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David Coolidge

Mass Action

(9 April 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 15, 9 April 1945, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Relief of Hungry: A Political Question

Mr. Roosevelt wants us to tighten our belts so that more food can go to the hungry people of Europe. At least that’s the reason he gave for the belt-tightening. He says that we just can’t let the people of Europe starve.

The working class in the U.S. should certainly be concerned over the plight of the European and Asiatic workers. But before we pull up our belts to another hole we ought to have sense enough to investigate the food situation to discover whether or not it is necessary for us to reduce our food consumption in order to feed the workers of Europe and Asia.

Labor doesn’t know how much food is being produced, how much goes to the military establishment, how much is being sent to countries overseas, how much is packed away in storage, how much finds its way into what the capitalists call “the black market,” nor how much is rotting on farms, in warehouses, in cold storage and in produce yards.

We don’t know how much the Army and Navy are wasting, nor just exactly what the meat packers, the butter people and the canners are doing with their commodities in order to force their government to grant them permission to boost prices.

All we know is that the bureaucracy in Washington issues orders which we are forced to obey. We are forced to obey because we are just little people who have done the work from Pharaoh’s pyramids to the last tank off the Chrysler production line.

Furthermore, we don’t know where the food goes that is sent to “feed Europe.” We want to feed the workers of Europe, Asia and Africa. We don’t want our sacrifices used to stifle the workers of the world. We don’t want our sacrifices to go to reestablish the runaway monarchical cowards on their thrones again.

As the United Nations armies proceed with their conquest of Europe, the kings, queens, and presidents, who ran off and left their “subjects” to face the lash of the Gestapo, are returning from their hideouts in London, Washington and Long Island. They bring up the rear of the conquering armies of the Big Three like so many scavengers.

The food inquiry now being pursued by Congress is, to be sure, a political move by anti-Roosevelt hatchet men. But that’s all right. The working class must take advantage of every rift, every dispute in the ranks of the ruling class arid use it to our advantage. We can be sure that if the truth were known, Roosevelt’s belt-tightening quip has some connection with bureaucratic skullduggery and collaboration in Washington between the food monopolists and the government at Washington.

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Last updated: 5 December 2017