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George Clarke

SWP Election News

Campaigning for Socialism

(25 October 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 43, 25 October 1948, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

We’ve on the home stretch now and the pace is quickening throughout the country to wind up this glorious first Trotskyist Presidential election campaign in a grand finale. The campaigners for Dobbs and Carlson are on the ball everywhere spreading the party message, selling pamphlets and subscriptions to the Militant, speaking in halls and on the streets and getting out the vote for the Socialist Workers Party ticket.

Here in New York, the climax will come with the Rally for a Socialist America, to be held on Wednesday nite, Oct. 27th at the Hotel Diplomat. Everything has pointed to this meeting in the work of the New York organization. The dozens of street meetings, the organization of Dobbs-Carlson clubs, the speeches before forums, the distribution of thousands-of pieces of literature – all form the background of what is expected to be the biggest party rally in the campaign.

Don’t miss it – and if you’ve got a friend or shopmate who wants to hear the best in America, don’t let him or her miss the Rally for a Socialist America – featuring Farrell Dobbs, Grace Carlson, James P. Cannon and William Bohannan.

Philadelphia Story

Our Philadelphia campaigners have been so shy and retiring about talking of their campaign doings that we never fully appreciated the big things going on in the City of Brotherly Love. But we had our eyes opened at the campaign rally there a week ago Saturday. The large party hall was crowded to the doors with workers from the Westinghouse plant, young students, people who had heard our speakers on street corners, Negro workers and even some mothers with their kids. And what an enthusiastic gathering. Your campaign manager was a little nervous about pinch-hitting for Dobbs but he got the thrill of his life when he started to speak. And Grace Carlson, who made a grand speech, told me the same thing. It was our crowd – a workers’ crowd, every last one.

Philadelphia has really been campaigning in the streets – I think they don’t take second place in this even to New York. They have an excellent loud speaker system and they’re out on the street night after night. Hundreds of subs have been sold on the corners and innumerable supporters of Dobbs and Carlson and the SWP have been won.

It’s Done When Dunne Does It

A smashing campaign for U.S. Senator is being conducted by Vincent R. Dunne in Minnesota. He’s the man who led the movement that made Minneapolis a union town. Comrade Dunne is really making it hot for Ball, the bosses’ man and that phoney progressive, Mayor Humphries. His name is in the papers day after day challenging his two rivals to a debate, blasting them from hell, to breakfast, exposing the doubletalk, the deceit and the real record. Vincent has been on the radio, speaking at forums and thousands of the best-looking and hardest-hitting campaign leaflets are circulating throughout the state. I wish I had more space to quote from comrade Dunne’s speeches and statements. They’ve got the same lethal quality as Joe Louis’ haymakers.

Another Big Debate

One of the best indications of the recognition our campaign is getting are the debates our candidates are having with representatives of the major parties. The outstanding one m this field is reported from Los Angeles where Myra Tanner Weiss, SWP candidate in the 19th Congressional District was scheduled to debate her opponents, the Democrat Holifield, endorsed by Wallace, and the Republican Quigley. We hope to have a report on this event next week.

While we are on L.A., here are a few notes on comrade Dobbs’ visit in that city two weeks ago. As in San Francisco, the biggest audience in ten years came to bear Dobbs, Cannon and Myra Weiss. And the night before the meeting there was a reception for Dobbs with the hall full of workers from the GM plant, maritime and oil strikers, needle trades workers and others – they talked about their problems with comrade Dobbs for hours. In addition a good street meeting was held in Boyle Heights, a Stalinist stronghold where Wallace had spoken a few days, before.

A Mexican auto worker summed up the impression Dobbs had made: “He’s not just another politician – he’s one of us.”

Question Box Corner

At a UAW symposium in Bristol, Conn., attended by representatives of all parties, a Republican newspaperman asked comrade Dobbs the kind of questions he relished. Do you subscribe to the philosophy of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky? Do you want to abolish the capitalist system? Isn’t your party on the subversive list? Do you advocate that soldiers elect their own officers? Weren’t you jailed for opposing the last war? The man wasn’t a stooge, he was an opponent!

Another interesting sidelight of this debate was the way the Democratic representative “boosted” Truman. “After all,” he pleaded, “Truman is less irresponsible, less dangerous and less obnoxious than Dewey.”

Stalinists and Social Democrats

The “lesser evil” gentlemen are being paid off in their own coin every day. Take this case. No sooner did Wallace get through supporting Humphrey, the Democrat for Minnesota Senator, Humphrey paid them back by declaring that the Taft-Hartley law was not a major issue in the campaign. That being the case, Robert Wishart, once a well known Stalinist union leader and now, a supporter of Humphrey invited Joe Ball, one of the inspirers of the Taft-Hartley Law, to speak before his UE local. Ball started his speech with a denunciation of the national UE leadership as “communists.” Yes, that’s right Wishart didn’t invite Vincent Dunne to speak before the local.

* * *

Most of those at the Dobbs-Thomas debate last Sunday were surprised to see me as chairman. Here’s how it happened. Liston Oak, editor of the Social Democratic New Leader was scheduled to be the impartial chairman. Ten minutes before the debate opened we discovered by accident that he had prepared a speech where he declared his support of Thomas and denounced the Trotskyists as “immoral Bolsheviks.” We objected, saying that the debate called for only one speaker on each side. Then I won the toss with Fleischmann of the S.P. How right Trotsky was when he warned us to watch our pockets when these fakers start talking about morality ... Bouquets to Jack Dale of L.A. who is now campaigning in Utah.

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