Ernest Rice McKinney Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

David Coolidge

Mass Action

(5 February 1945)1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 6, 5 February 1945, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

DETROIT – Aside from the snow and standing in line to get one package of some unknown brand of cigarettes, Detroit seems to be concerned mainly with the no-strike pledge referendum, the affair at the plant of the United States Rubber Co. and the appointment of Henry Wallace as Secretary of Commerce.


WLB Aids Dalrymple

The latest outrage in the scandalous anti-union move instituted by Sherman Dalrymple, president of the United Rubber Workers, in the U.S. Rubber affair, is the decree of the WLB that the company must check off the $12.50 fine imposed by the stupid and reactionary Dalrymple But also $6.00 which reinstates the men in the union. This is so fantastic as to be unbelievable,

The company refused to pull the cards of the men because, it is obvious, with the rubber “shortage” it was necessary to retain every man at work. This refusal of the company backed the blunderheaded Dalrymple up against the wall. He had no way to get at these men. Then the WLB came to his aid and ordered the company to withhold the money and hand it over to Dalrymple. Since the WLB also is interested in the rubber “shortage” and in doing a favor for friend Dalrymple, this little board of capitalists, stooges (“public” members), and labor captives takes a step to keep the men in good standing in the United Rubber Workers.

The situation is complicated by the fact that some of the men are now members of the Mechanics Educational Society (AFL) and the UAW. This means that three unions have members in this plant, with the contract held by the URW. It also means that the workers there have a three-way fight on their hands: against the company, Dalrymple and the WLB.

The whole matter could have been handled far better and more effectively if in the beginning these men, who were victimized by the unspeakable Dalrymple, had paid the fines under protest and called on the international membership to come to their aid for an all-out and unrelenting struggle against Dalrymple inside the URW. They will get nowhere blundering off into the MESA and the paper AFL union.

It is certainly not too late to begin now to pick up the broken bits and organize throughout the international for Dalrymple’s scalp. At the next convention he should be kicked out without ceremony, and without compromise. Anyone who gives Dalrymple any support whatsoever must be shown that such a position means destroying the union.

There is plenty of time to organize for throwing out Dalrymple and his whole gang. These workers should so quietly and efficiently about the business of organizing this campaign. Every decent and militant worker throughout the country should be drawn in. To defeat Dalrymple means to have more votes at the convention than can be mustered by this reactionary and ignorant bureaucrat. The way to get those votes is to begin now so that the men elected to the convention are committed to a decent, democratic and militant union program. Any man committed to such a program will never support Dalrymple. At the same time workers in the URW committed to this program will remain in the URW and carry on the struggle against Dalrymple.


Thomas, No-Strike Pledge

There is some talk in the press reports from New Orleans that R.J. Thomas has or is in the process of changing his position on the no-strike pledge. The Detroit Free Press reported that Thomas made the statement at a press conference that he is strongly in favor of retaining the no-strike pledge today but that he could not be sure today what his position will be at the end of the war with Germany.

Addes remains for the pledge without reservation or without making any distinction between the war against Germany or the war against Japan; Reuther has some queer position of maintaining the pledge for the war industries but not for the non-war industries.

There is really no difference between Thomas, Addes. and Reuther on the no-strike pledge. All three of them are for the maintenance of the pledge and for bowing low before Roosevelt and the capitalist bosses. They are not in full agreement as to how the belly-crawling shall be done but all three of them are openly pledged to Roosevelt’s program of keeping the working class down on its knees.

Reuther’s talk about war industries and non-war industries is pure fakery. All industries are war industries today. War is a national and international phenomenon. The war is an activity of capitalist society as a whole. The whole ruling class – bond-holders, the government, manufacturers of war goods and manufacturers of non-war goods – participate in the war as a class and profit as a class.

The whole working class is affected by the war, that part of it in the war industries and that part in other occupations. Being affected by the war is not determined by such considerations as whether or not one is working on tanks or nursing bottles. Also, one’s attitude cannot be determined by such considerations. In time of war, whether or not one gives a no-strike pledge, supports such a pledge or abides by it, should be determined by what one decides as to the kind of war it is and the effect the pledge has on the welfare of the unions and the working class.

If we take only the effects of the pledge on the welfare of labor, as is already known by the workers out of their own experience, there is enough to win every worker against this pledge and induce every UAW rank and file member to vote against it in the referendum.

Even a worker who is gullible enough to believe the capitalists’ tale about fighting for democracy will not fail to understand that the ruling class and its government has demonstrated in practice that it is not a war for democracy.

As the war proceeds, democracy is more and more curtailed. What is democratic about the National Service Act, in which it is proposed to fine any worker as much as $10,000 if he refuses to remain in or go into a factory to toil and produce profits for an exploiting capitalist employer?

Every time a labor convention reaffirms the no-strike pledge Roosevelt and his government follow through with another and more reactionary proposal smelling of totalitarianism. While labor sleeps and amid the bleatings of Philip Murray, the artful dodging of Reuther, the mush-headed throbbing of Thomas and the Stalinist trickery of Addes, Roosevelt feels his way slyly toward a two-point post-war program for the working class: conscription for a post-war imperialist army and conscription for the factories of the capitalist employers.

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