The Man Who Stood Up To Stalin

Jay Lovestone, America's leading cold warrior, was self-effacing and effective.

Issue: Summer 1999

Ted Morgan, A Covert Life. Jay Lovestone: Communist, Anti-Communist and Spymaster (New York: Random House, 1999), 403 pp., $29.95.

Throughout the Cold War, no institution of American life was as wholeheartedly committed to the anti-communist cause as was organized labor. Under the leadership of men like George Meany, David Dubinsky, Albert Shanker and Lane Kirkland, the trade union movement advocated an aggressive policy to counter Soviet expansionism and scorned efforts at East-West détente. To forestall communist gains within the international labor movement, American unions launched an ambitious and costly international program to encourage the spread of democratic unions in postwar Europe and the Third World. While most European labor movements tolerated communist involvement, American unions ruthlessly purged party members from the leadership ranks and expelled communist-led unions from the major labor federations. And when American liberals became critics of an anti-communist foreign policy, organized labor remained the only influential force within the Democratic Party coalition to continue to back a robust defense and an assertive anti-Soviet diplomatic course.

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