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[Jack Weber]

March of Events

(31 March 1934)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 13, 31 March 1934, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The A.F. of L. Bureaucracy

The new wave of strikes sweeping the country alarms not only the capitalists but the A.F. of L. bureaucracy as well. For in the present situation militant action of the workers may spread like wildfire and get “out of hand,” thereby becoming a threat to the labor lieutenants of capital just as much as to the bosses. Let the proletariat once signal their determination to pay off their oppressors for the agonies they have endured, and the battle will take on undreamed of proportions. The bosses are fearful that a strike, starting in the automotive industry, will quickly spread to the steel plants and to the railroads. And how much would it take to bring the miners to their feet?

The class struggle is irrepressible but the A.F. of L. with its treacherous, reactionary leadership and its obsolete craft structural basis, acts at this juncture at a serious obstacle to militant action. By its policy of delay and fake “progress” with the aid of the NRA machinery, the bureaucracy plans to harness the proletariat, substitute for the real battle on and hold it in check. The intend to the industrial field the sham battles in Washington.

* * *

The Role of Roosevelt

Roosevelt becomes the “impartial” arbiter in this game played at the expense of the workers. Roosevelt, who was hailed last November by the boss magazine Automotive Industry for his aid against the tool and die makers in their struggle that formed the prelude to the present one: “Without doubt President Roosevelt’s recent communication to General Johnson, interpreting the NRA labor clause in line with automobile producers’ views, had a considerable psychological effect in breaking the backbone of the strike.” Roosevelt, who is hamstringing the railroad workers by announcing in advance of their negotiations that he favors the retention of 10% wage “deduction.” Roosevelt, who mobilizes the nation’s resources to bolster up finance capitalism and to raise profits for the bosses while beating down the living standards of the working class. To expose Roosevelt means to expose the entire fraud of class collaboration practiced on the workers.

* * *

The Philippines

Roosevelt has just signed the bill granting complete independence to the Philippines – ten years from now. It is strange that we leave our rejoicing till then? Meantime we prefer to watch how the United States will most likely not dismantle its naval bases and fortifications in these islands of the militarized Pacific. The Philippines are merely a stepping stone to more distant shores for American imperialism. [line of text missing] The bourgeoisie hopes to solve its internal impasse, its desperate need for expanded markets, by challenging Japan for domination in China. The Philippines are the most trifling pawns in the bigger game of imperialism. The United States, in the maneouvering for “position,” appears to retreat for the moment the better to attack later.

* * *

The New York Post and Civic Virtue

The Post has been conducting an investigation to determine the state of knowledge of the masses regarding the names of “their” elected” representatives in the city, state and federal governments. And the estimable Post editors have been scandalized to learn that the average run of person is abysmally ignorant of capitalist politics and politicians. In itself this shows quite clearly that the capitalist government is not “theirs,” i.e. that of the masses.

We refer the Post to Engels’ remarks on this subject:

“There is no country in which ‘politicians’ form a more powerful and distinct section of the nation than in North America. There each of the two great parties which alternately succeed each other in power is itself in turn controlled by people who make a business of politics, who speculate on seats in the legislative assemblies of the Union as well as of the separate states, or who make a living by carrying on agitation for their party and on its victory are rewarded with positions. It is common knowledge that the Americans have been striving for years to shake off this yoke which has become intolerable, and that in spite of all they can do they continue to sink ever deeper in this quicksand of corruption. – And nevertheless we find here two great groups of political speculators, who alternately take possession of the state machine and exploit it by the most corrupt means and for the most corrupt ends – and the nation is powerless against these two great cartels of politicians who are ostensibly its servants, but in reality exploit and plunder it.”

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