Myra Tanner Weiss Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Myra Tanner Weiss

Trotskyist Candidate Begins Radio Campaign

(11 March 1945)

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 12, 24 March 1945, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

We reprint below sections of the radio address made by Myra Tanner Weiss, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles, Sunday, March 11. This was the first of her four weekly campaign speeches scheduled for 8:45 p.m. over Station KFAC.

* * *

Everyone, the soldiers at the front, the workers and their families at home, is thinking and worrying about what will happen in the period after the war. Will the tremendously swollen population of Los Angeles, plus those who return from the war, be able to find jobs?

It has been estimated that nationally there will be an unemployed army of between twenty and thirty millions. The California State Reemployment Commission estimates as many as 800,000 unemployed in this state alone even under “the most favorable business conditions.” It is generally recognized that we shall return to an economic crisis as devastating as the depression of the 30’s, if not worse. The soldiers as well as the workers at home, and their families, face once more the terrible prospect of unemployment and insecurity.

We have been told that we are fighting for the Four Freedoms, enshrined in the Atlantic Charter. One of these freedoms is Freedom From Want. Yet the American workers are already being told that they must again face the most terrible want of all – the want of a job and livelihood.

President Roosevelt talks about creating 60 million jobs after the war, but Big Business, which controls the stock market, knows that the end of the war will mean production cutbacks, contract cancellations – in other words, idle plants and unemployment. That is why the stock market drops each time the end of the war seems to be in sight. The bosses know what is in store. The workers must not be deceived either.

The Shadow of Post-War Unemployment

The shadow of post-war unemployment falls even more darkly over/the large Negro working-class population. The Negroes are always the last to be hired and the first to be fired. Even in the midst of a war production boom they are given the most menial, poorly paid jobs. In general, they are discriminated against because of their color. Even in the armed forces they are Jim Crowed. The Negro people most of all must join in the struggle for Socialism.

Hand in hand with economic distress, capitalism also holds in prospect a political tyranny which it needs to secure itself from the angry indignation of a people determined not to be ground into poverty.

Congress is discussing the so-called National Service Act, more correctly termed slave labor legislation, in the attempt to freeze workers to jobs, and force them into jobs, regardless of the conditions of work and rates of pay. Supposedly, this freedom-destroying legislation is needed because of a shortage of labor. Yet many workers in Los Angeles can testify to continuing lay-offs in local war industries. Already war contracts are being cut to prepare for reconversion.

No, the proposed slave-labor law is an attempt to gain greater control over the workers and force them into jobs ... Take note: They want to conscript labor for private enterprise which is run for the profits of individual bosses. They do not even talk of conscripting capital. All repressive measures are designed for the workers.

You understand all this. The question remains: “what is to be done?”

Labor Must Create Its Own Party

In order to defend itself, labor must break from the two boss parties, the Democrats and Republicans, and organize an independent labor party based on the trade unions. Organized labor is about 14 million strong. Allied with the 13 million Negroes in America who have suffered the worst kind of persecution, discrimination even being practiced by the federal government – and other racial and national minorities, and defending the interests of the poor farmers and agricultural workers, labor can rally the vast majority of the American people and form a Workers’ and Farmers’ Government, and organize production on a planned scientific basis.

Only such a program can possibly remove the recurring horror of war, fascism, and economic depressions. Only Socialism will bring peace and plenty to humanity and employ science and technology for the preservation of life rather than its destruction.

Now some of you might ask – what has all this to do with a mayoralty campaign? Let me explain. Los Angeles cannot solve its problems alone. No one city can do that. Local problems are simply local manifestations of much larger national and international problems. The same struggle we conduct here is being fought throughout the nation and throughout the world.

Most of my opponents say that jobs must be provided for the millions of prospective unemployed in the period of reconversion. But how do they propose to do this ? Some expect to guard against a new economic catastrophe by attracting the rich with their money to Los Angeles. Another, a little more serious, proposal: public works, another WPA. But none can see how even the present production facilities can be utilized, for these are owned by private business and will be shut down when profits can no longer be made.

They do not dare propose to open these idle factories and run them under workers’ control. So they begin with the premise that these great factories must be locked up while millions are left to starve.

Let Us Fight for a Socialist Program

Against the dark and threatening prospects held out by capitalism, my party, the Socialist Workers Party, offers the broad promise of socialism – a real solution to the gangrenous social ills that beset mankind.

I invite you, the workers of Los Angeles, to join with me and my party in the fight for a better world. If elected mayor, I shall strive to advance every one of your most vital interests. Let us fight together to preserve our democratic rights against the forces of reaction! Let us fight for a Socialist program which will keep the factories open so that we and our families, the returning veterans, and the generation that comes after us, may live as human beings are entitled to live. Abolish poverty and war! Fight for a Socialist world! Don’t waste your votes on capitalist politicians! Vote Socialist!

Myra Tanner WEiss Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 22 June 2018