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Susan Green

Municipal Merry-Go-Round

(1 September 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 35, 1 September 1941, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

LaGuardia will have some explaining to do to the organized workers of this city in his campaign for re-election. His fight to destroy the Transport Workers Union is still very fresh in the minds of all workers. And all city employees know his hostile attitude toward their unions.

Organized labor’s resentment against LaGuardia was expressed in the action taken by the CIO Industrial Union Council of Greater New York on August 7. Seventy-five delegates, representing 250 local CIO unions, unanimously voted to withhold endorsement of any candidate in the corning mayoralty election until the views of each candidate on the rights of organized labor in the municipal service have been fully given.

However, the trouble with this kind of action is that IT DOESN’T BEGIN TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS.

It is surprising that the CIO, which has gone so far in organizing the workers on progressive industrial union lines and in bringing out the true militancy of labor, is still so backward when it comes to politics.

When has any candidate – Fusion, Democrat or Republican – refused to promise the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow IN ORDER TO GET LABOR’S VOTE? Before election, boss politicians promise all things to all men. After election, they serve the interests they represent.

Therefore, for the powerful CIO unions to await “the views of each candidate on the rights of organized labor” – AND TO RELY ON THESE VIEWS – is to throw away their great political power!

Sam Burland, secretary of Local 33, Sanitation Workers Union of the State, County and Municipal Workers of America, CIO, declared that if LaGuardia “persists in his attacks on our union, there won’t be five members of the union who are going to give him their vote.”

Five labor votes for LaGuardia or for any of the other boss politicians ARE FIVE VOTES TOO MANY!

During the election campaign LaGuardia may easily DESIST from attacking the unions. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE LONG PERIODS BETWEEN ELECTIONS?

The CIO must shed its political naiveté. It is too, powerful to hang onto the tail of this or that boss politician. It has the strength to create a true political party of labor, RUNNING ITS OWN UNION CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE!

This the CIO must do!

In the meantime there is a working class candidate for Mayor in this election WHO SHOULD GET THE VOTE OF EVERY WORKER.

He is MAX SHACHTMAN – candidate of the WORKERS PARTY.

Of course, the CIO has connections with the American Labor Party.

The principal occupation of the ALP has been to hustle labor votes for boss politicians. THIS HARDLY MAKES IT A LABOR PARTY.

In this campaign the ALP is running union busting LaGuardia because he is supposed to have a record for “good government.”

The question is: Good government for whom?


The LaGuardia administration has used. the police to break strikes – has kept relief money from the poor – has allowed WPA cuts – has slashed the budget for education – has barely touched the crying need for housing. The City Department of Markets, which is supposed to do something about rising prices, sits with folded hands and watches them go up.

All this does not matter to the ALP!

Neither is it fazed by LaGuardia’s opposition to collective bargaining for the tens of thousands of city workers. The ALP is devoting itself to a very low kind of political “collective bargaining.”

It will sell out labor’s vote – to the extent that it controls that vote – to the top Fusion candidates. But it will run its own candidates for the lesser city jobs – expecting that one good turn deserves another!

The Stalinist “left” wing of the ALP is knocking on the door for readmission into a united front with the “right” wing.

On the say-so of Moscow, LaGuardia is no longer a warmonger but a great champion of democracy and must be re-elected as the pro-war Mayor. The Stalinists are also endorsing other Fusion candidates and have no reasons for not uniting with the right wing this this campaign.

While Hitler and Stalin dwelt in blissful wedlock, the local Stalinists were planning to run a “peace” Mayor. But they have short memories!

However, Antonini and Rose are not biting.

They suspect that the left wing plans to capture control of the party organization and that the “united front for LaGuardia” is only a smoke screen.

Getting down to bedrock, neither right nor left wing of the ALP is much concerned about the class interests of the workers.

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Last updated: 26 August 2014