Volume 4 Number 2 …………………….. February 1934
Cuba—Litvinoff’s First Payment To Roosevelt ….. by Albert Weisbord
Roosevelt’s Constitutional Dictatorship …………. by Sylvia Freeman
The “New Deal” and the Negro ……………………… by N. Schwartz
New York’s C.W.A. Laborers ………………………… by Phil Lewis
On the “Jewish Problem” …………………………. by Leon Trotsky
Productivity Under the Crisis ………………….. by Richard Childs
Fascist Organizations in the U.S. ………………… by Murray Braun
The Real History of Unity ………………………….. by Vera Buch
New York Food Workers Unite
CUBA—LITVINOFF’S FIRST PAYMENT TO ROOSEVELT
by Albert Weisbord
That Russia and the U.S. have entered into an alliance at the expense of the international revolutionary movement is becoming clearer and clearer as the events unfold themselves since Litvinoff made his little deal with Roosevelt for the recognition of Russia. The terms of the pact were clear enough, they were to the effect that neither the Communist International nor any other body on Russian soil could act for the overthrow of the social system of the U.S. or in its territories. Many of the comrades thought that this was only a trick on the part of the Soviet diplomats to fool Roosevelt. They could not believe that the Communist International meant to make peace with Roosevelt.
Unfortunately, the case is far worse than even we dared to think a month ago. The Communist Parties under Stalin have dropped all pretense. They have become the open agents of American Imperialism. They have rushed into the Revolution of Cuba to save Cuba for Roosevelt and the American Imperialists. They have adopted a program in which they call upon the Cuban masses not to seize the American enterprises, but to protect American interests and to drop all anti/Imperialist agitation..
We quote the exact words in the December, 1933 “Communist” (p. 1228):
“….the Communist Party of Cuba is striving to do everything possible to avert intervention and to create the greatest possible forces for resistance to it, if it nevertheless takes place.
“But this is only possible by means of concessions to the imperialism of the U.S.A. at the price of which the Cuban toiling masses, under the leadership of the Communist Party, will try to buy off intervention.
“It is precisely with this aim…. the C.P. of Cuba tries to direct the chief blow of the revolutionary masses above all against the local Cuban ruling classes…. “It is precisely with this aim … that the Communist Party of Cuba considers it inadvisable for the workers to seize the American enterprises….
“Precisely with this aim…. the Communist Party of Cuba considers it inadvisable to force ahead the seizure of plantations belonging to American capital, and fights above all for considerable reductions of the rent of this land….
“Precisely with this aim … the Communist Party of Cuba considers it advisable for the workers’ and peasants’ government, if it should be formed, to enter into negotiations with the government of the U.S.A. on the conditions of nationalization of big foreign property … i.e. it allows the possibility of buying out this property. With the same aim, the Communist Party of Cuba allows the possibility of retaining American ownership to some extent in the form of concessions.
“…. the imperialism of the U.S.A. would obviously like to avoid armed intervention in Cuba. This is shown plainly enough if only by the statement of Roosevelt to the ambassadors of the countries of South and Caribbean America….”
And Harry Gannes, enormous “anti-imperialist” fighter, echoes this dastardly program in the New Masses (Jan. 9, 1934): “The Communist Party … will offer to deal with Yankee imperialism on the basis of concessions, to avoid armed intervention in the event of the success of the workers’ and peasants’ regime.” Having murdered the Chinese and the German Revolutions, the Stalinist International hastens to offer the Cuban Revolution as its next sacrifice to yellow opportunism and Russian nationalism.
And where else can the Communist Party rush in to help Roosevelt better than in Cuba? Certainly not in the U.S. itself. Discredited, having liquidated in fact the unemployed councils, the “Red” trade unions, the Shoe Workers Industrial Union, the Miners Union, the Food Workers Union, the Textile Union, and the others, striving hard to become “respectable,” the Communist Party has too little influence to help Roosevelt much at home at the present time.
But in Cuba, the Communist Party, if it is not destroyed in time, can do great damage. For in Cuba there is an active revolutionary movement that is steadily driving to the left. It is becoming more and more patent that there are no reactionary forces within Cuba itself strong or capable enough to prevent the masses from inexorably expressing their will. The Communist Party, capitalizing upon this wave of insurrection, is growing and becoming more influential both in the unions and on the country side. There is no one more capable of beheading the Cuban Revolution than those expert Stalinists whose chief profession has become just that.
The overthrow of the Machado government in Cuba is promptly followed by the overthrow of the A.B.C. De Cespedes regime, a regime made up of conservative elements and bourgeois cliques that imagine that the masses are mere dupes to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for the Cuban exploiters. With the De Cespedes government overthrown, the Revolution takes its next great step forward under the petty-bourgeois “student” Grau San Martin government. But this government too can not last very long. Bonapartist in character through and through, without the advantage of a plebiscite or a vote of approval that Bonapartism can get, struck now by blows from the right, now from left, it can satisfy the demands neither of the Cuban bourgeoisie, nor of the U.S. government to stop the Revolution. On the other hand it has not the slightest capability of representing truly the interests of the masses.
The Grau San Martin government does not solve a single problem of the revolution and can not do so. That is why both the revolutionary and reactionary forces act independently to push the revolution further forward or backward as the case may be. The first revolt is a counter revolt of the reactionary elements behind the officers in the old army who have been displaced by the sergeants. With unspeakable contempt for “the rabble,” and with U.S. Ambassador Welles behind them, they feel sure of being the rulers of tomorrow. Their self confidence makes them reckless. They gather in the central Hotel toasting to the day of their return to power. But they do not reckon with the masses and with the soldiers. To their surprise they learn that Welles has to flee the hotel, that the hotel is completely surrounded, that the workers have cut off their water, their gas, their electricity, their supplies, and that soon they are being blown to bits! The first counter-revolutionary stroke comes to nothing.
But the reactionaries still thirst for power. They try a second stroke, this time better prepared. Aviation sergeants, garrisons of Forts Dragones, Atares, and San Ambrosio, all the police stations in Havana, the whole bourgeois mob behind them, break out into civil war. The soldiers and masses respond magnificently. Three hundred counter-revolutionists pay with their lives. The Grau San Martin government is saved again. But at what a cost! Already the power of the masses of poor toilers has become revealed as the real force. The government itself is seen as impotent. It becomes further weakened. All the property elements now strive to bury their differences, now that they are face to face with the real Social Revolution. The revolt in the army up to now has been led by the Sergeants. When will it be the time of the soldiers to revolt against the Sergeants and for themselves? Up to now there have been no elections. When will it be the time of the masses to enforce immediate full free elections, universal suffrage for all? What is clear to all is that the Grau San Martin government is only a transition government. But a transition to what?
In the meantime the masses are preparing in their own name. They organize in vast masses into the trade unions, now legal and open, They seize arms wherever they can. The trade union headquarters become veritable fortresses. In one vast strike movement they are continually demonstrating their power. They link up their interests with the petty bourgeoisie in the city. They demand and receive higher wages and lower prices. They force the electric company to reduce its rates, the telephone company likewise. They force U.S. Ambassador Welles to leave the country. They launch a huge anti-imperialist, anti-American movement. This anti-imperialist movement is a great progressive step forward for it attempts to link up the Social Revolution of the workers and toilers with the Democratic Revolution for the independence of Cuba.
Simultaneously the army is being reformed. The old centers of counter revolution are removed. The discipline over the soldiers becomes more lax. The soldiers become more and more at one with the people. They do not prevent the masses from taking vengeance on the former followers of Machado and sacking their dwellings, looting their property. They can not prevent the seizure of estates of the Counter Revolution. The agrarians begin to take over the sugar plantations and to arm themselves. In this they receive the sympathy of the armed forces particularly of the Navy and the common soldiers. Only in Havana proper does the government have the slightest influence. The Social Revolution is appearing, and the classes are lining up one against another.
The Grau San Martin government is the prisoner of the Revolution. It has become helpless. It must be wiped out if the revolution is to be stopped. If the Government can not be attacked by force from without, it can be ended from within. The Sergeants under Batista now have their fling together with the property elements of the camarilla around San Martin. Suddenly San Martin is forced to resign and the people learn that Hevia, conservative minister of agriculture is now the “President” of Cuba having been “elected” by the “Revolutionary junta.” But the Hevia government, can it do better than the San Martin government to save private property? Already the masses have raised the cry: “Nationalize the industries,” and “Workers Control..” Already the government has been forced to take the first steps to nationalize the telegraph and telephone company, the electric company, the railways, some of the sugar plantations. Only civil war can stop the Social Revolution now. (We have just learned that the Hevia government has given way to the Mendieta government!)
NOW it is precisely at this time that the treacherous Communist Party rushes in to save the day for Wall Street and for Capitalism. American capital is invested close to $1,500,000,000 in little Cuba. It is the decisive portion of Cuba’s wealth. If you do not attack American capitalism in Cuba you can not attack any capitalism at all there. But it is only by establishing the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in Cuba, it is only by moving toward Socialism that even the slightest of the social problems can begin to be solved.
If the masses do not seize the American “big” enterprises, how can they seize the Cuban “little” enterprises? Are not the Cuban bourgeois cliques only the agents of American Imperialism? Is there any chance of separating the property of America from that of their agents? Is it the business of the Communists to attack the petty-bourgeoisie and to make deals with the bourgeoisie of the country? Does not the C. P. program mean the end of the anti-imperialist movement? Does this not Mean that the Communist Party is separating the workers from the democratic elements in Cuba, isolating the workers and preparing the day for the defeat of the whole Revolution?
The Communist Party talks of buying off American Imperialism. But how? Already Cuba has the largest per-capita debt of any Latin American country. Who will pay the $100,000,000 annual interest on the debts to American capitalism? How will the “Workers’ and Peasants’ Government” (Note, the C. P. does not call for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in alliance with the peasantry) be able to guarantee the dividends and profits of the huge American concerns? And how about the other foreign countries? Will they not too have to be guaranteed their profits?
The Communist Party is playing the role of Judas in Cuba. Nothing less. It tells the masses that Roosevelt’s statements to South Americans diplomats, obviously only a piece of hypocrisy, showed that he wanted to avoid armed intervention.
All the terrible crimes of Stalinism are here repeated in the most unspeakable form possible. “Cuba can live peacefully side by side with a capitalist world and American Imperialism.” Against the dictatorship of the Proletariat. Against the end of capitalism in Cuba. Against the Revolution. This is now the program of the Communist Party!
Does anyone but Stalinist fools really think that American capitalism will trust them to do its work? They know full well that the Communist Party can not restrain the masses from completing and making permanent the Revolution. Let the Hevia government fall (or the Mendieta coalition government still more to the right) and one more to the left come in, let the workers really begin to take over control of things and American Imperialism will move in ruthlessly and thoroughly, with the utmost contempt for its “Communist” agents.
Does anyone imagine that the Communist Party will be able to stop the masses? Already they have seized American estates and properties. Who will tell them to stop? Who will tell them that they must continue to put up with the boycott of the employers, the terrible conditions of capitalism, the tremendous debts, the slavery in Cuba? The masses in their fury will tear such a party to pieces. This is precisely what they must do in Cuba—DESTROY THE COMMUNIST PARTY—AGENTS OF AMERICAN IMPERIALISM AND RUSSIAN NATIONALISM. The treachery of the Communist International in Cuba can spell disaster and demoralization among the masses unless a new Communist Party is built up along the lines of the Internationalist Communists headed by Leon Trotsky.
ROOSEVELTS CONSTITUTIONAL DICTATORSHIP
by Silvia Freeman
The August 15, 1933, issue of the CLASS STRUGGLE (Volume III, No. 7) presented a complete analysis of Bonapartism in the Roosevelt regime. The general process was summarized in the following way: “The local and state forces give way to the federal forces; the federal forces do away with the old checks and balance system and become more and more centralized; the Houses of Congress and the Supreme Court give way to the President; and the Party gives way to the Leader, the Strong Man.” The fascisation of the governmental apparatus becomes evident when the scattered data are brought together.
The liberals, recovering their second wind, console themselves with the thought that after all the Constitution remains to stand guard over the democratic rights guaranteed in it. So long, they sigh, as the Constitution remains, we have nothing to fear of dictators nor of fascism. These nearsighted bourgeois apologists fail to see that the most powerful of the grants to the President have been through the use of the Constitution. In fact, the Constitution provides for tremendous potentialities of presidential power.
The early critics of the Constitution assailed it on the grounds that it would give the President more power than the King of England or an oriental despot. This is true today. Neither the King of England nor the Prime Minister, the President of France nor his Premier have the power that has been delegated to the President of the United States. Both the King of England and the President of France “reign but do not govern.” Personally they are irresponsible. Whereas the President of the United States is independent of the legislature and is able to resist it—the Premier of France and the Prime Minister of England are directly responsible to the Chambers. In France today a debate centers around the principle of the veto. One group asserts that the President of France should be given veto powers as great as those of the American President.
The veto power in the U. S., given to the President by the Constitution itself, makes him a very important factor in determining what shall be the laws of the country. In this way the President becomes a legislator in addition to being an executive. Beard points out that the U. S. president has four attributes of the dictator given to him by the Constitution which foreign executives do not enjoy: “independence of the legislature, unity, long term, and security of income.” That it was the intention of the leading forces of the framers of the Constitution to give the President great powers can be seen by reading the “Federalist” by Hamilton and Madison. Hamilton states that the President must be a man of vigor and force and that the Constitution provides for such a man. The argument of Fascism against the inefficiency of parliaments finds its counterpart in the Federalist’s plea for the independence of the executive. Fascism, scorning the workers, might have heard the enlightening remarks of Madison who admits the existence of classes and the struggle among them to which Hamilton answers, “Your people is a great beast.” It was the policy of these two men, strong Federalists who fought for the centralization of power in the Federal government, which was actually adopted. Thus we find any number of provisions and loopholes which can be interpreted freely according to the relation of forces.
It was not necessary for Roosevelt to discard the Constitution. Here he had the vehicle to use while riding on to Bonapartism. For instance, under Public Act No. 10, the President is given almost unlimited power to inflate both credit and currency. He is given virtual command of banking and fiscal policies. The tempest about stabilization, about sound money, inflation, monetary policy, “baloney dollars,” etc. etc. has its base in Section 8 of Article I of the Constitution of the United States, which provides for the coining of money and the regulation of its value. Two powerful functions of government were delegated to Congress in the Constitution—the right to levy taxes and the right to appropriate money. Yet in Public Act No. 67 Congress has actually handed over to the President the power of taxation: He can juggle postage rates on mail matter; He can impose taxes of unspecified amounts upon manufactures and upon processors who handle the seven major farm products. At his own discretion he can also tax competitive products. And this is only the beginning. In addition, the President has the right to change tariff rates simply by executive proclamation. What a tremendous significance this fact alone can have! The slightest change in the tariff rates involves millions of dollars. Exporters will now find it to their advantage to be on the “good side” of the president. Around him there becomes consolidated an ever increasing group controlled by the President.
Congress alone has the right to ratify treaties. But even the necessity of ratification by the Senate is eliminated in the bill which gives the President the broadest possible authority to negotiate international trade agreements, and to negotiate reciprocal treaties. The fixation of tariff rates on a bargaining basis as well as on the difference in costs is dependent now only on the President. Congress, in its role as a check on the president, has the right to confirm appointments. But Congress gave to the President powers of appointment, which in addition to those powers inherent in the Presidency, enables Roosevelt to add more forces to his clique. So he undermines the prestige of the party, placing the emphasis upon himself, as above the party, and independent of it. Note for instance the following provisions which put the President in direct control of thousands of men;
1) to put across the NRA and the Public Works program the President may set up agencies and make such appointments, to them as he may choose, “without regard to the Civil Service laws.”
2) regarding the Interstate Commerce Act, to set up a new Federal Control organization, determine the duties of its staff, and fix the compensation of its personnel.
3) he can consolidate the executive agencies of the government or abolish them altogether.
4) he can discharge any government employees whose services he decides are not needed.
It is an illusion to suppose that under Pres. Roosevelt economics in the governmental apparatus are being effected. The National Economy League points out that the tendency is to increase the Federal bureaucracy. “Between March 1 and September 30, 1933, 145,000 employees were dismissed, mainly from Federal functions included in the ‘ordinary’ budget. But in the same period 148,000 employees were added, most of them to carry out the operations of the emergency budget. The prevailing trend is emphasized, however, by the fact that in September, 1930, alone, the number of added employees exceeded by 10,000 the number dismissed in that month, and in October, 1933, there was another net addition of 10,000.”
ln addition to the great number who are directly responsible to the President in his regulative capacities, there are the thousands of middle class elements who look upon him as the savior of the country. The farmers of Nebraska expect $20,000,000 in loans. The farmers of Iowa look towards a $40,000,000 loan. The home owners look to the man in the White House and to $200,000,000 in capital for a Home Owners Loan Corpotation which will lift the burden from mortgaged urban and suburban real estate. 1,598,080 veterans of all wars and insurrections since 1865 will be paid according to rates fixed by the President.
It would be a simple matter to show how Congress has handed over to the President every major power granted to it in the Constitution. Certainly no one will deny that the appropriation of money is a major power. Even a cursory examination of the Emergency Acts will show what an enormous amount of money is controlled directly by the President. Here are some of the outstanding appropriations:
1. Public Works $3,300,000,000
2. To build up the navy 340,000,000
3. For highways 400,000,000
4, For national forest highways, etc. 50,000,000
5. To finance the back to the land movement 25,000,000
6. To issue 4% bonds in the sum of $2,000,000,000 with which to take up farm mortgages
7. Conservation camps 250,000,000
8. Grants to states for unemployment relief 500,000,000
9. Tennessee Valley Authority 50,000,000
10. Federal Home Loan Bank Board 50,000,000
And this doesn’t take into consideration the money and men needed to carry out the administration of there various acts. The growing complexity and the ever increasing number of governmental business enterprises provided for under the Emergency Acts add still greater numbers of money and men under the command of the President.
According to the Treasury statements $580,513,274.05 has already been expended on the Emergency Acts through December, 1933. A glance at the records shows that among the larger appropriations the actual disbursements have hardly begun. Nevertheless, official announcements state that nearly the whole amount has been allotted and that month by month expenditures will proceed at a more rapid rate. The original $3,300,000,000 for Public Works is now called “terribly” inadequate.
Already it has become evident that as the acts are really put into effect, the apparatus for enforcing them will increase in size and efficiency, The way to these measures is greased by the liberals of the stripe of the World Telegram editors and the Socialists who demand an Anti-Lynching Bill which will mean the strengthening of the Federal police (already attempted with prevention of kidnaping as an excuse), and a still more centralized state apparatus. The brain trust continually reiterates the need for a Federal police. “We must likewise police the system sufficiently”—“We want to maintain individualism by balancing economic concentrations…. with enough State police power to make our servants”, etc. etc. In other words, the trend continues and gains momentum. The work of the states, like unemployment relief and civil projects, becomes part of the whole Federal administration, and the whole Federal apparatus tends to be absorbed in the President. At present the powers of the President might be classified under four major headings. These embrace practically all the important phases of American life:
A.) Through the first section of the National Industrial Recovery Act, he has control over the industrial processes of the country; the second section puts him in charge of a $3,300,000,000 Public Work program; and the third section, which amends the Interstate Commerce Act, practically controls transportation facilities.
B.) Through Public Act No. I and the Glass-Steagall Bank Bill the President has power over banking and banks.
C.) The Farm Relief section grants the President vast powers over agricultural production. He can even specify the growing of farm products on certain terms.
D.) Act 30 (for national unemployment bureaus), Act 5 (CCC), and Act 15 (grants to the states for unemployment relief) puts the President in a position to directly control the lives of 20,000,000 unemployed. This is simply a skeleton list of his powers. Under the NRA alone there are more than thirty grants of power to the President. It doesn’t consider the powers which enable the President to “maintain the credit of the U.S.”, to supervise power rates, to refinance insurance companies, to refund home mortgages, to cancel government contracts, etc. etc. Under the Tennessee Valley Authority, for instance, the President has the power to go into the fertilizing business. This is not the only example of the trend toward increased regulation and government ownership. The NRA is the out standing example so far.
Recently five proposals have been made which bring the government and the President towards still greater regulation. The Tugwell Bill makes for more stringent control over advertising and selling of foods and drugs. The emergency provisions on transportation are carried still further in the report made by a presidential committee which recommends a merger and coordination of communications, telephone and telegraphs, under government control. The distilleries and breweries find themselves under the same control as that of other industries in the form of the Federal Alcohol Control Administration. The Federal Surplus Relief Corporation now has extensive powers for buying, selling and owning goods. There is a definite and rapidly increasing move toward the financing of the railroads. These acts, in conjunction with Public Act No. 68, mean actually that the government will own the railroad systems. These steps are certainly in line with the significant speech made by Berle when he said, “If private functions can’t get there the government may have to take over certain of them … The government has had to move into the economic field to a degree hitherto unknown.”
Marxism, however, points out that as capitalism becomes State capitalism, as capitalism comes to a head, it becomes topheavy and topples over. This the workers of the U.S. will yet demonstrate!
THE “NEW DEAL” AND THE NEGRO
by N. Schwartz
The popular illusion that the “plans” which are being hailed by the Federal Government, states, and cities, as gradually assimilating the unemployed, must be dissipated immediately. Particularly true is this in the case of the Negro. The N.R.A. is a weapon being used to drag the Negroes to even lower standards of living than heretofore. It is being spelled out as the “Negro Removal Act.”
Even the menial toil, of which they once enjoyed a monopoly, due to discrimination, is now being performed, in the main by white workers. When an employer (in rare instance) is compelled to advance the scale of wages to comply with the “code,” he considers that standard as too high and too good for the Negro, and dispenses with the Negro’s services.
The south, as usual, is most vociferous in its mad drive against the Negroes. Col. H. N. Waite, Deputy Administrator of Public Works, took to task the representatives of the Advisory Boards of five southern states, and pointed out that the minimum wage was obligatory and applied to both whites and Negroes. These officials persistently pointed out that Negroes can be hired cheaper regardless of the law. This exactly is what is being done in many states. For example, in Miami, Fla., relief is administered through the Dade County Dep’t. of Public Welfare. Men employed on work-relief, receive three days work every two weeks. This situation is presumably true for both white and Negro workers. However, the daily rate of pay for white workers is $2.45 while the Negro workmen are paid only $1.25. In Charleston, S. C. where Negroes form 54.2% of the population and are estimated as being fully 50% unemployed, they are given 30% of the work-relief, amounting to three days a week at a dollar a day. White workers are given the balance of the work—three days a week at $1.50 a day.
The contemptible myth that the efficiency of the Negro is not on a par with the white man is blazoned forth as the “best” reason why they should not enjoy equal wages. A large pencil manufacturer in Atlanta, Ga., placed pink slips in the pay envelopes of the Negro workers which read as follows:
“The wages you are paid now are more that this company can pay and stay in business unless each worker produces more. While we pay more per hour than we paid you in 1929 our competitors in the North pay their white help only 70% of what they paid them in 1929.
“If the false ‘friends’ of the colored people do not stop their propaganda about paying the same wages to colored and white employees, this company will be forced to move the factory to a section where the minimum wage will produce the greatest production.
“This company does not base wages on color but entirely on efficiency. We pay twice as much wages to some white employees as to others because they are twice as efficient.
“Our records show that the efficiency of colored help is only 50% of that of white help in similar plants in the North and the manufacturing company has lost a quarter of a million dollars in finding that out.” “Stop your Friends from talking you out of your job.”
The above letter was printed in the New York Times, Sept. 10th 1933, with the following comments made by Julian Harris, the editorial correspondent:
“It should be said, first, that the Negro employees of this company receive from 6 to 13 cents an hour for eight hours daily, and five days a week; second, that it displays the familiar emblem of the Blue Eagle.”
Out of the total gainfully employed, as reported in the Census reports of 1930, out of approximately 49,000,000 there are five and a half million Negroes. Thus the Negro constitutes 11.3% of the country’s working mass, although he numbers only 9.27% of the whole population. The figures also show that while of the native whites 47% work, of the Negroes 59% are gainfully employed. Two million Negroes are employed in agriculture, over one and a half million in personal and domestic services and over a million in manufacturing and mechanical industries. In this total, there are about 1,850,000 women workers over 15 years of age. The ratio of Negro married women working is three times greater than that of native whites; four times that of foreign born whites. Of the 667,000 children between the ages of 10 to 15 gainfully employed, 240,000 or 36% are Negroes. The rate is five times higher than native whites and eight times higher than foreign born whites.
. Division into classified employment shows, that the majority of the Negro women in the South who work, 56.4% and 7.7% of the men are in domestic services. This is of great significance because the domestic help of the South receive but from $1.50 to $3.00 per week. A huge number work for board only. In the North, the situation is hardly much better for the Negro domestic help. In the North 83.7% of the Negro women who work and 23.9% of the men are in domestic service. The N.R.A. provides no codes in these fields, thus eliminating 3/4 of the Negroes from the “New Deal.” When we add the agricultural workers, who likewise have no codes, the percentage becomes so high that we can safely declare that the N.R.A. has been so arranged as to almost completely exclude the vast bulk of Negro toilers.
A fair estimate of Negro unemployed would be two and a half to three millions. Scattered surveys indicate that in March 1933 for Chicago, Cleveland, and St. Louis, Negroes form 40% to 50% of the total unemployed; in Birmingham, Alabama, at least 75%. In December, 1932, the St. Louis Urban League found that of 764 adults then living in the area surveyed, 592 were unemployed.
Of all the discriminations, displacements and removals we can mention but a few. The majority of restaurants which formerly employed Negro cooks and porters are now hiring white help only. Contractors on building construction make known to all agencies the request for white workers exclusively. Mr. T. Arnold Hill, secretary of the National Urban League, reports from a visit to Southern cities: “I have seen white men building roads, digging ditches, waiting in hotels, pottering in stores and repairing railroad tracks. I have seen few Negro chauffeurs and fewer building mechanics. Residents point to large hotels in Florida where Negro help was once employed. White people have told of telephone calls to their homes demanding that they dismiss their colored help. Houses painted by Negroes are smeared over night and white contractors who employ them have been warned not to do so. Colored janitors of white and Negro schools have been replaced by whites and some of them have been beaten. Coal wagons, on which a Negro would be employed to shovel the coal and a white man to drive, now make use of two whites both of whom shovel.”
In the Southwestern Division of the Illinois Central lines during 1932, seven Negro railway employees were killed and a score wounded, in a “fight to a finish” struggle to maintain their jobs. This incident is the more shameful because white union workers were the instigators. Since Nov. 1932, on the Louisiana Mississippi and Vicksburg section of the Illinois Central Railroad, seven Negro switchmen, brakemen and firemen have been murdered on the job and more than ten others have been wounded. This was due to the demand that the proportion of the Negro laborers be cut, and that also their wages be lowered. Reports from New Orleans indicate that Negroes will continue on the job and take the chance of being killed rather than starve to death.
The Railroad Commission of South Carolina, on April 22, 1932, ruled that “no Pullman will be allowed to operate in South Carolina without a white man in Charge.” Political disfranchisement throughout the South places the Negro at the mercy of the local governments. Barbers are driven out by municipal ordinance, electricians, plumbers and others are refused licenses, Negroes are barred from public employment such as construction, street cleaning, and garbage removal.
Automobile dealers of Florida appeared before the Recovery Commission to argue that Negro filling station attendants—all Negroes—should not get more money and work less hours, because it would be unfair competition. The request for exemption from the code paying the minimum wage to Negro labor was granted. In the Public Schools of the South, Negro teachers receive from 50% to 75 % of the salary of the white teachers with the same qualifications and a teacher load invariably much heavier.
Sometimes the percentage of Negro families receiving relief is from 2 to 4 times as great as among the white. Forrester B. Washington, in his recent book on “Negroes,” states: “Among Negroes there are more widows with children than among whites, more desertion and nonsupport, more illness, more unemployment with its resulting family disorganization, and more illegitimacy.”
Ira De A. Reid of the Urban League states as follows: “One of the most lurid examples of this sort of discrimination obtained in one city of the South where there different types of food orders for whites, Negroes and Mexicans. In this particular community a No. I Food Order for whites contained the following items which were not represented on the food orders for Negroes: oatmeal, butter, macaroni, one dozen eggs, five pounds of stew meat; of the other items that were represented on both the white and Negro food orders. Negroes received eight pounds less of potatoes, one-half pound less of cabbage, one pound less of tomatoes, and one-half pound less of beans … . In another city, Negroes applying for relief are given an interview three to four weeks subsequent to their initial application for relief. In this way, one-third of the Negro cases are eliminated. No such practice is followed in white cases.” Vagabondage and begging are on the increase. Lack of sleeping quarters often find Negroes in Police Stations on the floor, for the night. In one Ohio city, Negroes must wait until the white men have been served food, and if there is anything left, they are then served.
Between 1920-1930 Negro farmers lost 3 3/4 millions acres of land which they formerly tilled as owners, tenants, or managers. Now, since the “New Deal,” conditions have become much worse. The “New Deal” is paying the plantation owners to curtail production, to plow under their cotton and other crops. What is easier for the plantation owner to do than to oust his tenants, his Negro sharecroppers, and to receive his reward from the government? The Negro sharecroppers have been drastically eliminated from production, thus a population of at least four million is being pauperized. In some cases the plantation owner, “from the goodness of his heart,” is letting the Negro tenant stay in his little cabin and with two acres of land to plow some vegetables upon. But that is all. The figures indicate that one out of every six rural families was on public relief. In the case of the Negro we can double or even triple this ratio.
Abolition of child labor appears as a drastic blow to the Negroes for it adds to their unemployed, and in turn means less income. Children out of school and becoming of working-age, can find no employment; those maturing in years are thrown out of work, due to the narrower age limit (now 38 years). The wages paid to the Negro workers were always on a starvation basis, which did not permit them to set aside for this old age. They invariably become public charges. A large percentage of schools, more Negro schools than white ones, are closed for lack of funds and the children in these areas are prevented by economic conditions, instead of by legislation as in pre-slavery days, from learning the three R’S.
In the New York American, Dec. 19, 1933 Arthur Brisbane states the following: “In a southern city with about 100,000 white people, 30,000 Negroes are housed on the edge of the city, in filthy, disease breeding vile shacks. Crowded together, sometimes 10 on a single lot, with no bathrooms, no privacy, no opportunity for better living conditions, are a disgrace, not to them, but to the whites, that make them pay $156. a year rent for a two room shack not worth $156.”
The Negroes (not only figuratively but actually) have “Nothing to lose but their chains.” They are becoming more interested in the Communist movement. Workers and poor farmers must retaliate at once before it is too late. They must join the political party of their class. White and Negroes—COMBINE! March shoulder to shoulder to victory!
NEW YORKS C.W.A. LABORERS
by Phil Lewis
“When do we get our pay?” This is the common question and main concern of the Civil Works Administration employee, whose name has been stricken off the unemployed relief list, transferred to the payroll of the C.W.A. and classified as laborer at five dollars a day, three days a week.
The workers are divided into two shifts or gangs; the A gang and B gang. (A gang averages about thirty men with a foreman at the head of both, who works six days a week). The A gang works Monday, Friday and Saturday, B gang, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The hours of toil are from eight until four with about an hour for lunch. We work outdoors repairing the city streets with pick, shovel and concrete mixing machine. The work is considered unskilled and requires no special intelligence. Many a laborer now working for the C.W.A., who formerly has been a salesman, clerk or tailor shut up in a shop all his life, has developed a fair technique of handling a pick or shovel. The laborers, with exception of a few white collar workers, come from various trades and jobs. There are Jewish tailors, Italian laborers, Irish plumbers, German carpenters, metal workers, packers, plasterers, factory workers, etc. A fair cross section of New York’s proletariat.
The icy blasts of winter numb our finger tips, toes and ears. We build a bonfire and hug the fire as close as we dare, trying to keep warm in zero weather. Many gangs work along the waterfront of the city. A colder spot than elsewhere. The crackling fire competes with our conversation. We argue over our jobs, the weather, Roosevelt, the N.R.A. and Communism. White laborers rub shoulders with black. A greater degree of intermingling than usual exists between white and Negro workers. (There are about 100,000 C.W.A. laborers in the entire city, and the proportion of Negro to white is about one to every four). This atmosphere helps to shatter the walls of aloofness of the Negro and white workers and prepares the way for a common understanding.
“Ask any C.W.A. worker what is the hardest part of his job,” recently wrote a metropolitan newspaper, “and he will tell you, it is trying to collect his pay check.” The inefficiency, red tape, and air of indifference of the C.W.A. authorities in handling the checks is appalling. No one seems to know for certainty when and where we are to be paid off. Any day on the job may be “pay day". Rumors would spread that “the men are being paid off, today”, and the foreman would phone confirming the rumor. We would be permitted to leave the job, usually in the morning, with our time checked in for the day, and go for our pay check. Getting our check is an all day affair. Every pay day, we are shifted around to different places in the city to be paid off, and forced to stand out in the cold for hours in line, before we receive our checks.
A riot was narrowly averted a few weeks ago because of being forced to wait long in line. We were sent to an old condemned school building on the west side of the city, near the North River, Hubert and Collister Streets. Two thousand workers—Negro and white—were disgusted waiting out in the cold, and tried to push their way into the building, knocking down a policeman. A riot call was sent in to a nearby police station. In a few minutes, two emergency trucks, equipped with gas, rolled up before us and halted. The riot squad did not attempt to quell us, but stood rigidly on these trucks with a threatening gesture, as if to say, “You bastards! if you don’t behave yourself, we’ll give you gas instead of pay.” Luckily, the police could find no provocation to subdue us, and nothing serious happened. Many workers were not paid that day and were forced to return the next day. A similar experience occurred in Brooklyn.
The possibilities of organizing C.W.A. laborers are good, provided the jobs last long enough, which is doubtful. Already, several hundred laborers, working at Bear Mountain, having organized themselves, went out on strike for better conditions and succeeded in winning most of their demands. The majority of the workers still suffer from illusions of belief in Roosevelt and the N.R.A. “Isn’t Roosevelt a better man than Hoover?” is the usual question asked. Future events will rid them of vestiges of faith in Roosevelt.
LEON TROTSKY ON THE “JEWISH PROBLEM”
I. Question: Does the Left Opposition have to make special demands to win the Jewish working class in America?
Answer: The role of the foreign-born Jewish worker in the American proletarian revolution will be a very great one, and in some respects decisive. There is no question but that the Left Opposition must do all it can to penetrate into the life of the Jewish workers.
II. Question: What is your attitude towards the Jewish language. Why do you in your autobiography characterize it as “jargon"?
Answer: My attitude towards the Jewish language is similar to that of all languages, If I really used, in my autobiography the term “jargon”, it is because in the years of my youth in Odessa the Jewish language was not called Yiddish, as today, but “jargon". Such was the expression of Jews themselves, who did not consider it a sign of superciliousness. The word Yiddish is in universal use for the last 15-20 years. I can see this even in France.
III. Question: In the Jewish circles you are considered to be an “assimilator". What is your attitude towards assimilation?
Answer: I do not understand why I should be considered as an “assimilator". I do not know, generally, what kind of a meaning this word holds. I am, it is understood, opposed to Zionism and all such forms of self-isolation on the part of the Jewish workers. I call upon the Jewish workers of France to better acquaint themselves with the problems of French life and of the French working class. Without that it is difficult to participate in the working class movement of that country in which they are being exploited. As the Jewish proletariat is spread in different countries it is necessary for the Jewish worker, outside of his own language, to strive to know the language of other countries as a weapon in the class struggle. What has that to do with “assimilation?”
IV. Question: The official Communist Party characterized, without question, the Jewish-Arab events in 1929 in Palestine as the revolutionary uprising of the oppressed Arabian masses. What is your opinion of this policy?
Answer: Unfortunately, I am not thoroughly familiar with the facts to venture a definite opinion. I am now studying the question. Then it will be easier to see in what proportion and in what degree there were present those elements such as National Liberationists (Anti-imperialists) and reactionary Mohammedans and Anti-Semitic Pogromists. On the surface, it seems to me that all these elements were there.
V. Question: What is your attitude about Palestine as a possible Jewish “Homeland” and about a land for the Jews generally? Don’t you believe that the anti-Semitism of German Fascism compels a different approach to the Jewish question on the part of Communists?
Answer: Both the Fascist State in Germany, as well as the Arabian Jewish struggle bring forth new and very clear verifications of the principles that the Jewish question cannot be served within the frame work of capitalism. I do not know whether Jewry will be built up again as a nation. However, there can be no doubt that the material conditions for the existence of Jewry as an independent nation could be brought about only by the proletarian revolution. There is no such a thing on our planet as the idea that one has more claim to land than another.
The establishment of a territorial base for Jewry in Palestine or any other country is conceivable only with the migrations of large human masses. Only a triumphant Socialism can take upon itself such tasks. It can be foreseen that it may take place either on the basis of a mutual understanding, or with the aid of a kind of international proletarian tribunal which should take up this question and solve it.
The blind-alley in which German Jewry finds itself as well as the blind-alley in which Zionism finds itself is inseparably bound up with the blind-alley of world capitalism, as a whole. Only when the Jewish workers clearly see this inter-relationship will they be fore-warned against pessimism and despair. Translated by B.H.
PRODUCTIVITY UNDER THE CRISIS
by Richard Childs
Necessity is the mother of invention. But now-a-days most people smell a rat when they hear of Virgin Birth. They are more apt to fetch a gun and go look for father than stand gaping in holy amazement. Particularly if we want to get a line on today’s children of Mother Necessity, it is necessary to find out about father. Otherwise there would be no accounting for the character and appearance of Necessity’s children, or for the terrible fertility the old lady occasionally shows. So the thing to do is to pull this mother down to earth, see her as she lies nestled in the arms of Capitalism. That’s where she is today. There’s no place else for her to go, not this side the Atlantic.
Just a hundred years ago a book was written called the Philosophy of Manufacture by a Mr. Andrew Ure. On the self-acting mule he made this comment: “This invention comprises the great doctrine already propounded, that when capital enlists science in her service the refractory hand of labor will always be taught docility.” The frankness of this statement cuts like a keen breath of harbor wind. The modern American capitalist agrees with Mr. Ure: the hand of labor must be kept docile. But he does not say so directly. Instead he introduces the Open Shop, the Company Union, the Company Town, welfare plans, stock purchasing and “profit-sharing” devices, group bonus system, time method studies, the blacklist, and labor spies, all under the name of Americanism, equality, freedom, and science..All share one trait in common with the machine: they are plans to get the most out of labor, to keep its costs, i.e., wages, down, to keep it from coming together—in a word, to keep it docile.
The formula set up by one company for successful operation in times of crisis in a self-acclaiming article that appeared in a recent number of System and Management Methods applies equally to all capitalist business, to the sweatshop, to the marginal firm, to the trust, to the nation as a whole: “advertise aggressively, exhaust every selling device, every means of reducing operating and warehousing cost.” To the sweatshop this formula reads: “whip workers to the limit of physical Endurance, cut wages to the starvation point,” to the trust it reads: “cut down on administration cost through merger, on labor cost through scientific mechanism and management”, to the nation it reads: “jack up tariff barriers, subsidize exports, Buy American, Buy British, depending upon the setting, and investigate every selling device that exists, whether by treaty or by direct dumping.” Thus overcapacity generates overcapacity and price structures totter under the burden of accumulated goods. Beginning with the turn of the century, continuing through the World War and on up to the crisis of 1921, the total physical volume of production increased at a greater annual rate of change (3.9%) than did output per wage earner (1.7%). A steadily increasing volume of production demanded an increasing body of wage earners to turn it out. Not only did the number of establishments increase, so too did the number of workers per establishment.
Then came the war. For a few years American industry was relieved from the struggle for world markets. Rather than having to fight for markets, she was invited into them. These were boom years. Yet the same trend as indicated above continued without any radical changes. Such changes as did occur, however, are highly significant. The number of workers employed, the number of plants operated, both these continued to increase with a mounting volume of production. But this five year period, 1914-1919, illustrates one point with striking clarity: relieved from the pressure of struggling for markets the rate of fertility of Mother Necessity decreases. That is, during this period output per worker, individual efficiency as some economists prefer to call it, tended to decrease in terms of the preceding era. Between 1914 and 1919 the index number of production per man moved only from 100 to 103, while total volume of production leaped from 100 to 128. “Technical improvements which are reflected in growing output per worker,” comments Frederick C. Mills of the National Bureau of Economic Research, “were not numerous during this period.”
One other factor must be clearly borne in mind before moving on to the crisis of 1921. The tremendous stimulus given to production by war-time demand was reflected in an unprecedented demand for labor. As a result wage rates and total payrolls were higher than they had ever been before in the history of American industry.
In 1921 therefore, with markets suddenly evaporated, this presented a pressing problem to former $1.00 a year men. Even though unemployment brought with it a sharp drop in wages, wages paid still remained more than twice their 1914 level. Accordingly Mother Necessity prepared herself for a real set-to, The Annalist for June 20, 1933, describes the situation this way: “when prices fell in 1921 there was almost no diminution of wages, but there was a sudden necessity for manufacturers to lower costs of production.” The world war had taught capitalist America a lesson or two in the costliness of waste, inefficiency, and loose organization: especially in the costliness of useless labor that goes into the support of such anachronisms. America emerged from the war with increased respect for the methods of Ford. In addition to all this, immigration restrictions forbade the free importation of low-cost labor from abroad to undercut going wage-rates. American capitalism had to look elsewhere for cheap labor. It found it in the iron man with the limitless energy of the dynamo, limitless energy as opposed to the limitless consuming capacity of the “economic man” of 19th Century fabrication.
In 1921 American capitalism, with Secretary of Commerce Hoover to lead the way, armed itself for the conquest of old markets with new methods: elimination of surplus labor in the name of Efficiency and Standardization was the battle-cry.
This is what happened while industry was preparing itself to step into a Golden Era between 1921 and 1923. In sharp contrast to the trend that extended through the war, the number of establishments declined sharply; output per establishment, on the other hand, increased by 41%; and, most significant of all, from the point of view of this article, output per worker, soaring above its sluggishness of the piping years of war and post war boom, leaped upwards 14%.
A sudden burst of construction, particularly of machinery and transportation equipment, served to carry the total volume of employment upwards until 1923. From that year on, however, total employment declined while productivity per man hour continued its rise. From 1923 on then, in sharp contrast to anything that had ever before happened, an increasing volume of total production was supported by a decreasing volume of wage-earners. And in addition to this, the total of real payrolls (i.e. wages in terms of purchasing power) never again reached its 1923 level. Taking 1923 as 100, the highest point it ever reached after that was 96.3 in 1929; during most of the Golden Era it clung closer to 90 than to the latter figure.
“From 1914 to 1923,” writes Mills, “increasing output per establishment was due to an advance of 32% in number of workers per establishment, of 20% in output per worker. During the six years ending in 1929 an absolute decrease in workers per establishment accompanied a notable increase in productivity per worker, an increase attributable to better equipment, better organization, and enhanced personal skill. Here is further evidence of the strength of the tendency toward the use of mechanical and organizational factors, as instruments for augmenting production. The average rate of change in productivity per worker was an annual increase of 3.3%
Far more striking than this general indication of growing industrial efficiency, however, are the relations shown by David Weintraub between output per man hour and periods of depression. Between 1921 and 1922, for example, output per man-hour jumped 15%. Between 1930 and 1931 output per man-hour jumped 9%. Yet the average rate of increase for the entire period, 1920-31, was only 4.4% a year. The article sums up the relationship as follows: “The index of output per man-hour indicates clearly the pressure which is exerted upon the production apparatus to bring about greater efficiency during periods of business depression and the intensified competition conditions that go with it … It may be observed … that every depression year … was followed by a more than average rate of increase, while every peak year … was a year of a relatively low rise in efficiency.”
Output per man-hour offers a far more tangible means of estimating actual technological changes in industry. Particularly during depression when part-time work and share-the-work schemes reduce productivity per man. For example, the Cleveland Trust Company Business Bulletin for August 15, 1933, shows in its index, taking January 1931 as 100, that production per worker in March, 1933 was only 84. By July the index had jumped to 131. The same figures showed that during these months while production per worker was increasing 56% employment climbed by only 17% volume of production rose 56%, payrolls only 33%. Unit of output, in other words, cost the manufacturer in July, 1933 less than 2/3 the amount it did in January 1931.
The increase of man-hour productivity during the depression years show an increase of more than 30%. the index rises from 147.6 in 1929 to approximately 197 at last summer’s peak. In addition, it must be remembered, that the rapid decline of wages up to the introduction of the N.R.A. must have checked to some extent the immediate need for intensifying labor efficiency. Now that the “sweating” of low-cost labor is prohibited on paper, not only must the more highly paid workers take it in the neck, but former low-cost labor must be eliminated as fast as possible.
These figures, while only approximate, most certainly lend impressive weight to testimony that poured in from workers in all corners of the country during the days when Pittsburgh grew smoky again last summer: work is being speeded up; we are being paid less; there are just about as many unemployed. For example, a Detroit auto worker with whom I have been corresponding wrote that after the N.R.A. had been in effect a short time, work in his body plant speeded up 40%, while the men drew from $8.00 to $10.00 less per two weeks pay than they had before: “which goes to prove,” he concluded, “that Industry is going to make Labor take it on the chin under the protection of the Blue Eagle … “ Whether or not this worker has been taught docility by the union of capital and science remains to be seen.
But what about the future? In 1929 when American industry was pouring a volume of goods into the market heavier than ever before in its history, not more than 75%-80% of its capacity was in use. The percentage of course varies from industry to industry. Iron and steel averaged about 76%, as did cotton finished goods; paper was as high as 90%, flour milling as low as 40%.” From this, however, one conclusion only can be drawn. Increased man hour productivity will not reflect itself in much plant expansion. Increasing man-hour productivity is going to reflect itself in the only remaining way: in elimination and more elimination of workers from industry. The Annalist, recalling with complacency what happened in 1921 when labor costs were high, offers the following prospect to labor with its magna charta under the N.R.A.: “This imperative need to increase productivity comes at a time when the existing plants can produce much more than is likely to be demanded by the markets remaining to them; consequently production cost must be lowered without increasing production capacity … Virtual displacement of workers by machines continued through out the depression in many well organized concerns.” The Annalist can seldom be accused of over exaggeration.
We see the noose tightening about the neck of labor, but by the same token we see the platform become evermore shaky under the hangman’s feet. In other words, Capital, in creating at an ever increasing rate, the unemployed army, is itself sinking into the morass of an Insoluble contradiction which ultimately must spell its doom. (to be continued in next issue)
FASCIST ORGANIZATIONS IN THE U.S. (II)
by Murray Braun
The Silver Shirts
The influence of the fascists, in the United States today, is no longer confined exclusively to the German and Italian groups. In the Middle West and the South, Pelley and his Silver Shirts also bait the Jew and support the Hitler technique. From their headquarters in San Francisco, the Silver Shirts have stretched their hands of hate across the entire country, resorting to all kinds of vandalism in order to propagate their stupidities. On Yom Kippur they plastered Temple Emanuel in New York City with stickers upon which appeared the following dictate:
THE JEWS MUST GO
THE POPE MUST GO
DEMOCRACY MUST GO
To the right of this command the letters K.K.K. appeared in black and to the left the swastika.
. This is typical of the method of their leader, William Dudley Pelley, the fake psychoanalyst and spiritualist. Pelley’s activities have not however, been limited to matters psychic, for the pamphlets issued by the Silver Shirts inform us that this mediocrity is also “….an ex-newspaper publisher from Vermont, who during the war was a Red Triangle man with the United States and Japanese forces in Siberia. He saw Russian Bolshevism introduced as an eye witness…. He made his living writing novels while carrying on eight years of undercover investigation throughout every large state in the union.”
In 1929 he started the League for Liberation. “Its surface purpose was metaphysical research. Under cover it perfected a great national organization.”
“Steadily, inexorably, during 1930, 1931 and 1932, Pelley drew his organization tighter, calked and stabilized it, weeded out the curiosity seekers and the chicken hearted, appointed his key men in all the states of the Union, made his contacts with influential Protestant Christians in Washington.
On Jan. 31, 1933 the day that Hitler came into power in Germany, Pelley came out from under cover with his Silver Shirt National Organization.
“Having planted depots of his facts throughout the entire United States, enlightened police and vigilante groups, secured the cooperation of outraged Christian citizens to carry on regardless of what happens to him personally, his organization of Silver Shirts is now snow balling exactly as Hitler’s Nazis snow balled in Germany when the German people were at last persuaded to the truth.”
But what is the true record of this person who aspires to be the American Hitler? In 1931 he wanted to establish “Galahad College” in the Arcade Building at Asheville, Tenn., but in spite of the statement appearing in one of his pamphlets that in 1929 he had an income of $25,000 a year, he couldn’t convince the renting agents that his credit was worth $80 (the amount of the rent). Undaunted he opened his college in the Asheville Womens Club.
Galahad College then opened its doors to students, with Pelley as president, and began to teach “Christian Economics.” This is Pelley’s favorite brand of economics and consists in the profound knowledge that “The depression is the result of predatory minds. We are anti-Semitic because the Jews are a predatory people.”
With Hitlers ascension to power, Pelley’s adventure inaugurates a reign of profit. Stenographers and clerks were hired. “Liberation,” the echo of Pelley, increased in circulation from 2000 to 8000 subscribers. With the aid of paid assistants and high pressure salesmanship the membership of the Silver Shirts rose rapidly, and big money began to flow into the pockets of Pelley for the fees were high $10 for joining and $1 a month dues.
But where was Pelley during all this? The Travelers Aid Society couldn’t locate him although they were anxious to ask him some important questions concerning students of Galahad College whose return fare they were compelled to pay. Nor could the numerous process servers who were on his trail determine his whereabouts; Pelley, the lion hearted, was in hiding. Only his henchmen knew where to find this discreet charlatan. The Silver Shirts, like all other fascist groups, since they have no real program, supply their members with a uniform. This is indeed one of the most difficult tasks of the fascist organizer since the number of possible colors for shirts is limited. Pelley’s gang, in addition to their silver shirts, wear navy blue knickers, gray golf shoes, a North West Mounted Hat and “the scourge of the cords.” This instrument of torture is best described by “Private Manual No. I,” privately issued to members only.
“The symbolic arms of the Silver Shirts are represented by the scourge of cords.
“It is a constant reminder that an occasion arose in Christ’s life when action was requisite to clear a holy place from befoulment by a type of physical action. He grasped a knout of simple manufacture and dealt vigorous physical blows.”
The implication of this brilliant explanation is very obvious. It does not require the mind of a genius to ascertain for whom the knout is intended. Let us return to the Manual, however, and find out exactly how this knout is to be made.
“The scourge of the Silver Shirts is made by securing a length of tough woven clothesline, not the rolled cotton variety that will shrink or curl, and looping into six lengths, each 24 inches from the rope helve to the tip. “Soak the handle in shellac thoroughly and put aside to harden. Give the handle as many wrappings as may be necessary to create a doughty weapon that will withstand rough usage.
“Let the loops serve as lashes.”
The ideology of the Silver Shirts is in keeping with their instructions on the making of knouts. The rope which will at first be used on the Communists, will later hang the workers and in the end as a finishing touch chastise the Jew.
What better proof do we need of this than the words of their own Maj. Powell: “Of course, we are in sympathy with the Hitler Movement in Germany, and are constantly in touch with his representatives in America.”
Just as the rabid anti-Semitic gospel preached by the Nazis in Germany was used as a cloak to murder the Communists, put them in concentration camps and liquidate the unions and other labor organizations, so in the United States will the imitators of Hitler imprison the workers, shoot their leaders and destroy the unions.
The Crusaders for Economic Liberty
According to a printed statement issued by George W. Christians, the organizer of the Crusader White Shirts, this group has a membership of three million. While there can be no doubt that Christians has grossly exaggerated the number of his followers, nevertheless, one should not for this reason underestimate the potential danger inherent in such organizations as the White Shirts. In view of the vast quantity of literature, leaflets, letters and pamphlets which they have circulated throughout the United States, the White Shirts must have either a considerable following or a great deal of financial support. Whether it be one or the other is to a certain extent immaterial since the fact remains that in any event hundreds of thousands of people in the United States have been bombarded with their propaganda. It is in this way that the foundation is laid for a real fascist leader to take power later when economic contradictions become so acute that the bourgeoisie is driven into an open fascist dictatorship.
Although the White Shirts were chartered and have their headquarters in Chattanooga, Tenn., they have succeeded in attracting to their fold the featherbrained Representative from Pennsylvania, Louis T. McFadden, who as a result has not only sponsored legislation proposed by them but has become so infected with the fascist germ that on May 29, 1933, on the floor of the House of Representatives, he objected to the Repudiation Bill on the ground that it “has given the gold and lawful money of the country to the international money Jews of whom Franklin D. Roosevelt is the familiar….” and was designed by them so that “the Gentiles shall do business with their own bits of paper, while the Jews keep the gold reserve supply safely in their own hands: If the crash comes, ‘Gentiles’ have the paper and the Jews have the gold” It is for this reason, McFadden states, that the “Jews are economists esoteric and exoteric: They have one system to tangle up the ‘Gentiles,’ another which they hope to install when Gentile stupidity has bankrupted the world.”
That McFadden should make such a speech in the House of Representatives is not in the least extraordinary, if one keeps in mind the open, avowed hatred of the Jew and the Communist which is typical of the fascist creeds not only upon the Continent but in this country as well. On the very letterhead of the Crusaders for Economic Liberty (White Shirts) for example, there appears the following tenet in bold type:
CAPITALISM UNDER ECONOMIC LIBERTY OR COMMUNISM UNDER TYRANNY
Economic Liberty, which can be secured only through the White Shirts, will accomplish, according to one of their letters the following objects:
“destroy the money monopoly and dissociate wealth and power
"create an aristocracy of brains instead of wealth, make honesty and the Golden Rule supreme in business
"quickly eliminate practically all crime and wars by making it far more easy for individuals and nations to satisfy their desires honestly and without oppressing others
"destroy party politics and put statesmen by meritorious progression into public office instead of bandwagon politicians
” we shall approach Anarchy under the Golden Rule, stimulate a religious reform movement which will teach the identity of God and Nature, and unite Science and Religion against superstition and dogma.
"The new interpretation of the science of economics provides everything necessary for the complete solution of all economic problems now.”
Of course, by the new interpretation of economics, the Crusaders mean their interpretation of economics, which in turn is synonymous with the Human Monetary Effort System. The Crusaders, however, do not promise to cure economic ills only for “the new interpretation of the science of psychology provides the means for the eventual solution of all moral, social, racial and religious problems,”
This is indeed a Utopia. Here is a grander vision than the petty bourgeoisie has ever dared to imagine could exist in this world. In the past only religion was able to put such divine perspectives before its eyes. The lamb will lie down with the lion. There will be peace on earth, good will towards all men. The Crusaders White Shirts will “make honesty and the Golden Rule supreme in business.” And all of these wonderful things will be brought about by a very simple device, the adoption of the Human Effort Monetary System, a device so easy to comprehend that one is amazed by the thought that this solution was not discovered sooner. Even the Bill, in which it was incorporated and introduced by McFadden on April 6, 1933, in the House of Representatives, is readily understood. Four sentences quoted from this bill are sufficient to outline the entire plan.
“….. the standard to be used as a basis of value of money …. shall be the average wage of male, unskilled, common labor in the States of the Union only at the 1928 level, which is assumed to be 46.62 cents per hour.” This standard of value is to be maintained “by adjusting the interest rate at which this money shall be loaned, so as to stabilize the labor wage ….. that is to say, whenever reports of the United States Department of Labor indicate definitely that the labor wage is below the standard fixed, then the interest rate shall be lowered until the labor wage again reaches the said standard. In case said reports indicate that said labor wage has risen above the said standard the interest rate shall be raised until the labor wage returns to said standard level.”
If this bill is passed it is the contention of the Crusader White Shirts, according to a leaflet widely distributed by them, that it will:
“explode this depression instantly and restore prices;
"prevent future depressions;
"create an open market for labor and guarantee a job to every man who wants to work;
“balance production and consumption;
“raised the standard of living;”
Every one is therefore urged by Christians to support the Bill by holding mass meetings, writing to Congressmen and sending in petitions “by the bale.” For those who cannot understand the technical language of the Bill or who might fail to appreciate the results claimed for it, the Crusaders have, in addition to the leaflet mentioned above, published an eight page pamphlet entitled “Monetary Systems.” In this pamphlet, replete with diagrams, Christians very neatly sums up the entire problem and its solution in the following language:
“Under this system, money would not be based upon gold at all. it would just be money. The government would print it and lend it out to any one who had property of any kind to put up as security. They would lend out as much money as business needed, no matter how much business we did.
“Business would grow until everybody who wanted to work was working. It couldn’t grow any more than that, and then we would not need any more money. More money would cause inflation which would raise wages, but it would also raise the price of everything else, so no one would benefit. If wages started to rise, interest rates should be raised to hold them steady. If wages started to fall or men were thrown out of work, interest rates should be lowered so that money will be borrowed for new business to put men back to work and again hold their wages steady. We couldn’t have a depression because there never would be a shortage of money.”
Now see how simple it becomes. “We couldn’t have a depression because there never would be a shortage of money.” How impressive, how profound, how plausible that must sound to the small shop keeper blessed with well stocked shelves that he cannot convert into much needed cash. The government will lend him money for “property of any kind.” Why this would practically be the same as selling his goods. No longer need he worry about frozen assets, depreciated real estate, worthless stocks and bonds. Here is an easy way out. For years economists, educators, and journalists have been telling the small store keeper that capitalism is a complicated social structure. They have bewildered him with fancy complex, theoretical discussions of inflation and deflation, over production and under consumption, favorable trade balances and unfavorable trade balances, when right under their very noses was a simple expedient whereby all the evils of capitalism could be eradicated over night. Why the greatest simpleton can comprehend the efficacy of the Human Effort Monetary System.
More intelligent individuals may question whether any one could be sufficiently gullible to treat this incredible hooey seriously. Individuals guilty of this attitude make a grave error for the effectiveness of such a program depends to a very large extent upon the fact that the proposed solution is in reality nothing more than the unconscious wish fulfillment of the class which it is designed to attract. With business at a standstill, merchandise that cannot be sold, real property which has no market value, homes in the process of foreclosure, and stocks that have dwindled to zero, the distraught petty bourgeoisie is only too anxious to pin its faith on anything, which promises salvation. A plan such as the Crusaders present looks like the program designed for its benefit. If this is taken away from it what has it left? (to be concluded next issue)
THE REAL HISTORY OF UNITY
by Vera Buch
For the past six months the unity negotiations begun in March, 1932, between the C.L.A. and the C.L.S. have been at a standstill, insofar as any moves from the American League are concerned. In the meantime, rumors have been rife in C.L.A. circles that we have broken off the unity negotiations, that we were “not sincere” in our efforts for unity, etc. The personal slanders which have been their weapon of criticism towards us from the beginning, have in no way abated.
In the interests of bringing about the ultimate fusion of two organizations, which we still consider possible and desirable, and of establishing once for all the efforts our organization has made towards achieving unity, we have decided to give the history of our relations with the C.L.A. as rejected in our correspondence. To publish all letters in full (our first intention), proves impossible due to lack of space. However, we shall refer to the dates of all letters and indicate their contents.
We have a record of no less than ten letters sent by the Communist League of Struggle to the C.L.A. offering to make a united front on various concrete questions, most of them questions in which the Left Opposition has taken a vital interest. There are also eight letters offering unity. We would like to know how many of these letters have reached the membership of the American League. Most of them remained unanswered. At only one time (during the brief period of unity negotiations last spring), did our approaches result in any concrete working together of the two groups.
I. The First Year of the Communist League of Struggle
During its first year of existence, the C.L.S. was looked upon by the official section of the L.O. with extreme hostility, and with openly expressed wishes for its speedy disappearance. Our attempts to discuss our differences with the American League during this period, and thus to pave the way for fusion of both groups, were completely ignored, as were our offers of united front on concrete questions.
1. At the time of the banning of the Class Struggle from second class mailing privileges, a call, sent out to all communist groups for a conference in defense of the radical press, met with no response from the C.L.A. In fact, Shachtman went so far as to print in the Militant that the Class Struggle was not being printed anyway. (The wish is father to the thought.)
2. At the time of the second convention of the C.L.A. in the fall of 1931, an open letter was issued by the executive committee of the C.L.S. to the convention delegates. This document criticized the thesis of the American League for its right wing orientation, and asked for the floor for a delegation from the C.L.S. to present its viewpoint. The delegation was refused entrance even into the hall of the convention.
3. Before the occurrence of the events, on the waterfront in 1931 which led to the Marine Workers case, we sent a letter to the C.L.A. warning them of a situation which might prove dangerous to the radical movement, and asking them to send a representative to our office to get particulars. This communication was completely ignored.
4. When the Marine Defense Committee was formed (Cannon getting together with the Right wing) we were never invited although it was the expressed desire of the defendants that we should be part of the Committee.
5. We appealed to the American League when our headquarters were raided and our Marxist library stolen in November 1931, asking them to help us locate the culprits and get our stuff back. Their answer was to take in and shelter the burglars in the ranks of the L.O.
6. Undiscouraged, on Dec. 31, 1931, following the receipt of a letter from Comrade Trotsky calling for a bridge between the two groups, we sent a letter to the C.L.A., containing four proposals for jointly getting together to discuss our differences and cooperating together “as closely as possible in all united front activities” and calling for mutual defense when either organization should be attacked by the capitalist class. This communication (published in the Class Struggle, Vol. 11, No. 1) was completely ignored.
We had also called for a united front for the defence of Morgenstern and Goodman, two C.L.A. members arrested and charged with criminal syndicalism, but here too we were left unanswered.
7. On Jan. 23, 1932 a letter was sent to the C.L.A. proposing that a joint committee be set up of both organizations for the support of the Spanish Revolution and the Spanish Left Oppositionists. No answer was ever received.
II. Second Year: Further Attempts at Unity
8. On June 12, 1932 a letter was sent to the Sec’y of the New York Branch, again calling for a united front in New York for the defense of the Spanish Revolution. By this time the situation had altered in our favor; Comrade Trotsky’s first letter to us had been by no means hostile, and Comrade Weisbord was now in Prinkipo, for the first time presenting the actual, undistorted point of view of the C.L.S. to Comrade Trotsky. So that now the precedent of silence was broken, and the receipt of our letter acknowledged. During this time, we made verbally several overtures in the direction of joint work to the American League, for various meetings, for joint work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard where we issue a shop paper, for shop gate meetings in front of factories, etc. Finally on the 28th of July Comrade Swayback wrote us that since, upon Comrade Weisbord’s return a discussion upon fundamental questions would be held, the united front work had better wait for the results of this discussion. We set aside for the moment the entirely incorrect implication behind this letter, namely that the united front can be made only by organizations in agreement on fundamental questions. The American League has finally recovered from this sectarian point of view, though still not to the extent of working with the group which would seem to be nearest to it in America, the Communist League of Struggle.
9. On Aug. 19th, two letters were sent to the C.L.A., one again declaring the readiness of our group at any time to open negotiations with the C.L.A., with a view to ascertaining whether unity between both groups could be achieved on the basis of a common program. At the same time the New York Branch was invited to participate in a meeting at the Stuyvesant Casino where Comrade Weisbord would report upon his visit to Comrade Trotsky. These letters were ignored.
10. On Aug. 22, a letter was sent to all branches of the C.L.A., offering to give them a report of Comrade Weisbord’s visit to Trotsky and proposing joint mass meetings in various cities on the German situation, all proceeds to be sent to the comrades of the German L.O.
11. On the same date we wrote the C.L.A. proposing a joint campaign for the defense of the German Revolution, and offering to make the next mass meeting of the C.L.S. a joint meeting.
12. On Sept. 7th, having received no answer to our previous letters, we again approached the National Committee of the C.L.A., reminding them that we adhered to the basic views of the Left Opposition, and again reiterating our proposal that the two groups come together to seek ways and means for their unification.
Very tardily, on Sept. 13, we received an answer to our above communications, stating that until we had made our reply to the principal questions raised by Comrade Trotsky it was impossible to give any definite answer to our proposals. At this time there took place the exchange of statements on the question of centrism, which had been the principal point of difference. These statements were published in the Militant and the Class Struggle. (The Militant indulging in some variations and omissions when printing our statements).
13. On October 24th, the C.L.S. proposed that the two groups start a movement in this country for the defense of Comrade Chen Du Hsiu who had just been arrested. This letter was ignored.
14. On Oct. 31st, the American League wrote us breaking off all unity negotiations (letter published in the Militant Vol V No. 5). We answered, pointing out the lack of reasons for the step of the American League, and inviting them to send a representative to an open meeting which we would hold on Nov. 9th.
15. At the same time a letter was sent to all branches of the American League informing them that negotiations had been broken off and asking them to protest against this step.
16. It was during this period that the official Party whipped up a veritable lynching spirit towards the L.O. following the occurrence of the death of two workers in connection with a street meeting, for which the L.O. was in no way to blame. Members of our group voluntarily organized a defense squad and went to help defend the open air meetings of the American League which were then in danger of attack. We likewise issued another appeal for unity in the form of an open letter to all members of the American League.
17. On Jan. 23, 1933, at a time when the Spanish Revolution was in a critical period, we again sent a letter making another offer of united front for defense of the Spanish Left Opposition. No answer.
III. Joint Action Period
18. Following the publication in the Militant of Jan. 28, 1933, of a resolution of the New York Branch on our group, we took advantage of the opportunity offered to again broach the question of unity. We sent a long letter to the American League (published in the Class Struggle Vol. 111, No. 5) reiterating our position on centrism, on the Labor Party and other formerly disputed questions.
Finally, on March 21, 1933, the C.L.A. sent us a letter making concrete proposals towards unity, to which, of course, we were glad to accede. The result was the joint committee meeting of April, 1933, with the adoption of the resolution published in the Militant and in the Class Struggle Vol. III, No.5.
19. On April 7th, the C.L.S. sent a letter o the National Committee of the American League endorsing the action of the joint committee and declaring its willingness to act as a sympathetic group of the C.L.A. and to aid in all its activities. Be it noted that the C.L.S. agreed that any new, groups organized as a result of the joint activities should be branches of the Communist League of America, and agreed to solicit membership for the C.L.A.
Two joint meetings were held, one in Perth Amboy, N. J. and one in New York City, both very successful meetings. The members of the C.L.S. contributed a good turn out to the ranks of the Left Opposition in the May Day parade. These joint activities were never mentioned in the Militant. There were attempts made to enter upon joint work on the waterfront (for which work very little enthusiasm was displayed by the representatives of the C.L.A.) and a few joint open air meetings were held in New York. After a short time, the attitude of the comrades of the C.L.A. became very intolerant towards our comrades who went to participate in the joint open air meetings. Our comrades were asked to present outlines of their speeches in advance (this had not in the least been specified in the joint agreement) and finally the open air committee of the C.L.A. failed to show up to arrange any further meetings. We were at all times willing to continue the meetings, including a joint meeting in Newark, N. J., where Cannon had the connections and made no effort to arrange the meeting, though it had been agreed upon.
IV. C.L.A. Drops Unity Negotiations
There has ensued, since then, a period of official silence towards us from the American League, though unofficially tongues have been wagging, rumors have been spreading, and a meeting of the American League, we are told, has voted to consider us an enemy group. This notwithstanding Comrades Trotsky’s communication to the effect that we are to be considered as a sympathetic organization.
20. A letter of June 6. 1933 requested that one of our members, who is a food worker, might meet with similar members of the C.L.A. to arrange joint union activity was ignored. (This member since found his name stricken off the list of nominees for the union executive by officials who are members of the C.L.A.)
21. On Aug. 29th, we wrote the National Committee of the C.L.A. outlining a plan for the organization of a united front for the assistance of the Cuban labor movement. No reply was made.
22. On Sept. 6th, we were sent a copy of the internal bulletin of the L.O. taking up the matter of the new international. On Sept. 19th, we wrote the American League sending them our resolution endorsing the stand on the new party and new international. Finding ourselves in complete agreement with the new stand, on this basis we again offered to meet to discuss unification. Our letter was acknowledged, but no other reply was made.
23. The C.L.A. has become very broad now in its mass contacts. Cannon can speak at Lovestone’s forum, but not at our forum although he was expressly invited to do so by us as far back as December 31, 1931. Gitlow is invited as the guest of honor at the last banquet of their group, but the C.L.S. is left out in the cold. In this way does the C.L.A. try to lay the basis for the new party in America.
24. Finally, we sent the C.L.A. a copy of our trade union thesis (Class Struggle, Nov. 1933) requesting that they print it in the Militant. Needless to say, no answer was made to our letter. So stands the situation today. It is the sectarian, bureaucratic tactics we have exposed in the dealings of the C.L.A. with our group which have driven away many an honest worker from the ranks of the Left Opposition, and which must be eliminated with a ruthless hand if the new party is to find a healthy growth in the United States. We have not dealt here with the national differences between the two groups (trade union question; Negro question, etc.)
But serious as are the national differences between the group, can these not be threshed out within the framework of one organization, so that the Left Opposition can present a solid united front, cutting through the confusion of opinion that prevails on all sides and the numerous objective difficulties? Once more we demanned the getting together of the joint committee and the renewal of efforts to accomplish the fusion of the two groups.
N. Y. FOOD WORKERS UNITE
The Hotel and Restaurant workers of Greater New York, slaving under miserable working conditions and starvation wages, have at last realized the necessity to band together to protect their interests. The continuing general crisis has lowered the conditions of these workers almost beyond description. On top of this the NRA codes drawn up by and for the bosses, have not only perpetuated the inhumane conditions of labor, but in many cases have actually worsened them. Under this strain the workers began looking around for guidance. On one side stood the A. F. of L., conservative and bureaucratic. At another angle was the Food Workers Industrial Union of the T.U.U.L. This organization, rapidly losing what little prestige and membership it had, stifled by bureaucracy, and bearing the reputation of being dominated mechanically by outside political forces, could not prove equal to the task.
There was also the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union. This Union began a three months organizational drive for members in October at the time the question of the Hotel code arose. The food workers, eager for a union to cope with their problems, are unwilling to go to the A. F. of L. or the F. W. I. U. for the above stated reasons, flocked into the Amalgamated Food workers by the hundreds until, at the end of ninety days, the membership had grown from less than 100 to approximately 2,500 dues paying members. This placed the union in a strong position and made it both respected and feared by the bosses. At the same time there has been also developing within the A. F. W. some of the old A. F. of L. type of opportunism, which, if allowed to continue, will cause the downfall of this union. Advertising itself as a democratic organization ruled by the membership, the A. F. W. has allowed certain practices to take place which belie the facts.
A stifling ruling clique has developed and is being abetted by some of those who shout the loudest against bureaucracy. For instance B. J. Field, member of the Communist League of America, a former Wall Street employee, not a food worker and never in a union before, by a maneuver with the then existing Executive Committee was placed in the position of Secretary Treasurer of the local. Here is the spectacle of an outside person, not a food worker, not knowing union methods, and in violation of the constitution of the union (sect. 19, Art A) being placed at the head of a union, given the funds to handle, having charge of the office and the union apparatus. And what is the reason given for this? He is an “economist”, he is “educated”, he “knows how to talk to the bosses”, etc., etc. Field (who should know better) immediately began chasing NRA rainbows. After the Local had sent a representative to Washington, D. C. to protest the codes, he made a supplementary trip there for the same purpose. Instead of telling the workers that the NRA is basically reactionary and opposed to all workers’ interests, and that they could expect no good from it he procrastinated continually permitting many union members to get the illusion that the codes of the bosses’ government would benefit them. Finally under pressure of the militant members, he admitted that the NRA offered little hope, and spoke in favor of preparing for a general strike.
Since the general reorganization and membership drive beginning about four months ago, the union has staggered along without a program. This lack of program has been a great drawback for the Union. The leadership, having no program known to the rank and file, has contented itself with a few phrases such as, get the workers into the unions, prepare for action, organize to defend your interests and better your conditions, etc., etc. But these are general slogans and advanced by all unions and must not be confused with a planned program.
Quite recently a general election took place (in the good old A. F. of L. style). The question was put off until the last minute, then a membership meeting was called, nominations made without discussion, no programs put forward, etc. Ten days later the balloting was held. In the intervening period no list of nominees was posted, no person could remember who the eighty or so candidates were, no discussions were possible because no one could tell what opinions the candidates held. Finally the “election” time arrived. At this time the A. F. of L. bureaucracy was put to shame. Arriving to vote, the membership found no sample ballot poster, no list of candidates in view, no written instructions displayed as to the correct voting procedure, only a few tables and chairs with some of the election committee behind two tables on which the ballots were placed.
The voting begins. Voting instructions are given verbally by members of the election committee. Many workers are new and unused to union methods and must be instructed in the voting procedure. On one of the tables used by voters to mark their ballots, lies a list of “selected” candidates. One of the office force, Jim Carr, another member of the Communist League of America and co worker and ardent supporter of B. J. Field, one of the candidates for Sec’y Treas. is also a member of the election committee. Carr, who only recently sneaked into the union himself, issues ballots and gives instructions to voters. The instructions are given in such a manner as to impress upon the voters the names of the particular candidates favored by Carr. In addition he hands the voters the list of “selected” candidates, saying that this list is recommended to them by the cooks. This act is in direct violation of Section 26, Article D, of the Constitution, which prohibits the distribution of campaign literature for candidates. A protest is made to the election committee about this procedure but to no avail. Suddenly another protest! The name of a candidate is not on the ballots. This is then written on the side of the ballots. Another protest! Another candidate has been left off the ballots, but this protest is ignored for reasons known to only a few. Here is the example of a member, Frank Cooper, nominated at a membership meeting, being arbitrarily removed from the ballot without an explanation. And this takes place in a “democratic” workers organization. The election was conducted in so brazen a manner that some workers refused to vote. The general opinion of the members can be gauged by the fact that out of a membership of over 2,200, less than 400 members cast ballots. The counting of votes was really only a formality. The winning candidates, with one or two exceptions, were precisely those desired by the persons running the election.
With the election question settled, the union turns to other work. But to what? With no known program the organization operates from day to day. But the bosses are not asleep. They are forming “their” union for the food workers in the form of the “Guild” etc… . and are daily worsening the working conditions in the industry. The workers must either accept these conditions or fight back. This fighting back, to be really effective, can only take the form of a general strike of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers of Greater New York. But an act of this kind requires an organization with a plan.
The writer proposes the following sketch of a program:
(1) The question of the NRA. The NRA is basically reactionary, with certain Fascist tendencies, with its low wages and price fixing codes, its compulsory arbitration clauses, etc. and must be vigorously and uncompromisingly exposed and opposed.
(2) Unemployed. The Unemployed food workers must be taken into the Union at low dues. The demand for social insurance for the unemployed must be made and aggressive steps taken to obtain it. Means of providing food at low prices to the unemployed must be arranged.
(3) As a general strike looms ahead steps should be taken NOW to prepare for it.
(4) For this purpose a united front with all other food workers’ organizations should be established on the basis of a minimum program with voting according to each groups’ strength. This united front body would then prepare the necessary plans and strategy for the strike and defence, etc. In this way a coordinated struggle against the bosses would take place.
(5) Within the Amalgamated Union there must be formed an unemployment department, a Negro committee, a Women’s committee, an Educational committee etc. The leadership of the Union must be placed in the hands of the food workers. With this policy the Amalgamated can become THE Union in this industry. All aid to the Amalgamated Hotel and Restaurant Workers.—FOOD WORKER