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Jack Wilson

Veterans Protest Homecoming Delays

(7 January 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. X No. 1, 7 January 1946, pp. 1 &2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Another major eruption in the demobilization scandal hit the front pages last week.

These are the outstanding incidents that come to the surface. They express in a mild way what the 3,200,000 men still overseas are thinking.

Meanwhile General Wedemeyer in China brazenly announces that 4,000 more troops, plus the 50,000 Marines already stuck there, plus the air force men left there, are needed and are going to stay there a long time. And in Washington, the brass hats tell Congress that demobilization is too fast, the Army is “disintegrating” and they need more troops permanently.

Here we have two forces moving in opposite directions. The GI’s want to get the yoke of the Army off their collective necks and get home now, while the Brass Hats want to keep the Army large and abroad!

The reason is simple and clear. The Brass Hats are carrying out the imperialist policy of the Administration. They need pawns in the game of world power politics. And those pawns are the GIs.

They should tell it to the Marines. Especially to the combat veterans guarding Chinese railroads and British owned coal properties, run under concentration camp conditions and with a juicy profit.

Vets Pay for It

Why aren’t more ships used to bring men home? The shipping companies make more profit hauling other things.

Why do enlisted men and sailors travel so often on what we call “cattle-cars”? The railroad companies are too busy making money on civilians. Soldiers can be forced to travel on anything ... up to a point.

Since 1942 the railroads have been making big profits on GI transportation. Look at the terrible meals always served—paid for with good taxpayers’ dough.

The whole situation comes down to a clear-cut proposition.

The men in the Army are being used as pawns in the power politics of America and as a means of profit making at home.

Where are the veterans’ organizations in this situation? Has the American Legion blasted this mess? Of course not. And the Veterans of Foreign Wars?

Only in those places where the veterans of this war are predominant has anything been said for the GI’s and a fight made in their behalf.

Other Horse-Trading

All those vets should be in one organization, fighting for the men still stuck in the Army, and joined together against the set-up a vet meets in civilian life.

The organized labor movement is making a tragic mistake in not serving as the basis for a new vets’ movement. There are over 500,000 union men already to serve as a basis.

It isn’t too late. We need a veterans organization of the vets, by the vets and for the vets of this war. It should be based on the union movement, from which so many veterans came, and whose basic interests are ours. Outfits like the Amvets and Bolte’s committee should be amalgamated into it, as well as posts of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars which are dominated by union men and new veterans.

Out of these already existing posts and outfits should come the Labor Legion, organized and backed by the CIO. Dispersion of strength and energy is a tragic waste. Individual protests and diffused campaigns don’t bring enough results. The men in the Army and those of us back >need one organization solidly united as part of the labor movement.

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