This book raises issues for all people–not just those in the labor movement–about how we can build organizations and institutions that remain true to their original interests, and not go off on tangents or to counterpose interests entirely.
It is developed around the themes of imperialism, empire and democracy.
This book has five chapters:
Chapter 1: Examines the origins of the foreign policy of the American Federation of Labor under Samuel Gompers.
Chapter 2: Examines "One hundred years of reaction from Gompers to Sweeney," which provides overview of operations overseas–includes case studies from Chile, the Philippines and Venezuela.
Chapter 3: Examines efforts to challenge AFL-CIO foreign policy program by labor activists as part of larger struggles to build genuine international labor solidarity and to transform US trade unionism.
Chapter 4: Looks at how the US Government has incorporated Labor's foreign operations into serving its larger interests of Empire, with specific looks at US Agency for International Development, National Endowment for Democracy, and the US State Department's Advisory Committee on Labor and Diplomacy.
Chapter 5: This is where everything is brought together. The entire study is summarized and concluded. There is a return to the major concepts running throughout this study–empire, imperialism and democracy–and the question is asked why the AFL-CIO carries out such a reactionary labor foreign policy. It argues that the AFL-CIO needs to reject the US Empire , and join the interests of American workers with counterparts around the world.
The discussion goes further and considers the ramifications of this study on macrosociological theory, rejecting current understandings and proposing a "polyconflictual" model of society by which to understand what is happening in the US and around the world.