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E.R. McKinney

S.P. Tries to Squirm Out of
Disgraceful Strike Stand

Under Rank and File Pressure, Workers Security
Federation “Reconsiders” Decision

(18 July 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 51, 18 July 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Mournfully yielding to the refusal of the rank and file to return to work on W.P.A. projects, Lloyd Leith, secretary of the Workers Security Federation, has announced that the leadership of the federation has “reconsidered” its decision ordering their members to scab on the W.P.A. strikers. While the leadership is still in favor of the return to work, Leith admits that they couldn’t get away with it. The previous position, to return to work, was reconsidered, says Leith “because of the pressure of the membership which is distinctly for continuance of the strike.”

While the Norman Thomas Socialist Party leadership of the new Workers Security Federation was attempting to escape from the wrath of its own membership, and the disgraceful sell-out which they had announced to the capitalist press, the Socialist Call appeared with a piece by Art McDowell. McDowell was writing about the formation of the Workers Security Federation and brazenly announced that he and the S.P. “are proud that Socialists could and did take almost as great a lead in this new move as in the once proud and promising Workers Alliance.” And what are McDowell and the S.P. proud of? He tells us in his article as follows: “the first in its declaration of principles (Workers Security Federation) was a section barring from membership or affiliation ‘any advocate or supporter of any brand of dictatorship domestic or foreign’.” “This was aimed,” says McDowell “not only at Stalinite Communists and Fascist Coughlinites and their ilk but also at all the petty Communist sects with their ‘one and only’ leaders’ solutions.”

Still Proud?

Now McDowell and the S.P. have something further to be proud of. They do not have to to stop at being proud that they have formed a mass organization that excludes workers from membership because of political belief. They can be proud of the scabbing and sellout roll of Waldron and Leith, S.P. members and leading officials of their Workers Security Federation. They can be “proud” of the fact that the capitalist press used the cowardice, the stupidity and the no-strike order of the leaders of the federation, to initiate an attempt at a national back-to-work movement among the W.P.A. strikers.

The members of the Workers Security Federation have made a good beginning. They refused to return to work. They will learn, however, that this does not complete their task. They will learn that they cannot develop into a militant unemployed organization with a leadership whose militancy is only in the direction of scabbing and running to cover when a fight is in progress.

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Last updated: 5 March 2016