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E.R. McKinney

Meat Crisis Calls For Drastic Action

(5 October 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 41, 14 October 1946, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Address by Ernest Rice McKinney, national secretary of the Workers Party, and its candidate for Congress in the 22nd Congressional District of New York, over Station WLIB on Saturday, October 5, at 1 p.m.


We live in a strange country.

Thousands of head of cattle graze on the cattle ranches.

There are tons and tons of meat available on the hoof. But the ranchers won’t sell it.

The multi-million dollar meat packing companies won’t slaughter it.

Only the very rich can afford to buy it on the black market. And you and I can’t get any of it.

This situation has not prevailed for two days; it has prevailed now for more than two weeks.

What has the government in Washington done to see that you and I get some meat? Have they seized the million dollar meat packing plants? No. They have not even THREATENED to do so. The packers do not want any government control.

They want you and me to pay black market prices for their meat. And by doing nothing, the government is permitting the meat packers to smash OPA control of meat. You and I know how weak and ineffectual this control has been lately. But the corporations don’t even want this little bit of control. They want to charge prices as they please.

I live in a part of the Borough of Manhattan called Harlem. Most of the people living in Harlem are Negroes. Negroes are among the poorest people in New York City. When jobs are scarce, Negroes are among the last to get jobs. When meat is scarce, Negroes are among the last to get meat.

I am running for Congress from the 22nd Congressional District, namely, from Harlem. The people of Harlem have had a representative in Congress for the past two years. He is a Democratic Party congressman. You and I would think that he, in particular, would want to do something drastic about the meat situation. You would think that he would propose nationalization of the meat industry.

If you thought these things you would be wrong. Neither he nor the Democratic Party is willing to take any drastic steps to solve the meat shortage. None of the capitalist politicians, Democrat or Republican are willing to take any drastic measures against the meat shortage.

But the Workers Party does propose such drastic action. The Workers Party proposes nationalization of the meat industry under workers’ control. The Workers Party proposes housewives’ committees and trade union committees to police prices.

The Workers Party proposes that the people do not depend on Democratic and Republican politicians to solve the meat shortage.

The Workers Party proposes that the people form a genuine Labor Party independent of the Democratic and Republican politicians.

We cannot in this short talk give you our complete program. We will gladly send you a copy of our election platform if you send your name and address to the Workers Party, 114 West 14th Street, New York 11, N.Y.

A vote for the Workers Party candidates, Max Shachtman in the 15th Congressional District, Brooklyn, and Ernest Rice McKinney in the 22nd Congressional District, Manhattan will show that you too want action, not words.

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Last updated: 20 July 2020