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Latest Developments in the Textile Industry

(August 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 38, 5 August 1933, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Uncle Sam is vitally concerned with the sick textile industry and has shown this concern by first approving the textile code. Now the other sections of the industry are submitting codes. In the meantime wide, discontent and strike struggles are taking place throughout the industry. At the same time thousands of illusioned workers are joining the A.F.L., controlled by Associated and the United Textile Workers. These workers are promised almost anything under the Industrial Recovery Act. An equal number of seasoned strikers will have nothing to do with the U.T.W., that is discredited from one end of the industry to the other.

On the other hand, the National Textile Workers Union is facing the new situation in the midst of the T.U.U.L. confusion, which reflects itself in the hopeless policy of the N.T.W.U. Many workers refuse to join the N.T.W.U. This is the reward of the third period blunders in particular and the Stalinist revisionism in general.

In Salem, Mass., the N.T.W.U. organizers were forced to organize an independent union. In Paterson the N.T.W.U. are forced to organize the warpers they have influence over, into an independent union because the warpers refuse to join the N.T.W.U. and the discredited U.T.W. Why are the Stalinists with the "revolutionary" N.T.W.U. forced to organize the workers into independent unions? It is an attempt of the Stalinists to meet the new situation and change their old wrong policy while they straddle the fence and wait for the Cleveland Muste-Stalinist conference to "answer" the burning question of trade union tactics. While the Stalinists wait for the Cleveland conference the labor skates are reaping the harvest.

The Stalinists do not even have sense enough to call for a Left wing in the Associated, which cannot be classified as a 100 percent A.F.L. union.

The A.F L. leaders of the Associated are calling for a 30 hour week, $36 a week and a two loom system for the silk code. The N.T.W.U. is calling for a 40 hour maximum, a 30 hour minimum; a $25 weekly wage, social insurance and a $1,000 yearly guarantee. In fighting the capitalist's silk code, as is the case with other codes, the Stalinists of the N.T.W.U. allow the A.F.L. leaders to present more radical demands. The Stalinists of the T.U.U.L. have been trailing behind the A.F.L. leaders in every industry on the question of demands. Ultra-Leftists must be criticized for exaggerated demands but social reformers, following in the wake of the promises of the Roosevelt reform must be exposed with different tactics. We must "compromise" with the reformers on their exaggerated demands and point out the facts. We expose the labor scabs in action. We prove to the workers that the labor "leaders" are giving lip service while the Communists fight for the interests of the class. We must not allow the reformers and A.F.L., labor fakers to lead in working class demands. The Stalinists not only trail behind the social reformers demand for the 30 hour week; they trail behind the Roosevelt blanket code calling for 35 hours a week. The slogan for the six hour day the five day week, with increase in pay is a realistic demand at this stage of the American class struggle.

The Associated is calling a general strike of the silk workers in Paterson when the hearing takes place on the silk code in Washington. The Left wing must put life into the paper talk and phrases about a strike; otherwise the A.F.L., leaders will have a free hand in helping the capitalist and their government in putting over another slave code. Of course, the Stalinists have not yet stopped playing with their paper organizations and have not yet sent their forces Into the A.F.L., where the relation of forces have demanded this tactic. It is up to the other class conscious workers and the Left Opposition to carry on this work.

If organized labor has sufficient forces and if the Left wing can influence strikes called when the codes are being considered, a powerful weapon will be at hand to force concessions from the capitalists, their government and their labor agents.

A Left wing must be built in the Associated and a minority must be organized in the N.T.W.U. The two must coordinate, their work against the A.F.L. misleaders on the one hand, and the Stalinist blunders on the other hand. Where the U.T.W. has numerous workers we must organize a Left wing. We must fight for one union in the industry. Out of the struggles, the independent unions that will spring up, out of the Left wing of the U.T.W. and the N.T.W.U. a new and powerful union can be built. This is the most likely variant, but it is not the only possible variant. Much will depend upon the policy and action of the Left wing forces NOW. The Stalinists are already failing, to measure up to the task.

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