The American Federation of Teachers and the CIA

Cover of the new edition of the classic 1978 study of teachers and international relations.
Almost all the books we read have been censored in some way by the US government via the publishing industry.

The Substance pamphlet "The American Federation of Teachers and the CIA" is now available in PDF format. The 1978 pamphlet, which traced the early involvement of the AFT beginning in the 1970s with the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and other CIA labor groups also includes the speech from the AFT convention delivered by Irving Brown.

The URL is:

Cover of the new edition of the classic 1978 study of teachers and international relations.A group of Chicago teachers and activists will be discussing whether it is possible to update the information published back then (when research was much more difficult because of the lack of the Internet and Google and other searches) to include more information now. Given the situation in Honduras, Mexico, and elsewhere in Latin America and the anniversary this week of the murder of the elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, in a CIA sponsored coup d'etat, there may be a need for an updating of the information and for some researchers in both continents to utilize more of the available documents in a coordinated "Truth Squad." (As to "Reconciliation," that is not on the Substance agenda).


You cannot go to a book store and find The American Federation of Teachers and the CIA written by George Schmidt in 1978. These type of books that expose the lies of our government have to be self-published.

George Schmidt who founded Substance News in 1975 to fight for substitute rights and exposed the corruption and lies of not only the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Mayor but also the Chicago Teachers Union and its collaboration at times with the power structure.

His book The AFT and the CIA exposes this lie that the union is just there to protect workers' rights. The American Federation of Teachers has in fact been used to help install right-wing dictatorships around the world via its collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency which is focused on protecting US corporate power at the expense of the people.

This was the time of the Cold War and the battle with the Soviet Union to control the world. It is no different today.

"These same leaders generally neglect to mention that their own "free" labor movement has been similarly by the American Secret Police, the CIA."

The collaboration with Irving Brown from the CIA with the American Federation of Teachers reminded me of CORE's fight with the AFT when they invited Bill Gates to the AFT Convention in Seattle. Both entities represent corporate power that opposes unions and worker organizing.

George's book is a fascinating narrative of the different groups that work with the unions and the intelligence services to subvert governments across the world. He connects the U.S. Agency for International Development or USAID as another CIA front. I worked with USAID when I reported in Russia in the 1990s to promote the free market. Little did I know!

The American labor groups with CIA money would work with a particular worker organization tied to dictator's like Pinochet in Chile or Bautista in Cuba.

"Chile is a good example. In 1973, Chile lost its democratically-elected president and regained its "free trade union movement" with the help of AIFLD, the Pentagon, the Chilean oligarchy, the right wing of the Catholic Church and a group of freedom loving generals who proceeded to execute at least 30,000 people, most of them trade unionists."

George writes further when the horrors of Chile were exposed that the AFT passed a resolution condemning the coup, but an amendment asking the AFT to investigate its relationship to the 1973 coup was defeated. George's research is quite extensive. He noted that Sec. of State Henry Kissinger had planned a NATO intervention of Southern Africa to prevent a radical takeover. The CTU and other labor unions tied to the Democratic Party today have not criticized NATO intervention in Ukraine that has provoke the Russian attack.

He also noted that the war in Vietnam began before US soldiers were sent to die when the CIA worked with French trade unions to make sure no strikes stopped the arms shipments in the early 1950s.

George's acerbic wit matched by his brilliant pen puts a literary spin on some of our more darker moments in trade unionism: "The massacre of half a million Indonesians has opened the door to successful 'free trade union' activity in another country."

But it was not only the AFT but also the NEA or National Education Association that worked extensively with the CIA to kill labor activists around the world on behalf of big business.

His last chapter entitled The New York Road to Power noted that after the NY's United Federation of Teachers established themselves as a liberal union that supported civil rights and desegregation in the 1950s then later purged all their activists as a cold hard business unionism took hold.

This book has more than enough to prove that history repeats!

You can access The American Federation of Teachers and the CIA by George Schmidt at -


December 14, 2022 at 10:06 AM

By: John S. Whitfield

The Military in our schools

No to military training in the schools

We here in Chicago have long been fighting against the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) in the high schools. These fights against militarizing the high schools were led by people such the late George Schmidt in his Substance newspaper, Jesus Palafox mentioned in the New York Times article posted below, Elizabeth Frank in her counter-recruitment work, Darlene Gramingna, some people in the Chicago Teachers Union, and many others. We actively and militantly opposed, for example, turning over part of Senn High School to the Rickover Naval Academy.

The need for struggle against the U.S. military in the schools across the country continues, as pointed out in the Chalkbeat and New York Times articles posted below. The military is continuing its efforts to rope youth into its ranks.

The U.S. ruling class of big banks and corporations who aim for maximum profits rely on their military to carry out interference and domination in countries around the world. They constantly need new recruits. But they have found that fewer and fewer youth want to join the military.

So they resort to methods such as forcing youth into JROTC training programs in schools, especially in schools which have poor students, Black and Latino students. And they have managed to traffic a certain number of them as new recruits for the military in that way.

This means that we need do whatever more we can to oppose JROTC in the schools— by talking to students and parents, and insisting that the school systems stop having the JROTC programs.

Chicago Public Schools have long had one of the largest JROTC programs, with thousands enrolled. Natasha Erskine, a former CPS JROTC participant and U.S. Air Force veteran turned anti-war activist, said the concentration of JROTC programs in predominantly Black and Latino schools raises concerns.

The JROTC programs in high schools and the forced enrollment into it comes in a context of what the needs of the society are. There is huge poverty in the U.S. and a lack of sufficient social safety net. Many of our children are hungry, many of our families are unhoused and our air, land and water are polluted by what the rich and their corporations have done. Our military veterans are in such despair over the situation of the military and its wars that 22 of them, mostly young veterans, are committing suicide each day.

Would you be interested in going into some of the schools to oppose the various forms of military recruiters and military recruitment going on? We have a legal right to do this, and have done this successfully a number of times over the years.

December 15, 2022 at 3:43 AM

By: john kugler

I disagree with your postion on the Military in Schools my Brother

It is the sometimes only option for students to get out of their situation and get technical training.

My son is in the military, which has made him the man he is. I am grateful for his service. I don't agree with using the military to take over countries for their wealth or natural resources.

With all the crime and violence in our city and without proper vocational education in et city schools, the military is a good option for young people to make something of themselves rather than get in debt and go to college.

Until we have equal resources for all students to get a well-rounded education that prepares them for a career after high school, then the military should stay in schools for now as a choice for students.

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