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Susan Green

ALP Circus Antics Indicate Need
of an Independent Party of Labor

(31 August 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 35, 31 August 1942, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Of all the political clowning that characterized the nominations for governor for the state of New York, the best circus show was put on by the American Labor Party – although the Democratic and Republican Parties did not do too badly in this respect.

The two old parties continued the antics of tweedledee and tweedledum – with a little variation in the Democratic Party due to the Roosevelt-Farley tiff. But the American Labor Party gave final and conclusive demonstration of the fact that it is not an independent political party and definitely does not represent labor’s interests.

The course of the ALP has been clearly charted. It has been to corral the votes of labor in New York behind Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “enlightened” political representative of dominant capitalist interests in this country. So pro-Roosevelt are the ALP big-wigs that when Senator Mead lost the nomination to Attorney General Bennett – political tools respectively of Roosevelt and Farley – the ALP big-wigs decided to outdo Roosevelt in their pro-Rooseveltism.

To consolidate the Democratic Party for the election, the Roosevelt contingent at the convention was willing to “forgive and forget” – and get behind Bennett for governor. But the ALP was content with nothing less than a “New Deal” candidate. So at its own convention it put up for governor one Dean Alfange, who, it is reported, accepted after six other “favorites” had refused the honor.

And who is this Alfange, the white hope of the ALP?

He is a dyed-in-the-wool Tammany politician. He is a member, not of the ALP, but of the Democratic Party. He has never voted for an ALP candidate who was not also a Democratic Party candidate. He has no intention now – even with the ALP nomination in his pocket – of enrolling in the ALP. This is the “independent” that the ALP has put up as its candidate.

Alfange is a lawyer in general practice. So far removed is he from labor and labor’s interests that he has never, even as a lawyer, represented a labor union. This “independent’s” office walls are decorated with autographed photographs of Farley, Lehman, Rayburn, McNutt and other Democratic Party leaders. He boasts that Boss Farley always was and still is his good friend.

The rest of the ALP slate – with one exception – is the same as the Democratic Party list. The exception is in its nomination for Attorney General. The ALP put up Alexander Kahn business manager of the Jewish Daily Forward, instead of Henry Epstein – perhaps because Epstein declared that his “platform is John J. Bennett.”

It is important that the workers of New York get the full meaning of the ALP debacle. Never was the need by labor for independent political action more urgent than today, when the capitalist government uses the war as a hammer to knock down labor.

Working class politics through an INDEPENDENT Labor Party is a weapon labor must grasp without delay.

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Last updated: 11 September 2014