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The Militant, 3 January 1949

The Editors

The State of the Union and Our Legislative Program

From The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 1, 3 January 1949, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Congress and the American people are eagerly awaiting the President’s annual “State of the Union” message, which Truman will deliver on Jan. 5. We predict in advance that the main direction pointed by Truman will be toward militarism and war. We further predict that he will offer little or nothing toward the solution of the major problems confronting the American people.

Truman – as he has already indicated – is going to water down many of the promises he made in his election campaign. He will hedge on unconditional repeal of the Taft-Hartley Law, his key promise to labor, and offer a substitute bill with many features of the Taft-Hartley Act.

Last week Truman’s Attorney General Tom Clark revealed how the Administration intends to carry out its promise to defend civil rights. It will continue its Gestapo-like “loyalty” purge and “subversive” blacklist and will seek to amend the Espionage Act to legalize many of the illegal practices now carried out in star-chamber sessions of Truman’s “loyalty” boards.

The most Truman will offer as a housing program is a for-the-record endorsement of the Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill calling for only 5 million government-financed, privately-built housing units in 10 years. Housing experts say there is an immediate urgent need for 25 million new units.

On the high cost of living, Truman will repeat his proposal for limited stand-by price controls coupled with power to freeze wages, after prices have soared way beyond wages, and with the object of maintaining this gap between living costs and the pay-envelope.

All Truman’s campaign promises on social welfare – health, education, minimum wages, old age benefits, etc. – will boil down to not more than a tiny fractional increase in federal expenditures compared to the $15 billion minimum he plans for direct military spending, including the atom bomb.

During the election campaign, the Socialist Workers Party presidential and vice presidential candidates, Farrell Dobbs and Grace Carlson, predicted that few of Truman’s promises would be kept if he were elected. His “State of the Union” message next week will confirm this prediction to the hilt.

The following election campaign program of the SWP remains the only sound legislative program to meet the urgent needs of the people as the 81st Congress prepares to convene:

  1. Take the war-making powers out of the hands of Congress. Let the people vote through nation-ide referendum on the question of war or peace. No secret diplomacy. Withdraw all troops from foreign soil.
  2. Unconditional repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act. No government interference in union affairs. No restrictions on the right to organize, strike and picket. No compulsory arbitration. Outlaw government-by-injunction.
  3. End red-baiting, witch-hunts and political persecution. Tear up the anti-democratic “subversive” blacklists. Abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
  4. Liberalize the election laws which discriminate against minority parties. Extend the right of franchise to youth of military age.
  5. Pass and enforce legislation to punish lynching, abolish the poll tax, establish a Fair Employment Practices Committee with real power to root out discriminatory practices and eliminate segregation wherever it exists, including the armed forces and government agencies.
  6. Nationalize the basic industries, natural resources and banks, and operate them through democratically elected committees of workers and technicians.
  7. Build 25 million permanent low-cost, low-rent housing units. Finance the housing program with the billions now spent for war preparations.
  8. Federal benefits equal to union wages, automatically adjusted to meet rising prices, for veterans’ allowances, old-age retirement pay and unemployment and disability compensation.
  9. A government program to provide complete medical care for all working people and their families, financed entirely through a tax on the monopoly corporations. Expand school facilities to meet the needs of the day and pay the teachers a living wage.
  10. Establish price control to be regulated and enforced’by mass consumers committees of housewives, unionists, working farmers and small shopkeepers.
  11. Guarantee the cost of production to working farmers through a program to be operated by their own representatives. Abolish sharecropping and landlordism. Transfer title deeds of the land to those who work it. Ban commodity speculation.
  12. Repeal all payroll taxes. Abolish all sales taxes. No taxes on incomes under $5,000 a year. A 100% tax on incomes over $25,000 a year.

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