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Grace Carlson

Radio Talk

“The Only Road to Peace”

(2 July 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 28, 12 July 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The following is the acceptance speech of Grace Carlson after her nomination as vice-presidential candidate by the Socialist Workers Party convention, broadcast over a national radio network by the Mutual Broadcasting System on Friday evening, July 2, 1948.

Delegates to the 13th National Convention of the Socialist Workers Party – Working Men and Women of America – Friends of Peace and Freedom everywhere.

I accept, with grateful thanks, your nomination as candidate for Vice-President of the United States. In these dark days of imperialist reaction, when rumors of war fill every headline, a candidate of our party must be a real anti-war fighter – a crusader for peace.

I am keenly aware of the responsibility you have placed upon me. I pledge myself to do all that I can to carry forward the struggle against the Third World War – the Atomic Horror, which our American masters are now preparing for us and all of the peoples of! the world.

There is only one way to fight war – that is, to do away with the capitalist system, which breeds war, and replace it with an international socialist society. Socialism or Barbarism – that is the choice before us.

Remember the Promises?

Other people have tried other ways to fight war. All of them have failed. How many millions of peace-loving Americans trusted Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and depended on his promise to keep us out of World War I? Do you remember the old pacifist song that was popular in those days, I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be a Soldier? Like the mothers and fathers of all ages and of all climes, the mothers and fathers of 1916 were saying “I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier – I brought him up to be my pride and joy.”

They thought that Wilson would help them. They hoped that he would save their boys from the horror of the First World War, which was then raging in Europe. They voted for Wilson in large numbers in the 1916 election.

But Wilson was a capitalist politician – a tool of Wall Street. When he was told that America’s capitalist interests required it, Wilson violated his pacifist promises and took the United States into the war. And many thousands of American boys, who had been brought up to be their parents’ “pride and joy,” died miserable deaths on the far-away battlefields of Belgium and France.

The Betrayal of Roosevelt

But this was not the last betrayal at the hands of capitalist politicians. In the election campaign of 1940, President Roosevelt said time and time again that he hated war and that he would never agree to send American boys to fight oil foreign soil. And another generation of mothers and fathers, who didn’t want to raise their boys to be soldiers, hoped that Roosevelt would keep us out of World War II. They trusted him and voted for him.

Once again, American capitalist interests demanded that the United States enter the war. American investments had to be protected! German and Japanese competitors had to be removed! And so, once more, American blood was spilled on foreign battlefields. Lonely graves on Okinawa and in Italy and in a half a hundred other far-flung, places, bear sad testimony to Roosevelt’s broken promises.

Don’t Make the Same Mistake

Mothers and fathers of America, don’t make the same mistake again! Don’t depend on the lying promises of today’s capitalist politicians. Don’t trust them to keep your boys out of the next World War! They are no different from Wilson and Roosevelt. They will betray you again and again and again!

If you support the capitalist party candidates – Dewey, Truman – Wallace – or whoever they may be, you will find, inevitably, that you have raised another crop of soldiers for American imperialism!

True enough, Wallace says that he is completely opposed to Wall Street’s plans for a war against the Soviet Union. But that’s for today. He has also said that he will support the war once it has been declared. And it couldn’t be any other way! The millionaire, Henry Wallace, is completely sold on the merits of the so-called free enterprise system. He may differ with some of the Wall Street leaders from time to time as to their tactics. He may believe that it’s best to make a deal with Stalin right now. But, when the time comes, Wallace will find a way to justify American imperialism’s next war, just as he has done in the past.

But Farrell Dobbs and I and the Socialist Workers Party, for which we speak, are consistent anti-war fighters. We fight against war – and for socialism – 365 days a year – year in and year out – before, during and after war.

We Opposed World War II

We were opposed to World War II art a time when Henry Wallace was whooping it up for the war. Don’t you remember Vice-President Wallace’s solemn declaration that World War II would usher in the Century of the Common Man?

But Farrell Dobbs and I thought – and spoke – otherwise. We said that nothing could come out of this bloody capitalist war but increased suffering for the common men – of all countries – and increased profits for the wealthy few. >And sadly enough, for the common man – so-called – it was Dobbs and I who were right and not the demagogic Wallace! Nothing good can ever come out of a capitalist war – certainly, nothing good for the working people.

Of course, the capitalists and their political agents and high-paid journalists try to tell us that these wars are fought for high and holy causes – “To Make the World Safe for Democracy” or “To Establish the Four Freedoms All Over the Earth.” Is there a single soul left on the face of the earth, who still believes that there was even One Freedom established by World War II – let alone Four?

The New Pretext for War

Now, they are telling us that the Third World War, which is being prepared, is necessary in order to prevent the spread of “Stalinist totalitarianism.” They moan about the lack of political freedom in the Soviet Union and in the border countries. They >talk about “freedom,” these Republican and Democratic fakers, who have not only tolerated, but supported the system of abject political slavery in the South! Any one who is truly interested in spreading political freedom can start right here in the United States – right in Washington, D.C., itself.

The Socialist Workers Party is unalterably opposed to Stalinist totalitarian methods and to nationalism. Stalin has committed terrible crimes against the Russian people and the peoples of the neighboring countries. But we do not believe that they should be rescued by the American imperialists. Actually, the American imperialists and their junior partners, the English imperialists, dream of turning Russia into a colony for capitalist exploitation. They hope to succeed where Hitler failed.

Stop the War-Makers!

Wall Street’s War-Makers must be stopped! Mothers and fathers of America, young men and young women who are about to be conscripted, militarized and prussianized, all of you who shudder at the all-too-real prospect of a fearsome Atomic War, support the Socialist Workers Party and its candidates. All of you. who want to walk the path of peace, join with us in our anti-war struggle. There is only one path to peace and that is to replace the capitalist system of war, poverty, and fascism with a socialist society of peace, plenty and freedom. Join with us to speed the day when peace and not the sword will rule the earth!

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