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The N.T.W.I.U. at Work in Boston

(October 1931)

From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 28 (Whole No. 87), 24 October 1931, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

After a long period of passivity the N.T.W.I.U. has awakened to the fact that something must be done. And while this is not the first time this has been said, let us hope and see that this time it is not only put into words, but into deeds.

During the past week, several meetings were held with leading comrades in an endeavor, finally, to consider seriously the united front policy. It must be said that it took long before we succeeded in getting a “leader” down to Boston and when Burochovitch finally came he received, together with a warm welcome the well-deserved criticism to the G.E.B. for the many shortcomings as well as for sending away some of the heads to Russia during a period of such acute struggles. At a time when the furriers in New York and the cloak and dress makers throughout the industry needed leadership the most, no leader could spare three days in Boston but could spend nine months in the Soviet Union – with the result that the needle trades suffered severely. And today we have a shadow of what once promised to be a broad movement. However, this shadow still has life and needs building up. Every thinking worker will agree that the needle trades union needs the immediate and intensive activity of all forces including the leadership. How, then, could Hyman leave for the Soviet Union with the farewell words: “When the workers will need me, I will come back”? When does Hyman think the time will be more pressing than the present? It is hardly believable that he thinks that the workers do not need him any longer, for he knows the situation thoroughly and also knows that the workers feel it too keenly to accept his statement literally. However, the future will undoubtedly tell the truth.

The united front question is not new and has received much mention but never been made clear to the minds of the workers. Consequently we often hear: “Yes, a united front, but how is it to be enforced?” This question intensified the interest of the workers to find out this time just what the leadership had to propose. When we came to the meeting and after Burochovitch spoke for an hour, he failed, as so many times in the past, to bring forth clearly this idea. Calling to the workers to organize shop committees, make this their fighting body that will demand conditions, that the workers are not compelled to join the Industrial Union is not enough to clarify to the workers the united front policy. We must in a united front draw up a slogan for demands. Together with the Right wing workers who are still deceived by their corrupt leaders, bring our demands to these leaders, emphasizing that they shall not sign agreements for us without fighting for our conditions, and if they will not do this then we will fight without them and against them.

The active membership meeting was followed by a mass meeting with Gold. “This meeting of about four hundred workers, the majority of whom are Right wingers, again proved that the existing conditions are opening the eyes of the workers to the realization that only the unity of all workers can lend them to victory. It was precisely with this in mind that so many answered the call to pave the way for successful struggles in the coming season when the agreements with the bosses expire in February. It was here that our speakers had a splendid opportunity to bring forward more clearly our policy to the workers, and failed again to some extent.

However, let us call this the beginning of real earnest activity. Let us not neglect it as in the past. The time is now. Forward to a genuine united front of all workers in our conning struggles for victory.

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