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Mary Bell

Low-Down on “Differences”
Between GOP and Democrats!

(October 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 44, 30 October 1944, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

For labor, there is no difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties. If you are an ornery Doubting Thomas, let us demonstrate this from the record, platform and campaign issues of the two candidates and parties’.

DEMOCRATS: They take credit for rescuing the country from the clutches of what they like to call the “Hoover Depression.”

REPUBLICANS: They take credit for the fabulous era of “Hoover Prosperity.”

To give Hoover credit or blame for either the period of prosperity or that of unemployment is to be as wrong as to identify him with the vacuum sweeper. All that such logic omits from the analysis is the system of capitalism itself. The capitalists could no longer make a profit, they turned the workers out of the stuffy plants to more healthful outdoors occupations such as apple-peddling or leaf-raking. While Hoover coined the immortal phrase, “Prosperity is just around the corner,” this “much-misunderstood” man did not cause either prosperity or depression.

Nor did Roosevelt rescue us. The capitalist ship of state was leaking in the depression and was menaced by the rising tide of breadlines and unemployed. All FDR did was to help bail. If saving capitalism meant talking radical about “throwing the money-changers out of the temple” and throwing the workers a few crumbs – well, no sacrifice was too great to save the system. And being a wealthy man himself, Roosevelt was a good man for the job since he understood the problems of America’s Sixty Families.

DEMOCRATS: They are pledged to uphold “free enterprise,” promote the success of small business, foster the well-being of the small, independent farmer, encourage “risk capital” after the war.

REPUBLICANS: They stand pledged to uphold “free enterprise,” promote the success of small business, foster the well-being of the small, independent farmer, encourage “venture capital.”

To set at ease the brokers and financiers who consult Labor Action, the distinction made in the two platforms between “risk capital” and “venture capital” does not constitute a real difference between the two parties.

An item of interest to this class of readers as well as to thrifty soldiers is the war property being offered for sale by the war surplus bureau of the government. There is a large supply of only slightly used war factories in the ten to one hundred million dollar brackets. Also, for the smaller business men there are available a number in the five hundred thousand to one million dollar bracket – practically a song. Even the small, independent farmer might grab off a few of these. There is no conniving with the monopolies in getting rid of this property. Everything is to be offered at public sale, so that everyone will have a crack at it. While this is being done under Roosevelt, the Republicans are equally determined to get rid of monopoly by the same drastic means.

DEMOCRATS: They claim credit for the National Labor Relations Act, the Wage and Hour Act, and the Social Security Act.

REPUBLICANS: They go for these acts, too, and promise to continue them. Nay, they promise to do even better.

Tie score.

DEMOCRATS: Their supporters claim Dewey has the American pro-fascist elements on his bandwagon.

REPUBLICANS: Their supporters claim that Roosevelt is supported by the Communists; enemies of labor and servants of the Russian bureaucracy.

They’re both right.

DEMOCRATS: Their platform, adopted by them in convention assembled, says nary a word about guaranteeing full employment after the war.

REPUBLICANS: Their platform, also adopted in convention assembled, and much longer than that of the Democrats, has not a single syllable on guaranteeing jobs after the war.

Now, it may be assumed that since the bright, halcyon days of WPA, the Democrats have learned a thing or two about the evils of pampering the people of this country. And the Republicans, who have ever been the guardians of “individual initiative” could not be expected to rob the worker citizens of this birthright. It does something to a man’s morale to be handed a job on a silver platter. (We’re not saying what, for the moment.)

DEMOCRATS: They picture Dewey as a babe in swaddling clothes, not old enough to run the country.

REPUBLICANS: They picture Roosevelt as a man with one foot in the grave, and therefore too decrepit to continue in office.

These about cancel each other out.

DEMOCRATS: Their platform says they issued a “new Magna Carta for labor” and they take credit for giving labor the right to organize.

REPUBLICANS: They call themselves “the historical champion of free labor.”

The statement of the Democrats is not literally true. The “Magna Carta,” as a matter of record, came after the tremendous organizing campaigns of the trade unions, the strike struggles, the picketings, the battling of unionists against strike-breakers’ clubs and coppers’ tear gas. These contributed a mite to the formation of the giant union movement of today. We hope you do not think us quibbling that we place this molehill beside the mountain of the “New Deal Magna Carta.” The Republicans contribute a point about “free labor,” and they mean to “free” it of the nasty union restrictions which a man like, say, Westbrook Pegler has pointed out, and which keep it tied down.

DEMOCRATS: They authored the Smith-Connally bill, which was vetoed by Roosevelt only because he thought it didn’t “go far enough” toward preventing strikes.

REPUBLICANS: They helped pass the Smith-Connally bill and are against strikes.

Tie score.

DEMOCRATS: They are for the wage, freeze, and their candidate, Roosevelt, has stood pat on maintaining the Little Steel formula.

REPUBLICANS: They say they are opposed to the “freezing of wages at arbitrary levels.”

While it might seem offhand that the Republicans have the edge over the Democrats here, that gain is offset by something else. The Republicans would allow prices to rise also. Roosevelt, however, claims to keep prices frozen. Some radicals, the AFL and the CIO complain that the cost of living has risen by 45.3 per cent. But there are always cranks.

DEMOCRATS: Many of them were influential in defeating the Kilgore bill for unemployment compensation. FDR was totally silent on this bill.

REPUBLICANS: They helped, with an overwhelming majority of their representatives voting for the big business George bill.

For an analysis of their motivation on this issue, refer back to the section on “pampering” labor and encouraging “individual initiative.” And remember, too, that Roosevelt signed the “inadequate” reconversion bill.

DEMOCRATS: Their program states they believe that “racial and religious minorities should have equal rights with the rest of the citizens to live, develop, vote, etc.”

REPUBLICANS: They are for a Constitutional amendment to abolish the poll tax, and for full democratic rights to Negroes.

It would be unfair to call Roosevelt’s party the “poll-tax party” just because he has to appease a few lynch-law Democrats from the South, or just because Southern Democrats run a large section of the party and are a big power in all its deliberations. What about the Republicans? There is a certain tradition that this party SPEAKS radically on the Negro problem. But it has been in power many years and did little enough about it. Their utterances are vote-grabbing schemes, while Republicans in Congress vote with the poll-taxers.

DEMOCRATS: They take responsibility for the foresight in arming the country, “quarantining the aggressors,” and prosecuting the war for the Atlantic Charter and the Four Freedoms jointly with the Allies. They condemn the Republicans for hindering the war effort.

REPUBLICANS: They support the war for the Atlantic Charter and the Four Freedoms and the United Nations. Some of them point out that Roosevelt promised he would not send our boys overseas.

The point about “hindering the war effort” and FDR’s promise cancel out. While Churchill fights to defend British enslavement of India, however much FDR objects, he holds his tongue. While presumably the war is being fought to liberate people under a foreign oppressor, you can have too much of a good thing, and Roosevelt undoubtedly realizes this. Roosevelt, with his flexible statesmanship, also recognizes de Gaulle, who presides over France’s African colonies. And he preserves a judicious silence over Stalin’s rude grabs in Eastern Europe. But Dewey shows himself a good sport and says he is willing to go along. Furthermore, the criticism of his youthfulness does not stand up under the fact that he clings to the tried and true methods of FDR rather than venture something new.

DEMOCRATS: They do not promise to end war.

REPUBLICANS: Neither do they.

Having learned their lesson in the “war to end all wars” neither party is so foolish as to envisage a future without war They both recognize that more wars are coming, since they are both in favor of a United Nations police force to take action against the future “aggressors.” They both believe in capitalism an imperialism and are firm defenders of the profit system and the rights of capitalists to exploit labor.

No, thanks. For us there’s no choice between the Republocrats and the Demopublicans. In politics, we don’t believe in choosing the “lesser evil” over a greater evil, when such a choice exists But these two parties are both monstrous evils for the working people. We choose instead something good for working men and women: A LABOR PARTY!

Our Program for A Labor Party

  1. Abolish wage-freezing and job-freezing.
  2. Rescind the no-strike pledge. Repeal the Smith-Connally anti-strike law.
  3. A higher, not a lower, standard of living.
  4. No tax on wages. No sales tax on consumer goods. Abolish all taxes on annual incomes of $5,000 or less.
  5. For labor control of rationing and price-fixing.
  6. A one hundred per cent tax on all war profits.
  7. A $25,000 ceiling on all individual incomes.
  8. A year-around job and a guaranteed annual wage.
  9. A two hundred and fifty billion dollar five-year program for housing, public works, etc.
  10. For unrestricted democratic rights of servicemen; doubling present dependency allotments, with no deductions from servicemen’s pay.
  11. Two years’ base pay grant to all veterans, with government-financed job training and education.
  12. Against all forms of race discrimination, Jim Crow, anti-Semitism, etc., in civilian life and the armed services.
  13. Adequate government aid to small farmers. Abolish tenancy and share-cropping by turning the land over to those who till it.
  14. For a break with bankrupt capitalist political parties and complete independence of labor from them. For a workers’ government to organize the country for freedom, security, peace and plenty for all!
  15. For an end to war and fascism by a democratic people’s peace, without annexations, indemnities, tribute or the dismemberment and oppression of sovereign nations and peoples.

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Last updated: 17 February 2016