Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #18 The Death of Walter Reuther

Lis­ten now: Side 1 | Side 2

Wal­ter Reuther (third from right) con­fronts Ford Motor Com­pa­ny secu­ri­ty men.

This two-part pro­gram focus­es on the life, work and prob­a­ble assas­si­na­tion of Unit­ed Auto Work­ers Union chief Wal­ter Reuther. The first seg­ment con­sists of an inter­view with Dr. Michael Par­en­ti (along with Peg­gy Noton), the co-author of an arti­cle about Reuther pub­lished in Covert Action Quar­ter­ly. The inter­view focus­es on Reuther’s career as one of the most influ­en­tial labor lead­ers in the Unit­ed States, as well as the numer­ous attempts on his life and the mys­te­ri­ous 1970 plane crash in which he died.

Through­out his life, Reuther was the focus of hos­tile activ­i­ty by big busi­ness, the FBI and Repub­li­can politi­cians. In addi­tion to head­ing the largest labor union in the Unit­ed States, Reuther was very active on behalf of a num­ber of pro­gres­sive social caus­es includ­ing civ­il rights, envi­ron­men­tal­ism, health care reform and oppo­si­tion

The Ford secu­ri­ty men attack Reuther and asso­ciates

to the Viet­nam War. Hav­ing nar­row­ly escaped numer­ous attempts on his life dur­ing the labor strug­gles of the 1930’s, Reuther appears to have been the vic­tim of a well-orches­trat­ed con­spir­a­cy. Reuther was almost killed in the sus­pi­cious crash of a pri­vate plane in ear­ly 1970 and then died (along with his wife) in an almost iden­ti­cal crash sev­er­al months lat­er.

This crash occurred a few days after Reuther vocal­ly expressed his oppo­si­tion to Nixon’s Viet­nam strat­e­gy and the shoot­ing of stu­dent pro­test­ers at Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty in Ohio. The cir­cum­stances of the crash are dis­cussed at length in the Par­en­ti-Noton arti­cle and those cir­cum­stances over­whelm­ing­ly point to the con­clu­sion that Reuther was mur­dered. The sec­ond half of the pro­gram con­sists of a com­plete read­ing of the Par­en­ti-Noton arti­cle. (Record­ed in the spring of 1996.)

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