In 1945, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) issued a “fighting program for labor” in the form of a 24-page pamphlet titled Jobs for All! It was written by Art Preis, best known today as the author of the remarkable history of industrial unions in the United States, Labor’s Giant Step: Twenty Years of the CIO (Pioneer Press, 1964). The 1945 pamphlet came out only days after the Japanese surrendered to Allied forces in World War II.
We are reprinting the text of this pamphlet for the first time online, as far as we can tell, as a companion to Nathaniel Flakin’s article on the Transitional Program. This “fighting program” is an exemplary application of the method Leon Trotsky laid out in the Transitional Program. After 1945, U.S. capitalists were seeking to dismantle the tremendous productive capacities the country had built up to wage war, but that no longer showed a clear path to profit. Readers will likely see some parallels with the coronavirus pandemic: there were tens of millions of people without jobs and large swaths of the economy suddenly standing idle. Union leaders only had one idea: plead with the ruling class for concessions. But the Trotskyists of the SWP showed an alternative that is still relevant today: workers need to take over the economy to create housing and jobs for all. It is also interesting to note that while the Roosevelt Administration is often held up as an example of a Golden Age for the working class, the reality under FDR and his immediate successor shows that the Democratic Party was always serving the interests of Big Business by controlling the unions and holding back the working class.
There are some important points to make about this 1945 text. For instance, $1.00 in 1945 would be the equivalent of $14.63 today. The AFL and CIO had yet to merge; Preis mentions the presidents of the two trade union confederations at the time, William Green and Philip Murray. He also touches on some important pieces of legislation, including the War Mobilization and Reconversion Act of 1944, which he refers to as the “George ‘States Rights’ Starvation Bill” — because one of its provisions essentially robbed workers of the unemployment benefits that would be needed as they sought jobs in the post-war economy. It acquired its “George Bill” name from U.S. Senator Walter F. George, one of its sponsors. The “Little Steel Formula” was introduced by the War Labor Board and tied the cost of living to wage increases “as a stabilization factor” — but was in essence a method for freezing wages.
When this pamphlet was written in 1945, the Socialist Workers Party was one of the brightest shining lights of the world Trotskyist movement. During his final years in exile in Mexico, Trotsky considered it his own party. By the mid-1980s, though, as the culmination of what turns out to have been a long, slow process of degeneration, a petty bourgeois leadership broke with Trotskyism altogether and maneuvered — through bureaucratic and undemocratic means — to expel all the party members who continued to defend its basic tenets. We are fortunate that gems like this Art Preis pamphlet were not similarly destroyed. — Scott Cooper
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An economic catastrophe has struck the American people. The first announcement of Japan’s surrender loosed a nationwide avalanche of plant shutdowns, mass layoffs, slashes in take-home pay. Washington politicians are silent about their election promises of “60,000,000 jobs.” Government officials now speak of “10,000 unemployed by Christmas.” And 5,000,000 veterans are expected to swell the army of jobless within 12 months.
Workers who yesterday were being handed Army-Navy “E” flags for incredible feats of production, today are being tossed ruthlessly into the streets. The vast plants which the government built with the people’s money have become as “expendable as a battleship.” The workers who constructed and operated these plants — they, too are regarded as “expendable.”
Yet the war demonstrated the decisive fact: America has the plants, the machinery, the materials, the workers to produce for plenty.
For the purposes of destruction and slaughter, the American people — the workers and farmers — have produced more goods in shorter time than ever before in all human history.
Within three years, by 1944, American production had nearly tripled over the best peacetime years. So vast was this production, that tens of billions of dollars in goods were literally given away in lend-lease to other countries. Some 12,000,000 men in the armed forces were diverted from potentially productive work, but still this torrential flood of production was possible — for war.
To achieve this tremendous productivity, the government built new, vast plants. Billions of dollars were poured into huge productive facilities for steel, aluminum, magnesium, ships, planes, tanks, bombs, artillery. And this gigantic outpouring of labor, natural resources, wealth was expended under the slogan of the “Four Freedoms” — the first of which was “freedom from want,” not just for America, but the whole world!
While the thunder of the war for the “Four Freedoms” is still echoing, the slogan of “freedom from want” rings like a hollow mockery in the ears of American labor. A million and a half aircraft workers, a million shipyard workers, millions in other basic industries, are already headed for the scrap heap.
In Detroit alone, over 250,000 wage-earners are to be laid off in “ninety days of unpredictable hell,” as a CIO auto union leader described it.
Reduced working hours and elimination of overtime premium pay are slicing huge chunks out of the workers’ weekly wages. Government officials estimate reduced hours alone will cost American labor $14 billion annually.
What has the government done — what is it planning to do — to meet the looming catastrophe that every worker and veteran can see before him?
Nothing — absolutely nothing. Congress has passed one law after another to protect the war profits and monopoly interests of the big corporations. Yes, and hiked the annual pay of Congressmen, with an additional tax-exempt “expense account” of $2,500, while the workers’ wages remained frozen.
Not jobs for the needy — but “relief for the greedy” has become the dominant slogan in Washington.
All the talk of “postwar planning,” for “60,000,000 jobs,” has boiled down in action to converting the U.S. Treasury and the government-built plants into an open grab-bag for Big Business.
Through the George “States Rights” Starvation Bill, passed last year, the government handed the corporations guarantees of full profits in war contract terminations. It set up a government surplus properties disposal board, stacked with agents of Big Business, to turn over the government plants and supplies to the corporations for a song.
The federal tax laws were rigged to permit the greedy corporations to make the Second World War the greatest profits-steal in history. Despite the so-called “excess profits” tax, American corporations milked out of the sweat and toil and blood of the American workers, in the plants and in uniform, double and treble their best peacetime profits. In 1944 alone, admitted net corporate profits were more than $10 billion — two and a half times the amount for 1939.
In five years, from 1939 through 1944, the capitalist bloodsuckers raised their fluid assets from $19 billion to $45 billion.
And the tax laws which put the bite on workers earning as little as $9 a week allowed the corporations through tax deductions to “buy up” government-built plants in five years.
But even this hasn’t satisfied the profiteer-parasites. Congress, with the sanction of the administration, has passed an amendment to the present federal tax law, for “quick relief” to the corporations whose coffers are groaning with accumulated war loot. This will put $5,700,000,000 (that’s billions) of tax rebates into the pockets of the Wall Street moguls in the next year.
But what about the huge war plants that are being shut down, “reconverted” into immense, idle, deserted hulks?
What about the workers who are being laid off by the millions, not to speak of the returning veterans?
“Junk” the government-built plants, say the monopolists, fearful of postwar competition. “Scrap them,” echo the government agents of monopoly. And what of the workers? “Scrap them, too!” is the answer of the capitalists and their government.
The only provision for the unemployed is the George Bill, which permits “states rights” unemployment insurance as low in some states as $2 a week for only 6 weeks — $12 a week for 16 weeks on the average. And even though President Truman, under pressure from organized labor, last May advocated state unemployment insurance up to $25 a week for a maximum of 26 weeks “in any year of unemployment,” Congress has simply pigeon-holed the proposal.
It is abundantly clear that the capitalists and their government will never of their own volition provide the workers steady unemployment, decent jobs at decent wages.
Only organized labor, through united, militant action, is capable of advancing a “reconversion” plan in the interests of the great majority, the productive workers and farmers.
The war has proved once again the material capacity of America to produce plenty for all. But it has also demonstrated that the present economic system, dominated by a handful of Big Business monopolists, is incapable of providing permanent security and decent living standards for the working people, the vast majority.
For ten years before the war, the “free enterprise” of American capitalism meant a jobless army of 11,000,000 to 17,000,000 — “one third of a nation ill-housed, ill-fed, ill-clothed.” Only under the “forced march” of war could American monopoly capitalism maintain production near capacity — and for only a brief three years.
This was made temporarily possible by the monumental blood sacrifice of more than a million American soldiers; colossal and deliberate destruction of material resources; incalculable drain on the physical energies of American labor; restriction of all prime necessities for living; and a titanic burden of over $300 billion in war debt.
But not even this “best effort” of American capitalism, in the peak productive years of the war, could provide decent living standards for most of the working people, though it further enriched the biggest capitalists “beyond the dreams of avarice.”
Here are some facts.
A recent wage survey by the Research Division of the CIO, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor, reveals that during the war 37 percent of the wage-earning population received wages of less than 65 cents an hour — an average of $19.24 for a 40-hour week.
Over half the workers earned total annual incomes below $1,752.
For an average family, this would, at present prices, provide a subsistence lower than called for on the WPA Emergency Budget of 1935.
This same study shows that if the wartime volume of production were continued, but with a shift to the low-wage consumer-goods industries, the 1944 total payroll of $90 billion would be slashed to $70 billion. Reduced hours resulting in the loss of overtime and premium pay have already slice other billions from the take-home pay of millions of American workers.
So critical is the situation that even Economic Stabilizer William H. Davis, while insisting on continuance of the wage-freeze, has conceded that it will take a general national 40 percent hourly wage rate increase to compensate for the loss in take-home pay during the “reconversion” period.
But, admit government economists, with the return of 12,000,000 veterans it will take a national annual income of $200 billion to provide the 60,000,000 jobs needed to prevent mass unemployment in the postwar years. In 1944 — the best production year in American history — the total income was only $150 billion.
Where is the mass purchasing power to come from to sustain industry and agriculture even at the present level?
The capitalist propagandists have been shouting from the housetops, “Look at the huge backlog of savings!”
Yes, there is indeed such a huge backlog. But in whose hands? The kept press did not feature in headlines a recent Department of Commerce report — and warning — that “there is reason to believe that a relatively large share of cash savings are in the hands of the numerically smaller high-income groups, who may, on the whole, be more inclined to retain their savings in the investment markets. For this reason accumulated savings cannot be counted upon as a major determinant of the level of economic activity in the transition period.”
Purchasing power, the wage-earners’ income, is rapidly declining, not increasing. Inflated prices are daily imposing hidden pay cuts on every worker. Soon there will be a vast army seeking jobs — 10,000,000 within two months after “V-J Day,” according to the statement of CIO-PAC Chairman Sidney Hillman on August 13. Returning veterans may eventually swell the jobless army to 19,000,000.
It won’t be the workers who will be buying the new autos, television sets, kitchen gadgets, refrigerators, with which the corporation advertising copy writers have been tantalizing the people all through the period of war shortages.
The problem which confronts the American people — and one which cannot wait on any distant solution — is full production. Unless all the plants and productive facilities are operated at full capacity, providing goods for the needs of the people, a catastrophic economic breakdown is inevitable.
On the very face of it, the mere beginning of a program for full production and employment requires: 1) a drastic reduction in the work week to divide the available work among all who need jobs; and 2) a steep boost in wage rates to maintain even the present mass purchasing power.
Not even this, however, will touch the nub of the problem. How can mass purchasing power be increased, how can jobs be provided for all, if the capitalists and their government refuse to permit the vast government-built and government-owned plants to operate? Their intention is to “junk” these plants, to remove them from competition
Their perspective is to operate industry at the minimum capacity consistent with maintaining their profits. To accomplish this they plan to drive wages down and prices up, to create an army of hungry, desperate, jobless workers willing to sell their labor power at any price, to destroy union conditions and the labor movement.
That is the essence of all the legislation the political agents of Big Business have rammed through Congress.
The greatest, the insurmountable obstacle to full production, full employment and higher living standards is the profit and monopoly interests of the capitalists.
The private ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, the exploitation of labor to enrich the few, is a steel strait jacket on full production.
No program for full employment and higher incomes can be effective unless it boldly smashes through this basic obstacle to full production — the profit interests of the ruling capitalist few. No program can hope to provide the needed 60,000,000 postwar jobs unless it demands squarely: NO IDLE PLANTS! Don’t let the monopolists shut them down! Don’t let them get their hands on the government plants build and paid for by the people! Let the plants be government-owned and operated under the control of the producing class, the workers!
This program, which strikes at the heart of the problem, will inspire savage resistance from the capitalist rulers. They will use their executive committee, the capitalist government, to fight the slightest infringement on their “rights.” As they have amply demonstrated, they will never willingly yield to the needs of the great majority. They arrogantly reject even the smallest concessions.
Thus, any program which proposes to invade the preserves of profit and vested privilege is not worth the paper it is written on unless the American labor movement is ready and willing to conduct an all-out-show-down fight to attain it. It won’t be handed to labor on a silver platter for the asking.
It will be won only in bitter struggle — as every other gain in the past has been won.
American labor, then, must adopt two fundamental propositions if it wishes to prevent mass unemployment and the beating down of its living standards to coolie levels:
1. The workers must have a program which, in the interests of the many, deliberately and unhesitatingly overrides the profit interests of the greedy few;
2. The workers must be prepared to advance that program in independent, united and remorseless class struggle on the economic and political fields.
Do the present top labor leaders in this country offer such a program? Are they prepared to fight for it in the only effective manner? Do they have the courage and wisdom to tell the American workers what must be done and to lead the battle for its accomplishment?
The trade union leaders have long been aware of the deadly threat of cutbacks, wage slashes, and mass unemployment. There has been no lack of complaints from them about the government’s “abysmal absence of policy, no concrete steps being taken to meet these needs” (CIO Steel Labor, July 1945). Nor has there been lack of a sound plan to meet the present crisis.
In July 1943, the International Executive Board of the CIO United Automobile Workers projected a progressive plan for “Post-War Full Employment, Security and Lasting Peace.”
This plan, featured in the United Automobile Worker, July 15, 1943, proclaimed the elementary and correct principle that the needs of the people stand above the “rights” of the owning minority. It declared, “Our industries can no longer be operated to serve private interests where these conflict with the public need.”
Therefore, as the first and key point under “Planning Full Production and Full Employment,” the UAW leaders then demanded: “Government or municipal ownership and operation of monopolistic industries and of industries strategically essential to the national safety. Government control and regulation of other industries to prevent the abuses of monopoly and to assure production in the public interest.”
Together with this fundamental demand, the 1943 plan called for: “Reduction of the working week to thirty hours without reduction of (take-home) pay, as a result of a full production program.”
But when the time came for action, in 1945, when hundreds of thousands in auto and aircraft were fired, when vast government-owned plants like Willow Run were shut down, these union leaders “forgot” their own union proposals.
UAW-CIO President R.J. Thomas, for instance, kept completely silent about government ownership and operation of Willow Run for the production of consumer goods. Instead, he took a junket, at union expense, to plead with war tycoon Henry J. Kaiser, whose shipyard workers were being laid off by the thousands. Thomas wanted Kaiser to Wangle Willow Run away from the government and “give” jobs to the UAW members, that is, to sweat out more profits for Henry J. Kaiser.
Thomas typifies the conduct of the entire top union leadership, AFL and CIO, now that the problem of reconversion is pressing with full weight upon the workers. These leaders have no stomach for a genuine struggle against the profiteering bosses and their system that blocks full production and full employment. Their biggest concern is for curbing the workers from militant action.
Today, the fundamental program of the CIO and AFL leaders is contained in the capital-labor “Peace Charter” they signed with Eric Johnston, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This “peace pact for postwar prosperity” has as its cornerstone the recognition of the “supremacy” of “the rights of private property and free choice of action, under a system of private competitive capitalism.”
It adds a blanket endorsement of Wall Street’s postwar plans to plunder the country without restriction, by supporting “the inherent right and responsibility of management to direct the operations of an enterprise … earn a reasonable profit … free from unnecessary governmental interference or burdensome restrictions.”
Thus the labor leaders are bound to the profit interests of Big Business and pledge themselves in advance to oppose any labor action against these interests.
And this agreement has been made at the very time Wall Street is engaged in a ferocious offensive against the unions and against the workers’ living standards.
In the face of this union-busting assault, the labor leaders confine themselves to issuing frantic appeals to the union-busters and their government to “do something.” This is the essence, for instance, of a three-point program recently advanced with great fanfare by the CIO leaders.
A year ago they supported the Kilgore bill which proposed $35 weekly as the minimum needed to provide adequate unemployment insurance for the entire duration of unemployment. They successively reduced the standards they have been advocating until today they are praising Truman’s pigeon-holed proposal for a $25 weekly maximum for 26 weeks — only $12.50 a week when averaged over a year.
Tomorrow, no doubt, they will “compromise” for the even smaller crumbs which will be the entire current “highest offer” of the so-called “friends of labor.”
While they complain against the wage-freezing Little Steel formula, in their program they appeal to Truman to “confer the necessary authority” on the War Labor Board to make “wage adjustments … which will not substantially affect the cost of living.” They continue to place complete dependence on the very agencies which have imposed and enforced the wage freeze.
And they concede in advance a gaping loophole for its continued enforcement. For the capitalists and their government always oppose wage increases on the grounds that these “substantially affect” prices. They never willingly grant such increases out of the huge corporation profits.
As for an effective program to ensure full production and employment — the key issue — the CIO leaders in their latest proposals merely appeal to the War Production Board, dominated by corporation “dollar-a-year” men, to take “all necessary steps.” What these “necessary steps” are, the CIO leaders do not say. But the WPB, we can be sure, is already taking all the steps necessary to protect the interest of Wall Street.
Above all, the top union leaders are endeavoring to divert the workers from independent, militant labor action.
This is strikingly shown in the recent highly ballyhooed CIO-PAC pamphlet on “The People’s Plan for Reconversion,” an attempt to agitate the workers for the feeble proposals of the CIO leaders. “Here Is What You Can Do,” trumpet the CIO leaders to the workers:
“Ask your Congressman what he is going to do to protect the wage earners … Ask your Governor and Mayor and their Councils what they are planning … Ask your employer how soon he will make up his mind and chart plans … Write or wire your Senators and your Congressmen that you want them to support …” etc.
Write, wire, ask, beg, plead … in short, grovel before the political agents of Big Business for them to do, plan, make up their minds. But they have long since made up their minds. They are acting. They have been passing law after law against the interests of the workers. They are engaged in a gigantic offensive, spearheaded by the government itself, to crush the unions and loot the country.
The labor “leaders” are on their knees like beggars before the labor-hating, rapacious handful of ruling capitalists. Their whole record is one of compromise and retreat, readiness to hail the latest crumb dangled before the workers by one or another capitalist politician.
But they never dare to fight for a single demand that so much as touches the “sacred rights” of private property, profits and privilege.
They never push legislation that goes beyond what some vote-hungry “liberal” capitalist politician proposes — as a gesture never seriously meant.
The top union leaders, for all their complaints and ballyhoo, offer no effective program on reconversion. Such a program would mean preparing for a battle, calling on the workers to conduct, independent militant mass struggles — without which it is impossible to compel the corporations and their government in Washington to yield concessions.
But the union officials are directing all their energies to forestall militant labor action. They join with the labor-haters to assail every fighting action of the workers. Upon Japan’s surrender offer, William Green and Philip Murray hastened to assure the employers they were still for the no-strike policy. They talk and whine — but do nothing — and will do nothing — to mobilize the union ranks for real action.
While the top labor bureaucrats fear a fighting program, the union ranks everywhere are demonstrating their pent-up eagerness to battle for their rights. And ever wider sections of organized labor are raising demands, far-reaching in character.
Since March 1945, a tremendous strike wave has swept the country. Within six months, over two million workers from coast to coast have trampled the no-strike pledge into the dust. New heroic struggles — of Akron rubber and Detroit auto workers, Chicago truck drivers, New York newspaper deliverymen — have entered the pages of American labor history.
The protesting voices of other hundreds of thousands — the returning war veterans — are beginning to make themselves heard.
Most of these veterans are workers, including many old unionists. They are finding the realities of their return far different from the glowing promises they received when shipped off to fact mutilation and death while the profiteers at home coined billions.
They are discovering that the so-called “G.I. Bill of Rights” is a fraud. Veterans hospitals have been exposed as cesspools of vile conditions. When veterans do get jobs, they quickly learn how the bosses have lied about the workers getting “rich” on war wages. And increasing thousands of them find decent jobs at living wages unobtainable.
Some 13,000,000 Negro people, the most oppressed section of the population, are fighting with ever more determination and courage against mounting discrimination and race hatred fostered by the white capitalist ruling class and their agents like the vicious Southern Democrats in Washington.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Negro fighters have been court-martialed for daring to insist on their rights in the Jim Crow armed forces.
The Negro people had to threaten a huge mass march on Washington to force even formal recognition of their right to jobs in war industries and compel temporary establishment of the Fair Employment Practices Commission. Always the “last to be hired and first to be fired,” the Negro workers especially are feeling the whiplash of layoffs, downgrading and wage cuts.
It is indisputable that the workers, Negro and white, and the returning veterans want a program in their own interests. They are more than ready to resist militantly Wall Street’s hunger scheme. They are eager to fight for a program which genuinely meets their needs.
Throughout the war, only one organization consistently and boldly advanced an effective fighting program in the interests of the vast majority. That organization is the SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY, the American Trotskyists.
Despite vicious wartime government persecution — 18 Trotskyist leaders suffered federal imprisonment under the infamous Smith “Gag” Act — the SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY persistently warned of the capitalist conspiracy to destroy the unions, drive down living standards and impose a postwar regime of hunger and regimentation.
Why, asks the SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY, must great government-owned plants like Willow Run be “junked”? Aren’t there vast needs to be filled? There are, for example, huge areas of rotten, crowded housing which ought to be replaced by modern, prefabricated housing that plants like Willow Run could easily be used to build. Yes, these plants now destined for the scrap pile could provide a thousand products that would make the workers’ and farmers’ lives better and happier. Plants, machinery, materials, workers — all are at hand.
Only one thing is lacking from the capitalist point of view — guaranteed profits. That — and that alone — is what now stands in the way of maintaining all the huge government-built and owned plants as humming, useful means of production and livelihood.
Must millions of workers and their dependents face idleness, hunger and misery because the profits interests of a handful of nonproductive parasites stand in the way? Must the workers, whose labor creates all, meekly submit to an outlived system in which the means to produce plenty are perverted to the interests of a profiteering few?
That need not, that must not be. To the monopoly profiteers who sabotage full production the workers must answer:
No idle plants! Operate all idle and government-built plants under the control of the workers themselves! Eliminate the control of the profiteer-parasites!
During the war, prices zoomed skyhigh while wages remained frozen. The average worker — if he is working — is turning out 30 percent more production per hour than he did just four years ago. All this increased productivity is being siphoned off into capitalist products.
Now the workers are experiencing intolerable wage cuts through drastic curtailment of take-home pay. Such pay slashed must be combatted by:
A rising scale of wages! Increase wages to meet the increased cost of living! Smash the Little Steel Formula!
If the employer want to fire workers while keeping others slaving away for inhumanly long hours, then the unions must demand:
A sliding scale of hours! Reduce the hours of work for all with no reduction in pay! For the 30-hour week with no loss in take-home pay!
The American workers have the organized power to achieve these demands. But, as the SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY has emphasized, they cannot make even the first step forward in the battle for security unless they break all ties with the capitalist government and its agencies, unless they resist every attempt to curb their independence and freedom of action. To achieve an effective program on reconversion, the workers must completely restore:
Independence of the trade unions from the capitalist government!
Bound hand and foot by the no-strike pledge, strangled by the red tape of employer-dominated government arbitration agencies, the workers have found themselves the helpless victims of the profit-mad corporations. Already, despite and against the opposition of their top union leaders, hundreds of thousands of workers have been “voting with their feet” on picket lines to:
Smash the no-strike pledge! For militant union action to halt the union-busting offensive of the corporations and government!
At the same time, it is becoming crystal clear to the union ranks everywhere that the War Labor Board, propped up by the union leaders who serve on it, has become the chief governmental wage-freezing and strike-breaking agency. From every section of the labor movement, the cry is rising:
Withdraw the union representatives from the War Labor Board! An end to reliance on the anti-labor government and its agencies!
An absolute prerequisite for successful struggle is the unity of the working class. Every device of “divide and rule” is being used by the capitalists to disunite the workers.
Thus, the corporations are seeking to pit the workers in uniform against the workers in industry. They plan to use returning veterans, unable to get jobs, as a battering ram against the unions, just as the Nazis and Fascists did.
To defeat this sinister scheme to use discontented but misguided veterans as the basis for a fascist movement against American labor, the unions must be the most militant champions of the rights of veterans. The labor movement must launch a bold program for jobs, decent hospitalization, demobilization bonuses, adequate unemployment, allowances for the veterans.
Unity of the organized workers and returning veterans must be forged in common struggle through:
Organization of the war veterans by the trade unions!
During the war, the employers intensified their efforts to divide and rule the workers by provoking race hatred and racial conflict. In Detroit, Philadelphia and elsewhere, corporation agents have directly inspired and organized anti-Negro violence.
Against this vicious ruling class scheme to destroy labor unity through race prejudice, the white and Negro workers must join in uncompromising united labor struggle for:
Full equality for Negroes and all national minorities! Down with Jim Crow!
Today, every demand of the workers is shunted by the employers to their agents in Washington. The whole government is arrayed against labor’s interests. All the capitalist political “friends of labor” — Republicans and Democrats alike — are proven enemies of labor.
They have not passed a single measure sought by labor. They have supported all the measures dictated by their Wall Street masters. Yet, it is a shameful fact that not a single independent labor voice is being raised in the federal legislature on behalf of the working people.
Just as labor must conduct a militant, independent struggle on the economic field, simultaneously it must wage an independent political struggle aimed at winning governmental power. The time to break once and for all with company unionism in the political field is NOW. It is time to:
Organize the Independent Labor Party, the workers’ own party, based on the trade unions and free of all ties with the corrupt capitalist political machines!
American organized labor stands today at the crossroads. This tremendous giant, 16,000,000 strong, potentially the greatest force in the world, has demonstrated in the past a capacity for heroic struggle. Now American labor confronts the greatest struggle of all. If it retreats, if it compromises, if it yields to the deception and cowardly advice of its present bureaucratic leaders, if it bows before the “rights” of private profit and privilege, then disaster will befall. The American workers will be plunged into an abyss of misery and destitution.
But if organized labor mobilizes its forces for a finish fight, if it exerts to the full its invincible power, if it cries “Halt!” to the tiny, selfish minority who up to now have controlled the people’s destinies, then the road to salvation will open.
Then the American workers will be able to build for themselves a new society of abundance and comfort and human decency.