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C. Thomas

“Maritime” Federation Closes Shop

(June 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 25, 21 June 1941, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

SAN FRANCISCO, June 8, 1941 – The Stalinist wrecking crew wrote finis to the once proud Maritime Federation of the Pacific, in a convention here last week. The degeneration and final liquidation of the Maritime Federation followed a pattern made familiar by the Stalinists in the labor movement of the world.

The Maritime Federation of the Pacific was established after the great 1934 strike as a united front of all Pacific Coast unions engaged in the marine transport industry. As such it functioned, in its early period, in the militant tradition of ’34 and presented a solid front in all disputes with the shipowners. Its first president was Harry Lundeberg, now secretary of the Sailors Union of the Pacific, and the sailors were among the most ardent advocates and supporters of the Federation.

It wasn’t very long, however, before the Stalinists began packing the Federation with various and sundry organizations only remotely connected with the marine transport industry, but under the domination of the C.P. This process continued until the convention of 1938 found the Stalinists in control and exercising their control to drive out the militant Sailors Union of the Pacific, the equally militant branches of the Marine Firemens Union and the Masters, Mates and Pilots.

From that time on the Stalinists traded on the waning prestige of the Federation and converted it into a mouthpiece for the latest zig-zag in the party line. Having exhausted its usefulness in that direction the Federation is now tossed aside like a squeezed lemon. Thanks to the unity howlers of the Communist Party, the maritime workers of the Pacific Coast find themselves more divided now than at any time in their history.

Every such “victory” registered by the Stalinist wrecking crew paves the way for working class defeat. The maritime workers will learn by bitter experience that it is necessary to rid themselves of the poison of Stalinism before they can unite their ranks against the blows now being prepared by the bosses and the bosses’ government.

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