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Farrell Dobbs

SWP Election Tour

Pitching for Socialism

(13 September 1948)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 38, 20 September 1923, p. 4.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

DETROIT, Sept. 13 – The people of Michigan know that the Socialist Workers Party is in the 1948 election battle.

Our Michigan comrades are doing a bang-up job of campaigning. They have a first-class sound truck which is kept in constant use. Thousands of copies of the SWP election platform, pamphlets, The Militant and other literature have been distributed. They are seizing every chance to get in their licks over the radio.

Our local candidates are right in there pitching. Howard Lerner, Genora Dollinger and William Yancey are doing a Trotskyist job in their campaign for Governor, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State.

Every Michigan comrade is carrying the message of socialism right into the factories and the working class and Negro neighborhoods. The workers are giving them a sympathetic hearing.

I have heard numerous stories of workers taking our literature onto the job, reading it by sentences or paragraphs as best they could under the speedup the auto corporations are imposing upon them. The comrades report that very little of our literature is found on the ground after a distribution. The workers take it, read it and talk about it. Thousands of Michigan workers now know about the SWP, its candidates and its program.

The Flint comrades were right on their toes when strikebreaker Truman came to town. They managed to drive our sound truck, with signs proclaiming our party, candidates and slogans, three-fourths of the way down Truman’s parade route. Thousands of people, who were lined up awaiting Truman’s appearance, saw and heard the Trotskyists too.

Truman spoke 17 minutes over the major Flint radio. Since Truman received free time, our comrades demanded and won 17 minutes free time for me to answer Truman over the same station. I spoke at 6:15 p.m., right after a broadcast of the news and baseball scores. A big audience was reached in Flint, Pontiac, Saginaw and many upstate communities.

In Detroit, the comrades distributed over 15,000 pieces of SWP literature at the Truman rally in Cadillac Square. Truman’s audience at the Pontiac railroad station received 3,000 copies of SWP campaign material.

My public meetings in Flint and Detroit have been well attended by enthusiastic audiences of auto workers with a good percentage of Negro workers among them. In both cities, the workers have listened attentively to my explanation of the struggle for socialism and have then demanded that I tell them the story of the famous Minneapolis truck drivers strike of 1934.

I visited Chicago before coming to Michigan. Despite the handicap of the Labor Day weekend, the comrades organized impressive public meetings in both Chicago and Indiana Harbor. My explanation of the Workers and Farmers Government and the socialist society it will build was well received by the workers.

In individual conversations with workers after the meetings, I found that they are thinking deeply about the grave political problems confronting them. There is widespread resentment against the treachery of the high union officials in endorsing the hated strikebreaker, Truman.

Comrade Manny Terbovich and I discussed the SWP program in a 15 minute broadcast over the Hammond radio, which has a big audience in the Calumet region where 250,000 industrial workers are concentrated.

The worker comrades told me that in the steel mills in that area there is a great deal of sympathy with the fight of Jimmy Kutcher, our legless war-veteran comrade, who has been victimized by the Truman administration because of his political beliefs.

Next stop on my tour is Pontiac, Michigan. From there I go into Ohio. Every stop brings new experiences and new inspiration that our programatically-mighty little party is not so far away from the day when it will be a numerically-powerful big party.

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Last updated: 3 November 2022