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Farrell Dobbs & Grace Carlson

SWP Blasts CIO Chiefs for Supporting Truman

Also Scores Wallace Backing of Old-Line Party Candidates

(6 September 1948)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 36, 6 September 1948, p. 1.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

After giving shame-faced and back-door support to Truman for several months, the majority of you CIO and AFL leaders have decided to brazen it out. You have finally announced open and even “enthusiastic” support for the man who has broken more strikes than any president in U.S. history.

Never will you be able to justify this political betrayal before the workers of America. We confidently predict that millions of workers will repudiate your choice either by staying home on election day or easting an unprecedented protest vote for minority party candidates.

We have used the words “brazen it out” advisedly – particularly in the case of you and your lieutenants, Philip Murray. Only those devoid of all respect for the intelligence of the workers, would dare to take the position you do on Truman after your publicly expressed attitude toward him and his political henchmen these past 3 years.

As we read the statement of your Political Action Committee on Sept. 1, saying that “the platform of the Democratic Party and the record of Harry S. Truman and Senator Alben W. Barklqy are deserving of enthusiastic support,” there came vividly to mind a statement you made on a different occasion, Brother Murray, nearly three years ago.

Then, in a nation-wide broadcast, you scored the Truman Administration in biting and truthful words. You assailed his demand that the GM workers call off their strike without a contract and his order setting up his notorious “fact-finding” system of compulsory arbitration.

Pointing to the union-busting arrogance of the billionaire corporations, you declared: “To all this arrogance, the Federal Administration (that is, the TRUMAN administration) yields in abject cowardice. Its rancor is confined to labor.” You charged that the results of Truman’s policies could only be “to weaken and ultimately to destroy labor union organizations. It can be but the first step for even more savage legislative repression.”

And do you remember what you said a year later, when Truman, on Dec. 3, 1916, announced that he was sending to the new – the 80th Congress – “the strongest measure I know how to prepare” to illegalize the closed shop and impose compulsory arbitration? Do you remember what you said when Truman endorsed the infamous Case anti-labor bill and boasted he hoped to “steal the march” and, “beat the Republicans to the punch.”

You called the Truman administration and the Democratic-controlled 79th Congress “the dictatorship of a reactionary coalition,” and “a deliberate and monstrous movement” to “destroy the labor movement.” And when Truman initiated his punitive injunction and million-dollar fine against the striking miners, you’ said: “All the social, economic and legislative gains of the past decade are in dire danger. The recent court injunction against the United Mine Workers and the vengeful fine imposed is but the first step.”

Truman’s Record on Injunctions

Has anything changed since then, to alter your judgment? Ask the AFL typographical workers. Ask the coal miners. Ask your own members in the CIO Maritime Workers Union. All of them have felt the last of Truman’s strike-breaking injunctions – Taft-Hartley injunctions – within the past six months. Do you think they can back Truman “on his record” with “enthusiasm”?

Why, only two months ago you and your lieutenants were begging the Democratic Convention to nominate anybody – anybody at all – in place of Truman. Your colleague Jack Kroll, head of the CIO-PAC, complained publicly that if Truman were nominated; millions of CIO members would “sit on their hands” next election; day. He was right. They will. And you, Philip Murray, and the rest of the union leaders who offer them nothing but further support of the discredited capitalist candidates, are responsible.

You, and the 35 members of your CIO National Executive: Board who voted to endorse Truman, bitterly attacked the Stalinist minority of the Board for backing Wallace. Who but you and the other union leaders clinging to the bankrupt “two-party system”,: are responsible for the growth of the Wallace movement? Wallace sees the wide-spread sentiment for a labor party which you have obstinately and blindly tried to suppress. He is trying to capitalize on this sentiment. And, naturally, hundreds of thousands of workers who are offered no way out from your political blind alley will turn in misguided hope to the demagogue Wallace.

They will be mistaken – but not for the reasons you give. Their sentiment for a break with the old-line capitalist parties is progressive and sound. But they are being lured into another capitalist party – even though labeled a “progressive third party.”

That is frankly admitted in the appeal for “real working unity” between the CIO-PAC and the Wallace party, issued the day after your Board meeting by C.B. Baldwin, Wallace’s campaign manager. Baldwin pointed out that “of the 56 Congressmen whom the >CIO News> rates as 80 per cent liberal or better, there are few whom we will oppose.” That’s right. You all stand for the same thing, really. The continuation of the capitalist monopoly of politics.

Guilty of Same Crime

You and the Stalinists whom you denounce so bitterly for their foreign policy are really guilty of the same crime: You are attempting by every means of deceit and treachery to prevent the American workers from winning their political independence, from building their own CLASS party based on their own organizations, the unions.

That is a policy that our party, the Socialist Workers Party, is fighting to defeat. We are campaigning on a program of mobilizing the American working class into a party of their own that wills uncompromisingly battle against the capitalist, parties and for a Workers and Farmers Government.

You, the top union leaders, offer the workers only a devil’s choice between corrupt, discredited political agents of Big Business. We, the Socialist Workers Party, offer the only real choice: Independent Labor Political Action through Labor’s Own Party.

You American workers who realize the need for this program, can best advance it by voting for the only candidates who fight for this program in this election. Support Dobbs and Carlson! That is the way to fight for a party of your own.

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