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Demagogues and Bankers Clash in Chicago

What Is Behind the Clique Fight at the Democrats’ Meet

(July 1932)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 27 (Whole No. 123), 2 July 1932, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

If the Republican party confab gave the appearance of a graveyard with a couple of hired noise makers, the democratic convention looks like a veritable madhouse with the inmates acting their natural selves. A casual reading of the proceedings of the convention now in session in Chicago, gives one the impression of a Held day of a lunatic asylum. Fist fights, a jig by the sedate William McAdoo, wild and idiotic cheering at the least, mention of prohibition repeal, chorus girls applauding Jimmy Walker, and professional entertainers to fill in the dull moments, marked the highlights of the political convention of the “democracy.”

The Republican convention insulted the intelligence of the people of these United States by putting up Herbert Hoover as the only nominee and candidate to squeeze some more profits out of the hides of the working class. But the Democrats are no pikers, they give us eight possibilities, all of whom have as much or less in common with the needs of the workers as the “great engineer”.

Smith has the support of the Wall Street magnate, John J. Raskob. Newton D. Baker let go a couple of loose phrases about capitalist “internationalism”, but his able service in sending American workers to the European slaughter house, to coin profits for the Morgan’s Du Ponts, etc., makes him wholly acceptable to the big money bags. Ritchie is wholly innocuous since his only qualification and platform is his dampness. Even Garner won’t be objectionable to the industrialists – he showed his caliber in trimming the petty-bourgeois by a huge levy of taxes foisted upon them. And Roosevelt the most likely nominee, can be counted upon in a pinch to do his bit for his master – in spite of his dishwater liberalism.

But Franklin D. Roosevelt, while he has a majority of delegates behind him, has no path of roses to trod on to reach the nomination. The biggest obstacle that stands in his way is the displeasure that the Wall Street bankers have shown over his liberal demagogy. The Morgans, Fords and Rockefellers are well satisfied with the service rendered by Herbert Hoover. But if it is necessary to have another candidate in the field, for the purpose of deception, they want the most harmless one they can lay hands on. This is not the time to play around

Roosevelt pretends to be the representative of the petty bourgeoisie. Behind him stands the powerful chain of the Hearst papers, that make it a policy to play on the heart strings of the small business man and the small manufacturer. But Tammany Hall stands in his way, because as presidential nominee he will of necessity, have to take drastic measures in his post of Governor of N.Y. against the Tammany crooks, to keep the South and West in line.

The Democratic party in its platform blames the unprecedented economic and social distress on their blood brothers, the Republicans. It recommends, as a remedy “a drastic change in economic and governmental policies.”

The most ignorant person should be able to observe that the tremendous overproduction of wealth and the glut of commodities, on the one hand, and the starvation and unemployment on the other, can be due to nothing else than the system that produces these things. The Democrats are heart and soul for the maintenance of the capitalist system. Their economic existence depends upon it. How then, can anyone hope for a change or a remedy to existent conditions by the election of the “democracy”.

A sop is thrown to the unemployed. Federal relief to the states is a plank, provided “the diminishing resources of the states make it impossible for them to provide for the needy.” Just how much money for relief is not stated. And just when the resources of the states are “diminishing”, makes the whole business smell like another campaign promise that will be violated as soon as the Democrats assume office.

The Republicans have completely ignored unemployment insurance. Therefore, the Democrats, seeing a good vote-catching issue, declare for “unemployment and old-age insurance under state laws.” But the very wording of this plank gives the lie to their “solemn promises”. There are Democratic governors in several states, some of whom are now aspirants for the nomination Has unemployment insurance been introduced in those states? No! Will there be such laws (unless it is given to mean, insurance at the expense of the workers themselves) in the future? Most decidedly, no! Unless, again mass pressure is brought to bear by the working class.

As was to be expected, the main issue for the democrats is the repeal of the 18th Amendment. Raskob says that it is the “only economic issue of any importance in this election campaign”. To a starving populace crying for bread these “representatives of the people” offer beer and alcohol. Where the money will come from to purchase these beverages, with industry prostrate, seems to be a grand mystery. Prohibition is, in reality, nothing more than a soap bubble issue. It will be exploded just as soon as the workers get wise to this smokescreen used, to cover up the burning problems.

This noisy, rambunctious convention can teach the American worker only one thing and one line of action. The capitalist system and all its representatives are rotten and bankrupt. The abolition and destruction of capitalism is their only hope. The piling up of a huge vote for the Communist candidates is their only course in this election.

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