Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

CLAT-Netherlands: A Christian solidarity movement

Recently, both the archive and the library of CLAT-Netherlands were made accessible for research, having been donated to the Institute in 2010. CLAT Netherlands was founded in 1965 by Dolf Coppes, a progressive priest and later politician for the Politieke Partij Radikalen (PPR) (Political Party of Radicals). The acronym CLAT stands for Central Latinoamericana de Trabajadores (Latin American Confederation of Workers). When initially established in 1954, this international organization was called the Confederación Latinoamericana Sindicalistas Cristianos (CLASC, the Latin American Federation of Christian Trade Unions). It was renamed the CLAT in 1971.

CLAT Netherlands, an NGO as well as a pressure group, supported the Latin American workers’ and peasants’ movement.
It backed trade unions, farmers’ organizations, and cooperatives in Central and South America.
The CLAT promoted education, tried to influence government and business policy, conducted campaigns, and raised funds.
CLAT Netherlands had its origins in social Christianity, but it was also a supporter of humanist principles.
CLAT Netherlands was a child of its time. In subsequent years interest diminished, fewer and fewer activities were organized, and in 2010 it was disbanded.

The archive contains agendas and minutes of board meetings and of meetings of members, correspondence, circulars, and annual reports.
There are many documents on the activities of and contacts with other organizations in various countries.
The section “countries” is divided into Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Venezuela.
The most comprehensive and informative are the files on Chile, Haiti, Mexico, and Nicaragua. There are also a large number of scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings as well as letters, circulars, brochures, and photographs relating to the CLAT itself and to other solidarity movements (1968-1991).

CLAT’s library was inventoried in 2015.

The archive was inventoried by Lieke Bremer, an intern at the IISH, for her Bachelor’s course in Cultural Heritage at the Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam School of the Arts.

Bouwe Hijma


22 August 2016