Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lenny Brenner on Tom Braden

On April 16 the following was sent by Lenny Brenner to progressive lists in the US requesting that it be posted widely. It is his response to the death of former American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations leader Tom Braden.

Sisters and brothers,

On 4/6/09, the NY Times ran on Associated Press obit, “Tom Braden, 92; Fathered ‘Eight Is Enough.’” It said that he had been a CIA officer, but it didn’t have one word about what is certainly of interest to anyone concerned about America’s labor movement. Below is what I had to say about this in my 1988 book, The Lesser Evil. Its a history of the Democratic Party. I called it that because I’ve never met an adult Democrat who believed in his party like people believe in their church. Such types always say something like, ‘yes, the Democrats are evil, but they are better than the Republicans.’


“AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland and Tom Kahn, head of the International Affairs Department, are decades-long CIA collaborators. Tom Braden, now a well-known talk show figure, was the CIA’s link to the labor fakers in the late ‘40s. In 1967, he related how he organized them into resisting the Communists in France at the height of their strength. ‘Into this crisis stepped (Jay) Lovestone and his assistant, Irving Brown. With funds from (David) Dubinsky’s union,’ the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, ‘they organized the Force Ouviere, a non-Communist union. When they ran out of money, they appealed to the CIA.’ [28] Kirkland was a loyal collaborator with the national headquarters CIA clique under George Meany, his predecessor as head man at the AFL-CIO.”

28 - Tom Braden, “I’m Glad the CIA is Immoral,” Saturday Evening Post, May 20, 1967, p. 14


Readers should circulate the above to all interested in reviving the labor movement. If there is to be any serious rejuvenation, the rank and file must be educated about the history of America’s unions. Members who don’t know its history are more than likely to let its present leaders make mistakes and commit political crimes similar to those of their predecessors.

Stay well, give 'em hell,

Lenni Brenner


dyanna April 30, 2009 at 7:40 PM  

I like your blog.I'm waiting your new posts.

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Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

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