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David Coolidge

With the Labor Unions – On the Picket Line

(15 December 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 50, 15 December 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Stalinists Knife the Labor Movement

We walked out into the street last Saturday and came across a man passing out a leaflet and asking people to sign a petition to the Senate against the passage of the Smith Bill. The leaflet was headed America Is in Danger and said that “a serious blow has been struck at National Unity and the Defense of the Country through passage of the Smith Bill in the House. The Smith Bill would rob labor overnight of almost every gain which it has fought for and won through decades of bitter struggle ... This bill would “give a free, hand to every open-shopper in the country and thus promote industrial strife, hinder the Defense Program and help Hitler.”

This leaflet was put out by the Communist Party, that is, by the Stalinist traitors. They are concerned with “national unity,” the “defense of the country” and the “defense program.” The real meaning of these phrases in the mouth of the Stalinists is: unity with Stalin and his murderous bunch of bureaucrats, and defense of the Stalinist gang in Moscow. That’s what the Stalinists in the United States want “national unity” for, that’s why they have switched over to the “defense” program.

How can the Stalinists get so heated up over the Smith Bill? They have the same aims for labor now as the proponents of such anti-labor devices as the Smith Bill. In the Daily Worker for November 14 one can read the following in an editorial:

The sober and responsible leadership of labor, it seems to us, requires avoidance of hasty actions and a determined effort to remedy the workers’ just grievances by finding ways and means of adjusting them without tying up the production of defense industries.”

These traitors even find something very praiseworthy in their fellow-traitor, Sidney Hillman. In another editorial, headed Worthy of Applause, they had this to say about a speech made by Hillman:

“When Hillman said ‘You can’t fight Hitler and at the same time fight defense,’ he was stating an obvious truth.”

In the same Daily Worker, Foster, in the Question and Answer column, had the following to say:

The workers should be acutely aware in this critical. world situation, that their greatest class interest, identical with the national interest of the whole American people, lies in the defeat of Hitler. If Hitler wins, American national independence will be wiped out. Strikes must be avoided ... the strike should be used only in defense of the workers’ most basic economic interests or to protect the life of the trade unions and then only as a last resort after all other means of settlement have failed ... the workers should taboo strikes ... for the collection of dues and for general organizing purposes.”

Why Do They Complain Against the Smith Bill?

Why do these treacherous scoundrels and bureaucrats complain about the Smith Bill and other anti-labor legislation? Because the bill is too harsh? They say that the workers should not strike except to protect their “basic economic interests.” What in hell have all the strikes been for, except to protect the basic economic interests of the workers? What was the North American strike for? The Stalinists who helped to lead that strike said that it was to protect the workers’ basic economic interests. And how about the Allis-Chalmers strike, which they also helped to lead? What was that for? Are they against these strikes today and do they think that the workers made a mistake? And how about the Ford strike and the mine strike, and the recent strike of the “captive” miners? Why didn’t the Stalinists vote against the resolution in support of the “captive” mine strike at the recent CIO convention?

Suppose the decision goes against the miners in the present negotiations and Lewis calls them out again. Will the Stalinist unity hounds and fake patriots oppose this action and tell the miners to remain at work? Is the CIO demand for a “union shop” a demand to protect the “basic economic interests” of the workers or to the Stalinists is it only a trivial demand that should give way before the demand of the bosses for “national unity?”

Which side will the Stalinists be on next spring when the steel workers demand the “union shop”? Should a strike result from the rejection of this demand will the Stalinists support the steel workers or the government, the bosses and the New York Times?

We know which side they will be on; they will be found on the side of the bosses, the government and the capitalist press. They will be found right where they are now. From now on (unless Stalin changes his, line and flops back to Hitler) they will, be the stoolpigeons, the snitchers, the traitors, the unity shouters, the flag wavers. In the factories and the unions the Stalinists will be the chief lieutenants of the bosses and employers. They will make a bloc with Hillman and help with his dirty work. They will lick Roosevelt’s boots and put their GPU men at the services of the FBI. They will oppose every strike, no matter what the cause or justification. They will yell louder than any boss or congressman for “mediation.”

Their opposition to the Smith Bill is a fake. They only want to hold their followers and members in order to have a force to rally around the butcher in the Kremlin. They can have no real quarrel with the anti-labor bills. They are as anti-labor as any labor-hating bill in Congress. They are more dangerous. They are a poison that permeates the labor movement by stealth. They appear as a part of the working class at the same time they are doing the dirty work of the boss class.

They Are Traitors to Our Class

They support the Second World Imperialist War now, not for the same reasons as the deluded and muddleheaded liberals but solely as protection to the Stalinist bureaucracy in Moscow. They are not “patriots” in the sense that misguided workers are patriots. These workers do not yet thoroughly understand the nature of capitalist society and the class struggle, but these Stalinist scoundrels do. They are traitors to the working class.

The anti-labor bills are introduced by congressmen who represent the boss class. Congress represents the ruling class. We can understand them. We expect these bills. When these boss class congressmen call for cooling off periods, mediation, responsible labor leaders, keeping production going, no interference with production, we know exactly what they are talking about. They are attempting to manacle labor in the interest of capitalism, American imperialism and the protection of the profits of the ruling class.

Of course they want to keep production going, of course they don’t want strikes. They are fighting an imperialist war against another imperialist bandit. The Stalinists want to keep production going also; they don’t want strikes. They are supporting the Anglo-American gang of imperialists, against the interests of the workers of the world, because they are the protectors of Stalin and his Kremlin bureaucrats.

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