"Like other top leaders of the AFL-CIO, Tom Kahn is affiliated with various organizations that form an anticommunist phalanx with U.S. foreign policy influence. Kahn, who heads the federation's powerful international affairs department, is a principal of Social Democrats USA (SD/USA). A small, self-described social democratic organization, SD/USA's policies and activities dovetail smartly with U.S. interventionism abroad, and its leaders dominate the foreign policy apparatus of the AFL-CIO. Largely composed of ex-Trotskyites, the organization is a right-wing breakaway faction from the U.S. Socialist Party, which split over conceptions of the proper role for the United States to play in Vietnam. Through the strategic placement of members such as Carl Gershman and Tom Kahn, SD/USA has exercised a profound influence in the export of anticommunist ideology and U.S. influence under the guise of promoting democracy. But as one top union staffer explained, the organization is 'not only anticommunist, but anti-left,' a fact that strictly limits its alliances around the world," Beth Sims wrote in 1992.
"Various interconnections exist between" the National Endowment for Democracy "and the labor institutes. Over the years, the Free Trade Union Institute has shared three directors-Albert Shanker, Lane Kirkland, and John T. Joyce-with NED. Representatives from the other three labor institutes sit on FTUI's board, which in turn funnels endowment grants to those institutes. Moreover, some FTUI directors are associated with other endowment grantees. They have included John DeConcini (A. Philip Randolph Institute), John Joyce (National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, A. Philip Randolph Institute, League for Industrial Democracy, Friends of the Democratic Center in Central America), and Tom Kahn," Sims wrote.
"Along with William Doherty of the American Institute for Free Labor Development, Kahn sits on the board of the Inter-American Foundation, a grantmaking agency established and funded by Congress to promote Latin American development projects. The foundation, long known for funding progressive programs, suffered a shake-up under the Reagan administration and shifted in a more conservative direction in the 1980s," Sims wrote.
- Beth Sims, "Enlisting in the Reagan-Bush 'Democracy' Offensive excerpted from the book "Workers of the World Undermined: American Labor's role in U.S. foreign policy", Third World Traveller, 1992.
- Rachelle Horowitz, "Tom Kahn and the Fight for Democracy: A Political Portrait and Personal Recollection", Social Democrats USA, Accessed October 2006.