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Farrell Dobbs

Fear of Depression Is Voiced
at Trial of 11

(8 March 1949)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 11, 14 March 1949, p. 1.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

NEW YORK, Mar. 8 – Mass fear of threatening economic depression today walked among the jurors brought into the courtroom where the Stalinists are on trial.

A clerk employed by an eastern railroad wished to be excused because he couldn’t be away from his job for the long period of the trial.

“Do you mean to say such a big company can’t find somebody else to do your work?” the judge asked.

The clerk replied that they could and for that reason he didn’t want to be away from the job.

“They are already laying off a lot of people,” he added.

A different approach was taken by an agent for a big insurance company who walks a neighborhood beat selling nickle-a-week policies and collecting premiums.

He was willing to serve on the jury if the judge would make the insurance company promise to put him back to work when the trial ends.

“Can’t you find out about that?” the judge asked.

“It will be better for me, judge, if you write a letter or telephone the company,” he replied.

Both the clerk and the agent were excused, as were an accountant and a grocery salesman who feared they might be included in a lay-off while they were doing jury duty.

Salesman Worried Too

Also excused were a number of salesmen working on commission who said sales competition is stiffer than it has been for a long while. They feared other salesmen would grab their customers while they were on the fury.

A stock broker was excused because he didn’t want to lose close touch with the shaky stock market.

Worry about “all the talk of a recession” won dismissal for a corporation head who plans to tour his empire in order to “shape a new policy.” At every stop on his tour the corporation’s employees will no doubt be anxiously scanning the seniority lists wondering who will get the axe.

(See page 4 for a report on the selection of the jury for the trial of the Stalinists.)

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