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David Coolidge

Mass Action

(6 December 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 49, 6 December 1943, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

CIO Political Action and the Labor Party

The Statement on Political Action adopted at the recent convention of the CIO said: “It will not be the policy of the CIo in connection with the 1944 elections to build labor’s political organization in the form of a third party, but to abstain from and discourage any move in that direction ... a third party at this time will only serve to divide labor and the progressive forces and assure the election of our political enemies.”

The resolution talks about a “third party” and does not use the expression, “Labor Party.” This kind of talk obscures the real issue and everything that is relevant in connection with independent political action by the working class. We should not be concerned with the number of parties in the United States, but with their character, program, composition and the all-important question: what group or class do they serve, represent and protect?

The Republican and Democratic Parties do not serve, represent or protect the working class. They serve, represent and protect the boss class, the ruling class of capitalists.

This is just as true of the “New Deal” Democratic Party as of the “New Freedom” Democratic Party of Woodrow Wilson or the Republican Party of Herbert Hoover. The same would be true of some “third party,” such as might call itself a “Progressive Party” or “People’s Party.”

There was some talk ot forming such a party around former Senator Norris and other people who go by the name of “liberals.” Such a party would be a capitalist party and could hot be any improvement over the ill-fated New Deal.

A Labor Party would not be a “third party.” It would be a FIRST party, so far as we workers are concerned. It would be a party that the mass of workers would give allegiance to. The CIO should abstain from any move in the direction of a “third party.” It should, however, encourage any move in the direction of: the formation of a Labor Party in the United States.

If the labor leadership doesn’t move in this direction, and soon, the most intelligent and militant of the secondary leaders have the responsibility for taking the initiative. There is plenty of time to get a Labor Party movement under way for the 1944 elections.

Philip Murray and the other CIO leaders will hang on to Roosevelt’s coat-tails until they are battered and bruised beyond recognition. These leaders have already demonstrated that they have unlimited capacity for taking punishment. And what is their response? More tears and more supplication. It’s about time, it seems to us, that labor began thinking of getting the capitalist bosses and their stooges in Washington into the position of beggars and supplicants.

Labor Action and the Workers Party believe that the first political step for labor is the formation of a militant labor party, free from the capitalist Democratic and Republican Parties.

Such a party would not have given a no-strike pledge, it would not have accepted the Little Steel formula. Such a party would have backed the miners’ strikes without any ifs and ands. Such a party would not be frightened by Roosevelt’s work-or-fight decree or by Smith-Connally acts.

This free, independent and militant Labor Party would educate its members and the working class in the principles of aggressive trade unionism and working class political action.

Roosevelt, Willkie and the bosses would not like this but – so what? The masses of the workers would like it because they would know that such a Labor Party would protect, serve and defend their interests.


Davis, the Times and White Collar Workers

The little patent lawyer, Davis, who is head of the anti-labor WLB, is very downcast over the low wages of the white collar workers. The New York Times is also very excited about the condition of the office slaves. Aside from the hypocrisies of Davis and the Times, which don’t deserve much attention, all that can be said is what every worker knows: let the white collar workers organize and fight!

One other suggestion is in order. Let Merrill and the other Stalinists who head the CIO white collar workers’ unions, pay more attention to the misfortunes of the members of their unions and less attention to the Stalinist bureaucracy in Moscow. The Stalinist leaders of the white collar unions might try a season of organizing the white collar workers and leave the opening of a “second front” to the capitalist politicians and generals.

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