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Grace Carlson

“Labor Alone Can Halt
the March of Reaction”

(20 September 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 38, 20 September 1923, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The anti-democratic chain reaction set off by the bi-partisan war drive is following its own destructive course. Government strikebreaking, “loyalty” purges, witch-hunts, banning of minority parties from the ballot cannot be “contained” so as to affect only the trade unions and minority groups. With the barring of Truman from the Louisiana ballot, following virtually similar action in other Southern states, the hand of totalitarianism has reached out toward a major capitalist party – one of the initiators of the spreading reaction.

While the Louisiana action against Truman was taken by the race-supremacist Dixiecrats, it is the logical outcome of the methods of the Democrats and Republicans themselves. Indeed, Truman is only getting a taste of his own poison.

For the Democratic Party itself has either inspired or has stood idly by while the Socialist Workers Party, the Wallace Party and other parties have been removed from the ballot in state after state. It has helped to set the precedent, now used against it by the Dixiecrats, whereby the party in power can brutally and arbitrarily eliminate its opponents.

We must keep in mind, however, that the anti-democratic chain reaction does not hit every group with the same force and violence. The Democratic Party has been denied its place on the ballot in Louisiana. But even with the likelihood of more Dixiecrat states trying to follow suit, that’s just a slap on the wrist compared to what labor and minority groups face.

Wallace was pelted with eggs and tomatoes and physically threatened all along his Southern tour. This party has been barred from the ballot in northern states like Illinois.

As for the Socialist Workers Party, not only is it barred from the ballot in most states, but its leaders have been thrown into prison to silence them altogether. The Democratic administration did this during the war in the Minneapolis Labor Case while Wallace and Truman were vice presidents.

Truman is off the ballot in Louisiana – but millions of Negroes in the whole South are terrorized from voting. They are even shot to death, like Isaiah Nixon in Georgia last week. And every worker everywhere faces the threat of Truman’s Taft-Hartley injunctions, Army strikebreaking and tear gas and clubs, as in the West Coast strikes.

But if injustice and class violence and abrogation of workers’ rights have a chain reaction, so too has the resistance of labor. It can swell into a titanic force once it is unleashed. This chain reaction of the workers against the growth of totalitarianism can be set off by a Congress of Labor. Labor alone can halt the march of reaction. Let the rank and file representatives of all the unions hold a mighty Congress in Washington to draft a united program to smash the antidemocratic forces and they can set in motion such a power for defense of democratic rights as this nation has never known.

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