Ernest Rice McKinney Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

E.R. McKinney

Workers Security Federation Leaders
Scab on WPA Strike

Newly Formed S.P. Organization “Advises”
Members to Return to Work

(14 July 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 50, 14 July 1939, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Workers Security Federation is the organization of the unemployed formed in Washington a few weeks ago by the Socialist Party under the leadership of Art McDowell, National Labor Secretary of the S.P. While thousands of W.P.A. skilled workers are on strike against wage cuts and increase in hours, the S.P. leaders of the Workers Security Federation provide the capitalist press with a statement that they are instructing members of the organization to return to work.

J. Clark Waldron, S.P. national publicity chairman of the federation, said that their members were only being “advised” to return to work and “we are leaving final decision in the matter to them.” Waldron said that the federation is not giving up the fight but that the leadership does not want the members to lose their jobs.

True to Type

This scabbing action of the leadership of the Workers Security Federation is right in ine with their actions when ;hey set up the organization in Washington. There these leaders – McDowell, Leith, Waldron and Rourke made it clear and unmistakable that not only would they personally be opposed to the federation being a militant unemployed organization, but they would be against the admission of individuals with political beliefs that would drive the federation inevitably in a militant direction. This was the real meaning of the clause, inserted in the constitution, excluding workers from membership who held certain political beliefs, including the belief in a dictatorship of the working class.

Opposed Demonstration

This attitude on the part of Waldron, McDowell, Leith and Rourke was further demonstrated in their attitude toward the demonstration which was scheduled for the White House. Leith and Rourke were flatly against the demonstration, the others giving only luke-warm support. In the face of this opposition, the militants could only get through a vote to hold the demonstration on Sunday night with the White House empty and the streets deserted.

This policy now bears its thoroughly rotten fruit. The federation members are told to return to work, to scab oh their fellow-workers who are fighting the government for the right to eat and against long hours and reduction in pay. Waldron says that the leadership of the federation has not ceased to protest. That is, Waldron will continue to give out press releases, Rourke will interview congressmen and Leith will sit in his office in Baltimore. But the rank and file who have proven indisputably that they want to fight, have been told to surrender, to scab, to betray their fellow workers on the picket line.

The membership of the Workers Security Federation have a job to do. First they should refuse to carry out the instructions of the leaders of the federation. Support the strike by remaining away from work; participate in the picket lines, bombard the Security Federation leadership with protests, repudiate them. Maintain solidarity in action with the W.P.A. striking workers.

Ernest Rice McKinney Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 5 March 2016