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William Gorman

Political Crazyquilt Snares
Coast Labor

(14 October 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 41, 14 October 1946, p. 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

SAN FRANCISCO – The Wallace affair has increased political confusion in California. The Democratic Party in this state is a crazyquilt combination of the old Democratic machine and the Stalinist-controlled CIO. The latter is responsible for snaring the labor vote at a time when labor is extremely dissatisfied with the housing and price situation.

The Democratic Party-Communist Party deal was achieved only after extensive smoke-filled-room contriving. Once achieved, the Stalinists drove hard to evangelize the Democratic Party and herd the workers once more into providing fat government jobs for aspiring Democratic office holders. But the coalition, made up of advocates of American imperialism and advocates of Russian imperialism, was very tenuous when it began. Today, it is bursting at the seams. It would be well nigh impossible to find any one in the Democratic Party camp who could explain the criss-crossing splits and splinters that come flying from this “force of progress,” as the Stalinists so blatantly titled it.

Act I

Since Governor Warren won both the Democratic and Republican nominations in the primary election, James Roosevelt, the Democratic Party chairman, conceded that he would vote for Warren in the coming elections. The Stalinists, who are conducting a write-in campaign for their candidate, Arcie Brown, let out a pained howl. David Hedley, State CIO-PAC chief, said, “When Mr. Roosevelt says he will vote for Warren, he ... blurs the dividing line between reaction and the forces for progress.”

Act II

“The Democratic County Committee, largest county unit in this state, is out in support of Wallace.” (San Francisco Chronicle, September 24) However, Will Rogers, the Democratic Party candidate for Senator, declared that he is for a “get tough” policy with Russia, i.e., supporting Byrnes and Truman!


Rollin McNitt, head of the Democratic County Committee which is supporting Wallace, is embroiled with Ellis F. Patterson. Patterson, who lost out to Rogers for Democratic Party Senatorial nomination, has declared himself a candidate for Congress from the Sixtieth District, against the regular Democratic candidate Harold Harby. Patterson is receiving Political Action Committee support. PAC is supporting the Democratic Party. “McNnitt threatened disciplinary action against all Democratic Party committeemen who support Patterson.” (Chronicle, September 25.) McNitt then resigned from the PAC. “Patterson said he would pay no attention to McNitt.” (Chronicle, September 25.)

Act IV

Patterson said that he will not support Rogers. “Patterson charged that Wallace had double-crossed him after promising in Washington that he would not be a candidate.” (Chronicle, September 26.)

The PAC statement on Roosevelt’s support of Warren continued, “the situation created by Mr. Roosevelt’s remarks will undoubtedly call for a careful examination by the state meeting of the California CIO and its Political Action Committee.”

Meanwhile, a possible hint of the results of the “examination” have been the “third party” statements by Patterson and Bartley Crum. (Crum is a Republican attorney who once lived in Wendell Willkie’s shadow and has now become one of the most reliable Stalinist weathervanes on the West Coast.) Patterson declared that he hopes Wallace will lead a “Third Party.” This was the same day that Wallace announced that he would campaign for “worthy Democrats.”

Stalinist Misleaders

This sordid playing of political football with the political power and strength of the California working class is not yet over. The Stalinists have thrust the CIO into greater confusion and disoriented the millions the CIO could have rallied to a fighting labor program, for the traditional Democratic vote-catchers are not so much to blame as the Stalinist misleaders who proclaim that they speak in the name of the working people.

The workers of California, are being provided with a multitude of excellent reasons for the formation and building of an Independent Labor Party. The dividing line between “reaction and the forces of progress” is the dividing line between the small group of profiteers and their political agents and fakers on one side, and the millions of workers on the other.

For housing, price-freezing, economic security the workers need only use their power for their own behalf. The very first step is the building of an Independent Labor Party NOW!

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