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Jack Wilson

Forces Clash Before Rubber Union Confab

(10 August 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. I No. 33, 10 August 1935, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

AKRON, Ohio, Aug. 5 – Issuance of a call for a rubber workers union convention tentatively set for Sept. 12 to form an international union affiliated with the A.F. of L. has spurred progressive elements to form a block to take control away from the A.F. of L. bureaucracy and has brought sharply into light the forces which will clash at the looming convention.

Coleman C. Claherty, rubber organizer for the A.F. of L., and his assistants, are uniting reactionary forces throughout the country in an effort to keep their strangle hold on the rubber workers, as per instructions from their boss, William Greene, who has announced he will attend.

Leading “industrial unionists” in the A.F. of L. bureaucracy probably including John Lewis, United Mine Workers president, and others are quietly encouraging a few misled workers in the hope that they can control the Akron delegates to the next national A.F. of L. convention.

The Stalinists are concentrating their entire Akron strength to gain control of the progressive bloc and thereby make an entry into rubber and keep out the Workers Party from exerting any influence. The usual run of slander and lies against the Workers Party is the only weapon the C.P. has to accomplish their latter aim.

The Akron branch of the Workers Party is working steadily to convince workers of the correctness of our policies and bring them into the Party, not only because correct perspectives must be given before and at the convention but because our primary task is to build the Workers Party.

It is doubtful that any one force will have a commanding position at the convention. But the workers must become more alert and understand more clearly the numerous underhanded methods being used to swing them behind the A.F. of L. bureaucrats and also the Stalinists.

Claherty is spending bis time and money creating small locals in out-of-town plants so he can have mechanical control of the convention. His story about the Youngstown local is an example. He reported a large mass meeting and a good local after a trip their to organize a minor plant. Actually, less than a dozen workers joined!

Flattering letters from the Lewises are used by these reactionaries to subtly win the progressives to their banner and thus give them more control in the A.F. of L. A few misled workers seem to fall for this. All the reactionaries really want is not a strong union, but votes to oust Green so they can take his place and then continue his betrayals.

The Stalinists tell rubber workers that the C.P. has 20 presidents of the autoworkers unions with them and that they are going to run the autoworkers convention to form an international next month! So the rubber workers are supposed to believe their only hope lies in uniting with the C.P.!

We let the past record of the Workers Party here speak for itself. The only leadership, the only warning of impending betrayal, the first call to progressives to unite after the Claherty and Green sellout this spring was given by the small but active group here!

As the Workers Party first agitated for a strike; first brought to Akron the lessons of Toledo and Minneapolis strategy in strike, so we are trying again to give the rubber workers correct perspectives.

We want to repeat for emphasis. Only insofar as the rubber workers understand the nature of the forces contending in the industry and adopt the ideas of the Workers Party, will the labor movement in Akron progress.

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Last updated: 24 February 2016