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George Clarke

SWP Election News

Campaigning for Socialism

(1 November 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 44, 1 November 1948, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

With this column your campaign manager signs off. And let me tell you, he does it in a happy mood. It was a grand campaign from start to finish and I know I speak for every campaign worker from here to Seattle and back when I say we shall ever look back on this campaign with the warmest feelings of pride and achievement.

When the campaign was first proposed, many viewed it as “impossible.” Well, we did the impossible – and we did it well. We cracked the iron curtain of silence against us in the press arid radio. I say “we” did it because we fought for every inch of newspaper space and every minute of radio time. Norman Thomas got his easier and in far greater measure because he bought his publicity with the coin of socialist principles which he traded with disgusting obscenity for the national spotlight.

We gained recognition as a rising power in the working class and as a significant tendency in the labor movement not only because we fought for this recognition, but because it is the truth. Thousands and millions of workers, seeing and hearing us for the first time, have recognized this truth. That they will remember us and move in our direction in the great struggles to come – of that we are convinced down to the soles of our shoes.

Whether this recognition will be translated into a proportionate number of votes for Dobbs and Carlson remains to be seen. We face great obstacles at the polls. We are a new party in our first bid for presidential votes. We are the only real opposition – the most extreme and the most radical – to the giant power of Wall Street. We can expect them to manipulate our votes, just as they try to keep us off the ballot. But the best way to beat this conspiracy is to go out and get the vote. The bigger the vote for Dobbs and Carlson, the better the chance to force a real count.

The Wind Up in New York

The campaign came to its fitting climax in New York last Wednesday. There is a story on the meeting elsewhere in this issue so I won’t take up more space describing it except that all hearts were lifted by great speeches by great candidates for a great cause.

Our New York campaigners have many other victories to record. Here I want to deal with two of them because they show we are beginning to break down the Stalinist monopoly over the radical working class public in this city – and right in their own bailiwicks.

The first was a big campaign rally on a Street corner of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, only a stone’s throw from the hall where the Stalinists once violently broke up a Trotskyist public meeting. A large crowd listened to speeches by Mike Bartell, Dave Weiss and Harry Ring. When Farrell Dobbs mounted the platform the crowd had swelled to over 400 overflowing into the streets.

The second victory took place at the Fort Greene Housing project in Brooklyn where the Stalinist-run tenants group had organized a political symposium to hear representatives of the Democrats, Republicans, the Wallace Party and the Stalinists – but excluding us.

Mike Bartell, New York SWP organizer, carried the fight for an SWP speaker right to the floor. A big verbal battle ensued with the, Stalinists resisting the demand of the majority of the meeting'that we be heard. After trying unsuccessfully to stall the meeting with a musical program, the Brooklyn Stalinist leader, Simon Gerson, led his followers out of the hall. But more than half of the 200 present stayed to listen to Mike Bartell and to ask many questions.

Trotskyism Returns to the Campus

One of the many things this campaign has done is to return the ideas of Trotskyism to the colleges and universities where they have received only faint echo since the Shachtmanites split our party in 1940. Orthodox Marxism has returned to the colleges, and it is there to stay and grow.

Our national candidates, or their representatives, have spoken before students at the Universities of Harvard, Washington, Colorado, Wisconsin, Chicago, California-Los Angeles, Southern California, South Dakota, and at Brooklyn, Hunter and New York City colleges. Many campus papers have written up our meetings and candidates.

A Pyrrhic Victory

Pyrrhus was a king in olden times who won a military victory over the Romans at the cost of losing a great part of his army. That’s the kind of a victory the capitalist politicians won over Harry Braverman when the Supreme Court ruled him off the ballot last week in the 19th Congressional District in Youngstown, Ohio. They had to wheel up all their big legal talent, which sweated, manipulated and connived in a two and one-half month court fight until they obtained their biased decision from the top state court.

The case became an Ohio-wide cause published in all the papers as it went from round-to-round: the case of the wealthy, corporation-dominated State of Ohio vs. Harry Braverman, Trotskyist steel worker, pleading in his own defense before the pompous little men in black robes. Just as the stench and scandal of capitalist justice will long cling to the political hirelings of Big Business, so will Harry’s fight be remembered by the workers of Ohio as a gallant defense of their democratic rights.

Next time, you can bet your bottom dollar, they will think twice before they rule us off.

No grass is growing under Myra Tanner Weiss in her campaign for Congress in Los Angeles. In addition to the debate reported elsewhere in the Militant, she has addressed 1,500 striking longshoremen in the Wilmington Bowl, three UAW locals and local union meetings of carpenters, steel, rubber and packinghouse workers, and the Hollywood Chapter of the AVC and students on the UCLA campus.

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