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Farrell Dobbs

Labor Needs Its Own Party

(6 July 1948)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 30, 26 July 1948, p. 4.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The following is the complete text of the address of Farrell Dobbs, SWP presidential candidate, broadcast over the CBS network on July 6th at 11:15 p.m.

Working people of America!

In recent years it has become more and more difficult to tell a Democratic politician from a Republican. Together they have knifed every proposal for social legislation – from anti-lynch and anti-poll, tax bills to minimum wage raises and housing appropriations. The Republicans and Democrats teamed up to pass the Taft-Hartley Act, and they are now devising even more deadly weapons to be used against the unions after the elections.

Now, for a few months before the elections, these twin servants of monopoly capitalism are staging their customary quarrel over the political swag at Washington.

Truman charges: “This Congress is the worst we’ve had since the first one met.”

Halleck, the Republican leader of the House, snaps back: “There are a lot of people who think Mr. Truman is the poorest President we have had.”

Both politicians are telling the truth. Many millions are agreed that both the Democrats and Republicans ought to be thrown out of office. People are turning away in revulsion from these discredited parties and are looking for a new party.

More than that. The working people of this country are looking for a new kind of party. They want a party they can control and call their own; a party that will advance the cause of the workers, and not deceive and degrade labor for the benefit of the profiteers.

Labor Party Would Get Response

Never were conditions more favorable for the launching of a national Labor Party. This party would command immediate response from 15 million unionists and their families who represent the mightiest organized force in this country. It would arouse the hopes of unorganized workers who stand to gain from every advance by the unions. The Labor Party could count on firm support from the Negro people who already regard the CIO as their main ally in the fight against discrimination. The nation’s youth who are being groomed for another imperialist slaughter and the working farmers, who are disillusioned with the capitalist parties, would rally to the Labor Party.

An independent party launched by the unions will challenge and displace both the Democrats and Republicans and will become the foremost party in the land.

Im office this party of labor will legislate and act for the people, not for a few plutocrats. It will pursue a policy of genuine aid and friendship toward the workers’ and colonial peoples in the rest of the world, instead of menacing them with atom bombs.

The Socialist Workers Party would support such a party launched by the unions. We would advocate that our program be made the program of the. Labor Party.

However, the top union officials have blocked this path for 1948. These pigmies in politics cling desperately to the corrupt two-party system, hoping by some miracle to find a candidate they can palm off on the workers as a “friend of labor.”

The failure of the union officials to launch a Labor Party has enabled Henry Wallace to come forward as a self-styled champion of labor in this presidential campaign. Many who are fed up with the two old-line parties are inclined to believe, or at least to hope, that the Wallace party will satisfy their demands.

Wallace – who for the last 15 years has played the game of capitalist politics – now sets himself up as a new political Messiah. Let us review his record, and then examine his program, to see whether his new party deserves support.

As Secretary of Agriculture, Wallace, who today promises abundance, was responsible for destroying pigs and ploughing under cotton while millions of his countrymen went hungry and ill-clad.

As vice-president, this “crusader for peace” peddled the imperialist lie that American participation in the Second World War would make “The Four Freedoms” prevail and establish “The Century of the Common Man.” Now Wallace himself admits that the billionaires and brass hats are using the military victory to undermine the freedom of the people.

As Secretary of Commerce, he gave silent consent to Truman’s strike-breaking actions against the miners and railroad workers.

Wallace parades as a champion of the Negro people. What struggle for Negro rights did he lead while in high office? Wallace didn’t even dare oppose Jim Crow practices in the Commerce Department in Washington, which he was supposed to be running.

Wallace pretends to be leading a fight against war. He seeks to mislead the people with the fiction that the United Nations can protect the peace.

United Nations a Fraud

The United Nations can no more be relied upon to prevent war than the dead and buried League of Nations it has replaced. The United Nations is not an agency for peace. It is a front organization for American imperialism. Its function is to furnish the diplomatic ballyhoo for a third world war.

Wallace knows that. So do the Communist Party traitors to the working class, who support this Wallace swindle.

The truth is that the fight for peace is inseparable from the fight against the capitalist system, which needs and breeds war for profit. Peace can be achieved only by rallying the people of this country in, struggle against the ruling capitalists to take the powers of life and death out of their hands.

Wallace cannot lead the American people in a genuine antiwar struggle, because he is committed body and soul to the preservation of the capitalist system. He has already served notice in the press that, once war is declared he will climb on the military bandwagon. He’s not an anti-war fighter to the last ditch – but only until the first shot is fired!

This third party bossed by millionaire Wallace, who declares that he is “the best friend capitalism has in the United States today,” is surely not the kind of party American labor wants. The workers need a party of their own, a party they can trust to protect their welfare without compromise or betrayal.

1 am confident that the working people will find the Socialist Workers Party to be the kind of party they are seeking. The Socialist Workers Party is as different from the capitalist parlies as day is from night.

Our members are almost all workers, housewives and young people. We welcome men and women of all colors and nationalities into our ranks on an equal basis.

You will meet members of the Socialist Workers Party wherever the going is tough, wherever extra energy and devotion are needed to defend labor against the employers.

Our finances come from the working people, in nickels, dimes and dollars. No bankers or corporation paymasters give us funds the way they finance the Republicans and Democrats.

Our aims are the most realistic and at the same time the most noble a working class party can have.

That is why I have proudly accepted the Socialist Workers Party nomination for the presidency.

Workers and Farmers Government

The Socialist Workers Party is irreconcilably opposed to the war plans of American monopoly capitalism and its political stooges in Washington. Its candidates are pledged to oppose every militarist move, from the peacetime draft to the Marshall Plan, and to fight every measure aimed against the civil rights of the American people.

The Marshall Plan and the Taft-Hartley Act are but two sides of the same capitalist coin. The Marshall Plan is intended to finance police regimes for the suppression of labor abroad, just as the Taft-Hartley Act is used to break strikes here in America.

So long as capitalism endures, hunger, police violence and war will ravage the world.

To guarantee enduring peace and clear the road for a new era of progress, we summon every working man and woman to support the program of the Socialist Workers Party. It is a program of struggle for a Workers and Farmers Government. It is a program to end the oppressive system of capitalist misrule.

The Workers and Farmers Government will abolish the ruinous power of the greedy profiteers over the lives and welfare of the American people. It alone will reorganize industry and agriculture into a planned economy which will guarantee abundance, freedom and security to all.

War and poverty, fear and race hatred will then disappear, and like cannibalism and slavery become relics of a barbarous past.

Working men and women of America!

The fate of civilization depends on the working class. Take the road of independent political action to establish a Workers and Farmers Government.

You can set out on that road in the 1948 elections by casting your vote for the candidates of the Socialist Workers Party.

Join with the Socialist Workers Party in its unceasing struggle to build a socialist society in which life on this earth will be a thing of beauty and a thing of joy.

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