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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.

(29 March 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V. No. 13, 29 March 1941, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Fight Against Ford

In his latest broadside against the CIO, D.J. Marshall, Negro personnel head of the Ford Motor Company (who will be fired by Ford, not by the union, if Ford is organized), hurls the following challenge at the United Auto Workers Union:

“The proposition seems to resolve itself to this: The union tells colored people that, if they will join the union, they will get industrial freedom; the Negroes at the Ford, Motor Company tell the union that if they will give the colored workers this independence in the shops where the union is already established, then they might consider unionism.”

To answer this challenge successfully would be to win the great majority of Negroes over to the union and to practically assure that the workers’ ranks would be united and indivisible against Ford, Bennett and Marshall. As The Militant has pointed out before, what is needed now is an aggressive policy, a program that takes the offensive against the bosses, on the question of Negro rights in industry. It is not enough to prove that the CIO has not been guilty of discrimination. It must be demonstrated that the CIO fights for Negro rights throughout the industry, which of course Ford will never do. And the CIO can demonstrate this.

Negroes should say to Marshall:

“The proposition is also this: You and Ford tell the Negro that he is better off in Ford’s open shop than elsewhere; the Negroes tell you that if you will call off your anti-union squads of thugs, and if you’ll raise wages 10¢ an hour so they’ll equal, wages in other auto plants, and if you’ll reduce the speedup, and if you’ll stop threatening to fire us all if we join the union, then we might believe you. But you won’t do these things, because those are the only ways you have been able to keep Ford workers from joining the union in previous years.”

* * *

Who Taught Hitler

Greatly played up nowadays is the story of how badly Hitlerism treats and intends to treat the Negroes. The purpose of most of this hullabaloo is to work the American Negro, up to support the “democracies” in the imperialist war.

The Crisis and the Pittsburgh Courier this month have both shown that, cold-blooded as is the policy on the Negro announced by the Nazis, it is really only a duplication of the policy on the Negro carried out in most parts of the United States since 1877.

And. if there is anyone who doubts that the. Nazi policy on this question is stolen right out of the handbook of British colonial policy, he ought to read the following Associated Negro Press dispatch from Cape Town, South Africa, dated March 6:

“Restrictions and segregation even more vicious than that of the Southland of the United States, are in vogue here and growing constantly worse. Recently, when a new railway station was planned for Huguenot, two separate entrances were provided, one for whites and one for non-whites. Waiting room accommodations for whites were arranged for in the main building but non-whites were given a waiting room in a separate building ...

“It appeared that an important step forward had, been made when two months ago the Witwatersrand University agreed to allow non-Europeans (the local designation for any other than whites) to attend medical school at the university and to work for both medical and dental degrees. The number of non-European students was restricted to ten. The chief problem which the school authorities had to overcome was the matter of providing bodies for dissection during the student’s fourth year. It was finally solved by deciding that non-European students should be permitted to dissect only black bodies.”

* * *

A Washington dispatch from the same agency had this to report a week later:

“No thought will be given to assigning colored doctors, dentists or nurses to centers where they might at any time be called upon to serve white soldiers, according to an official U.S. Army announcement.

“This determination to confine colored professional personnel to troops of their own race was emphatically declared by Surgeon General McGhee, Friday, during a conference with members of a committee from the National Medical Association ...

“The general professing to represent Northern sentiment, said that under no circumstances could he see colored and white doctors working together in the same hospital or as examiners of recruits.

“Advised that colored physicians had served. white soldiers in recruiting stations during the World War, he said it was inconceivable to him that colored doctors could work on an examining team with white doctors, and that no attempt would be made to integrate them into white medical teams.”

* * *

Strange bedfellows have turned up around a bill to deport all American Negroes to Africa. Senator Bilbo of Mississippi, who stands for “white supremacy” and hates the Negroes, is the author of the bill. J.R. Stewart, successor to the late Marcus Garvey as president general of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, in a speech in Chicago early this month, endorsed the bill of the enemy of the Negro people in the following words:

“As a long range measure, though not through any heartfelt benevolence, Bilbo of Mississippi has a bill which would deport us to Africa (Liberia) ... I am not for Bilbo but I am for this bill and will fight to support it ...”

In other words, the Garvey movement which once attracted the hopes of so many millions of Negroes is now acting as the tail to the kite of America’s outstanding exponent of “Negro inferiority.”

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