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Susan Green

Election of Roosevelt No Guarantee
of Security for American Labor

(27 November 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 48, 27 November 1944, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

During the electioneering just ended, no words were tossed about more recklessly than the two words “full employment.” To get the labor vote, all candidates beat their chests resoundingly and pledged themselves, first, last and all the time, to provide 60,000,000 jobs, more or less, for that many American workers.

Labor leaders accused Dewey of double-talk and lying – and, of course, they were right. But they threw all caution to the wind when they spoke about Roosevelt and the Democrats. CIO leaders especially filled their union papers with the most fantastic nonsense about a vote for Roosevelt meaning a vote for full employment; union halls echoed with loudly spoken dreams about Roosevelt and 60,000,000 jobs; the air waves carried the same absolutely unfounded promises by labor leaders.

The campaign fanfare being over, the sobering facts stand out once more with all their implications. What about the 2,000,000 workers now building ships, whose number will be cut down to 350,000 in a couple of years or less? What about the 2,500,000 workers in the automobile and aircraft field, whose number will be reduced to around 500,000 in the near future? What about similar drastic job-cutting all along the line? Will the hero of labor leaders, just returned to the White House for another four years, solve this vital problem – as per campaign promises?

Bretton Woods Enters Game

Mr. Roosevelt, of course, does not carry on in a vacuum of good intentions. He carries on within the capitalist, private profit system – which throughout the campaign he took every ocasion to endorse and pledge his allegiance to. Working thus within the limits set by the economic masters, Mr. Roosevelt still claims certain great accomplishments. The Bretton Woods conference, for example, is supposed to be a giant step toward economic stability and prosperity – in fact, it has been described as a “basic discussion on how world trade can help make lots of jobs.”

Yet at this very Bretton Woods conference, one of the delegations taking part – the Peruvian delegation – spoke these damning words:

“When we come to compare the various measures advocated to assure prosperity and full employment permanently in the world, we are baffled not only by the disparity of the suggestions but also by the criticism which each one of them seems to imply, in one way or another, of the others. No one can be blamed for being afraid that too much perhaps may be taken for granted, that wishful thinking may be having the better of cold, reasoned analysis and that, if and when a depression sets in, it may prove almost as difficult to overcome as in the thirties.”

Can there be a more clear-cut way of saying that the Bretton Woods conference – made so much of during the campaign as the groundwork of world prosperity – was really a huge fiasco and farce?

The reason why this and other conferences are only jabbering parties – from the point of view of the working people – is that the diplomats assembled represent the interests of their own groups of capitalists, and try to grab the biggest pieces of bacon to bring home to their respective master classes.

Employment Where?

This is the kind of politics that Roosevelt is engaged in. That is why the problem of unemployment will not be solved by him or by any other capitalist politician or capitalist party. That is why such a staunch pro-

Roosevelt man as the journalist, I.F. Stone, has been constrained to admit: “I see no evidence of any steps, private or public, that can insure anything like full employment.”

Naturally so. The problem of unemployment can be solved only on the basis of production for human needs. Roosevelt has placed himself squarely on the other side of the fence – for the preservation of private profits and the capitalist system. Being a capitalist politician and the head of a capitalist party, he naturally can do nothing else. He is the servant of the master class.

And does the master class served by Roosevelt want the full employment he so glibly promised? A reading of their press in recent months leaves no doubts. A windy discussion goes on daily on – of all things – what “full employment” means. It is funny that no high-sounding definition of full employment had to be made when, at the peak of war production the entire unemployment slack was taken up. But when it comes to peacetime employment, the capitalist writers are anxious about definitions.

Thus the Saturday Evening Post writes:

“Mechanical devices have been advanced as a result of manpower shortages, and we are quite likely to see another important revolution in the use of human labor in industry. But this does not mean that a man not needed at the kind of job he now has will be ‘unemployed’.”

What, pray, will he be?

And here is an anti-labor columnist of the New York Sun, camouflaged as a babe in the woods, who wants to know: “Is a worker who works nine but not twelve months a year in a seasonal industry unemployed for three months?” That, problem in kindergarten arithmetic is counterposed to the great problem of unemployment.

FDR Operates Under Capital

Let no worker be deluded by the so-called liberalism handed out for election purposes. The capitalist class and the profit system have not changed their character. Neither have capitalist politicians changed theirs.

In this campaign the great mass of workers was misled by their leaders. Roosevelt has no solution for the unemployment problem. Unemployment is a problem for labor itself to tackle and defeat. The government that will bring full employment to the workers will have to be a WORKERS’ government.

The power of labor, this year diverted through the PAC to back Roosevelt and other capitalist politicians, must be used now to build an independent Labor Party, free from all capitalist connections, with an employment program motivated by human needs – and ready to kick Mr. Roosevelt’s dear system of private profit into the limbo where now rest the equally cruel systems of chattel slavery and feudalism of the past.

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