Solow Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Herbert Solow

The Daily Worker and the Hotel Strike

(March 1934)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 10, 10 March 1934, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Dear Friends:

The Daily Worker of March 5 contains an article attacking the recent New York hotel workers’ strike. In this article I am mentioned as “a member of the Trotsky group.” I am glad to save you the embarrassment, should you find it such, of disowning me.

At the same time, I should like to point out that, while undoubtedly the Daily Worker would have yelled “sell-out” no matter what the outcome of the strike, many criticisms they make of the Right wing leadership of the strike and of B.J. Field might well have been lifted from my article in a recent issue of the Nation which they condemn so hotly. Of course, I did not charge a sell-out and the whole spirit and purpose of my criticisms was different; I wanted the strike to be won, the Daily wanted it to be lost so it could denounce somebody. Indeed, they might have been lifted from the Militant, and it was because The Militant criticized those leaders in a forthright manner (quite different from the slanderous, lying, disruptive attacks peculiar to the Daily Worker and the 18th St. “union”) that I called it “the clearest voice” of the progressive elements in the strike committee. The lumping together by the Daily Worker of J.P. Cannon, The Militant and an independent writer, with Field, Caldis, the Right wingers, Ham Fish, Woll, La Guardia, Herrick, Weasel Duffy, is the good old C.P. habit of seeing everything outside its ranks as one reactionary mass.

I should like to make one point here for which I had no space in the Nation. The Daily Worker kicks up quite a fuss about the failure of the strike leadership to provide relief. I leave it to The Militant to report what the progressive group said on this matter. On my own behalf, however, I wish to state that I carried on a constant agitation vis-à-vis Messrs. Field and Gitlow against their negligence on the relief question. I offered to help set up a committee of strike sympathizers to raise relief, but for days I was given the run-around. When a committee was finally set up, I induced friends to give considerable time to help put over the job. They found that the whole approach of the union leaders to this question was such that no effective work could be done. When I complained to Field about this state of affairs he had no time to discuss the matter with me or to listen to my proposals for reorganizing this work.

I am not aware that the Daily Worker or the 18th St. union did anything constructive on the question of relief or on any other question. Their howl at this time is entirely one of spurious indignation.


Herbert Solow

P.S. The Daily refers to me as a former editor of The Menorah Journal. I do not know whether or not that is supposed to make me blush, but it does not. I recall that my attack on Zionism, which several years ago led the Editor of the Menorah Journal to force me out, was reprinted in the Freiheit, Yiddish organ of the C.P. as the praiseworthy expression of “an honest intellectual.” I also recall that the John Reed Club, quite reluctantly it is true, once adopted a unanimous resolution sustaining me and a dozen other writers who had complained that John Reed Club members had broken our strike against the Menorah Journal.

Solow Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 9 February 2016