Saturday, May 28, 2005

History's Recurring "Liberal" Threat

from Foreign Affairs (May/June 2005)
In the late 1920's, a group of [German] intellectuals known as conservative revolutionaries demanded a new volkish authoritarianism, a third Reich. Richly financed by corporate interests, they denounced liberalism as the greatest, most invidious threat and attacked it for its tolerance, rationality, and cosmopolitan culture.... [T]he Nazis vilified liberalism as a Marxist-Jewish conspiracy, and, with Germany in the midst of unprecedented depression and impoverishment, they promised a national rebirth.

...In his first radio address to the German people, 24 hours after coming to power, Hitler declared, "The national government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built up. They regard Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and the family as the basis of national life." German elites proved susceptible to this mystical brew of pseudoreligion and disguised interest. Churchmen, especially Protestant clergy, shared this hostility toward the liberal-secular state and its defenders; they were also filled with anti-Semetic beliefs, although with some heroic exceptions.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

AFL-CIO Kills Health and Safety Department

from Confined Space
AFL-CIO staff wore black to work today, and for good reason. Coming only a few days after Workers Memorial Day, 169 positions were eliminated, including half of the four-person Health and Safety Department's professional staff. Deborah Weinstock and Rob McGarrah have been given notice that their positions will no longer be funded, although it is unclear when these changes will take place. What's left of the department -- Director Peg Seminario and Bill Kojola -- will be merged into the newly-created Government Affairs Department. 52 new positions will be created at the federation.

This is a sad day for workers, for the labor movement and for all those who care about the health, safety and working conditions of American workers.
AFL-CIO Warned Against Protest

from The New York Times
The Bush administration has warned the nation's biggest labor federation that union-run pension funds may be breaking the law in opposing President Bush's Social Security proposals.

In a letter on Tuesday to the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the Department of Labor said it was "very concerned" that pension plans might be spending workers' money to "advocate a particular result in the current Social Security debate."