Harry Frankel

LaGuardia Gets Stalinist Boost for Reelection

CP Mayoralty Candidate Praises Union-Busting Mayor in Own “Campaign Speech”

(September 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 39, 27 September 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Israel Amter, Communist Party Candidate for Mayor of New York City, indicated this week that his party has no intention of conducting an independent campaign in the municipal elections. In a speech made before a Young Communist League rally on September 19, the Stalinist mayoralty candidate finally gave up the ghost.

The decisive portion of Amter’s talk came after a reference to the Jewish New Year:

“In the election campaign, the Jews, as a very important section of the New York population, will not be misled, but will be found in only one camp – the genuinely anti-Hitler camp headed by Roosevelt and LaGuardia.” (N.Y. Times, Sept. 20)

Parties don’t usually refer to their opponents in this fashion when they intend to carry through a serious fight against them. And so it is clear that, whether Amter is formally withdrawn from the campaign or not, the Stalinists are out to toe the mark for the mayoralty representative of Wall Street LaGuardia.

This development will surprise no one but the rank and file Stalinists, to whom the policy of their own party is as a book sealed with seven seals. The Stalinist’s decided upon this course of action a long time ago. The “left-wing” Stalinist-controlled American Labor Party made that clear many weeks back when it decided to support LaGuardia. In addition, the Daily Worker for many days previous to the final unveiling of this new monument to Stalinist treachery, carried enough hints to make the matter plain to all who have eyes to see.

The Daily Worker for September 15, featured the contest between “appeaser Davies” and LaGuardia, and the next day triumphantly reported: “LaGuardia Beats Appeaser Foe.” The Communist Party municipal slate rushed into print with a message of congratulations:

“The results of Tuesday’s primaries clearly prove that a real basis exists for unity of the people on the main issue of our time, the defeat of Hitlerism.” (D.W., Sept. 18)

The statement continues in the usual ‘”fighting” tone that the Stalinists adopt when they get ready to eat dirt: “The position of Mr. LaGuardia needs strengthening.”

You can bet it does! It’s going to take an awful lot of whitewash to cover up LaGuardia’s brutal assault on the Transport Workers Union, his red-baiting forays against the city educational system, and such liberal larks. Friday’s Daily Worker chortles with glee: “Mayor Rips O’Dwyer on ‘Economy’.” The “Mister Mayor” is himself no slouch when it comes to “economy” as the retrenchment in the school system will testify. The Daily Worker sympathetically runs through “Mister LaGuardia’s” pensive recital of all the things O’Dwyer would have to close down to economize. Not a word to recall how LaGuardia’s “economy” included rejection of the demand of the subway workers for a decent wage.

Following Amter’s revealing speech at the Young Communist League rally, the Daily Worker, fearing to break the news too quickly to the CP rank and file, did not report Amter’s crucial reference to LaGuardia. It wasn’t until Amter repeated the remark in his Sunday evening radio talk, that the Daily Worker mustered brass enough to break the hews to its baffled readers.

O’Dwyer has expressed the same views as LaGuardia on the war issue. If elected, each would support the same foreign policy. Why then are the Stalinists so vociferous about the matter? The answer is easy. LaGuardia is Roosevelt’s man, and the Stalinists are out to curry favor with the Big Boss. They’ve got to show that they can break the back of the movement which they lead and deliver it into the hands of the war government. That is their object in this election as part of their entire policy in this country today.

“Unity,” cries the Daily Worker. “We must have unity of the workers in New York.” But what kind of unity? Unity with the bosses on their own war program ?

The Socialist Workers Party has always opposed such “unity.” We have a program and a candidate which we don’t intend to withdraw for anyone. James P. Cannon, running on the Trotskyist anti-war ticket, alone of all the candidates expresses the hatred of the majority of the workers of this city for the capitalists and their imperialist war. Alone of all the candidates, James P. Cannon will expose the political racketeers who run this city with sales taxes out of the workers’ pockets, while the bankers and capitalists continue to collect their millions in profits.

To vote for James P. Cannon will mean to reject the false unity of the Stalinists, to cast a vote against the boss war abroad and capitalist exploitation at home. To vote for Cannon will mean to vote for a Workers Government.

Last updated on 23 March 2019