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Myra Tanner Weiss

‘Vote for Socialism!’ Says SWP Candidate

(26 March 1945)

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 13, 31 March 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Following is the text of a speech by Myra Tanner Weiss, Trotskyist candidate for mayor, to the voters of Los Angeles delivered March 26, over station KNX. Station KHJ, to which the script was originally submitted, censored out the passages which we have put in parentheses in this text and the speech was not given over that station. Minus the censored passages, it was delivered over station KNX.

* * *

For the past three years I have been the Los Angeles organizer of the Socialist Workers’ Party, popularly known as the Trotskyists. For ten years I have been active in the labor movement – as a shop steward in the canneries of San Pedro, on picket lines, on union negotiating committees, and as a delegate to AFL conventions.

I tell you my record, and what my affiliations are, in order to make clear the character of my campaign for the office of Mayor of Los Angeles. I stand for the working-class. My program, the program of my party, is the program of socialism. I hate the evil, decaying system of capitalism with its wars, its race hatreds, the perpetual privation and insecurity which it represents for millions of people.

I speak for a party which challenges the capitalist system and proposes to remove it, (as if it were a cancerous growth on human society.) Socialism means a society of peace and plenty, instead of a society of war and hunger. Only the working class, which has nothing to gain and everything to lose under capitalism, can create a socialist world.

Meanwhile, the working class is under attack. The lords of Big Business, here in California as throughout the nation, are eternally seeking ways and means to undermine and destroy the workers’ own organizations, the trade unions. They want to convert the workers into helpless serfs, unable to defend their hard- won rights and living standards.

The Workers Must Open Their Counter-Offensive

Here in California, the notorious open-shoppers vie with the capitalist politicians in Washington in devising new blows at organized labor. Proposition 12, defeated by the California voters last November, was to sanctify the open-shop in law. (It was of a piece with the Roosevelt-sponsored National Service Act and all other freedom-destroying legislation.)

The labor movement can survive only by militant struggle against all the forces of reaction. Against the offensive of the bosses and the boss politicians, the workers must open their own counter-offensive. Labor must withdraw from the War Labor Board, that graveyard of workers’ grievances. The No-Strike Pledge, a straitjacket for labor, must be rescinded. The Little Steel formula, which holds wages down while profits and prices soar ever higher, must be thrown overboard.

But even more than this is needed, To defend itself with its united power in every field where it is attacked, labor must break for all time with the capitalist political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, and every type of boss politician. The workers must build their own party, an independent labor party, based on the trade unions, with a program dedicated to the interests of labor. Through this party they can achieve a fighting alliance with the agricultural workers and small farmers who are exploited and oppressed by the self-same enemies of labor.

There are no “friends of labor” in the capitalist parties. Labor’s only true friend is its own strong right arm. By casting your vote for me, you will be voting in favor of independent working-class political action – the crying need of the hour.

Cast Your Vote for Socialism!

A real fighting program is a life and death question for the workers. Already, in the midst of the great war production boom, its shadow of post-war unemployment falls across the workers’ lives. Capitalism offers breadlines, soup kitchens, apple-selling. The bosses know this. That is why they are so intent on crushing the organized labor movement. They want no resistance from their victims.

(Attacks on the labor movement go hand in hand with armed assaults on Japanese-American citizens, some of whose homes have been shot up and burned by undercover terrorists.) Reactionary organizations are inciting race hatred against Japanese-Americans, Negroes, Mexicans and other minorities. Anti-Semitism is rife. In all these activities we can easily recognize an incipient fascism whose ultimate aim is the destruction of the labor movement.

In asking you to vote for me, I am asking you to vote against all these manifestations of black reaction, (and against the capitalist system which nourishes them.) Make YOUR vote a vote for Socialism.

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Last updated: 6 November 2018