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Green, Reuther Hand Out Same Political Bunkum

Offer No Positive Labor Program in Speeches at Convention of Truman Doctrine Liberals

(1 March 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 9, 1 March 1948, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

AFL President William Green and CIO United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther were the chief union spokesmen at the Americans for Democratic Action convention on Feb. 22 in Philadelphia. The ADA is the organization of Truman Doctrine liberals.

Green, an ancient mossback, represents the horse-and-buggy era of craft unionism. Reuther is a star graduate of the newer school of streamlined labor bureaucrats who pose as up-to-date and “progressive” in their thinking.

But they spoke the same language before the ADA convention. They expressed identical views on political action and the Marshall Plan – and all their views were reactionary.

Ignored Labor’s Problems

The problems of American labor before advancing Big Business reaction found place in their speeches only in a few brief complaints. They had another program to peddle – the Truman Doctrine, currently disguised as the European Recovery Program.

When it came to a political program for labor and progressives in 1948 they came forth with a hollow negative – “Get Henry Wallace!”

Green ranted about Wallace’s third-party venture as “ill-conceived and ill-timed”, not to speak of “red-starred.” Reuther proclaimed, “We’ve got the job of taking on Wallace and his Joe Stalin associates.”

From their concentration on Wallace, you’d think that all evils stemmed from him rather than the Democratic and Republican freebooters who have mutually held a political monopoly for eight decades.

But you will search in vain in their speeches for any direct intimation of who these big “labor statesmen” are for. And that’s what shows them to be such sad bankrupts. They’ve literally nothing to offer.

Blind Alley

Wallace is a phony who doesn’t represent labor. Good. Taft is the co-author of the Taft-Hartley Slave Labor Law. Nuff said. Truman? Well, he’s the author of the Truman Doctrine and they’re all for that. But still they didn’t dare let his name pass their lips. Not yet anyway.

That is the blind alley that the whole past policy of the top trade union leaders has led to. At this late hour and at this critical stage in American and world developments. the Greens and the Reuthers have no political answer for the American workers.

Shall they continue to play the politics of the “lesser evil” and go down to defeat with strikebreaker Truman or some, other Democratic stumblebum? Shall they stall around until after the Democratic and Republican conventions in the hopes that from one or the other they’ll get a name to which they can attach a “liberal” label? Or shall they just forget all about national politics in this year of decision and put the stress on “local politics,” as some are counselling?

This Gordian knot of political ineptness and indecision can be cut through at one stroke. Let the 15 million organized American workers. through their elected representatives, hold a national united labor conference, form their own Labor Party and run their own presidential and local candidates in November.

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