Labor History Seminar: Colleen Doody, DePaul University

Labor History Seminar
Friday, October 10, 2008

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

“’The Factions Guiding the CIO are Red and They Hope to Take the Blue and White Out of the Color of Our Flag’: Detroit Labor and Anticommunism”
Colleen Doody, DePaul University
During the early Cold War, opposition to communism was not merely an outgrowth of the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. In this local study, I explore one of the crucial sources of domestic anticommunism in Detroit. I argue that much of the anticommunist discourse that occurred in Detroit after World War II was a debate over the power of labor and the expansion of the New Deal state. Despite the fact that Detroit was the most heavily unionized city in the nation, anti-CIO candidates won political office by linking labor to the Communist Party. In response to their defeats, labor leaders battled to determine the role labor would play in the postwar world.

Commentators: Stephen Meyer, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and Martha Biondi, Northwestern University