The executive council of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union, has praised the role workers and trade unions are playing in the revolutions sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.
The AFL-CIO’s statement did not reference the group’s alleged ties to at least one major international group leading the revolutions.
WND was first to report that one of the main anti-regime organizations spearheading protests in Algeria is funded by a quasi-governmental group partly led by an arm of the AFL-CIO along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
In a statement last week, the AFL-CIO praised the role of unions and workers in what it called the “popular mobilizations against corrupt, oppressive regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and throughout the Middle East and North Africa.”
The statement was carried by People’s World, an online magazine directly descended from the Daily Worker, the publication of the Communist Party USA.
The AFL-CIO statement said: “After enduring decades of repression exercised by governments with the support of the West, including the United States, the workers and people of Tunisia and Egypt have mobilized by the millions for democracy and fundamental rights.”
“The AFL-CIO and the global labor movement salute the independent trade union movements in both of these countries and support their aspirations for social justice,” the statement continued.
The AFL-CIO called on the U.S. to be “responsive to the demands of the people for political and economic reform.”
Analysts have pointed out the Mideast and North African revolutions have been ushering Islamist parties to political power.
As WND reported, the AFL-CIO has been tied to support for the unrest in Algeria, where President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been facing opposition from Islamist groups.
Bouteflika has ruled the country with a tough hand. He has been an ally of the U.S. in fighting al-Qaida.
The National Coordination for Change and Democracy, an initiator of the recent Algerian protests, demanded an immediate shift to full democracy, lifting of the state of emergency laws and “labor and social justice and liberation in political and media fields.” The call to a shift to democracy would allow the participation of Islamist parties in the country’s government.
Algerian Islamic groups have joined in the protest coordination, including the outlawed Islamic Salvation Front and its leader, Ali Belhadj.
The protests have also been spearheaded by a group called the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights, ALDHR, which works closely with the National Coordination for Change and Democracy.
Scores of ALDHR members have been arrested in recent weeks while the group’s leaders have been serving as spokesmen for the anti-regime riots.
ALDHR is an Algerian nongovernmental organization that has been leading the drive for electoral reform.
It has received nearly annual grants from the National Endowment for Democracy, a quasi-governmental agency. The NED purports to be a bipartisan group that “supports freedom around the world.”
The NED receives annual funds from the U.S. government and a small amount of private donations.
It maintains four affiliate organizations that assist in the NED’s work. They were the four principal initial recipients of the group’s funds – the American Institute for Free Labor Development, an arm of the AFL-CIO; an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the International Republican Institute; and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.
The NED has funded the AFL-CIO’s foreign operations, which seek to promote international trade unions.
According to NED founding documents reviewed by WND, the AFL-CIO was one of the original founders of the NED.
Through the NED, the AFL-CIO’s American Institute for Free Labor Development has funded opposition labor movements across the group, most notably in Latin America, where it has advocated for union workers and has been implicated in stirring riots against a number of countries in the region.
In Algeria, just as in Egypt, civil society groups, including trade unions, have been central to the anti-regime protests.
In Egypt, the threat of maintaining strikes by labor unions was used by the opposition to ousted-President Hosni Mubarak as a bargaining chip to secure political demands.