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Farrell Dobbs

Congress Plays Football
with People’s Needs

Only Socialist Workers Party Program Offers
Solution to Inflation, Race Discrimination

(2 August 1948)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 31, 2 August 1948, p. 1.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Truman’s motives for calling a Special Session of Congress are obvious. It is strictly a pre-election political maneuver. But whatever his motives, he has posed many of the burning problems facing us all. His message to Congress plainly shows, however, he has posed these problems only to leave them unanswered.

As for the Republicans, their conduct in and outside of Congress show just as plainly they don’t want these problems even raised. And so we have again the scandalous spectacle of both ruling capitalist parties playing political football with the people’s needs.

Take the question of inflation. The Republicans say they want to let the “natural” economic laws run their course. That is, DO NOTHING! Let prices go up and up until – until the big boom busts!

Not that the Republicans are against any and all controls. They’re just against government controls. They favor a special type of control – controls enforced by the “private government” of the huge monopolies. They fix prices, regulate production, ration out raw materials – all in the interests of their own unlimited profits.

Truman’s proposals for government, “control” of inflation are a mere rehash of his previous pitiful measures. They don’t even touch the heart of inflation – the staggering war debt and the new burden of war preparations which Truman himself is foisting on the people.

That is why – though Truman has promised again and again to “halt” inflation – he has failed and must continue to fail. Washington’s bipartisan war program can only feed inflation!

The ruling monopolies concerned exclusively with profit, the capitalist political parties concerned with preserving the capitalist interests and fattening on the spoils of office, can only rob the working people.

The Socialist Workers Party, whose .message I bring to the country in this presidential campaign, is against the capitalist profit system. We fight for a Workers and Farmers Government and socialism. We have, not the slightest interest in protecting the capitalists. That is why we can put forth the only realistic immediate answer to the burning problem of inflation.

The second plank of the SWP Election Platform declares:

“For the inclusion in all union contracts of an escalator clause (also known as the sliding scale of wages or automatic cost-of-living bonus) to meet the rising cost of living, with the safeguard that wages shall not fall below the basic rates established in the contract! For the application of this principle to wages of all government employees, veterans’ allotments, old-age pensions and social security. For the establishment of price control, to be regulated and enforced by mass consumers committees of housewives, unionists, working farmers and small shopkeepers!”

Along with inflation, the immediate issue of the day is civil rights – particularly the fight to win first-class citizenship for the Negro people. For 16 years the Democratic Administration has sabotaged every move to end Jim-Crow discrimination and segregation. Now, three months before elections, Truman attempts a grandstand play for the Negro vote.

He issued two executive orders purporting to end discrimination m government departments and the armed forces. Every one can see the fraud in these orders. The order on the armed forces is silent about the key issue segregation. The real meaning of this order is – segregation remains!

If inflation is to be curbed, if the Jim Crow system, is to be destroyed root and branch, it will be done only by the mobilization of the working people of all races, united in mass action behind their own program. That is the cause for which my Party and I speak.

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