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Farrell Dobbs

New York Democrats, Republicans and
ALP Stage “3-Ring Political Circus,”
Says Farrell Dobbs

(14 September 1946)

Source: The Militant, Vol. IX No. 37, 14 September 1946, p. 6.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Text of a statement on the New York State Conventions of the Democrats, Republicans and American Labor Party by Farrell Dobbs, Socialist Workers Party Candidate for Governor of New York

* * *

The New York State Conventions of the Republicans, Democrats and American Labor Party last week constituted a three-ring political circus with Wall Street cracking the whip.

As everybody knew long in advance, the Republicans had nothing whatever to offer outside the silk-stocking personality of Governor Dewey. The “platform” cooked up by the Republican chefs does not deserve the name. It was simply a glorification of Dewey and an attempt to picture his tenure in office as somehow superior to that of the other Wall Street political machine, the Democrats.

No Better

The Democratic Convention was no better than that of the Republicans. As everybody expected long in advance the Democratic donkey had nothing to offer but Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Since not even the most gullible people can vote for someone no longer among the living, it was necessary to spread Roosevelt’s cloak over the political machine that survived him. Eleanor did this very neatly at the convention stating that the Truman administration “has adhered to the progressive ideals of the Democratic party” – meaning Roosevelt.

Then the opening paragraph of the Democratic platform pledged “the accomplishment of the progressive Democratic program in this State and in the nation under President Harry S. Truman, in the tradition of our late great leader, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”

In this way the Democrats hope to lend the aura of Roosevelt to Truman and crown the strikebreaking, militaristic, Jim-Crow Democratic political machine with the halo of the man who promised “again and again and again” to keep America out of war.

ALP Is Brief

The real issues that face the masses were avoided by both parties like the plague.

The American Labor Party convention, as advertised by its sponsors, proved to be the shortest in its record. This was only natural since all the backroom deals with the capitalist political machines had long ago been put on ice. The convention was held simply as a rubber-stamp affair.

The ALP nominated the Democratic candidates, Mead for Governor and Lehman for Senator. Then to complete the shameful picture, on September 5 the ALP withdrew three of its candidates – Benjamin F. Fielding, Harry J. Chapman and John J. Abt. The ALP heads endorsed in their place three more Democratic candidates, Erastus Corning 2d, for Lt. Gov., Spencer Young for State Comptroller, and Henry Epstein for Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals.

The ALP thus stands foursquare for the candidates of Big Business. It is backing the political party of Truman, the Bilboes, the Rankins and Talmadges.

Stalinist Game

The Stalinists of course manipulate the policy of the ALP. They are playing the most deadly of political games – coalition politics with the capitalists. That is why the Daily Worker is opening up with all guns firing on the Republicans and wild shouts in favor of the Democrats.

How such politics pay off can already be seen. In the Democratic convention Mead got the greatest ovation of the gathering when, in obvious reference to his Stalinist cheering squad, he declared he would not accept “one speck of support from any Fascist, any Communist or any member or friend of the Ku Klux Klan.”

But the Stalinists believe that a smile in the direction of Wall Street always pays. They staggered to their feet after this brutal kick in the mouth and forced their bruised lips into an ingratiating grin. Robert Thompson, State Chairman of the Communist (Stalinist) Party, in the September 6 Daily Worker, characterized the blow as one of the “elements of weakness” evident in the platform and convention of the Democratic Party. “Especially reprehensible,” said Thompson, “is the equal sign placed between fascism and communism in the Democratic platform. This is historical nonsense.”

3-Ring Circus

Nevertheless Thompson continued to shout, “The conventions of the past week have further exposed the Republican Party as the main-spring and chief instrument of reaction in our state.” And he called for a “crusade” to defeat the Republicans. There’s heroism in the face of a brutal kick in the mouth from the Democrats!

All this three-ring circus succeeded in proving was the utter incapacity of these political clowns and confidence men to meet the great issues facing the people.

They did not object to turning over 18½ billion dollars of public funds for one year’s expenses of the war machine.

They did not object to the mushrooming growth of militarism in America.

They did nothing to halt the mad rush toward a Third World War.

In fact they did everything they could to build up the military, increase the expenditures, hasten the approach of another war.

Their gestures on such grave issues as housing were nothing but the most pitiful type of campaign propaganda that will delude no one. Both parties rely mainly on “private” capital to solve the housing crisis; that is, on rent-gouging landlords interested in maintaining the present scarcity.

Particularly disgraceful was the performance on the question of Jim Crow. A ferocious wave of lynch murders has swept the country. Every person with on ounce of decency in his system is raging at the way the murderers are being covered up. The Negro people and the labor movement as a whole expect action to halt the terror and bring the guilty ones to justice. But what happened at Saratoga Springs and Albany?

Oily Phrases

The Republicans commended Dewey’s record in regard to the Ku Klux Klan and race prejudice; the Democrats gently, slapped the venomous reptile Bilbo on the wrist. Both parties included the usual oily phrases about “civil rights” in their platforms. And that was that.

The two slates supported by the Republicans, the Democrats and the ALP are slates of Big Business politicians. Neither of them represents the interests of the working class. They are the worst enemies of the labor movement.

Only one party in New York stands on a program of revolutionary socialism. That party is the Socialist Workers Party. That is the main lesson to be drawn from an analysis of the conventions of Wall Street’s political thugs and their backers.

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