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Albert Goldman

A Vote for Socialism Is a Vote Cast
for Peace and Security –
Goldman, Chicago WP Candidate

(23 March 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 13, 31 March 1947, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The following radio speech was delivered by Albert Goldman, Workers Party candidate for Mayor of Chicago, over Station WJJD on March 23

The undemocratic state election law has prevented me from getting on the ballot. It will be necessary, therefore, for those of you who are determined to vote for the ideas of socialism to write my name on the ballot. I urge you to do so because, as I shall show you in the course of my talk, it is the only meaningful thing one can do at the polling place.

A movement has been started to change the election laws of this state so that minority parties and independent candidates can more easily get on the ballot. You will soon hear of this movement initiated by the American Civil Liberties Union and you should certainly give it your full support.

A law which compels a party or an independent candidate to collect more than 88,000 signatures in order to get on the ballot as a candidate for mayor of this city violates every fundamental principle of democracy. It appears self-evident that if one thousand citizens declare, by means of signing a petition, that they want a certain person to run as candidate for mayor, their will should not be thwarted by a law which says that 88,000 signatures must be obtained.

We rightly condemn the one-party rule of a totalitarian state; we must also strenuously object to any law which, in effect, compels a voter to. choose between two parties he considers equally bad.

He who does not write in my name on the ballot but makes a choice between Root, the Republican candidate, and Kennelly, the Democratic candidate, actually participates in a sham battle, as far as the welfare of the inhabitants of this city is concerned. The differences between the two candidates in program and general approach are so minor that it hardly pays to take the trouble to make a choice. On every major issue confronting the people of this city Kennelly and Root have been making the same very broad and general promises that are usually made in a pre-election campaign. One can be certain that nothing much will be altered by the election of either one.

The Nature of the Two Old Parties

There is a basic reason for expecting no substantial change from the election either of a Republican or Democrat as mayor. The reason is that both of these parties and their candidates are devoted to the preservation of the profit system.

Let us take the transit problem of this city as an example. At least twice a day for six days out of the week the average person going to and from work is furnished with a rude lesson on the inadequacies of Chicago’s transportation system. Nine times out of ten he is squeezed into an old, unventilated car – stifling hot in summer, drafty in winter – so that by the time he gets to work he is already half exhausted and by the time he returns to his home his nerves are completely on edge.

After draining all of the profits out of the surface and elevated lines, those in control finally had to yield to a receivership. For approximately twenty years the surface and elevated lines have been operating under the receivership. The receiver and his assistants, the receiver’s lawyers and their assistants have harvested nice sums of money for themselves. The dilapidated condition of both rolling stock and structure is apparent to everyone. With the passing of years the transportation system becomes worse and the fares climb higher and higher.

In any rationally organized society the transportation system of a city would be considered as a public necessity and everything possible would be done to make a person comfortable during the time he has to ride from one place to another. Under the capitalist system, the means of transport are generally owned by capitalists who are interested only in making profits,

Even if the transit should finally come under the control of the city, there would be no substantial improvement under an administration that believes in the profit system. For such an administration would still be confronted by the problem of making the transit system pay for itself and the people would still have to pay high fares and get the same miserable service.

How Socialists Would Handle Transit

A socialist administration would consider the transit system just as much of a public necessity as the street or water system. No one raises the question of making the streets pay for themselves; why, then, should we raise that question with reference to transportation? I do not advocate free transportation for everybody; I contend, however, that a five-cent fare is sufficient, with any deficit met out of taxes.

Is it not true that the greatest of all benefits from the transit system accrues to the merchants of The Loop and of other shopping centers? Is it not therefore just that the merchants of these shopping centers pay a. substantial tax for the upkeep of the transit system which adds so much to the value of the real estate in the shopping centers?

Would either Root or Kennelly endorse the idea of a special tax on the merchants and real estate owners of the main shopping centers for the purpose of helping to defray the costs of operating the transit system? I can say with great confidence that they would not. For in their lives and in their ideas they are tied up with these merchants and real estate owners.

In any solution of the transit problem those who work for the system must be given primary consideration. In the first place they must be guaranteed sufficient wages to give them a decent livelihood and in the second place they should be given a great share of the responsibility for managing and operating the transit system. If the transport workers are made to feel that the people look to them for efficient operation, they would, I am certain, respond magnificently. Through their union and through committees they would see to it that the people get far better service than they get now.

Neither Kennelly nor Root Will Help

It can be said with assurance that neither the election of Kennelly nor of Root will make a substantial difference as far as the transportation system is concerned. Undoubtedly they will pay more attention to the contemplated super-highways for serving the owners of automobiles than to the surface and elevated cars serving the vast majority of the people.

And what is true of the transportation problem is also true of every other important problem confronting the people of this city. Whether Kennelly or Root is elected, the serious housing situation will be not substantially improved for the people with lower incomes. Of course they are making campaign promises with reference to housing, but no one should expect any serious effort on their part to fulfill their promises.

In what way did Kennelly or Root fight for better housing conditions for the people before they became candidates? The party I belong to fights for better housing conditions every day of the year and not only during an election campaign.

Furthermore, Kennelly and Root will give us the old standby that private industry should take care of the housing problem. Undoubtedly private industry will take good care to solve the housing problem for those who can afford to pay a hundred dollars a month or more for rent, but it will not solve the problem of a worker earning about forty dollars a week and blessed with a wife and two children or more.

And will either Kennelly or Root put up a serious struggle for rent control if, as is very likely, Congress permits the rentcontrol law to lapse? In spite of their promises, I have my doubts, because they are too closely tied up with the real estate interests.

Will either Kennelly or Root carry on a struggle against the shameful restrictive covenants which prohibit Negroes from

living where they please and which confine them to the terrible slum area of the South Side? There is nothing whatever in their record to justify the hope that they will raise their voices against Jim Crowism in general and the restrictive covenants in particular.

Some Questions to Boss Party Candidates

Will either Kennelly or Root take measures to provide free lunches to school children in the working class districts? I venture to say that neither one of them will do more than utter a few pious platitudes about the need for such a thing.

Will either Kennelly or Root abolish the strike-breaking squad on the police force? I can say with assurance that they will not.

Will either of them participate actively in a struggle against the proposed anti-labor legislation in Congress and in the legislatures of many states? They will not.

The conclusion is inescapable. Neither the election of Root nor the election of Kennelly will result in any noticeable improvement in existing conditions. They are representatives of two different parties but these parties base themselves on the same fundamental principle – the preservation of the profit system. They represent two different political machines in the city of Chicago but these political machines differ only in the sense that each machine wants the spoils of office for its own members. It should be clear to everybody, by this time, except to some fake or blind liberals, that Kennelly is a candidate of the Kelly-Arvey machine just as Root is a candidate of the McCormick-Green machine.

Some people claim that to vote for a candidate representing the ideas of socialism means to throw away one’s vote. In actuality he who votes for Root or Kennelly is throwing his vote away, because this means preferring one corrupt political machine as against another.

Only they who are satisfied with conditions as they are have a right to vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate. But those who are dissatisfied, those who want to see a radical change, can best register their convictions by writing in my name as candidate for mayor on the Workers Party ticket.

A Write-In Vote for Goldman

If you write in my name on the ballot you thereby indicate your belief that only a socialist will really make serious attempts to solve the housing problem for the masses of the people.

If you write in my name on the ballot you indicate not only your dissatisfaction with the transportation system, but also your belief that only a socialist will deal with that problem, having the interests of the people at heart.

If you write my name on the ballot you thereby indicate that you know that only a socialist will struggle against every form of Jim Crowism and take every measure to destroy the restrictive covenants.

And a vote for socialism has a significance beyond the local elections. It indicates your hostility to a system of society where production is carried on for the profit of the few instead of for the benefit of the many.

A vote for socialism means that you protest against a system which utilizes its tremendous productive capacity only during a war, for death and destruction.

Write in my name on the ballot and have the satisfaction of protesting against a system based on exploitation, greed and racial and national hatreds.

Write in my name on the ballot and indicate that you are in that way at least participating in the struggle for socialism, which means peace, true democracy and real equality for all mankind.

Come to the campaign meeting of the Workers Party at its headquarters, 1501 West Madison Street, Saturday, March 29, 8:30 p.m. Write for literature and information about our party.

Good afternoon and vote for socialism.

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