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Walter Jason

Chrysler Delegates to Back Labor Party
Resolution at Michigan CIO Conference

(14 June 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 25, 23 June 1947, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

DETROIT, June 14 – Although neither the anti-Reuther nor pro-Reuthcr caucuses in Chrysler Local 7 ran candidates for the Michigan state CIO convention on a program that included the important Labor Party plank, the delegates selected approved of a resolution for a Labor Party, and the executive board of Local 7 likewise endorsed it! And if this contradiction seems confusing it is only because it illustrates so well the irony and opportunism, of politics in the UAW-CIO today.

The so-called left-wing in Local 7 had a leaflet urging support of its candidates without any reference to the question of independent political action. The program advocated by the left-wing simply stated it was for CIO policies.

The so-called right wing plank on political action said, “Defeat the horse and buggy politicians who are stooging for big business in Lansing and Washington. Organize for election day to picket them with ballots.”

The appearance of the right-wing leaflet created some sharp protest because it was in direct violation of the policy unanimously agreed to at a pro-Reuther caucus meeting of Local 7, where it was voted to re-affirm the Unity Group plank of independent political action, and turning the PAO in that direction. The authors of the leaflet simply smuggled their own conservative views into the leaflet, apparently under the direct influence of ACTU, the reactionary influence in the Reuther caucus.

Interest in the election of the delegates to the state CIO convention wasn’t very high among the men in the shops because of the dull, and uninspired programs of the slates, and the fact that the election was held on a Sunday. The right wing leaflet, and its conservative approach, came out without approval of militants in the caucus, of the union president, and some other officers. It was a terrible retreat from the splendid program that swept the present Local Union 7 administration into office.

If this seems bad, it was mild compared to the maneuvering and duoble-crossing in the left-wing caucus. The most important single feature of the left-wing campaign was the fact that a well-known advocate of the policies of the Communist Party had a red-baiting and Negro-baiting job done on him by members of his own caucus. Part of his own caucus went around using the vilest Jim Crow arguments against his election. Ditto on his CP sympathies. It was. a truly disgusting spectacle, and the source of this gutter level politics is pretty well known. It involves a bitter dispute within the left-wing caucus for control.

After the election which resulted in an 8 to 7 victory for the rightwing – really a defeat in comparison to the huge 2 to 1 majority it piled up in the recent local union election – the matter of policy for the delegates was brought up. A resolutions committee for the delegation accepted a Labor Party resolution presented by Nick Di Gaeteno, editor of Local 7 Citadel, and a member of the left-wing caucus, and Jack Widick, an advocate of the Labor Party in the Reuther caucus. The executive board subsequently approved this resolution.

In an effort to avoid any clash on program, and to avoid an intensification of differences in both caucuses, the delegates and later the executive board voted endorsement of the laboi- party resolution which commits Local 7 to fight for it at the Michigan CIO convention, and to support all moves in the direction of a Labor Party. Unionists who were against the idea of a Labor Party before the election of delegates had a sudden change of heart. It still remains to be seen how the delegation conducts itself on this issue at the convention.

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