[mgj-discuss] [globalization] Labor's FP Heads in New Direction
communications at irc-online.org
Mon Aug 15 22:41:29 GMT 2005
Globalization News from FPIF
August 14, 2005
Introducing the latest policy analysis from Foreign Policy In Focus
Labors Foreign Policy Heads in a New Direction
By Tim Shorrock
Lost amidst the publicity about the breakup of the AFL-CIO at its
convention last month were two events that, in their own ways, could
point to a radically new foreign policy for American unions and
The first was the conventions passage of a resolution placing
organized labor squarely behind a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from
Iraqthe first time that the AFL-CIO has ever taken a public stance
against an ongoing U.S. war.
The second event unfolded on the conference floor in the waning hours
of the convention, and went virtually unmentioned in the mainstream and
left-wing press. This was an unsuccessful resolution, advanced by the
California Federation of Labor with the support of a dozen other labor
councils, calling on the AFL-CIO to make a thorough examination and
public explanation of its foreign policy activities, from the Cold War
to the present, and to exercise extreme caution about seeking or
receiving money from instruments of U.S. foreign policy, particularly
the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID). Together, these two agencies account
for more than 90 percent of the funds provided to the American Center
for International Labor Solidarity (ACILSaka the Solidarity Center).
As the debate about labors future played out over the last year, with
the SEIU and Teamsters pressing for a huge infusion of resources into
direct organizing and the AFL-CIO arguing for equal focus on political
campaigns, little was said by either side about foreign policy.
Still, there are signs that unions on both sides of the split have
abandoned the AFL-CIOs old-style labor diplomacy in favor of direct
contacts with workers and unions overseas. It is in such campaigns,
emerging directly from workers struggles and demands rather than from
the dictates of labor bureaucrats or government funding, where the
future of labors foreign policy lies.
Tim Shorrock has been writing about labor and foreign policy for many
years. He is the co-chair of the National Writers Union DC chapter and
represented his local at the founding convention of U.S. Labor Against
the War in October, 2004. He can be reached at timshorrock at gmail.com or
through his occasional blog, Money Doesnt Talk, It Swears, at
http://timshorrock.blogspot.com. Hes a regular contributor to Foreign
Policy In Focus (http://www.fpif.org ).
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