Harry Braverman

New Deal Democrat Carries the Ball
for the Steel Trust

(31 January 1949)

Worker&rsquo: Forum, The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 5, 31 January 1949, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.


The Truman proposal for an increase in steel capacity has had this merit at least: it has succeeded in smoking out a number of half-hidden skunks who masquerade under the labels “liberal” and “New Deal Democrat” and revealed them as servants of the steel trust.

The Representative to Congress from the Youngstown district is a gentleman by the name of Michael J. Kirwan, Mike began as a simple Fourth Ward Councilman back in the depression days, and his subsequent career has given grand hopes to all who have since served as Councilmen in the city of Youngstown, just as a certain fellow-Democrat of Kirwan’s has stirred vain hopes in the minds of all Missouri County Commissioners.

Mike has two ambitions in life: to serve the people of the nation and the people of his district. To break this down into concrete terms, he is at one and the same time a Democratic wheel-horse of the first water in Congress, and an abiding friend to the steel trust especially in the Youngstown steel district.

Mike was the, chairman of the Democratic campaign committee to elect Democratic Congressmen. His achievements in this field brought a flush of pride to the cheek of the local newspaper, the Youngstown Vindicator, which Was against a Democratic Congress, but nevertheless, all for Mike.

What was Mike to do, in the face of a proposal to expand steel production in the interests of the war machine, when his local buddies – Frank Purnell and Hank Roemer, etc., etc. – want to stall a little and get their full extortionary price as they did at the beginning of the last war? What can a wheel horse do when the reins pull one way and the steel collar the other?

Kirwan came out immediately after Truman made his proposal with a sharp attack on the whole proposition, using the ready-made arguments of the Iron and Steel Institute. Frank Purnell, president of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, made headlines alongside of Kirwan by corroborating his every word..

It’s tough, Mike. It didn’t look so good, ip print. But what is a wheelhorse who wears a steel collar to do? It is plain to see that a “liberal New Deal Democrat” Congressman’s life is not a happy one.

And it’s going to get a lot unhappier.


Harry Braverman
Youngstown, O.


Last updated on 29 February 2024