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Sol Dollinger

Flint SWP Leads Fight
to Defeat Tax Increase

(19 June 1945)

From The Militant, Vol. 10 No. 26, 29 June 1946, pp. 1 & 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

FLINT, Mich., June 19 – A second attempt by the corporate interests to put over an increased property tax on the Flint auto workers and other small-home owners was defeated yesterday when the proposition failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority of 25,000 votes cast.

The Socialist Workers Party here led the fight against the tax boost. It was the only organization which publicly opposed and exposed the measure, and its campaign had a great influence on the outcome of the vote.

An attempt was made to silence the SWP. 5,000 leaflets addressed to the General Motors and other workers for early election morning distribution were stolen by corporation stooges from the car of the SWP organizer the night before the vote.

Another leaflet was printed late that same night. Scores of local union leaders responded to an SWP call for aid in exposing the gross violation of the rights of a working class political organization.

Denounce Theft

Although not in accord with the views in the SWP leaflet, Everett Francis, president of the CIO United Auto workers Fisher Body local, and Ben Woodward, president of the Buick local, issued a sharp denunciation of those responsible for pilfering the leaflets. As yet, the local press has not seen fit to print the statement.

The big corporate and real estate interests went to such lengths to prevent the SWP from being heard because the highly-financed tax increase campaign was based on the propaganda that there was no opposition to the proposal. That fiction was exploded by the SWP leaflet. The Flint Journal had ignored an SWP press release and the News-Advertiser refused to run an advertisement.

Even CIO Council leaders were taken in by the propaganda of the so-called School Citizens Committee, headed by a General Motors representative. This committee claimed the tax increase was needed to prevent a school finances crisis and to meet the just demands of the school teachers for pay increases. With the elections over, the school board has now discovered that it can borrow the necessary money to cover expenses and meet the school crisis.

During the last depression the banks and real estate interests picked up eighty percent of the houses here for a song. Then they set up a tax limitation. They want to raise it now that many of these houses again are owned by workers and small-property owners. Meanwhile, General Motors property has a scandalously low tax evaluation.

A CIO Council statement gave support to the tax proposition on the grounds of insufficient time to put through a better tax method in view of the immediate needs of the school system. It added: “The next labor vote will be to shift the burden where it belongs.”

Let Rich Pay!

The strong working class vote against the measure shows the workers want to put the “burden where it belongs” right now. They are anxious to raise the teachers’ pay, but they want the wealthy corporations and big real estate interests to pay for it.

For the first time in years, a city commission has been elected which appears to be completely dominated by Big Business representatives. But the Flint workers could easily break the corporation stranglehold and solve such problems as local taxation through a labor party.

The major auto and CIO locals here are on record for a labor party. With a real effort, they could build a labor party and sweep all political offices.

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