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Susan Green

Municipal Merry-Go-Round

(22 September 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 38, 22 September 1941, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Believe it or not, LaGuardia has decreed that for the year 1942 the New York City budget shall provide exactly $1.00 for all the public improvements so necessary and vital to the health and well-being of the population of this large congested city.

A dollar a year can’t get anyone anywhere – except the $1.00-a-year boys who now infest the nation’s capital. Their $1.00-a-year jobs enable them to toss to their own companies a good share of the $60,000,000,000 war contracts. The boys, of course, pocket their “modest” war profits.

But for the workers of the city $1.00 a year in the budget for public works means that they are condemned to do without much-needed hospitals, clinics, schools, parks, beaches. LaGuardia, who is fanatically in favor of entering the war between the international robbers, has done this because he wants all the resources of the nation to be used for building bombers, battleships, tanks and guns.

For the things which can bring better health and greater enjoyment to the workers and their families – ONE DOLLAR.

For the things that can bring them only death and misery – SIXTY BILLION DOLLARS.


John B. Davies, whose backers were determined to get him into the Republican primaries by hooking or crooking petition signatures, was willing to withdraw as a candidate if LaGuardia would promise not to campaign against the next Republican candidates for Governor and President – YOU SCRATCH MY BACK AND I’LL SCRATCH YOURS. LaGuardia, of course, wasn’t interested. The Little Flower has ambitions to blossom into a big sun flower. He merely tolerates the job of Mayor – until the proper moment. He trots around the country, sticking his nose into national and international affairs. He has secret hopes, it is rumored, of occupying the White House, without even so much as a sojourn in Albany. he Gallup poll already counts him as fifth runner-up for Roosevelt’s crown. Definitely LaGuardia has no reason for scratching Davies’ back.

So now Davies rolls up his sleeves to do battle. He discovers no less than 24 reasons why he is opposed to LaGuardia.


When the WORKERS PARTY threw its hat into the ring and put up MAX SHACHTMAN for Mayor, it stated that the main issue in this municipal election is THE WAR.

As the campaign continues it becomes more evident that the politicians are playing around with the anti-war sentiment of the people TO GET VOTES.

Thus Davies points an accusing finger at LaGuardia and says: “You are behind Roosevelt’s foreign policy – you are for war!” And LaGuardia’s supporters, panicky lest they lose the anti-war vote, hasten to assure the voters that war is NOT the issue, but purely city administration.

BOTH THESE GANGS ARE OUT TO HURT THE WORKERS. LaGuardia – like Roosevelt – is willing to sacrifice every poor mother’s son to fight for the American money bags. Davies – if he is not an out-and-out pro-Nazi like Lindbergh – is against the war only for election purposes.

The working people will throw away their chance to vote against war in this election UNLESS THEY SUPPORT THE TRUE WORKING CLASS CANDIDATE.

MAX SHACHTMAN opposes this war because wars between the international bandits always have been – AND STILL ARE – AGAINST THE INTERESTS OF THE WORKERS!

In the American Labor Party he war issue also looms very big.

So anxious are its leaders to hand over to the war-mongering politicians labor’s vote tied up in a neat red-white-and-blue wrapper that they refused to renominate Harry W. Laidler for City Councilman. This action was taken because in 1940 Laidler supported Norman Thomas for President and not Roosevelt, the capitalist candidate of the ALP.

Now, very little harm can come to the boss class from supporting Thomas. He does not believe in WORKING-CLASS MILITANT ACTION. Nevertheless, this was not sufficient reason for the super-patriots of the ALP to renominate Laidler. Then the drama began to unfold. LAIDLER CROSSED HIS HEART AND DENIED THAT HE IS AN ISOLATIONIST. Well, of course!

He has been designated for re-election by the City Fusion Party. NOW HE BEATS THE DRUM WITH LAGUARDIA – at least a little bit.

While on the subject of the ALP, it should be noted that Davies believes the ALP should be DESTROYED because it is “un-American.”

It can hardly be said that the ALP is “un-American” if being American means to support the boss class and its politicians.

It therefore appears that Davies has been influenced by the German Fuehrer into a belief that anything that even bears the label “Labor” should be annihilated.

The WORKERS PARTY believes that the ALP will die A NATURAL DEATH when labor realizes that the ALP simply rounds up the trade union vote for the boss politicians!

The other day in Chicago, before a gathering of 15,000, Mayor LaGuardia tried his darndest to steam up hatred against the “Boche.” “My friends,” he shouted, “there is only one language they understand, and that is the language of force.”

The poor people of Chicago and New York are better acquainted with the domestic Boche – the profiteering landlords, the exploiting boss. An instance in point recently developed in New York City.

Owners of some of the foulest tenements are actually beginning to comply with some of the requirements of the Multiple Dwellings Law. They are installing private toilets, supplying fire-proofing, painting hallways; cutting windows into dark rooms. The absence of any of these features constitutes a violation of the law. BUT THE LANDLORDS DON’T WORRY ABOUT THAT – NEITHER DID THE MAYOR.


The poor families who thought they might be getting a break but find they can’t pay the increased rents must pack up and move into tenements WHERE THE LANDLORDS CONTINUE TO VIOLATE THE LAW:

The profiteering landlords figured that the war situation will make the housing situation so acute that by spending a little money on remodelling their fire-traps, they might be able to get a better class of tenants – and to hell with the poor.

HOW ABOUT A LITTLE FORCE FOR THE NATIVE BOCHE, MR. MAYOR? The profiteers can’t understand any other language!

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Last updated: 26 August 2014