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Notes of the Week

(18 November 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 52, 18 November 1933, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“Worker, Farmer ‘Join Up’”

Worker, Farmer “Join Up” – is not, as you might suspect, just another Communist slogan. It happens to be the news-head of a story in the daily press. The story deals with the strike of the workers at the George A. Harmel Packing Co. plant in Austin, Minnesota.

* * * *

The strikers, say the newspapers, “seized the plant, seventh largest in the world ... after a clash with guards. The strikers were aided by members of the Farmer’s National Holiday Association.” The headline – Worker, Farmer “Join Up” – merely sums up a cold fact.

* * * *

And still such a matter-of-fact headline sends a thrill of appreciation down a militant worker’s spine. It has within it the portent of a magnificent perspective. It forbodes, by recounting a live incident, such a union of the mass of toilers in this country as will finally spell the doom of the ruling capitalist class.

* * * *

The productive forces of society on either pole – on the farm and in the factory – instinctively join hands! They have many different viewpoints, they may have varying conceptions of property, of law. But they are drawn closer and closer to each other in mutual self-defense against the destructive force of society – in defense against the ravages of capitalism.

* * * *

The events at Austin, Minnesota, bear a striking proof of this inevitable getting-together of workers and farmers. It is spontaneous, as the passion of the fghters themselves. The unity which is to deal he decisive blow for the preservation and defense of humanity in this country is still in the groping stage. More “Austins” will dot the map as time goes by.

* * * *

“Joining up” of farmers and workers will become more than a spontaneous outburst. Thinking farmers will give more thought to the idea of linking up their fight for life with that of the city producer.

It will be up to the industrial workers, with all their strike-experience, with all their natural discipline of action and aptness for collective struggle – to give the lead.

* * * *

Powerful unions, a unified working class policy, and above all – the assimilation of international experience – will do more than anything else to enable American workers to build up and buttress the fighting front of the workers and farmers for a decisive, revolutionary solution of their common problems.

* * * *

Austin lights the way. It unfolds the possibilities of successful struggle. But it is also an admonition, a challenge to workers to prepare for the opportunities that are bound to arise.

* * * *

If They Won’t Raise ’Em – They’ll Stretch ’Em.

Not a step that the New Dealers take but has the interests of the working class at heart. Recently they put over Repeal. But, you might ask: What has Repeal to do with the interests of the workers in particular?

The answer is pretty easy. That is, if you’ve heard of the New York State regulations for the sale of liquor. Bottled drinks are to be sold cash down only. This provision, New York State’s dictator of booze – Mr. Mulrooney, who not so long ago had the occasion to show his love for the workers in his capacity as police commissioner of the city – explains, is motivated by a desire to prevent pay envelopes from being emptied out by heaped-up charge accounts. It is, in other words, designed to stretch wages.

* * * *

NRA and the codes haven’t done much to bring about higher pay and guarantee decent living conditions. But the New Dealers are determined to do right by the working man. If NRA and the codes won’t do the trick – no doubt the liquor regulations will be of help. No doubt!

If they can’t raise wages, then they’ll stretch them.

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Last updated: 3 January 2016