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Hugo Oehler

Hoover’s Message

(December 1932)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 50, 17 December 1932, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

While the police of Washington were terrorizing the National Hunger Marchers who had come to the opening session of Congress to demand immediate relief and unemployment insurance, Hoover delivered his message to Congress. The message called for greater support for the bankers and a greater struggle against the workers. The highlights of the Hoover message called for: reorganization of the banking system for the bankers; greater centralization of the governmental apparatus in the interest of the imperialists. An 11 percent wage cut for the Federal employees; a cut for the Veteran Fund; reduction of government building and expense; and a sales tax to shift a greater share of the tax burden to the workers and the middle class. Hoover may not be the next president but Hoover is making haste to serve the imperialists and beat down the workers further before he turns the job over to Roosevelt and the Democrats.

Hoover dealt primarily with the internal difficulties of the capitalists. In the main he kept in the background the equally vital international questions confronting American imperialism. This is primarily due to the fact that if Wall Street can keep Congress busy with the internal problems (that must be answered), Wall Street will see to it that the president and the cabinet take care of the international problems.

The international problems can be handled to the best interest of the imperialists if the facts are kept in the files and archives. Further, the American state structure has a carry-over from the past stage that is cumbersome and must be eliminated if the state is to function with speed for the imperialists. There is still too much middle class weight of the old school. The new flunkies must be lined up to support imperialism and, in the mean time, the “reorganization of the government through the grouping and consolidating of more than fifty executives and independent agencies” must be put through.

Smith’s proposal for New York bears the same stamp. The imperialist must centralize the government for economy but then also use the economy argument as a smoke screen to extend its grip over the whole state at the expense of the other sections of the exploiters.

After this is accomplished they will be able to take up the international questions as free and above board as they do the internal measures for the bankers and against the workers.

The major international questions confronting the imperialists that the government departments are handling are: war debts, the economic conference, the disarmament conference, the position ol the dollar and a relations with the USSR. The question of the USSR falls into three subdivisions: to obtain markets; the possibility of a change in the form of the economic war being waged against the Soviet Union; and prevention of the extension of the October revolution. Around the other questions, this question of the October revolution and the relation to the other imperialists, such as England, France, Japan and Germany are interwoven. America must find a way to gain a position of advantage in the coming struggle for the redivision of the earth.

Congress and the House are busy with their “Beer Bill”. The Hunger Marchers answered this democratic bunk with the slogan of “bread before beer”.

The approach of the president and congress to the most vital problem of unemployment and the crisis has but one aim: to strengthen the position of the bankers and further to beat down the disorganized and badly directed energy of the working class.

The attempt to balance the budget is forcing drastic inroads into the working class and the middle class. The series of proposals from wage cuts, the cut in veteran’s relief, less public building, to the sales tax are all aimed at the classes below the leading capitalists in America.

The demand for the reorganizing of the banking system and the advocating of the branch system is the most fundamental and far-reaching reform in the interest of the imperialists to be taken internally. Once they obtain this, and everything points in this direction, it will strengthen their position not only against the other classes within the country but will give them a. stronger home base of operation against the contending imperialists of other nations.

After all, Congress has just opened and is getting down to business. There will be lots of steam and talk about helping the workers and farmers – and a demand for beer, but under it all they will be ironing out the problems, not of the workers, who have no representatives, who cannot carry out their program through the capitalist state, but the problems of the capitalists in general and the imperialists in particular whom they represent.

The editorial comment of the New York Times on the Hoover message again gives Congress a warning. It ends the editorial with the following words, “The country will be lucky if Congress takes to heart and does as well in action as Mr. Hoover has done in recommendations.” As usual, this is a warning for Congress to carry out the imperialists’ needs.

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Last updated: 6 December 2014