of espionage was unnecessary in Chile, since leftist union leaders werewell-known to the military and Pinochet’s regime, since they had operated openly under the Allendeadministration.16 Tim Shorrock, “Labor’s Cold War,” The Nation, May 19, 2003 seewww.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20030519&s=shorrock See also Kim Scipes, “AFL-CIO inVenezuela: Déjà vu All Over Again,” in Labor Notes, April, 2004.17 Cathy Feingold, AFL-CIO International Affairs Dept., phone conversation with author, 4/27/05. Feingoldargues that Chavez’ denunciation of the CTV and legislation against it along with the failing economy andChavez inability to fix it forced Ortega into an alliance with FEDECAMARAS, an interesting if somewhatconvoluted argument somewhat reminiscent of blaming Chile’s Allende for the destruction of the economyeven as strikes by right wing “unions” there paralyzed it.18 Cathy Feingold, phone conversation with author, 4/27/0519 AFL-CIO website statement on Venezuela, February 27, 2003 http://www.aflcio.org/aboutaflcio/ecouncil/ec02272003i.cfm20 Cathy Feingold, phone conversation with author, 4/27/0521 Kim Scipes, “AFL-CIO Foreign Policy Leaders Help Develop Bushs Foreign Policy, Target ForeignUnions for Political Control ,” Labor Notes, March 200522 Kim Scipes, interview by author, April 2005. 1955523 Cathy Feingold, phone conversation with author, 4/27/0524 Unfortunately, the 28 page 2003-2004 Solidarity Center Annual Report, to which I was referred byFeingold and which is available on their website, is a slick, well-illustrated document filled with generalitiesabout the center’s work around the world, and with only a one page consolidated summary of its funding. Itcontains no accounting breakdown for how the money was spent in places like Venezuela.25 Graham Greene, The Quiet American, New York: Penguin Books 1955. p 3726 See note 9. Arthur Goldberg and the liberal anti-communist Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)advocated the Swedish “Middle Way” of journalist Marquis Childs in 1948, and would base the post warwages/productivity bargain on its somewhat shaky ideological premise of power-sharing by capital, labor
and government.27 Greene, quoted by Robert Gorham Davis, “In Our Time No Man is a Neutral,” New York Times, March11, 1956 in www.nytimes.com/books/00/02/20/specials/greene-quiet.html28 Tim Beaty (AFL-CIO International Affairs Dept.) quoted by Kim Scipes in email http://lists.gp-us.org/pipermail/laborgreens/2003-May/000526.html in conversation concerning ACIL workinternationally.When Scipes “…asked him about the NED connection, he said something about it’s UStaxpayer’s money and we want our share (not a direct quote)” The argument—that as taxpayers AFL-CIOmembers are entitled to a share of NED money—was reiterated in my phone conversation with CathyFeingold, who insists there are no strings whatsoever attached to the money.29 Quotes from statement “The AFL-CIO and Worker Rights in Venezuela” on the AFL-CIO website.http://www.aflcio.org/issuespolitics/globaleconomy/ns04262002.cfm30 Joseph Palisi, interview by Ruth Needleman, April 10, 1974, transcript in author’s possession. Palisi, whocame to AIFLD from Catholic Relief Services, seemed in interviews appalled and frightened at theinvolvement of AIFLD with the CIA. He detailed death squads (then) operating in Brazil, Argentina, Chileand Puerto Rico which used heart attack-inducing cyanide, leukemia-inducing injections, car “accidents”,and similar “black ops” methods to assassinate “problem people and opposition people”31 John Sargent, taped interview with Mike Olszanski, August 13, 1978.