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Encyclopedia > La Follette Committee

The LaFollette Civil Liberties Committee, or more formally, Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee Investigating Violations of Free Speech and the Rights of Labor (1936-1941), began as an inquiry into a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) investigation of methods used by employers in certain industries to avoid collective bargaining with unions. Between 1936 and 1941, the subcommittee published exhaustive hearings and reports on the use of industrial espionage, private police systems, strikebreaking services, munitions in industrial warfare, and employers' associations to break strikes and to disrupt legal union activities in other ways. Robert M. La Follette, Jr., a Republican and Progressive Party Senator from Wisconsin, chaired the Committee. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is an independent agency of the United States Government charged with conducting elections for union representation and with investigating and remedying unfair labor practices. ... A collective agreement is a labor contract between an employer and one or more unions. ... Espionage (spying) is a practice of obtaining information about an organization or a society that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. ... Robert Marion La Follette, Jr. ... The Republican Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States; the other being the Democratic Party. ... The United States Progressive Party of 1924 was a national ticket created by Robert M. La Follette, Sr. ... Official language(s) None Capital Madison Largest city Milwaukee Area  Ranked 23rd  - Total 65,498 sq mi (169,790 km²)  - Width 260 miles (420 km)  - Length 310 miles (500 km)  - % water 17  - Latitude 42°30N to 47°3N  - Longitude 86°49W to 92°54W Population  Ranked...

The Committee reported that as late as 1937, its census of working labor spies from 1933 to 1937 totaled 3,871 for the period. Private security firms like Pinkerton National Detective Agency and Burns were employed to infiltrate labor unions. The Committee concluded that espionage was "the most efficient method known to management to prevent unions from forming, to weaken them if they secure a foothold, and to wreck them when they try their strength."[1] Labor spies may be referred to as spies, operatives, agents, agents provocateurs, saboteurs, infiltrators, informants, spotters, special police, or detectives. ... Pinkerton guards escort strikebreakers in Buchtel, Ohio, 1884 The Pinkerton National Detective Agency is a private U.S. security guard and detective agency established by Allan Pinkerton in 1850. ... // Securitas AB was founded in 1934 in Sweden, and has since expanded and grown into various areas of the security business. ...

The Committee also reported:

"Such a spy system . . . places the employer in the very heart of the union council from the outset of any organizing effort. News of organizers coming into a town, contacts the organizers make among his employees, the names of employees who join the union, all organization plans, all activities of the union—these are as readily available to the employer as though he himself were running the union".

The inquiry by the Committee failed to achieve any effective regulatory legislation that might have curtailed the worst practices of strike-breaking agencies, but the revelations enraged the public.[2]

Communist Party members on the Committee staff

In 1995, with the release of the Venona project transcripts, it was revealed that four Americans employed in the federal government as Senate staffers were also members of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA)[citation needed] and may have been working as agents for Soviet intelligence to further the objectives of the Comintern. At various times, these four served as staff members of the subcommittee. The Venona project was a long-running and highly secret collaboration between intelligence agencies of the United States and United Kingdom that involved the cryptanalysis of messages sent by several intelligence agencies of the Soviet Union. ... The Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) is one of several Marxist-Leninist groups in the United States. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The Comintern (Russian: Коммунистический Интернационал, Kommunisticheskiy Internatsional – Communist International, also known as the Third International) was an international Communist organization founded in March 1919, in the midst of the war communism period (1918-1921), by Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), which intended to fight by all available means, including...

Those staff members are:

However, none of the Senators on the Committee have been implicated through information obtained from these transcripts. John Abt was the Chief of Litigation, Agricultural Adjustment Administration from 1933 to 1935. ... A General Counsel is the chief lawyer of a legal department, usually in a corporation or government department. ... WPA Graphic The Works Progress Administration (later Work Projects Administration, abbreviated WPA), was created in May 1935 by Presidential order (Congress funded it annually but did not set it up). ... Henry Agard Wallace (October 7, 1888 – November 18, 1965) was the 33rd Vice President of the United States (1941–45), the 11th Secretary of Agriculture (1933–40), and the 10th Secretary of Commerce (1945–46). ... Charles Flato also Charles Floto (May 27, 1908 - January 1, 1984) was a writer, American Communist Party member and a Soviet agent. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The Office of Administrator of Export Control was established by Presidential Proclamation 2413, July 2, 1940, to administer export licensing provisions of the act of July 2, 1940 (54 Stat. ... The Foreign Economic Administration (FEA) 1940-47 The Office of Arms and Munitions Control established in the Department of State to administer provisions of Joint Resolution 67 (49 Stat. ... Charlse Kramer, orignally Charles Krevitsky was an economist for who worked for the United States Senate Subcommittee on War Mobilization and also the United States governments Office of Price Administration during World War II. Before the war he worked for the Department of Labor National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). ... Allan Robert Rosenberg was born 1909, graduated from the Boston Latin School in 1926, Harvard in 1930 and harvard law School in 1936. ...


  1. ^ From Blackjacks To Briefcases — A History of Commercialized Strikebreaking and Unionbusting in the United States, Robert Michael Smith, 2003, page xvi.
  2. ^ From Blackjacks To Briefcases — A History of Commercialized Strikebreaking and Unionbusting in the United States, Robert Michael Smith, 2003, page xvii.

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