By Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
September 30, 2010
As incredible as it may seem, the giant labor federation, the AFL-CIO, used to be run by a staunch anti-communist. George Meany had his disagreements with conservatives on domestic issues but he mostly agreed with them on foreign policy. Indeed, Meany was so anti-communist that he was dubbed a “right-winger” by liberals in the media. He criticized détente with the Soviet Union. He didn’t like communists and refused to allow them into his coalitions.
All of this changed over time. When the AFL-CIO staged a “Solidarity Day” rally in 1981, in order to protest President Ronald Reagan’s domestic policies, then-AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland refused to tell communists they were not welcome.
When John Sweeney, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, became president of the AFL-CIO, the communists and their fellow travelers were officially welcomed in. He hired veterans of the Venceremos Brigades such as Karen Nussbaum and Karen Ackerman. These were the groups of radical young people who had gone to Communist Cuba for indoctrination sessions back in the 1970s. Some went for training in guerrilla warfare. The trips were arranged by Bernardine Dohrn of the terrorist Weather Underground.