Max Shachtman

Shachtman Radio Speech
Calls for Meat Control

(28 September 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 40, 7 October 1946, p. 8.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Address by Max Shachtman, national chairman of the Workers Party and its candidate for Congress in the 15th Congressional District of New York over Station WLIB on Saturday, September 28, at 1 p.m.


During the war, industry and agriculture performed miracles. We reached levels never before reached in the United States. We outproduced the rest of the world.

These miracles were performed in the service of war. Never before was such a thorough job done of destroying life and property.

Now the job is to maintain life, not to destroy it. More than a year has passed since the end of the war. But that job seems further from success than ever.

We are faced with an unbelievable spectacle:

A country which spent billions to erect buildings for war production cannot provide decent housing for millions who badly need it, including millions of war veterans.

With a record figure of livestock in the country, it is impossible to buy a pound of meat without paying fantastic black market prices for it.

The industrialists and bankers say:

“No more controls, no more ceilings. If we don’t have the right to unlimited, monopolistic profits, the people can go on living in holes and without decent food.”

The Republicans respond to this shameless blackmailing and blackjacking of the whole country by saying: “Remove all controls. Do what the monopolists say.”

The Democrats in office answer:

“No, let us have controls which controlled nothing yesterday, control nothing today and will control nothing tomorrow.

“Every week we will raise ceilings until the monopolists get what they want.”

Meanwhile, there is no meat, no housing, no consumer goods in general, and no relief in sight.

The Congressional election gives you an opportunity to answer these self-confessed bankrupts who cannot even feed or house the people of the richest land in the world..

In presenting me as its candidate for the 15th Congressional District of Brooklyn, and for the Congressman from Harlem, the noted Negro labor leader, Ernest Rice McKinney, the Workers Party, a socialist political organization, has put the food and price question right at the top of its election platform.

As candidate of that party, 1 call for the immediate nationalization of all food industries under workers’ control.

I call for a 12½ billion dollar national appropriation for housing and other public works, which is very little compared with two billion dollars spent for the atom bomb.

We can have fair distribution of food at low prices only by ending the farce of OPA and nationalizing the basic industries.

Take them out of the hands of the bankrupts and blackmailers. Put them under the control – not of a few thousand helpless bureaucrats – but of the 15 million workers democratically organized in the trade unions and price committees of housewives and consumers.

They are not interested in blood profits but in feeding and housing the people decently.

They are in a position to keep a close check on production and distribution all the way down the line, from raw materials to the retail outlet –

To control profits and prices democratically and without an army of bureaucrats.

You can’t know the truth about shortages, secret deals between manufacturers and black marketeers, profits and prices – unless you control production and distribution.

And there is no more effective agency for such control than the workers, housewives and consumers of the country.

That is the main point you are supporting when you cast your vote for Max Shachtman in Brooklyn or Ernest R. McKinney in Harlem this November.

If you are interested in our platform, write the Workers Party, 114 West 14th Street, in New York City.

Max Shachtman
Marxist Writers’

Last updated on 17 July 2020