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The Militant, 10 March 1945

Pioneer Paragraphs

George Breitman

The Crimes of Big Business Profiteers
During War-Time


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


What is to be done about the criminal activities of Big Business? The Administration and Congress have already conclusively shown that they either won’t or can’t take measures to make the punishment fit the crime. If anything is to be done, it will have to be done by the labor movement.

Some people have suggested the passage of legislation imposing the death penalty on manufacturers Whose fraudulent practices endanger the lives of the men in the armed forces. A bill providing this penalty or a million dollar fine has even been introduced into Congress. It is hard to imagine the present Congress – which is the servant, body and soul, of the big corporations – ever adopting legislation to punish them.

To get to the root of the problem, the Socialist Workers Party advocates that the ownership and control of industry be taken out of the hands of the capitalists. This course of action will be regarded by Big Business as far more drastic than any bill providing the death penalty and it will be fought by them with every weapon they have, but it is the only practical answer to capitalist mismanagement of industry.

Let industry be owned by the government and operated under the control of committees democratically elected by the workers. The profit motive would be removed, and with it would be removed the incentive to produce and sell dangerously defective products. The costs of production would be lowered and the workers’ committees, having no interest in exacting profits from the blood of the soldier, would guarantee production and honest testing in the interests of the people.

(From Wartime Crimes of Big Business, by George Breitman, pp. 13–14. Pioneer Publishers, 1943; 16 pp., 5¢. Order from Pioneer Publishers, 116 University Place, New York 3, N.Y.)

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