Hal Draper

The Story of Jim Crow in Los Angeles – V

(March 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 9, 3 March 1947, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

We herewith conclude the pamphlet written for the Los Angeles, campaign by Hal Draper, candidate of the Workers Party in the Third Ward.


The Communist Party Sell-Out

Can we look to the Communist Party to lead the fight?

To many people the Stalinist CP is a puzzle. On the one hand, they remember when the CP used to lead militant struggles like the defense of the Scottsboro boys. On the other hand, more and more Negroes in latter years have been disillusioned as they realize that Uncle Joe Stalin’s boys use the Negro question only as a football, as it suits their changes in line.

During the war, for example, the CP line was “National unity” for the war and soft-pedal the Negro fight. No “fuss” that might “divide the home front.” So in the CIO here they voted down resolutions of protest against Jim Crow in the armed forces; they gave up their organization in the South; they liquidated their “National Negro Congress” in Los Angeles and elsewhere; they denounced the March-on-Washington movement because it was too militant. It was a policy of lying down and keeping mum just when the powers-that-be were most afraid of Negro discontent.

This sell-out line of the Stalinists wasn’t confined to the Negro fight. The CP was telling ALL labor to play dead, not to strike, let itself be kicked around, for the sake of the war.

The key to this “puzzle” is really very simple. The CP linechangers are interested in only one thing: What helps Stalinist Russia’s world policy at the moment?

During the Stalin-Hitler alliance, Russia was hostile to American imperialism because it was allied with the Axis. So – the Stalinists here went all out for militancy, to weaken the American war machine in the interests of the Axis. Then Russia became an ally of American capitalism, and the Stalinists here followed suit. So – the line was “no trouble,” “national unity,” no strikes. Today Russian imperialism and Wall Street imperialism are again quarrelling over the division of the spoils. So – the Stalinists once again begin to favor “militancy”, against the American capitalists, because they are the agents of the Russian rulers. They set about reviving their National Negro Congress in Los Angeles, and their local mouthpiece, the California Eagle, toes the new line.

This outfit, which still calls itself the Communist Party, is no more “communist” or “socialist” or “red” than the Democratic Party of Bilbo and Rankin is truly democratic. Socialism or the real communism of Lenin and Trotsky – means political and economic freedom. It is not the totalitarian horror under Stalin in Russia. We want neither Uncle Toms nor Uncle Joes who wish to use the Negro people as catspaws.

Whom Can We Trust?

By their deeds shall ye know them. They told us “Trust Roosevelt.” They tell us “Trust Wallace.” They tell us “trust somebody” – but don’t you dare take your own fight into your own hands. We of the Workers Party tell you:

Trust NO ONE, black or white, who promises to “do you good” while YOU sit back and watch. No one ever got his rights handed to him by somebody else!

YOU have to act, YOU have to join the fight. YOU have to organize, from the bottom up. THEN you will see those who are fighting consistently at your side.

Here in the Los Angeles city government we have a glaring example of the practical result of supporting capitalist politicians who are elected as “progressives,” friends of the people, and so on. The same Mayor Bowron whom we have had to mention so many times was elected to office with the complete support of the CIO leaders, the PAC and the Communist Party!

This is really an eye-opening fact. You might say: Well, they got stung. Right, but labor has been getting stung just this way for a couple of hundred years, by supporting “good” capitalist politicians against “worse” capitalist politicians. The capitalists always give you a choice, a better and a worse, and whichever gets in, they are still on top.

It’s about time that labor quit wasting votes on any capitalist party and went into politics for itself. That means it must organize its own independent political action not to support a Bowron or a Wallace or another “good” capitalist, as the PAC does today, but in order to put labor’s men in the government. Workers cannot depend on anything but a workers’ government, which will really oust monopoly-capital and run our economic and political life for the masses of people.

To this end, says the Workers Party, labor must break with all the Democrats and Republicans and form ITS OWN INDEPENDENT LABOR PARTY, based on the trade unions. Only an independent Labor Party which has a sweeping program of basic social change can represent the interests of Negro and white workers in their joint struggle for a world fit to live in.

The Final Answer to Jim Crow

The first answer is a fighting program for immediate action against Jim Crow. Such a program for Los Angeles is on the next page. It is the platform of the Workers Party. It should be part of the fight of any organization worth its salt.

But the Workers Party goes beyond this first answer. We have already tried to show why. We have tried to bring opt that the Jim Crow evil is only a part of the greater evil which besets the world we live in. That greater evil is the exploitation of all labor by the small minority of capitalists who control our lives because they are the private owners of the means of life – of the factories, mines, machinery we work on.

They divide and rule. They wage wars for their profit. They make a farce of democracy. They throw us out on the streets when their system breaks down. The Negro people are victims caught in the gears of the capitalist profit system.

That is why the Workers Party fights Jim Crow, as part of the fight for a better world for all. That is why the Workers Party was the organization which initiated the struggle against Gerald L.K. Smith in Los Angeles last year. That is why it brings you this pamphlet. That is why its national newspaper, Labor Action, hammers away at the race hatred which the capitalists use to hogtie all labor.

We stand for the proposition that the workingmen must take the means of production into their own control, under their own ownership – and organize industry through a democratic Workers’ Government which will abolish exploitation and profit-squeezing.

This is economic democracy, and it is called Socialism.

We believe that those who see straight and fight clear to the end cannot stop at merely patching up evils here and there. They must band together in a fighting vanguard for the radical abolition of capitalism and for a SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY.

Don’t just grumble, curse or, weep. Understand, organize and fight! ALL THE WAY – WITH THE WORKERS PARTY!

Plan of Attack on Jim Crow in Los Angeles


  1. Outlaw restrictive covenants – ban any contract based on racial discrimination. Withdraw city building rights and licenses from landlords and real estate companies that practice or organize race discrimination.
  2. Abolish all race quotas in housing projects, public and private.
  3. Initiate an adequate low-rent housing program which will permanently alleviate the congestion in the Negro districts.
  4. Make all race-discriminatory practices by landlords and, employers a criminal offense.
  5. Set up a city Fair Practices Commission on Employment and Housing, with power to put teeth into its decisions, the commission to include representatives of labor and minority groups.
  6. Demand that the city police and county sheriff authorities cease shielding and giving protection to Ku Klux Klan and vigilante terrorist groups.
  7. City Council to set up a commission to try police officers accused of racist brutality, with power to fire and institute action against the criminals in uniform, the commission to include labor and minority representatives.
  8. Immediate appropriations to improve transportation, lighting, recreation and library facilities in the Negro districts.

Fight in Your Trade Unions and Negro Organizations for:

  1. Labor and minority groups to organize their own defense formations against vigilante and KKK threats and outrages and fascist campaigns like those of Gerald L.K. Smith.

  2. Equal rights for members of minority groups in all trade union locals. AFL and CIO Councils to demand the revocation of the charter of any local guilty of race discrimination.
  3. An independent Labor Party, based on the trade unions – aiming at a Workers’ Government and basic social change.
  4. Get the Negro organizations, and other organizations to which you belong, to adopt these planks as part of their platform and to organize militant action to carry them out.

And For Yourself –

  1. Join the socialist vanguard in the Workers Party, to push this program everywhere and to lead the fight for a revolutionary Socialist Democracy!

Spread this pamphlet around. Order a bundle now, at 10 cents per copy – or send in payment with names and addresses of those to whom you want it sent.

Last updated on 6 January 2022