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Farrell Dobbs

Support the Rubber Workers!

(29 February 1936)

Source: New Militant, Vol. II No. 9, 29 February 1936, p. 1.
Transcription & mark-up Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A VISIT to the front lines in the struggle for industrial unionism at the Goodyear Rubber plant in Akron lends new courage to union men who have struggled hard for the great day that is now dawning.

The almost unbelievable resourcefulness and the splendid courage and determination shown by the rubber workers proved beyond the question of a doubt that the strength of a giant lies smouldering within the ranks of the American workers in the basic industries.

The solid ranks of industrial unionism are fanning this spirit into a flame. We do not have to witness the demoralizing sight of the members of one craft union walking through the picket lines of another striking craft union to go to work. There is no question of craft distinction in this strike. If you work in the Goodyear plant, you are either in the rubber workers’ union and out on the picket line or you are a scab.

On Tuesday morning, February 25, the embattled workers, picketing in violation of a court injunction, calculated to destroy their strength, faced down an army of police and special deputies sent out to enforce the injunction. The picket line holds solid with a picket post at each of the 168 gates of the plant. Around the eleven mile fighting front the slogan is: “Nobody goes in the plant.” Those hard bitten cynics who say that the American worker will not fight shall have to change their minds after this forceful demonstration.

The suddenness with which the strike came made it difficult for the strikers to prepare adequate facilities for its conduct. These deficiencies are being rapidly overcome. The present headquarters is not adequate for an assembly hall for the strike but will serve very well as a commissary and headquarters for the strike leaders and field captains. A second and larger assembly place is needed for large gatherings of the strikers and, of equal importance, so that the workers from the other rubber plants and all other Akron workers may come to the proper place to get correct information regarding the strike and to get instructions as to how they may best assist.

On this question there is a second important factor. The management of the company has complete access to the radio, to the advertising columns of the daily papers and to a very large extent to the news and editorial columns also. It is vital that this propaganda of the bosses be counteracted by the strikers. The most effective weapon for this purpose is the daily strike bulletin issued at a regular hour and widely distributed. Once started, the strike bulletin easily becomes self-supporting. The experiences of the Minneapolis truck drivers, the Toledo Chevrolet strike, the St. Louis Gas House strike, and many others stand as living proof of the value of a daily strike bulletin. The rubber workers will find such a paper eagerly received and closely read by all workers.

Outside the city of Akron it is difficult to get accurate information about the strike because of the manner in which the daily papers are suppressing it. This is done because the bosses in steel, auto, and the other big industries do not want the workers to know of this powerful demonstration of industrial union strength. But the rubber workers do want the other workers to know about their fight and they want their support. The strike committee should send systematic press releases to all papers in the country. The daily strike bulletin is the best instrument with which to do this.

It is heartening to observe that the Committee for Industrial Organization is sending money and men to aid the Akron strikers. This strike is of vital interest to the industrial union movement and the most practical work that the C.I.O. can do is to give the strike unstinted support. The Akron strike must be won. The craft unionists must not be permitted to sell the strike out in an effort to stifle the rising sentiment for industrial unionism. There is a grave danger of such a thing happening. Especially when Secretary Perkins’ “ace mediator,” McGrady, is reported to have been ordered to Akron to effect a “settlement.” A very large part of the responsibility in this strike rests with the C.I.O. The workers are furnishing the fighting forces. They must have leadership, a leadership conscious of the full import of the forces moving today in the national struggle and capable of guiding the strikers through the treacherous“settlement” proposals which have wrecked every attempt at unionizing the big industries.

The Goodyear strike in Akron must be won. All labor must rally to support the fight. The workers in every city can aid by opening an intensive organization drive in all Goodyear agencies.

Carry the fight to Goodyear! Get the strike news from the rubber workers, not from the bosses’ papers! Fight to build industrial unionism!

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