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Farrell Dobbs & Grace Carlson

SWP Candidates Blast Truman’s
Demagogy; Urge Labor Congress

(27 September 1948)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 39, 27 September 1923, p. 1.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Nothing in this election campaign is likely to be weirder than the debate last week between Democrat Truman and Republican Taft, one of Dewey’s chief backers. The immediate issue was Truman’s charge that Taft personally pressured the NLRB to act against the AFL International Typographical Union. But the real issue was: Who are the best “friends of labor,” the Democrats or Republicans?

Certainly we can recall nothing more fantastic than a debate on this issue between the Republican Senator who co-authored the most vicious anti-labor law in U.S. history and the Democratic President who established the precedents for some of this law’s worst features and has enforced it with brutal vigor.

Few workers, we are sure, will doubt that multi-millionaire Taft, whose family owns one of the leading Ohio newspapers, has used all his influence on behalf of the publishers against the ITU-AFL. And fewer still will swallow his claim that the Taft-Hartley Act was designed to “help labor.”

“Injunction” Harry Truman

But for prize demagogy and hypocrisy we have to award the palm with double-cross to Truman. He’s making a play for labor support by attacking Taft’s intervention against the ITU – while the ITU is battling for its life against a vicious federal injunction secured by Truman’s hand-picked NLRB! Truman complains about Taft “putting the heat” on the NLRB. But what does Truman have to say about the real heat on the ITU – the injunction? Dead silence.

We can confidently predict that the word “injunction” will never pass “Injunction” Harry Truman’s lips in this campaign. He doesn’t want the workers reminded that it was he who revived the use of federal injunctions against strikes; who tried to smash three mine strikes, two of them with injunctions; who broke two railroad strikes with Army seizures; who secured injunctions against the CIO seamen and longshoremen. In short, Truman doesn’t want the workers reminded that he is the greatest government strikebreaker in U.S. history.

But what shall we say of the union leaders who, knowing Truman’s record full well, now try to whitewash it and conceal it and represent this deadly foe of labor as its “best friend.” Are they simply stupid or mistaken ? Or are they conscious traitors ?

Even the ITU leaders, it is painful to note, are silent about Truman’s strikebreaking role. How can they square this with their battle against an injunction for which Truman – we repeat Truman – is chiefly responsible?

A Congress of Labor

A few weeks ago we hailed the ITU convention for advocating a National Emergency Congress of Labor, to be held in Washington, to unite all unions around a joint action program to smash the Taft-Hartley Act and government-by-injunction. That would be a real step forward for labor. We see in the Congress of Labor not only the means to consolidate labor’s forces against the Slave Labor Law but to unite labor politically into its own party that will fight to see that no anti-labor laws are ever again passed.

The basic issue of this campaign is not whether Truman or Dewey is the “lesser evil” for labor, but to rid ourselves of all capitalist politicians by building our own class party. We of the Socialist Workers Party alone fight for the program of building the workers’ own party and establishing a Workers and Farmers Government. That is the program labor needs. That is the program you vote for, when you vote for Dobbs and Carlson on November 2.

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