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Spider WebThe Birth of American Anticommunism$
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Nick Fischer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040023

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040023.001.0001

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The Better America Federation and Big Business’s War on Labor

The Better America Federation and Big Business’s War on Labor

(p.144) Chapter 8 The Better America Federation and Big Business’s War on Labor
Spider Web

Nick Fischer

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the role of the Better America Federation (BAF), a business lobby headquartered in Los Angeles, in promoting the doctrine and practice of anticommunism during the interwar period. BAF and other business lobbies harnessed the passion and the infrastructure of the Red Scare to promote their economic and industrial agenda. They used anticommunism (and generous financial inducements) to revitalize and reorient urban police “Radical and Anarchist Squads.” This chapter first considers the open shop movement's fight against communism before discussing big business' domination of of economic and industrial policy during the 1920s. It then looks at the rise of the BAF and its use of the Red Squad and the California Criminal Syndicalism Act as instruments of labor suppression. It also describes the BAF's cultural war against Bolshevism, along with the scandal involving the BAF as well as the federation's demise and resurrection. The chapter shows that the BAF dominated anticommunism on the Pacific Coast from around 1920 until well into the Cold War as part of the Anticommunist Spider Web.

Keywords:   anticommunism, Better America Federation, business lobby, Red Scare, open shop movement, big business, Red Squad, California Criminal Syndicalism Act, Bolshevism, Anticommunist Spider Web

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