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The Militant, 10 February 1945

Pioneer Paragraphs

Joseph Hansen

What a Labor Party Means to the Oppressed Negroes


From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 6, 10 February 1945, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Our guide has so far considered the organization of an independent labor party from the viewpoint of the trade unions and labor generally. But other sections of the populace are vitally affected by the role labor takes in politics. Two most important groups are the 13 million Negroes and the middle classes, including the white-collar workers, small proprietors, share-croppers, tenants and dirt-farmers.

The colored people have everything to gain from a labor party. It is the two old capitalist parties which uphold the Jim Crow and poll tax system and foster discrimination in the armed forces and industry. American fascism would undoubtedly select the colored people as the principal scapegoat in its bloody bid for power. This has already been revealed in the attacks upon the Negroes in Los Angeles, Detroit, New York and elsewhere. Native would-be fascists were among the leaders of the mobs which hunted down and killed colored people. How well the Negro people understand the need of collaboration with organized labor is revealed by the recent poll conducted by the leading Negro newspaper, the Pittsburgh Courier. 98 percent of those polled voted for a more solid tie-up with organized labor.

The colored people themselves can play a great role in organizing an independent labor party. Those who are already members of trade unions should champion the cause. All the pent up energy of the colored people should be consciously directed to building the labor party. The colored people will be the first to feel the terrible depression now on the horizon. They must act now to build the only means of fighting the mounting reaction. Start now on the road to political action!

Explain to your white shop mates how Jim Crow and poll tax system keeps in power the ultra-reactionary Congressional bloc of Southern bourbons who are out in front attacking labor. Explain how this bloc of Congressmen constitutes the backbone of the Democratic Party. Explain how destruction of the poll tax and Jim Crow system will not only strengthen the proposed labor party but fatally weaken, the Democratic Party and its control over Congress.

(From American Workers Need a Labor Party, by Joseph Hansen, pp. 38–39. Pioneer Publishers, 1944, 48 pp. 15 Cents. Order from Pioneer Publishers, 116 University Place, N.Y. 3, N.Y.)

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