On this day in labor history, the year was 1958.
That was the day twelve ultra-conservatives, including industrialists Robert Welch, Fred Koch and Harry Lynde Bradley gathered in Indianapolis to found the John Birch Society.
These men saw secret cabals and communist conspiracy everywhere.
They mobilized their vast financial resources to fuel Cold War paranoia.
They opposed New Deal policies, the Civil Rights Movement, President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs and the Equal Rights Amendment. They funded Barry Goldwater’s presidential bid
in 1964, denounced Nixon as a fake and warned of his establishment of diplomatic ties with China. The Birchers also opposed water fluoridation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
They pressed for the U.S to withdraw from the United Nations and viewed the U.S. war in Vietnam as a plot to bring Communism to the United States.
Welch, a candy manufacturer, even asserted that President Dwight Eisenhower was a simply a tool for the communists and advocate of a “One-World New Order.”
More recently, many Birchers have also helped to found and fund the National Right to Work Committee, whose legal defense arm has pushed hard for anti-union legislation.
Prominent members like the Koch Brothers have funneled millions into the NWRC in order to bust unions, kill the Employee Free Choice Act and weaken the regulatory authority of the National Labor Relations Board.
Their current headquarters are in Appleton, Wisconsin, hometown of Red Scare warrior, Senator Joseph McCarthy.