< Ben Hall: Reuther Controls UAW Convention But Delegates Uneasy at Trends (25 July 1949)

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Ben Hall

Reuther Controls UAW Convention
But Delegates Uneasy at Trends

(25 July 1949)

From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 30, 25 July 1949, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

MILWAUKEE, July 18 – The twelfth convention of the United Auto Workers (CIO), meeting in Milwaukee on July 10–15, was the scene of Walter Reuther’s greatest triumph. He was able to unite the convention solidly behind CIO political policy. He raised it to a pitch of enthusiasm in preparation for the battles he promised to lead for the 1949 demands of the union. He obtained increased powers and succeeded in passing resolutions which in effect meant the separation from the CIO of unions dominated by the Communist Party. He effectuated the expulsion of two well-known opponents.

Nevertheless, in a convention which he dominated completely, all measures which were interpreted by the delegates as an invasion of the rights of the rank and file were rebuffed.

The scene was set for the political-action discussion with all the talent of gaudy Hollywood stage-managership. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr., it was revealed to the delegates, was to appear in a few minutes. A guard of honor was appointed to usfier him into the hall. One delegate appealed to the chair: I worked for FDR Jr. in the last election – may I please be on the committee? “You may have that privilege,” said Reuther benignly. Bouquets of roses. The band played Home on the Range, known in musical history as the favorite tune of the FDR.

FDR Jr. materialised. He announced that he was a Democrat. He favored purging the Dixiecrats out of the party. He denounced the steel companies. Like Truman, he said, he demanded the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Law. Thunderous applause.

I place on your lapel, said Reuther, this badge as a fraternal delegate to this great convention. The delegates voted him honorary membership. Now I can truly call you Brother, said Roosevelt. Standing ovation.

With this backdrop the debate on political action began. What started out like a big band ended a big bust.

Two resolutions were put to the delegates. The majority resolution simply restated official CIO policy with special emphasis on building rank-and-file PAC clubs as a machinery independent of all parties.

The minority resolution, introduced by Paul Silver, president of Local 351 and one of the sponsors of the Committee for Democratic and Militant Unionism, reaffirmed the March 1948 policy of the International Executive Board of the UAW. This policy had called for the formation of a progressive political party after the 1948 elections.

The March policy had been an ambiguous statement; it allowed for a dual interpretation. It could mean that the UAW would favor the formation of a new, third political party; or it could simply mean a reshuffling of the two old parties by the exchange of the Dixiecrats for the “liberal” Republicans. But, once the March policy was posed in opposition to the present CIO policy and as a substitute for it, it assumed real significance. Such a proposal could make sense only by saying: against the policy of supporting Democrats and Republicans – for a new party based upon the unions.

Mazey Goes Along

Silver did not last long. There is no difference between the two resolutions – said speakers for the majority – the policy of the UAW still has, as its long-range objective, the formation of a progressive party some time in the unstated future, formed in an unstated manner.

Pressure was put upon Emil Mazey. A delegate from his own Local 212 wanted to know where he, the famous advocate of a Labor Party, stood on this question. He too saw no difference between the two resolutions. Naturally, he said, no existing party is good enough – somehow, sometime ... Or as one delegate put it: now Is not the time; we must wait until all the historical forces have so combined.

Silver compromised. He withdrew his resolution and satisfied himself with a sentence or two tacked on to the majority resolution. The March statement had called for a progressive party after the ’48 elections. With Silver’s compromise it loses all meaning. After ’48 now means 1968 or 2068.

Several delegates spoke out for the formation of a Labor Party. On a previous point on the agenda, Rawcliffe of Lincoln Local 900 had said:

“I am not supporting the Democratic Party, which has stabbed us in the back during the last six months. It is about time that this convention and other labor conventions considered forming their own party and sending their own party to Congress to formulate laws for the people and not for the big monopolists.”

Canadian Example Cited

Allen Schroeder, delegate from GM Local 199 in Canada, spoke for the formation in the United States of a party like the Canadian CCF (Cooperative Commonwealth Federation). The UAW board has endorsed the CCF and in fact contributed $10,000 to its election campaign.

The same applies to the political picture in Canada as in the United States. ... In Canada.” he said, “we have a political party made up of the working people of that country ... That party was a third party at one time. It is rapidly becoming a second party ... In a very few years, the people of Canada will have a choice between the party that represents big business on the one hand and the workers on the other hand, when they go to the polls ... I hope the same thing will happen in the United States.”

Fishman of Ford Local 400 said: “Nobody has to convince any of the delegates of the importance of political action.” But, he added, we must be for “a labor party as being the most effective type of political arm that we can build in this country.”

But the convention was impatient and restless. With the minority report withdrawn, discussion was speedily terminated and the combined majority-minority report adopted by a thumping vote.

Fund for Fourth Round

Newspaper headlines had already announced the setting of a date for the steel strike and the rejection of Truman’s mediation offer by the big corporations. As they rustled the newspaper pages, the delegates heard special messages from Ford locals all over the country: ten to one for a strike. Later editions quoted Henry Ford, who had just stepped off the boat returning to the United States from abroad: the UAW demands will wreck our economy, he says.

Reuther was his militant self. The hall rang with his phrases: End the double standard on pensions. The companies tell us that now is not the time, but now is the time. We’re not waiting. In a few weeks we’ll be going out after Ford.

In double-quick time the convention voted a special assessment of one dollar a week for twelve weeks in the event of a strike emergency. Although Reuther had been compelled to withdraw a proposal to increase dues from $1.50 to $2 a month, only a baker’s dozen opposed the assessment. Everyone expects action. Everyone is ready to back it up.

But nobody pointed out certain difficulties of the fight for wage increates, pensions and health plans in 1949. How will “our liberal friends” in Congress react to a strike? Will Truman utilize the emergency-strike provisions of the Taft-Hartley Law? Will we have to compromise our demands in order to avoid embarrassing “our” administration in Washington?

These questions not only remained unanswered: they were not even asked. Reuther could not deal with these questions. He is now the foremost defender of official CIO policy, working hand-in-glove with Murray. A political knife hangs over the ’49 negotiations. But to admit this would be to admit the weakness of official CIO policy, which portrays Truman as a great friend of labor.

But: roses for Roosevelt Jr. ... we are the vanguard ... unite for action ... solidarity forever – who could see his way through this to the political problems of the day?

Reuther’s Slate In

It was Reuther’s convention all the way. But he is no union boss whose word is law. He is the recognized and virtually unchallenged leader but he is not dictator and commander. (He was reminded more than once that control remains in the hands of the rank and file.) His slate for top officers was swept back into office by 13–1 majorities (8,000 to 600).

Claud Bland of Hudson Local 154, nominated for president by the Committee for Democratic and Militant Unionism, declined, stating: “Only a portion of our membership has a clear appreciation of the differences in policy which separate our group from the leadership of our union.”

The Stalinists and their last remaining fellow-travelers, organized in the Progressive Unity Caucus, received 600 votes for presidential candidate W.G. Grant, former head of Ford Local 600. The factional struggles of the past years have taught the thinking ranks of the UAW to detest Stalinism for what it is, the agent of the Russian bureaucracy. Hoots of laughter greeted its protestations of democracy and militancy at the convention.

Its spokesmen said their piece but made no impression. Stalinism in the UAW is thoroughly, completely and, it would seem, irrevocably discredited. Only some unforeseen calamity could restore its influence. As in all unions when their time is running out, the Stalinists act with a frenzied recklessness and begin to show dearly what they are: disloyal union wreckers.

Their leaflets to the convention included accusations against Reuther for conspiring in secret with the employers. Paul Silver they denounced as a “Trotskyite.” The CIO, they thundered, was for the Taft-Hartley Law. Reuther quoted at length from leaflets issued by Stalinist unions accusing Murray of working with the Ku Klux Klan.

“Communist Disruption”

In no mood to temporize with Stalinism, the delegates readily shouted approval of every move against it demanded by Reuther. At every point where the concrete issue related to the CP it became impossible for them to draw a line between legitimate and proper measures against it and the broad question of democracy in the labor movement.

The wreckage of Stalinism falls on everyone’s head. Such was the case in the discussion on CIO Policy Regarding Communist Party’s Program of Disruption.

Two resolutions were before the convention, both castigating the CP for its reactionary role in the labor movement. The majority resolution, however, favored the dissolution of CP-controlled unions which “sat on their charters” and the removal of the leaders of all CIO unions who refused to carry out official CIO policy. The minority resolution reaffirmed the autonomous rights of international unions to carry out their own policies.

Delegate Shier of Local 6, speaking for the minority resolution, recalled the many occasions when the UAW and its present leaders, Reuther and Mazey, spoke out against official policy. He concluded: “Not for the sake of the Communists, but for our own democratic rights, for the needs of the labor movement ... we should support the minority resolution.”

Paul Silver, who introduced the minority report, reminded the delegates that the CP during the war had conducted a bitter campaign against Mazey and Victor Reuther when they criticized CIO policy. The split between the AFL and CIO, he pointed out, was made inevitable by the very principles established in the majority report.

“Too often in this union,” he said, “if you honestly disagree with the policy enunciated by the International Executive Board or the national CIO you are immediately called a Communist, a Trotskyite, a Free Booter.” This was a reference to terms used in Reuther’s written report.

In cataloguing the crimes of Stalinism, its dictatorial regime in the UE-CIO, terror against critics in the FE, its slanders, etc., etc., Reuther evaded the essential questions in dispute. “We are not talking about internal union democracy,” said Reuther. “I will take my place with Brother Shier in that fight.” And referring to the slanders of the CP: “That is not democratic criticism, that is outright wrecking and sabotage.”

The delegates were reassured by their president’s repeated defense of the right of responsible criticism. His scrupulously fair conduct of the chair seemed to bear him out. Critics were given full rights. Votes were counted carefully. No attempts were made to railroad motions through.

The majority won hands down. The minority resolution, with the Stalinists voting against both, received the votes of perhaps 30 delegates.

And so a split in the CIO draws near – brought closer by the action of the UAW convention. The tragedy is that the ruthless, tyrannical Stalinist union regimes will be able to rally their own membership around the cry of “democracy.” 

The Wheel Is Turning

If a Stalinist can be removed from union office for supporting Wallace, can a Republican be removed for supporting Dewey, or a Socialist for supporting Norman Thomas? How under this principle can the unity of the AFL and CIO be effectuated? And if the lofty leaders of international unions may be forced to resign for failing to carry out “CIO policy,” are the humble leaders of local UAW unions to enjoy any greater rights?

Despite Reuther’s affirmation of the principles of democratic rights, the wheel is turning toward “discipline” and “control” over the locals.

Silver himself expresses the changing mood. His own resolution provided: “It is the obligation of the local member, local union officer and international officer to carry out meticulously ... all policies adopted by the higher bodies of the UAW.”

But back in 1944, Paul Silver, president of Local 351, together with Emil Mazey. then president of Local 212, formed the now defunct Michigan Commonwealth Federation as an independent political party In opposition to the policy of the UAW and the CIO. Times are changing.

Allis-Chalmers Case

The foreign-policy discussion was over in a flash. An omnibus resolution endorsed the basic elements of U.S. foreign policy, including the Marshall Plan and the Atlantic Pact. The Stalinist point of view was presented by Paul Boatin of Local 600.

Reuther replied: “We are op posed to imperialism, whether it comes from Wall Street or the Kremlin. That’s the fundamental difference here.” That seemed clear enough to the delegates and the “dispute” was over.

This debate, of course, evades the crux of the question: Isn’t the administration in Washington carrying out the program of the Wall Street bankers? But who could think of that when the cymbals were clanging for the Fair Deal Democrats?

On the last day the Grievance Committee reported on the appeal of a group of Stalinist-Addes former leaders of Local 248. They had been expelled from the union following the ill-fated strike at Allis-Chalmers, which reduced the membership of the local from 8,000 to 184. The charges against them were that they had mishandled the funds of the local and strike contributions from the international after the strike was over.

Robert Buse, who spoke for the appellants, admitted that they had submitted fraudulent financial reports to the International, that the $2,000 weekly contributions from the strike fund which had been assigned for the relief of victimized strikers were never used for this purpose but that the money had been used for unexplained “organizational” work under instructions from George Addes, then secretary-treasurer of the UAW.

Their defense rested on two. grounds: (1) they had a long record of Union building from the earliest days; and (2) none of them profited personally from the mishandling of funds. Aside from a score of opposition votes, the convention voted to a man to reject the appeal, seeing in this case one more example of the misuse of a union local by pro-Stalinst elements.

Doll and Sage Expelled

Tracey Doll and Sam Sage, chairman and secretary respectively of the Progressive Unity Caucus, who had held corresponding posts in the Wayne County Council of the CIO when it was controlled by the Addes bloc, were expelled by vote of the convention. This was the first case of its kind in the history of the UAW.

The International Executive Board had by-passed the local unions and presented charges directly to the convention’s Grievance Committee on the ground that under the constitution of the UAW (which provides that only a member of a given local can prefer charges against another member of that local) they were powerless to deal with the case. The board therefore appealed to the convention as the highest democratically chosen body of the union.

The case has had a long and devious background. At the 1946 convention of the UAW, R.J. Thomas, who had just been defeated for reelection by Reuther but who formally still held the post until Reuther was sworn in, appointed a special committee to investigate alleged intimidation of convention delegates by gangster elements. For many months this committee investigated, traveling all over the country, spending thousands of dollars. Finally it reported to the International Board.

The report contained not a single case of intimidation of delegates. But it did make the wildest accusations of gangsterism and racketeering throughout the union, hysterical and unsubstantiated. The board, still controlled by the Addes-Thomas forces, considered the report so irresponsible that it voted to suppress it; in fact, George Addes withdrew all copies of the report from the hands of board members. Although Reuther was already president, he was not permitted to keep a copy.

The report remained suppressed and forgotten for many months. It appeared suddenly at the gates of an agricultural-implement shop in Iowa, where the UAW was fighting to win an NLRB election against the CP-controlled FE. But the report, now distributed by the FE, was signed by the Progressive Unity Caucus of the UAW in the name of Sage and Doll as its officers. Lurid headlines were added accusing Reuther of suppressing the report and implying that he and the other top officials were personally involved in gangsterism, rackets and tire-slashing. A near riot took place. The international representatives of the UAW were besieged in hotel rooms by a mob. State troops had to be called out to protect their exit from the Iowa city.

Delegates Are Uneasy

Speaking in their own defense, Sage and Doll challenged the constitutionality of the procedure under which they were being tried. They refused to reveal the source from which they had received copies of the report.

They claimed that they had not themselves turned the report over to the FE, nor had they added the headlines and comments. They said that they had merely mimeographed several hundred copies for private distribution to “key people” in the UAW and finally turned it over to their own caucus to be printed in its name. When they first saw the printed copies refitted with the misleading headlines they tried to recall it but it was too late. They portrayed themselves as innocent dupes of irresponsible elements in their own caucus.

But if didn’t work. The delegates knew both men as old experienced hands in union activity and in faction fighting. Doll, for example, was sufficiently known as a union leader to win election to the Michigan legislature as a state representative. And so the delegates voted for expulsion. But they were uneasy.

Not more than 60 per cent of the delegates participated in the balloting. And of those who voted, at least one third voted against the expulsion. Emil Mazey, who chaired the sessions, said in a reply to a question that 90 per cent of all the delegates had voted for expulsion. His eyesight is no doubt exceptionally defective.

What stands out in this case is the diffidence of the delegates. They all felt that the facts were clear, that some form of discipline was justified. And they heard Reuther repeat again and again: “If this were a matter of the exercise of your democratic rights we would not now be discussing it because it would never have come here ... You have a right to criticize the officers of the union, that is your democratic right – but this is not carrying out your democratic rights ... Let’s be ever vigilant in this union; let’s be ever on our toes to defend the democratic rights of everyone to criticize honestly, to be in honest opposition to anyone’s point of view. But there is a difference between honest criticism and honest opposition and treason.”

And thus Reuther carried the day. But in the back of the minds of the best union militants the reservation remains: “Will this decision give the green light to the conservative forces to begin a crusade in the union, not against Stalinist union-wrecking, but against all militant oppositionists, against all honest critics, and especially against all anti-Stalinist radicals?

The merits of this case aside, certainly the most backward sections of the leadership will interpret the decision in the crude fashion of one speaker: “This is what you fellows get for playing around with the CP.” Ten minutes later, the convention virtually unanimously expelled a group of racketeers, using the same procedure as in the Doll-Sage case. These men had been caught red-handed receiving a payoff from employers as a reward for putting over a wage-cutting contract.

Ranks Sensitive to Democracy

The readiness of the delegates to strike down Stalinism should not be misinterpreted. The UAW is not now a bureaucratized union. The UAW has been and still remains the most democratic union in the United States and sets a shining example for all. Reuther could repeat correctly:

“No delegate in good conscience can say that at this convention we have attempted to suppress the opposition, that they have not been given their fair share of the time of this convention, although they represent a very small minority.”

Above all, this is a testimony to the real mood of the UAW. If the leadership had come to this convention in a dictatorial, authoritarian spirit, it would have been repulsed at every turn. Only by his delicate fairness and scrupulously democratic handling of the sessions was Reuther able to carry through all that he did.

At the same time, however, it would be a mistake to think that the leadership of the UAW is one homogeneous, militant and democratic body of men. Two wings combine to lead the union. One is socialistic in outlook and more sensitive to the broader social needs of the working class. The other is crude and conservative. Reuther alone, a man who has a profound understanding of his union, its past and its future, is able to keep these two wings in balance. Hundreds of simple, ordinary, honest unionists understand this.

Despite Reuther, therefore, misgivings arise. What is the future of the union as a genuinely democratic body? And the delegates seized every opportunity to remind the leadership that the rank and file must remain in control.

On the second day, the delegates voted down Reuther’s proposal to alter the constitution in order to allow for a convention every two years. He was compelled to call a caucus of his own followers in order to win the right to continue the present practice of holding conventions every twenty months.

Speaking against the two-year proposal, Delegate House of Local 365 expressed the feelings of hundreds of the delegates:

“The issue of a two-year convention against an 18-month convention in itself is not a big issue but if we read the entire proposals, the entire set of proposals for changing the constitution, each one – the two-year conventions, $2 dues, two-year elections of local union officers, change of trial procedure and so on – they represent a trend away from the tradition of this union.”

Delegate Mullins of Local 142 said:

“I know if we give them a two-year convention that is just a foothold for what else they are going to do, because if they have their foot in the door once in a two-year convention, then you are going to have a two-year term of office in your local unions. I am telling you, if you ever get that it’s goodbye for some of these local unions.”

Trial Procedure Amended

The leadership knew what this defeat meant. Plans to permit the summary appointment of administrators over local unions were abandoned. The proposal to institute a new trial procedure, which would permit the board to bring charges against any member of the union before a trial committee chosen by lot from among the list of convention delegates, was withdrawn for further consideration.

It was finally carried on the last day of the convention, amended to permit its application only in extreme emergency. The vote on this measure was taken only after the convention had expelled Sage and Doll and the group of racketeers. In voting for the measure, many delegates felt that it was a more democratic substitute for hurried trial proceedings at the convention itself.

One delegate who spoke for the new procedure earnestly warned the delegates that it must not be interpreted as a move against critics of the leadership. Reuther nodded in agreement.

A member of the convention Grievance Committee spoke along the same lines. Although he had felt compelled to go along with the convention in the expulsions, it had left a bad taste in his mouth. In the future, he said, let’s have no more of these trials rushed through in the heat of convention emotions.

In three minor cases, the Grievance Committee, with the support of the convention, upheld appeals of members of the union against decisions of the International board. Reuther assured the delegates that this proved that the committee was no rubber stamp.

In fact, the chairman of the committee, Willoughby Abner, is known throughout the union as a man of independent views and independent following. This was no accident. Only the decisions of such a committee with such a chairman would have been accepted by the convention.

If the results proved that the committee was no rubber stamp, they also proved that the union must remain vigilant in reviewing the decisions of the board.

Is Their Suspicion Justified?

The proposed increase in dues from $1.50 to $2 a month had to be shelved by the leadership itself. It felt the resistance of the convention and decided to initiate a period of discussion on the problem in the ranks of the union. But the same delegates voted for a twelve-week dollar assessment in the event of a strike. They were willing to make financial sacrifices if the money was earmarked for strike purposes.

Reuther sailed into choppy waters with a proposal to split one of the regions, Region Four, in two. This region was large numerically and widespread geographically. The arguments for division seemed organizationally sound. But hundreds of delegates suspected that the real reason for the division was to allow the comfortable election of two directors from the original region instead of one. In fact, everyone knew that two candidates were in the field and that the race would be close.

Reuther himself had to speak at length to ensure the passage of his proposition and he finally won by a narrow margin, so close that it was decided only after two hand votes and a division of the house. Laughter and catcalls greeted his assertion that “politics” was in no way involved in this issue.

One question arises. Were the delegates right who were suspicious of the leadership and jealous of the rights of the rank and file? Or were those delegates right who said: “The UAW is growing up” and therefore we have to get rid of these childish thoughts?

To answer these questions we must consider not merely the sessions of the full convention but the caucuses, the hotel room conversations, the maneuvers among the officials themselves, and above all the general picture of the UAW and its leadership.

Reuther faces no “opposition” on the incoming International Executive Board. Two of the four holdovers from the Addes bloc on the last board were induced not to run and will undoubtedly be rewarded properly.

Bureaucracy Hardening

In fact, not a single man in the top leadership enjoys a status or stature remotely approximating Reuther’s. Emil Mazey plays no outstanding role. Only his exalted official position as secretary-treasurer, a post which he fills capably and honestly, distinguishes him from anyone else.

The history of the UAW has been one of resistance to bureaucratism. Now, for the first time, a stable officialdom is slowly consolidating itself as a permanent body. Of the 19 regional directors, who become members of the International Board, ten were elected by acclamation.

In only three regions was there any serious contest. The strong opposition to Matthews in Region 1 was somehow dissipated. In Region 1A, the candidacy of Tommy Thompson, previously announced against McCucker, was withdrawn – why and how we do not exactly know ... These are some of the vital questions affecting the regime in the union which are decided in the smoke-filled rooms.

In its majority, this crystallizing officialdom is no different from the type of apparatus which holds office in the more conservative unions of the CIO, the Steel Workers Unions for example. But it can keep power in the more radical UAW only under the sway of a man who knows how to capture the imagination of the fighting militants. That man is Reuther.

The officialdom cannot do without him. When Hillman goes, the apparatus in the Amalgamated remains intact. Without Reuther, however, a bitter struggle would develop in the UAW between a radical and conservative section of the officialdom.

Democracy – from Above

Reuther today wants a strong and disciplined officialdom. International representatives and regional directors must toe the line. Democracy and criticism in the ranks – that is one thing; but the top leadership must be unified and consolidated. The formula around which this consolidation takes place is: “Obey CIO policy.” Reuther, at the moment, has no plans for any big move forward comparable to his actions in the GM strike, which lifted him into the presidency of the union.

His next step is toward increased intervention in the broader arena of the CIO, where he is beginning to concern himself with Its general affairs. One of his arguments for extending the time between conventions pointed to the great burdens being thrust upon him in the councils of the CIO.

He is now a vice-president of the CIO. In taking his first small steps as a CIO “statesman,” he holds the hand of Philip Murray. He carries the fight against the CP; he is content to play second fiddle.

He shows himself to the other officials of the CIO as a man able to grapple with the broad questions facing the labor movement from their own point of view; he shows that he is able to handle the CP; he shows that he too can be a well-balanced statesman. He proves that he is not the maverick offspring of a maverick union.

Meanwhile he must consolidate his hold on his own union. He must build a reliable machine. He must show that the UAW, too, can be a “responsible” as well as a militant union.

He has not become a “conservative” union official; he is not a union “boss” or “dictator.” In this respect he differs from the ordinary run of CIO officials.

But his radicalism and his democracy propose a subtle transformation of the UAW. That change could be summarized as follows: Militancy must come from above, stimulated and organized by the leadership.

It must be of a type that can be turned on or off in accordance with the complicated necessity of tacking between the need of yielding to official CIO policy and the need of pressing forward the demands of the UAW. The radicalism of the UAW is not now to be abandoned; it is to be “controlled” and “disciplined.”

Democracy – From Above

Likewise with democracy. The democracy of the UAW – in this view – is no longer the turbulent, teeming, earthy, grass-roots democracy of the rank and file. The local unions must follow official policy. And so must their officers. Democracy, too, must be organized and controlled within fixed limits and under formal provisions.

Tone must be “loyal”; criticism must be “honest”; oppositionlsm must be “responsible.” Democratic rights are to be dispensed from ABOVE, benevolently and fairly.

Reuther reminds the delegates of how democratically he ran the convention. And it was true. But in the past, it needed no mention; it went without saying; it was taken for granted.

A controlled and disciplined democracy and militancy requires a controlled and disciplined apparatus. But such an apparatus of controlled and disciplined men can be composed only of individuals who are or will be molded in the mentality of bureaucrats and conservatives.

Superficial idolizers deceived themselves into believing that Reuther was often defending democratic procedures against impatient delegates. His distinctions between “responsible” and “irresponsible” oppositions were very subtle and hard to follow.

Those with a conservative cast of mind, accustomed to authoritarianism, filled with prejudices against all radicals, were encouraged. They began to act up, and Reuther felt compelled to counteract the very mood which he was helping to create. And in the cruder and more conservative sections of the apparatus, we will soon find the same mood of impatience with critics.

There is room for only one Walter Reuther in the UAW. But there is a place for other leaders with a real following among the most intelligent members of the union. A big gap exists in the upper leadership.

It can be filled only by men who see the danger of a rising, conservative official, who have the integrity and courage to make it known to the membership, and who will act to counteract it.

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