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Jack Wilson

Green Extols Capitalism on Labor Day

Lauds Hunger Regime; Silent on Falling Wages

(7 September 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. I No. 37, 7 September 1935, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

CANTON, Ohio, Sept. 1. – After a string ensemble softly played I Love You, William Green, reactionary president of the A. F. of L., surrounded by a chamber of commerce president, some state politicians, two priests and a coterie of conservative trade-unionists, preached the philosophy of class-cooperation at a dinner given here in his behalf – and then went into a veritable frenzy to whip up another “red scare.”

His after-dinner speech and the dinner itself would have been the envy of a rotarian or any other bourgeois club. But this was but a prelude to and an indication fl what workers, waiting throughout the country to hear what he would say, would actually get.

Green spoke before an audience of not over 2,500 workers, a sign of his rapidly declining prestige and an ominous warning of how he will fare in the future with the workers.

Coming fresh from Detroit where he had treacherously foisted an ultra-reactionary leadership on the new auto workers’ international union, Green still dared to shed crocodile tears over “our democratic rights for which we must fight.” He meant his right to continue betrayals of labor, as for example, at the coming rubber workers’ convention.

Green told the workers, whose standard of living has been falling to an even more miserable rate than before the Roosevelt administration, that “The nation is emerging from a long-continued period of distressing and painful economic experience,” and also that “the economic horizon is becoming brighter.”

Horns and Wings

Making a “fine” distinction between “decent employers” and “ruthless, irresponsible employers,” Green pledged himself to help the “decent employers” against the competition of the latter in the hope they might toss him a few bread crumbs, so to speak.

Despite the rubber strike betrayal, the Chevrolet strike compromise, the failure of the A.F. of L. to try seriously to organize basic industries on industrial lines; the clubbing down of WPA wages by the Roosevelt administration; the increased misery for the unemployed; despite these and hundreds of other glaring facts that speak eloquently of the failure of the A.F. of L. top leadership, Green bragged of “substantial progress” made by him and his cohorts.

He had nothing but praise for the so-called “Federal Security Act,” whose provisions are meaningless to aid the unemployed in obtaining even an existence. Outside of saying “Congress and the administration made a grave mistake” when they failed to accept and apply the prevailing wage principle on WPA work, no criticism of the anti-worker, capitalist controlled Washington administration was made!

Green again offered as his solution for the inherent contradictions of capitalism with its devastating toll of unemployment, misery and slavery of the working class, the 30-hour week.

But it wasn’t what Green said alone which showed so clearly his poverty as a labor leader and the sources of ideas for betraying the fundamental interests of the working class.

It was in what he didn’t say that he was so clearly exposed!

Amnesia Grips Bill

With world imperialism about to send millions of workers to horrible death in war which will inevitably draw America in, Green made no mention of the Italian Fascist aggression in Ethiopia!

With the federal government drastically reducing relief to unemployed, bringing untold misery, not one word was said in condemnation of these criminal policies!

With the sly father Coughlin attempting to build an independent company-dominated auto workers union right on the heels of the bonafide auto workers convention, Green fears to think even of the consequences let alone exposing of Coughlin!

With all the black, infamous record of Roosevelt and his administration with its serious consequences to the welfare of the working class – the effects of the NRA, the spending of hundreds of millions for war preparations but not much for relief; the role of the government as strike-breaker in every strike; and so on – with all this record, Green ignores the administration, in fact, he praises it for bringing “economic recovery” ... to the capitalists!

Thus, in every serious problem facing the working class, we get from Green exactly what one would expect from a labor faker ... The working class gets nothing!

P.S. The Minneapolis truck drivers will be interested in knowing who the clergyman was that sat with Green enjoying a fine, fat meal. None other than Rev. Francis J. Haas! He’s still up to his old tricks, trying to fool labor. But thanks to the Minneapolis drivers, we have the Indian sign on him.

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Last updated: 24 February 2016