Today in labor history: Meese tells employers to spy on workers

Ed Meese, attorney general (the main legal advisor to the government) in the Ronald Reagan administration, urged employers to begin spying on workers “in locker rooms, parking lots, shipping and mail room areas and even the nearby taverns” to try to catch them using drugs, October 30, 1986. Meese was attorney general from 1985 through 1988, but he resigned while under investigation from a special prosecutor over an oil pipeline deal in the Middle East.

Meese is currently involved in the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution and other ultra conservative groups.

Recently, a chilling report revealed that this same Ed Meese, zealous former Reagan administration attorney general and right-wing operative, along with “a loose knit coalition of conservatives activists,” some of whom have substantial holdings in oil and gas, met not long after President Obama’s reelection and decided then that the only way to defund Obamacare was to shut down government this fall.

For those who many not know, conservative Republican Ronald Reagan began his political career in Oct. 1947 as a leadoff witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). He was president of the Screen Actors Guild and testified that communists in the film industry were a threat to national security. His testimony helped launch the witch-hunt that destroyed the careers of the Hollywood Ten, union screenwriters of many Oscar-winning films. It was the opening shot for a decade of fear and intimidation. Tens of thousands, especially militant union workers, were blacklisted in what the writer, Lillian Hellman called the “Scoundrel Time.”

Now we are suffering the realities that Reagan helped create: a nation with an obscenely wealthy elite that have lost count of their mansions, yachts, and Lear jets while the rest of us scrape by.  In this worst recession since the Great Depression, millions are without a job, facing foreclosure and homelessness. And Reagan’s tea party heirs want only to shred the safety net!

Reminding us all once again: Now is the time for action!

Photo: President Ronald Reagan receives applause from some of his political appointees, Jan. 20, 1984 at Constitution Hall in Washington. From left are Reagan Trade Representative Bill Brock, CIA director William Casey and Edwin Meese, Counselor to the president. (AP Photo/Ira Schwarz)



Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.