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Mary Bell

Workers Party Plan for
Reconversion and Post-War

(June 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 26, 26 June 1945, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“A job! We want a guaranteed job and a guaranteed annual wage.”

These are the demands foremost in the mind of every worker.

To the unemployed worker who has already suffered loss of his job due to current cutbacks; to the war worker who has a year at most to work before he undergoes reconversion unemployment; to the returned war veteran who has no job yet; to the youth who are coming of age; to the soldiers’ widows who must support families – every one of them is in deadly fear of the material and moral insecurity that accompanies unemployment.

The Workers Party offers in adjoining columns its plan for jobs for all. The plan is concerned with the needs of the workers for jobs, better wages, a guaranteed annual wage, special needs of veterans, better housing, etc. It begins and ends with the needs of the working people.

It is not concerned with the needs of industry for profits. The government has more than adequately taken care of converting industry for war, providing it with a market for all its war-time products, guaranteeing its war profits, allowing it tax rebates for reconversion and guaranteeing its profits for peacetime.

Aside from the fact that the plan of the Workers Party makes more adequate demands than any program presented by, either the Truman Administration or the official labor leaders, it differs from all other plans in one decisive way. The Workers Party plan tells not merely; what is wanted, but HOW to get it.

CIO, AFL, Truman

The UAW-CIO wants no idle factories which produce unemployment. But the former workers of Willow Run are stalking the USES for jobs or a few of the luckier ones are working at beginners’ rates while R. J. Thomas still piteously begs

Henry Kaiser to take over Willow Run. Thomas doesn’t know HOW to get security for the workers.

Or the CIO leaders want to raise the present starvation dole of unemployment compensation. They visit President Truman, who remembers suddenly he had forgotten the “human side of reconversion” and recommends an emergency act by Congress to raise compensation to a maximum of $25 a week. Congress, having guaranteed profits to industry and tided it comfortably over re-conversion, and tipped its own salaries in one House, prepares to vacation. Meanwhile thousands of workers are on enforced vacations – without pay. The CIO leaders don’t know HOW.

The Truman Administration plan for “full employment” is embodied in the Murray bill. This bill, mentioning “preservation of free enterprise” in practically every paragraph, would do no more than bring back the WPA days of “fake jobs” and “made work” that characterized the pre-war period. It is worth about as much as a prayer. President Truman doesn’t know HOW.

Jobs for All Possible

The reactionary AFL leaders not only don’t know HOW. They don’t merely propose nothing themselves, but demand that the government do nothing; leaving everything up to private enterprise.

All of the plans of all of the planners do not fall short because full employment, a guaranteed annual wage and genuine security are impossible.

The national income of the country has been raised during this war, to over $190 billion. The previous all-time high was in 1929, when national income was only $90 billion. Bear in mind that this more than doubling of goods and services has been accomplished with only a twenty per cent increase in the working force and much of this increase was from the ranks of the unskilled who had never worked before!

Up to the present we have had full employment – no, an actual manpower shortage – for war production. Why no jobs for all in peacetime?

There have been produced more factories, more machinery, more skills – for war. Why cannot they be used to create the jobs for peacetime?

It is possible in peacetime to secure jobs for all. It is possible when you KNOW HOW, when you have a complete program to assure full employment.

“How” of WP Program

Therefore the Workers Party calls for “conscription of all war industries ... no handing over of government-built and government-owned plants and facilities to private ownership.” Let Willow Run and other plants like it be owned and operated by the government since it is not profitable for fee. enterprise to do it!

Therefore the Workers Party calls for a “100 per cent tax on all war profits above a five per cent maximum on invested capital” and a “$35,000 ceiling on individual income, plus a levy on all accumulated wealth over $50,000 to cover war costs and provide post-war security for labor.’’

With this revenue the government could operate every outlet, branch, plant, factory and industry that cannot guarantee jobs at adequate wages for its workers.

As for management, which has shown its “genius” for organizing production only in wartime (with government money and orders), it has lost its right to manage. Let the organized workers elect their own management committees which will plan production for jobs, needs and security.

Who will carry out this program? Not Murray, nor Green, nor Thomas, nor Truman; nor “free enterprise,” which is already breaking down now that the war market is shrinking

Only an independent Labor Party composed of the working class who lack jobs, security and a guaranteed income can achieve these things.

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