Trade Union Educational League

Trade Union Educational League

The Trade Union Educational League was founded as a left wing movement inside the American Federation of Labor by former Left Wing Socialists and Wobblies active in the American Communist movement. According to the memoirs of founder William Foster, the TUEL was founded in November 1920, immediately prior to Foster's departure for Soviet Russia as a correspondent for the Federated Press news service.

After returning from Soviet Russia in 1921, Foster compiled his Russian journalism into a book called "The Russian Revolution" and toured the country lecturing on behalf of the Friends of Soviet Russia and acting as a fundraiser for the FSR. According to Foster's account, TUEL preexisted as an independent organization and "upon my return to the United States I had a meeting with the Central Executive Committee of the Communist Party, who agreed to support the work of the Trade Union Educational League." Foster stated that "the League is not an organic section of the Party but is simply endorsed by it."

First General Conference, 1922

William Z. Foster spoke at the August 1922 Bridgman, Michigan convention - a meeting that was penetrated by an agent of the Department of Justice who was elected as a delegate from Camden, NJ. Foster, who attended ostensibly as a representative of TUEL, was arrested after the fact for having violated the harsh Michigan "Criminal Syndicalism" laws, which provided for a penalty of up to 10 years in state prison for advocating or attending a meeting of a group which "advocates crime, sabotage, violence or other unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reforms." As the most famous of the Bridgman defendants, Foster was brought to trial first, with the trial beginning March 8, 1923. On April 4, 1923, after 31 hours of deliberations and 36 ballots, the jury deadlocked on the issue of Foster's 6-6, and a mistrial was declared. Foster published a rather lengthy account of the trial in the May 1923 issue of The Labor Herald.

econd General Conference, Chicago, Sept. 1-2, 1923

The Second General Conference of TUEL was held at the Labor Lyceum in Chicago, opening early in the morning of Sept. 1, 1923 and closing at 8:30 p.m. the next day. The gathering was attended by 103 delegates from cities all around North America. Meetings of the gathering were open to the public and the proceedings published in The Labor Herald for October 1923.

In 1928 the TUEL was transformed into the Trade Union Unity League, a federation of industrial unions established in opposition to the American Federation of Labor craft labor unions.

ee also

* Labor federation competition in the U.S.


*Foner, Philip S. "History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. 9: The T.U.E.L. to the End of the Gompers Era." New York: International Publishers, 1991. Cloth ISBN 0717806731; Paperback ISBN 071780674X
*Foner, Philip S. "History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. 10: The T.U.E.L., 1925-1929." New York: International Publishers, 1994. Cloth ISBN 071780691X; Paperback ISBN 071780091X

External links

* [ Trade Union Educational League (1920 - 1928)] . Organizational history and documents. Marxists Internet Archive. Retrieved August 12, 2005.
* [ Publications of the TUEL]

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