Martin Harvey

Michigan CIO Leaders Move
for Labor Party

(3 January 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 1, 3 January 1944, 3 January 1944, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

DETROIT – The lines are being more clearly drawn in Michigan in the current fight to organize a Labor Party for the 1944 elections. Two prominent CIO officials went on record as being opposed to any move to give labor a political organization of its own.

Richard T. Frankensteen, political action director of the UAW-CIO, taking his cue from the Stalinists, denounced attempts to form a Labor Party as giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the labor movement.

Walter Reuther, international vice-president of the UAW. who presumably supports the anti-Labor Party position of the top CIO leaders, disclaimed any responsibility for the pro-Labor Party move. Emil Mazey and Paul Silver, UAW militants who had initiated the Labor Party drive, had previously been associated with the Reuther faction in the Auto Workers Union.

In addition to Frankensteen and Reuther, the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists, which wields some influence in this area, has also come out in opposition to a Labor Party.

Despite these blasts, however, the Labor Party movement seems to be gaining support. A closed meeting was held recently by the Mazey-Silver group at which forty CIO, AFL and Railway Brotherhood officials were present. Among the decisions reached at this meeting was the setting up of a permanent committee for the organization of a Labor Party.

At the same time, Tucker Smith of the United Retail & Wholesale Employees of America, CIO, invited E.B. Jolliffe, leader of the Ontario Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, to deliver several talks to union groups here to spread the Labor Party idea. The CCF, which recently emerged as a major party in Canada, is a left wing farmer-labor party with a vague program for the socialization of basic industry. It is supported by the CIO in Canada.

The coming weeks should see the formal inauguration of a campaign to organize a Labor Party in this key state. It is too easy to predict success but a clear presentation of the issues involved and a thorough discussion of them by the rank and file union militants cannot help but educate the workers to their political needs and set them on the road to independent working class action.

Last updated on 29 June 2020