American Labor's Global Ambassadors The International History of the AFL-CIO during the Cold War

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-11-19
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Following World War II, the AFL-CIO pursued an ambitious international agenda. To its leaders, the imperatives of saving Western Europe from Stalinism, rolling back Soviet gains in Eastern Europe, containing Communism around the world, throwing off the shackles of colonialism, and overcoming "uneven development" justified extraordinary measures. They sought to protect international labor while fostering American-style "business unionism," which used collective bargaining and strikes to capture a greater share of the capitalist system's economic pie. At the same time, they believed that thwarting Communist designs on local organizations was a prerequisite to cultivating free labor movements and creating prosperity for the world's workers - and battling Communism often meant working in conjunction with the US government, including even the Central Intelligence Agency. This sweeping state-of-the-field collection brings together contributions from leading diplomatic, labor, and transnational historians to explore and assess the AFL-CIO's successes, challenges, and inevitable compromises as it pursued these varied initiatives during the Cold War era.

Author Biography

Robert Anthony Waters, Jr., is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Ohio Northern University. He is the author of the Historical Dictionary of United States-Africa Relations (2009). He has written extensively about U.S. relations with Africa and the Caribbean, including The A to Z of United States-Africa Relations (2010). He is completing books about the Cuban missile crisis and the international history of Guyana's independence movement. He is a former civil rights lawyer.

Geert van Goethem is Director of the Amsab-Institute of Social History in Belgium and Professor in the Department of History at the University of Ghent, Belgium. He obtained his PhD at the University of Amsterdam on the history of the International Federation of Trade Unions, 1913-1949. His recent publications include articles and books on the history of the International Labor Organization, women workers' Internationalism, and the foreign policy of British and American trade unions during World War II.

Table of Contents

Foreword; Marcel van der Linden
Introduction; Robert Anthony Waters, Jr. and Geert van Goethem
PART I: The Global Activism of a National Trade Union
1. From Dollars to Deeds: Exploring the sources of active interventionism, 1934-1945; Geert van Goethem
2. The American Federation of Labor's Cold War Campaign against 'Slave Labor' at the United Nations; Quenby Olmsted Hughes
3. Marred by Dissimulation: The AFL-CIO, the Women's Committee, and Transnational Labor Relations; Yevette Richards
PART II: Not Very Diplomatic Ambassadors: Working to Defeat Communism in Europe
4. The AFL and CIO between 'Crusade' and Pluralism in Italy, 1944-1963; Alessandro Brogi
5. The Influence of the American Federation of Labor on the Force Ouvrière, 1944-1954; Barrett Dower
6. AFL-CIO Support for Solidarity: Moral, Political, Financial; Eric Chenoweth
PART III: Heavy-handed or Subtle? America's Labor Ambassadors in Latin America and the Caribbean
7. Reforming Latin American Labor: The AFL-CIO and Latin America's Cold War; Dustin Walcher
8. The AFL-CIO and ORIT in Latin America's Andean Region, 1950s-1960s; Magaly Rodríguez García
9. More Subtle than We Knew: The AFL in the British Caribbean; Robert Anthony Waters, Jr.
10. 'Democracy and Freedom' in Brazilian Trade Unionism during the Civil-Military Dictatorship: The Activities of the American Institute for Free Labor Development; Larissa Rosa Corrêa
11. Chilean Workers and the U.S. Labor Movement: From Solidarity to Intervention, 1950s-1970s; Angela Vergara
PART IV: Behaving like Ambassadors: The AFL-CIO in Africa and Asia
12. Irving Brown and ICFTU Labor Diplomacy during Algeria's Struggle for Independence, 1954-1962; Mathilde von Bülow
13. 'We will follow a nationalist policy; but we will never be neutral' – American Labor and Neutralism in Cold War Africa, 1957-1962; John C. Stoner
14. 'Free Labor Versus Slave Labor': Free Trade Unionism and the Challenge of War-torn Asia; Edmund F. Wehrle, Jr.
Conclusion: Transnational Labor Politics in the Global Cold War; Federico Romero

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