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Farrell Dobbs & Grace Carlson

Labor Day Message

(30 August 1948)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 35, 30 August 1948, p. 1.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

We take the occasion of this Labor Day to address ourselves to the mighty host of Organized Labor on the most crucial problem before it – political action.

Every Labor Day message of union papers and leaders stresses political action. But you will study these statements in vain for any new and vital political program that will inspire and mobilize the workers.

We read your statement, William Green, telling us in vivid detail of the reactionary crimes of the 80th Congress and sounding the keynote: “USE YOUR VOTE!” Use it for whom or what? You don’t say. It seems you and the other top AFL leaders are torn between Truman, the greatest presidential strikebreaker in U.S. history, and Dewey, banner-bearer of the Republican Party of Taft-Hartleyism and Standard Oil.

A Shamefaced Endorsement

As for you of the CIO leadership – Murray, Reuther, Rieve and your colleagues – it is an open secret that you are preparing to make a belated and shamefaced endorsement of Truman – the man you said you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole less than two months ago. You are planning to thrust Truman and the Democratic Party down the throats of the unwilling rank and file.

On Labor Day in Cadillac Square, Detroit – which in the- past has rung to the march of hundreds of thousands in militant demonstrations – the workers of the CIO and AFL have been summoned by leaders like Walter Reuther and Frank X. Martell to assemble together and pay tribute to Truman.

We say that you union leaders – CIO and AFL – befoul every progressive tradition of organized labor when you dare to present “Injunction” Harry Truman to the workers of Detroit and America as a “friend of labor.” But you must go through with this shameful spectacle, because you have nothing else to offer. You are bankrupts.

A Blind Alley

Your kind of politics has led labor into a blind alley. Your short-sighted and cowardly refusal to lead the workers to the building of their own party is the reason for the 80th Congress and its Taft-Hartley Law – yes, and for the 79th and 78th and 77th Congresses which laid the basis for the notorious record of their successor. You have deliberately disarmed the workers politically before their enemies.

United Combat

But you do not reflect the real sentiments of those you profess to represent. Their true feelings are embodied in the appeal of the AFL International Typographical Union convention to all the unions to convene together in Washington for a National Emergency Congress of Labor to unitedly combat the wave of injunctions and the Taft-Hartley Law.

We hail the members and leaders of the ITU who have sponsored this great, unifying program. We go further and say that such a Congress of Labor – which we have long urged – provides the necessary and sure instrument not only for united labor struggle against the Taft-Hartley Slave Law but for the launching of labor’s own party.

Vote for Dobbs-Carlson

As the only presidential and vice-presidential candidates who stand for genuine independent labor political action and for the building of labor’s own parly, we ask the support and vote of the American workers as the best way to show your desire for a party and program free from all capitalist influence.

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Last updated: 3 November 2022