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Both Sides Are Right!

Toledo and Mpls. Press Argue on
Which City Has Most “Labor Trouble”

(2 November 1935)

From The New Militant, Vol. 1 No. 45, 2 November 1935, pp. 1 & 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Toledo and Minneapolis newspapers have been heaving editorial bouquets at each other recently, each one offering the palm to the other’s city for the distinction of having the most militant labor movement in the country.

The following editorial published in the Toledo News-Bee (Scripps-Howard sheet) on October 16 is a humorous commentary on how the bourgeoisie is “whistling in the dark,” and likewise an eloquent tribute to the effective work of the Workers Party in helping to make Toledo and Minneapolis the “hotspots” of the class-struggle in America. The editorial, entitled The Pot to the Kettle, is here given in its entirety.

“The Pot to the Kettle

The Minneapolis Journal evidently has had a young man out over the country, engaged in ‘drawing the fire.’

The Journal, in a city with the worst record for strike violence of any city in America, came out on Oct. 11 with a piece entitled New Factories Shun Toledo, City Torn by Violence of Strikes.

“We can imagine that they had a staff meeting at The Journal, following that city’s latest killing on the streets, and the editor told ’em: ‘Boys, we’ve got to do something to show that Minneapolis isn’t so bad, after all. Let’s get a piece about Toledo. That ought to make Minneapolis look pretty good.’

“We will give The Journal piece credit, nevertheless, for its recognition that things have changed for the better in Toledo during the past summer, and particularly since the philosophy of the Toledo Plan has been applied.

“Throughout the country, however, there has been a lot of finger pointing at Toledo. Cities in trouble of their own have striven to boil up Toledo labor stories running back to the old Auto-Late rioting story to draw the fire from their own labor controversies.

“Toledo has had troubles to be sure, but at no time have these been a circumstance to what they have been painted by our loving rival cities.”

Short Memories

Of course, that crack about things turning for the better in Toledo during the past summer – meaning that the industrialists, etc., of Toledo have, succeeded in putting the quietus on the labor movement here – is merely wistful wish-thinking. The Auto-Lite strike was merely a beginning, and not an end, as the News-Bee editors would, have their Minneapolis confreres believe, – or it is necessary to refer them to their own back-flies on the General Milk Drivers, FERA, Chevrolet and a dozen of other militant battles.

The first wave of labor struggle in Toledo is ended, the flood that started two years ago with the “Battle of Chestnut Hill.” Labor here is utilizing the present lull in strike activity, similar to that throughout the country, to entrench itself in its new won positions and to lay the groundwork for more and greater battles to come. The organization of the Labor Political Congress, while in itself an ineffective agency for genuine working class political action, is an indication of the breaking away of Toledo workers from old-line capitalist party loyalties and a desire for class action.

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