Hal Draper

[Response to Haskell]

(31 May 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 22, 31 May 1948, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The passage from Wallace was quoted exactly as it appeared in the research bulletin published by the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) on the third-party movement.

It is clear from Comrade Haskell’s letter that it was indeed a mistake to rely upon the ADA’s notions of research; for I certainly agree that they were wrong in omitting the paragraph which Haskell quotes and regret being led into following suit.

Doubly regretful, indeed, because I should especially have wished to quote the omitted sentences in line with the general picture presented in my article. I think they put a finishing touch to the picture of Wallace’s brand of “liberalism” – and not because (as Comrade Haskell seems to think?) it is necessary to impugn Wallace’s sincerity, however that is to be gauged.

I said in my article that Wallace’s proposal for government “seizure” of strikebound industries for the duration of the strike was as much a means of strikebreaking as the Taft-Hartley injunction process. (Truman proved it in the railroaders’ case a week after I wrote that.) But Wallace is not Taft, as everybody knows. Wallace proposes a government strikebreaking process, sure ’nuff, but, as a liberal, he adds that there be no profits during this period of government strikebreaking.

If the railroad men had struck for a week or a month, the owners would have made no profits during that week or month – and in addition faced the risk of losing the strike to the workers (pay raise, etc.). Wallace proposes a formula whereby the government likewise deprives the owners of their profits for that week or month (let’s say so, anyway) BUT NONETHELESS INSURES THE BREAKING OF THE STRIKE. This is the difference between Wallace “liberalism” and Taft-Hartley deviltry.

As a matter of fact, in the railroaders’ case, it took only the threat of government seizure to break the strike. The no-profits feature of Wallace’s “liberal” formula comes into play only if the workers actually do go out on strike; the strikebreaking feature of the same “liberal” formula comes into play in order to head off such a strike in the first place.

Yes, I very much regret that the paragraph in question was not before me when I wrote the article. I’ve met no better example underlining the nature of Wallace’s liberalism than this one of two formulas for strikebreaking. There was a time when liberals came out against strikebreaking on principle, you know!

Last updated on 1 March 2018