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International Socialist Review, Fall 1958


Another Step Ahead


From International Socialist Review, Vol.19 No.4, Fall 1958, p.114.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Barring legal tricks which either the Republican or Democratic machines might attempt in a last-ditch effort to maintain their monopoly of the voting booths, the United Independent-Socialist ticket was assured of its place on the New York ballot as we went to press.

The success in getting sufficient signatures on the nominating petitions was a signal achievement, for besides the unreasonable technical requirements, the arduous work was hampered by ambush shots from the side lines.

Communist party leaders, who had been invited to participate in the united effort, levelled their fire at the ticket when it was calculated to do the most harm. To persuade rank-and-file Communists to go against their own wishes and refrain from helping the socialist ticket, the Worker accused the nominees, John T. McManus, Annette T. Rubinstein, Corliss Lamont, Captain Hugh N. Mulzac, and Scott K. Gray of being dominated by “anti-Soviet” elements; namely, the Socialist Workers party. All the candidates except Lament were told to withdraw or suffer the consequences. Advertisements submitted to the Worker urging help in securing signatures were refused.

At the same time leaders of the Socialist Party-Social Democratic Federation attacked the ticket as “pro-Soviet.” They too had been invited to join in the democratic process of working out a minimum platform on which all socialists could unite in an election campaign; but they refused. They threatened to file suit over the use of the name “United Socialist” as a ballot designation.

Both the CP and Social Democratic chieftains view the Liberal party as the best available means for registering a protest vote. The Liberal party, however, has endorsed virtually all the Democratic candidates, including Hogan for senator. Hogan is such an abject creature of the De Sapio machine that even the millionaire Harriman sought to block his nomination.

The capacity of the Social Democratic and Communist party leaders to unite against a socialist ticket and in favor of “lesser evil” candidates of one of the two capitalist machines should prove instructive to members of both organizations.

The United Independent-Socialist ticket decided not to get into a dispute over semantics with the Social Democrats. “Independent-Socialist” is now the ballot designation.

As for the Communist party ultimatum, the candidates, headed by Lamont, rejected it. McManus came to the defense of the Socialist Workers party, praising its work in the campaign, its capacity to present forceful arguments for its viewpoint in discussions over platform while listening attentively to other views. In his experience, he said, he had seen no evidence of anything “anti-Soviet” about the SWP. (See the Militant, Sept. 1, and National Guardian, Aug. 25 and Sept. 8.)

Two more attacks should be noted as curiosities. Labor Action, the bi-weekly voice of the Shachtmanites, has devoted some columns to tortuous “analysis” of the meaning of the CP attack on what it calls a “Stalinoid” ticket. This speculation has amused at least those who know that this group could have participated in the united effort from the beginning. Instead of seeking to help shape the platform and decide on candidates, however, these “analysts” chose to forage in the Social Democratic bone yard which they hope will one day provide them with juicy pickings. Their elation over acceptance into an organization that demands due consideration of State Department views is to be weighed against the adjectives they use to describe the United Independent-Socialist ticket.

The Weekly People, voice of Socialist Labor party representatives, who were also invited in on the ground floor, has likewise engaged in curious speculation about the candidates: it is “plausible” to imagine, we are told, that “it is highly unlikely that they would now recoil from a tender of Republican aid” particularly in getting signatures on petitions.

The fact is that many people who have voted Republican or Democratic in the past normally sign nominating petitions due to their conviction that every voter should have a chance to cast his ballot for a minority party if he wants to. We doubt that election workers of the Socialist Labor party are instructed to refuse to accept such signatures on their petitions.

It is too bad that all these well-meaning socialists could not break through their sectarian habits for the sake of a united election campaign this year against the twin machines of Big Business. We hope that they will reconsider by election day and pull the Independent-Socialist lever on the voting machines.

As for the radicals in the rest of the country, we know that many of them regard the work in New York as a hopeful and significant advance toward a vigorous, nation-wide socialist campaign in 1960.

Other developments include discussions in Seattle to probe electoral possibilities and formation of a committee in California. In Michigan Socialist Workers candidates are stressing the importance of preparing now for 1960.

Meanwhile the Rev. Joseph P. King’s victory over Democratic efforts to keep him off the ballot as Congressional candidate from Chicago’s Second District has suggested to socialists elsewhere the obvious conclusion: “If it can be done in a place as tough as Chicago ...”

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