Tom Kahn


[Excerpt] Unlike many critics of the AFL-CIO's foreign policies, and especially of its International Affairs Department, Paul Garver speaks with a reasonable, almost academic voice. Only the stonehearted can fail to be moved by his call for "serious dialogue and open discussion" to replace the "sporadic swapping of charges and counter-charges" as well as "denunciations, red-baiting and innuendo." "The differences between us, at home and abroad," he says, "are not as deep as our need to stand united in the global workplace."

Amen. The foreign policy debate initiated at the AFL-CIO convention four years ago was entirely healthy. It needs to be broadened and better informed if the Federation is to act abroad with the understanding and support of its membership. Assuming Brother Garver means what he said, I decided his article deserved a response and that the resulting debate might indeed promote rational dialogue, diminish demagoguery, and dispel misinformation.

Regrettably, Brother Garver's article falls short of the standards he proclaims. He hurls charges that must provoke counter-charges, indulges in the denunciations he denounces, dispenses misinformation unconducive to serious dialogue, and stoops to innuendos that are not helpful to open discussion.