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Jack Weber

March of Events

(16 June 1934)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 24, 16 June 1934, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Textile Crisis

Nothing illustrates so well the utter inability of capitalism to lay down plans for production of wide-range character, as does the textile crisis. The need for a sudden drastic cut in production reveals clearly that even a capitalist cartel including all of a given industry, cannot regulate production to consumption. All it can do is to order sharp curtailment when production gets out of control. It cannot avoid crisis, for the present situation is a distinct crisis brought on all the quicker by the capitalist attempt to regulate production. What is happening in the textile industry is a forerunner of what will happen n all the big mass production industries under monopolist control.

* * * *

The Workers and the Forces of Production

The working class can see here too, the meaning of the NRA and the way in which its operation affects their livelihood. When the Cotton Textile Code Authority orders a decrease in production by 25% for three months without any change in hourly wage rates it places the burden of the crisis in this industry immediately on the backs of the proletariat. The NRA is a police club which beats down the forces of production when they threaten profits for the bosses. At the same time this club descends on the heads of the workers, the class that is concerned with and represents the social forces of production. The working class encounter this sort of action more and more in the future. Ultimately they must learn that not capitalist control of production for profits, that workers’ control of production for social use can assure them a livelihood and eliminate starvation. Capitalist control means the sabotage of production, workers’ control means its unlimited expansion for the benefit of the masses. The closed shop is the first step in the direction of workers’ control but its achievement depends on the building of powerful, militant trade unions. Through such unions, casting off the treacherous leadership of the reformists, the textile workers can best reply to the bosses when they put through wage cuts.

* * * *

Company Unionism

For many years Rockefeller has maintained a subsidized strikebreaking agency called the Industrial Relations Counselors, Inc. This agency has the support of Cyrus McCormick (ardent promoter of the company union), A.H. Woods, Owen D. Young, etc. This outfit “gives advice” in matters of “personnel” to all the big industrialists including the steel barons, the oil magnates, the manufacturers of farm machinery, the electrical trust etc. Since 1926 Rockefeller has supplied generous funds to enlighten the boss class on the best methods for trapping the workers in “employee representation plans” or company unions. This organization became especially active in the period following the adoption of the NRA with its 7a fake labor clause. A widespread campaign was conducted through the subsidized technical press, urging the bosses to defeat independent unionism by setting up fake, controlled unions. Thus in Automotive Industries for December 933 we read, in an unsigned article entitled, Organizing a Company Union:

“Shall we, or shall we not, sanction a ‘company union’ in our plant? – If you do not, someone will organize your employees for you. This is not in the least meant to be interpreted as a threat, but is merely a foregone conclusion under current conditions.”

The article then proceeds to outline minutely the best method of going about enticing (and forcing) workers into the boss’ union.

More recently the industrial counselors have been mobilizing their forces wherever the threat of mass strikes arose. Thus the head of the organization, A.H. Young, was thrown into the steel industry as soon as “trouble” threatened there. He is now with the U.S. Steel Co., just as C.J. Hicks is with the Standard Oil Co. of N.J. for the same nefarious purpose.

* * * *

Smash Company Unions!

The company unions are the latest form of “yellow dog” contracts forced on the working class. The drive against the organizing of the workers in real unions has been well planned long in advance and has the support of all the big financiers, from Ford to Swope, Teagle to Rockefeller. Roosevelt merely obeyed the voice of his masters In the Auto Strike when he legalized the company union. The same tactics are being applied now to defeat the steel workers. We must mobilize labor to smash company unionism by militant action! The capitalist government attempts to carry out the strike-breaking program of big business. We must checkmate Roosevelt!

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