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Postwar Purges


Postwar Purges I. The Problem A. Communism B. Corruption II. Pressure from below A. Popular anti-Communism B. Democratic desires III. Pressure from above – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Postwar Purges

Postwar Purges
  • I. The Problem
  • A. Communism
  • B. Corruption
  • II. Pressure from below
  • A. Popular anti-Communism
  • B. Democratic desires
  • III. Pressure from above
  • A. Political winds
  • B. Ambition Sensationalism
  • C. New Laws
  • IV. Reds or Rackets?
  • A. Anti-Communist purge
  • B. The War on Gangsterism
  • C. The Hollow core?

Farrell Dobbs, chair, Central States
Drivers Socialist Workers Party
  • Issues
  • Loyalty to U.S.
  • Apologists for tyranny
  • Undermines labors hard-won legitimacy
  • Ambivalent attitude towards democracy

Police battle Minneapolis teamsters, 1934
? Con Shea
  • Embezzlement
  • Tolerate gang power
  • Gangsters are seldom effective unionists
  • Exploit workers for personal benefit
  • Deny democracy, crush dissent
  • Teamsters
  • Laborers

Jimmy Hoffa
? Dave Beck
Popular anti-Communism
  • React to pressure, propaganda
  • Government
  • Church
  • But also genuine concern about Communist control
  • USSR expands control over Eastern Europe
  • Suppresses Catholicism
  • Stalins crimes exposed

UE workers vote to disaffiliate their local, 1949
Democratic Desires
Longshoremen stage wildcat strike, 1948
Rev. John Corridan, S.J., 1951
  • Rank and file workers rise up against the leaders
    of the International Longshoremens Association
  • East Coast dockworkers
  • Controlled by New York hit man Albert Anastasia
  • Kickbacks, favoritism, coercion, tyranny

Political Winds
  • House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC),
  • Attacks domestic Communists, socialists,
    liberals, racial egalitarians
  • World War II
  • Smith Act of 1940
  • Election of 1948
  • Harry Truman (D)
  • Thomas Dewey (R)
  • Strom Thurmond (Dix)
  • Henry Wallace (Prog)

Rep. Martin Dies (D-TX) exhibits criminal records
of CIO officials
Scandals Accusations
  • Murder Inc.
  • Garment unions contain both Communists and
  • Hillman fights both
  • Conservatives hope Lepke will implicate Hillman

Sidney Hillman ACWA president
Louis Lepke Buchalter
Ambition Sensationalism
  • HUAC
  • Kefauver, 1951
  • McClellan, 1957-8

Bobby Kennedy, 1957
New Laws
  • Taft-Hartley Act, 1948
  • Limits strikes, boycotts
  • Restores federal labor injunctions
  • Outlaws closed shop, allowed states to bar
    undermine union shops
  • Unions officers must file affidavits swearing not
    to be Communists
  • Landrum-Griffin Act, 1959
  • Regulates internal union affairs
  • Forbids former-Communists and ex-cons from
    holding a union office for five years
  • Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act
    (RICO), 1970

Senator Robert Taft (R-OH)
Anti-Communist Purge
  • Major internal fights
  • UAW
  • Steelworkers
  • Between 1949-51, CIO expels eleven unions, over
    one million members
  • In 1955, CIO expels
  • Seafarers
  • Marine Engineers

Harry Bridges defends Communist CIO unions, 1949
The War on Gangsterism
  • Journalists, politicians, unionists themselves
    seek to stem corruption
  • Targets fight back
  • But the 1930s are over
  • Government demands unions be responsible

Riesel describes his blinding, 1956
The Hollow Core?
  • AFL-CIO purges some of labors most aggressive
  • What remains is conservative, mainstream,
    reasonably honest
  • But what remains is not equipped to deal with the
    insurgent corporations of the period 1980-present.