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Albert Parker

The Negro Struggle

“Labor with a White Skin Cannot Emancipate Itself Where Labor with a Black Skin Is Branded.” – Karl Marx.

(2 November 1940)


From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 4 No. 44, 2 November 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Roosevelt “Promotes” Davis

Two weeks ago in this column we drew attention to the failure of President Roosevelt to promote Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Negro officer, to the rank of brigadier-general, as he did with scores of white colonels at the same time.

In it we declared what everyone acquainted with the situation knew: that the Army is a Jim Crow institution, that it does everything it can to prevent Negroes from becoming officers, and that it sees to it that they don’t rise higher than the post of colonel.

Now, however, Roosevelt has promoted Davis to be a brigadier-general, the first such colored officer in the Army’s history.

Does this mean that there has been any change in the Army’s Jim Crow policies? Does this mean that now there will be equal rights for colored soldiers, that discrimination against them will end, that they will receive a proportionate number of officers’ posts?

Look at the facts, and you’ll have to answer: No.

In the first place, whatever happened to Davis, the recent ruling of Commander-in-Chief Roosevelt that there shall be Jim Crow regiments still remains in effect. That means that Negro soldiers will not get equal rights, that they will still be used for laborers or suicide squads, suffering all the insults of the Negro-hating officer caste that runs the Army and will continue to run the Army even if Davis is a brigadier-general.

Every anti-Semitic firm, every big business outfit that refuses to hire Jews, usually has one Jew on its office staff, to be pointed to as an example of their unprejudiced hiring policies. This one Jewish employee is used as window-dressing to cover up the rotten general policy.

Davis is going to be used as the window-dressing of the U.S. Army, for a time, to cover up the vicious anti-Negro policies of its general staff.

But even more important than this reason is the fact that election day is almost here.

A Vote-Catching Move

In the last month Roosevelt has lost considerable votes as the result of his statement on Jim Crow regiments. He has taken a heavy walloping from most of the Negro press on it, and from the N.A.A.C.P. for his attempt to make it seem they had approved this policy.

In many states the colored vote may prove decisive. Consequently, Roosevelt has attempted, by promoting Davis, to repair some of the fences he broke himself.

As proof, we point to the date of the announcement of his promotion: October 25th. This is just in time for the last issue of the Negro weekly papers that will appear on the news-stands before November 5. It thus gives him the final punch in the campaign, in even the papers that oppose him and support Willkie.

The general staff of the Army won’t like it, even though they recognize it as a necessary political maneuver that won’t change anything fundamentally. But they won’t worry too much. For Davis is 63 years old, and will reach his retirement age July 1. So Roosevelt will get his votes when Davis gets his promotion, and a few months later when Davis gets his walking papers, the general staff will get the pleasure of being 100% lily-white again.

Although the appointment of Davis is partially a concession to mass protest, it is primarily a vote-catcher. It is no reason for relaxing the fight, Jim Crowism must still be fought by workers, colored and white, in the armed forces, as well as in civilian life.

Judas-Goat Dunjee

A “Judas goat” is one of those old, hardened, well-trained animals used in the stockyards to lead the sheep up the incline. When the goat gets to the top, he steps aside, but the sheep keep right on marching until they run into the butchers’ knives. Then the goat comes down again, and is used over and over again to lead more unsuspecting sheep to their end.

Roscoe Dunjee, about whom we had a few things to say last week, is the editor of The Black Dispatch in Oklahoma. Last week he wrote an article asking that all Negro newspapermen be exempted from conscription. Why? Because they had been very valuable, he said, in getting the Negro people to accept the draft. And if these very valuable newspapermen are drafted, he feels, the newspapers will be weakened, and may not be able to do such a good job in the future.

Roscoe Dunjee is a Judas goat who has led his followers up the incline of the Jim Crow draft. But he doesn’t want the same fate as the sheep. He wants to be excused so that he will be safely on band to lead mors sheep to the butchers’ knives.

Forty Dollars a Head

When a colored man is even suspected of killing a white person down South, all resources of the state are used to capture him. Rewards of thousands of dollars are offered, blood-hounds and posses called out, and the victim is given short shrift when he is caught.

But it is different when the victim is a colored man.

In Washington, D.C., capital of the nation and frontier of Jim Crow land, seven Negroes have been fired on by a mysterious white maniac during the past few months. Five were killed and two injured.

Little effort has been made by the police to capture the maniac, who picks only colored victims. A total reward of $200 has been posted for his capture. That comes to $40 a head, or, one-twentieth of what a slave was worth 80 years ago./p>

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