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Susan Green

Municipal Merry-Go-Round

(27 October 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 43, 27 October 1941, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

One of the most side-splitting performances in this election campaign has been given by the politicians of the American Labor Party.

That disreputable outfit – which is neither a party nor of labor, but simply a corral for labor votes to be used in the interest of the ALP politicians – has just completed a deal with the Democratic Party.

What! With the Democratic Party? The ALP is fighting the Democratic Party, isn’t it?

Nonsense! The ALP doesn’t fight anyone or anything – IT HASN’T THAT MUCH PRINCIPLE. It merely makes political deals.

So ――

On the one hand it strikes a bargain with LaGuardia – that outstanding politician of the American boss class. This places the ALP in opposition to O’Dwyer and the Democratic Party.

But on the other hand the ALP comes to terms with Governor Lehman and the Democratic Party together to run Joseph V. O’Leary for state controller to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Morris E. Tremaine. Thus the ALP puts its own candidate for Mayor, LaGuardia, in something of a pickle. (O’Leary, an ambitious lawyer fishing in political waters through ALP channels, is, by the way, no more a representative of labor than is LaGuardia.)


For outspoken class interests, the businessmen’s committee formed to work for the re-election of LaGuardia takes the cake.

According to their chairman, I.A. Hirschmann, vice-president of Bloomingdale’s department store, they have good and sufficient reasons for supporting the Mayor.

In the first place, they “know where they stand with him.”

They can “get things done quickly and without red tape.”

They state they have no other motive in advancing the candidacy of LaGuardia, “EXCEPT THE DESIRE FOR PROFITABLE BUSINESS.” Mr. Hirschmann’s statement cannot be beat. These businessmen want a Mayor who will help them in their innocent game of extracting profits from the working class.


In condemning contrast to his treatment of businessmen is LaGuardia’s bosslike handling of the tens of thousands of his city employees, including the 30,000 subway workers.


His administration opposes the city workers’ elementary rights to organize and bargain collectively.

It has tried to entangle them in miles of red tape.

Union representatives of the subway workers have been literally smothered in red tape by the Mayor’s Board of Transportation.

LaGuardia’s aim is to put the Transport Workers Union OUT OF BUSINESS in this city. He has brought a law suit to deny the TWU the right to bargain collectively for the organized transit workers. (Naturally the case has been postponed until AFTER election.)

The city workers want merely to protect and improve their livelihood.

AS BOSS OF THE CITY, LaGUARDIA HAS MADE A FIGHTING FRONT AGAINST THEM – as does every boss against his workers.

Speaking before 400 bankers and brokers at the poor man’s Banker’s Club,

LaGuardia let out of the bag a very important bit of information about his much-tooted clean government.

He told the emaciated bankers that: “It would not only be disastrous, it would be fatal if the government of the city of New York were turned back to Flynn, Kelly and Sullivan.”

Why will financial destruction descend upon the city if O’Dwyer and Tammany Hall win the election? Because, states the Mayor, “their only desire is to get back into office, take control of the departments and get their slimy fingers back into the city treasury so that the tin boxes, safe deposit vaults and special accounts may be replenished.”

LaGuardia knows Tammany Hall. HE ALSO KNOWS HIS BANKERS.

If the Tammany grafters get their fingers on the city swag, if they cheat on prices to split with contractors, there will be less left in the city treasury for Wall Street.

Unearned millions must go to the bankers for interest on city bonds. The Morgans and the Rockefellers must get their $340,000,000 for the watered stock of the BMT and IRT, plus the pure gravy of millions in interest. This gives a rough idea of why Wall Street is interested in “clean government.” In a word, LaGuardia’s civic virtues amount to keeping the fingers of the Tammany grafters out of the city treasury SO THAT THE BANKERS CAN GET THEIR FISTS INTO IT.

The answer of the working people of the city to Tammany-run O’Dwyer and banker-run LaGuardia must be: A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES!

Before the same bunch of starving bankers, LaGuardia became prophetic and predicted that the change from a war to a peace basis when it is all over, will bring millions upon millions of unemployed, “WORSE THAN IN 1929.”

Just why he tells this cheery news to the bankers at election time is hard to say. Maybe he wants them to know that he worries about their problems.


The workers might start on the solution by asking LaGuardia and the other vicarious warriors why they are shoving the country into this imperialist war, OUT OF WHICH THE WORKERS WILL EMERGE VERY MUCH IN THE RED – in the red in every respect.

He will tell the workers: “Hitlerism must be defeated.”

The German workers are told: British imperialism and the Jewish international bankers must be defeated.”

Both these statements are false and only war propaganda because —

WHOEVER IS DEFEATED, THOSE WORKERS WHO ARE NOT WIPED OUT IN THE CATACLYSM – be they American or German, British or Italian, Russian or Japanese – WILL REAP THE HELL OF THE AFTER-WAR DEPRESSION, until the next imperialist war will bring another so-called boom.

This is what working people are worrying about today – not “clean government” for the bankers. THE ISSUE OF THIS CAMPAIGN IS THE WAR.

On this issue, the candidate of the WORKERS PARTY/MAX SHACHTMAN, is on the ballot.

He stands on an anti-war platform. Not the Lindbergh brand of anti-war platform, which is a cloak for pro-Nazism.

But on the anti-war platform of the class-conscious working class, LEADING TOWARD SOCIALISM AND THE ABOLITION OF ALL IMPERIALIST WARS.

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Last updated: 26 August 2014