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Grace Carlson

SWP Election Tour

Barnstorming in Buffalo

(27 September 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 39, 27 September 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“The City of Good Neighbors” is the title given to their home town by civic-minded Buffalonians. And while “good-neighborliness” is scarcely noticeable in such Buffalo business enterprises as Westinghouse Corporation, Bell Aircraft, General Motors and Bethlehem Steel, it is a very real factor in the Socialist Workers Party Branch here.

I have been taken care of very well and very generously in every city that I visited on this tour. But I think that the Buffalo Branch crowded more home-cooked dinners, parties and socials of all kinds into the schedule than any other place – for all of which I am very grateful to the Trotskyist “good neighbors” of Buffalo.

But on a more “un-neighborly note” – I heard the story of police brutality toward Buffalo’s Negro citizens at one NAACP protest meeting here last Friday night. Like every other believer in freedom and equality in the audience, I applauded the decision to raise funds for the defense of the two Negro women, who were the latest victims of police brutality. I was grateful to read in the paper the next day that these two women, who had been charged with “assaulting an officer,” “resisting arrest” etc., would be granted a new trial and permitted to turn the charges against the Jim Crow-minded police.

My trip to Buffalo coincided with visits of the So-called Progressive, Henry Wallace, and the so-called Socialist, Norman Thomas. Our offer to debate Norman Thomas on “foreign policy” received some publicity in the Buffalo press but the challenge was turned down because Thomas was “too busy.” However, our Buffalo people will continue to pressure the S.P. for a debate between Norman Thomas and Farrell Dobbs next month.

Our reply to Henry Wallace’s anti-war demagogy also received some publicity in the Buffalo papers. Here is the story as it appeared in the Sept. 19 edition of the Buffalo Courier-Express:

“Dr. Grace Carlson, Socialist Workers Party vice-presidential candidate, last night characterized the speech made by Henry A. Wallace Thursday evening at Kleinbors Music Hall as ‘confused, demagogic and- opportunistic.’

“‘All that Wallace is doing is trading on the anti-war sentiments of the people,’ she told a small audience at the party’s Buffalo headquarters, 629 Main St. (This isn’t true! There were close to 100 workers present and that’s not a small audience in our language.) Wallace has no real program for fighting war and, in fact, already has announced his intention of withdrawing from the race if the United States goes to war.’

“Dr. Carlson dismissed President Truman and Governor Dewey, Democratic and Republican Presidential aspirants as the open exponents of Wall Street’s plans for dominating the world through another global war. She branded Norman Thomas, Socialist Party presidential candidate as a traitor to the ideas of international Socialism ‘for his recent proposal for a meeting of Truman, Dewey, Wallace and himself to form a united quatro-partisan, anti-Communist foreign policy’.”

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