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Socialist Appeal, June 1936, Volume 2 No. 5, Pages 3-5
Transcribed and Marked Up by Damon Maxwell in 2009 for the Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line.

Proposal for a Socialist Party Election Platform for 1936

FOR a socialist America! To this inspiring task, we summon the workers of city and country, the farmers and Negroes – all who are oppressed by capitalism.

Only a socialist America and a socialist world can give us peace and plenty. Look how the capitalist world totters on the brink of destruction:

War is no longer a fear but a grim reality. Italian imperialism is barbarically destroying the last independent nation of Africa, Japanese armies continue their savage inroads on the Chinese people. Hitler marches his armies to the Rhineland frontier. The “democratic” countries are equally warlike. Britain launches a gigantic naval program. France expands her powerful army. The United States is spending a billion dollars this year for war preparations – more than any other nation. As the last war demonstrated, America will inevitably be drawn into the next big conflict – if indeed, the American government does not initiate it in the Far East.

Expressing the stark cruelty of degenerate capitalism, Fascist reaction spreads like a black spot across the map. Because the revolutionary working class does? not more quickly solve the crisis of capitalism, frenzied sufferers are driven into the arms of fascist demagogues. When war breaks out and patriotism flares, the forces of reaction will be immeasurably strengthened everywhere. In America. Hearst and the Liberty Leaguers still employ the traditional methods of reaction; but soon enough they will link themselves to the demagogic program of a full-blown American fascism.

Roosevelt Has Failed

Four years of the New Deal have demonstrated the utter inability of the Democratic party to make good its promises. Hoover predicted that prosperity was around the corner; Roosevelt brags that it is here. Yes, prosperity has returned for the banker?, the mammoth corporations, the stock exchange sharks: the New Deal has rescued their investments and restored Their profits. But the great masses of the people continue to suffer.

Under the NRA workers’ wages rose but a fraction – and the increase more than disappeared ill rising living costs. The AAA forced up the prices of food and clothing; drove thousands of sharecroppers off the land, and reduced the rest to perpetual hunger. Man produces more with less labor – but twelve million unemployed and their families are left to starve. Most of them will never be employed again under capitalism! The youth leave school condemned to permanent unemployment. Roosevelt has primed the pump so that capitalist profits again flow; he has left the workers in hunger and want and sickness and despair.

Seeking to capitalize upon the tremendous dissatisfaction of the people with the Roosevelt regime, the Republican party enters the campaign flanked by the Liberty League and the United States Chamber of Commerce. The Republican party has no program whatsoever, except to use the dissatisfaction with Roosevelt for reactionary purposes.

The two capitalist parties are as rotten and bankrupt as the system they uphold. They can maintain themselves and that. system today only by piling additional burdens upon the people. For the future they offer only war, continued insecurity and increasing reaction.

The Road To Socialism

The myriad evils of capitalism will disappear only with the destruction of capitalism and the building of socialism. The Socialist party dedicates itself to lead the workers of city and country forward to socialism. The struggle for socialism will be an arduous one. for the capitalists will not peacefully relinquish their power and privileges to the people, but only by wresting the state power from the capitalists can we begin the glorious task of building a new social order.

The Workers’ State will do away with the anarchy of capitalism. Democratically-elected councils of workers in every industry and district will manage the factories and public services. The vast technological and natural resources of America will help us avoid the bitter years of construction which Russia’s backward economy forced upon the Soviet Union. Freed from the fetters of production for profit, the splendidly-equipped factories will pour out their products without interruption: the productive forces will leap forward to provide almost undreamed-of plenty. No longer will cotton and wheat be plowed under and foodstuffs dumped into the sea to keep up prices! The unions of tenant fanners and agricultural workers will plow the soil in unison. released from back-breaking labor by every technical device that scientific ingenuity has already devised: while the small farmer, freed of debt and the middleman and insured against frost and drought, will be given every incentive to join his lands in common with his neighbor. The Hollywood studios, RCA networks, Hearst-McFadden presses, capitalist schools, will cease to pervert and will instead be made to serve a truly human civilization. The sweep of mountain and beach and countryside will become a playground and habitation for the people.

Immediate Struggle Ahead

In the fight of the workers for power and socialism they and their allies must gain strength and unity by their daily struggles against poverty and exploitation. To improve the conditions of life and labor and thereby to weld together the strength and solidarity of the masses, the Socialist party pledges itself to fight for the following demands. We will fight for them not only in the legislative halls but also side by side with the workers in field and factory and office. Let us mobilize our forces in joint action to secure these elementary rights and vital social necessities:

1. Thirty hour week with no reduction in pay.
2. National system of social insurance;
Unemployment insurance; old age pensions; accident compensation and sick benefits; continuation and expansion of the WPA; public works at union wages.
3. Passage of the American Youth Act;
Educational subsidies; abolition of child labor; abolition of CCC camps.
4. Full social, economic and political equality for the Negro; smash the Jim Crow System!
5. Defend workers’ and democratic rights:
No restrictions on the right to organize, strike and picket; no restrictions on the rights of free speech, free press, free assembly; immediate release of Tom Mooney, Scottsboro boys and all other political prisoners.
6. Not a penny, not a man, to the military aims of the government:
Unconditional opposition to any war engaged in by the American government.
7. Relief for farmers and farm workers:
Moratorium on all farm mortgages; WPA and PWA jobs for farmers; no restriction of their right to organize.

In fighting for these immediate demands, we must realize that concessions can be wrested from capitalism today only by the sharpest struggle. Our party members, guided by the collective will of our party, wherever they are elected to office and legislative body, will mobilize the masses for struggle. They will expose every anti-labor maneuver of the capitalist officials. Utilizing the privileges of office, access to records and powers to investigate, they will lay bare the whole process by which government and “private” business are allied to exploit the workers and crush their struggles. The socialists in office will be veritable “tribunes of the people” – calling upon the masses to struggle against the daily hardships imposed upon them and to rally their forces for a new social order.

Down With All Reformist “Solutions”!

Always staunch supporters of the capitalist parties, the leaders of the American Federation of Labor, from Green to Lewis, are telling the organized workers to vote for Roosevelt. Unable to cover up the crimes of the Democratic party against the working class – the Democratic guns, clubs and fists, concentration camps and jails used against strikers – the Greens and Lewises make a fictitious distinction between Roosevelt and his party. But Roosevelt is the father of the arbitration boards that have strangled a thousand strikes, the author of the notorious “merit clause” in the auto code which put company unions on a parity with genuine unions, enemy of genuine social insurance and the thirty-hour work-week! He is as much a cog in the Democratic machine, as much an agent of the employers as any Democratic politician.

To make this enemy of labor more palatable, Lewis and “Labor’s Non-Partisan League” for Roosevelt hint that their committee will be the nucleus for a Labor party after 1936. But every class-conscious worker should realize that those who betray him to his oppressors this year cannot lead him away from his oppressors next year.

Governor Olson of Minnesota attempted to supply a similar sugar-coating for Roosevelt. His state Farmer-Labor party called what purported to be a conference to discuss a Farmer-Labor party; but the chief forces brought together – the Olson and La Follette machines and the Lewis-Hillman bloc – all support Roosevelt! The Olson conference could be nothing but’ an auxiliary to the A. F. of L. move to line up the masses behind Roosevelt.

The most vociferous advocate of the Olson-Lewis Farmer-Labor movement is the so-called Communist party. This sponsorship is but one part of the present disastrous course of the Communist parties throughout the world. Following the new orders given them, the Communists are tying the labor movement to capitalist parties through so called people’s fronts, entering or supporting capitalist governments, obstructing the advance of the class struggle. In the impending world war, they have aligned themselves with one set of imperialist bandits against the other – with the so-called “democratic” states against the “fascist states” – thus repeating the crime of the last World War in which millions of workers were slaughtered “to make the world safe for democracy.” That some of these bandit nations are temporarily – and therefore treacherously – allied with the. Soviet Union, does not lessen the crime of the Communists. The only road to the defense of the Soviet Union is the road to world socialism and freedom: the overturn of the, putrid capitalist system in all lands whether of the fascist type or garbed in a bogus democracy.

We, socialists, refuse to join the reformists in leading the workers into the camp of capitalism and support of the coming war. The intensity of the class struggle is greater today than at any time since the capitalists overthrew feudalism. Now it is the working class that must overthrow capitalism. The road to that great historic task does not lie through support of Roosevelt and capitalist wars and coalition governments.

The only road is the socialist road. Smash the decaying capitalism that breeds war and fascism, suffering and oppression. Forward, workers of America, forward to the new world that awaits us?. Today it is the ballot that we use against capitalism. Vote, then, for socialism.” Vote for the Socialist party, the only party that keeps the revolutionary banner unfurled and leads the e masses in unremitting struggle for a socialist America and a socialist party.

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