Scott at rednet.org
Wed Aug 23 10:07:04 MDT 1995
Louis I just got back from vacation...and I was joking about jumping back
into the fray so soon.... but since you obviously spent so much time and
effort to 'tweek my nose' and all...here goes..
If you are truly to be our commissar of history and economics then I think
you need more rigor and less showing of your past prejudices. Just an
opinion cause I *do* appreciate commissars...<deadpan>.
On your WWII post:
Your picture of the CPUSA in that period is wrong and a caricature. What
surprises me is that I think you know it. But a few little points:
a) the CPUSA never signed any no strike pledge, it was not the "CP's
no strike pledge". You don't need to overstate the case and by so doing
distort it. Yes we did *support* the no strike pledge in the war industries.
We can argue, as we have internally, about the correctness of the policy and
you can have the benefit of hindsight. I wasn't there but is still seems to
me that honest militants could have concluded that winning the war against
fascism required some backing off on the shop floor. Your real distortion
and one deminsionality here is implying that the CP did this out of any kind
of desire to compromise the class struggle with captial, or to support "our"
bourgoise. To compare this to the 2nd internationalists support of 'their'
ruling classes war postions in WWI is rediculous and an unfair slander, even
if by inuendo.
Further CPers led many important shop floor struggles and helped win
many economic and social gains during the war. IE: Miranda Smith, a national
leader of the CPUSA (and with the full support of the party and the Daily
Worker), helped lead the militant 11,000 member tobacco workers strike of
Black and white workers in Winston Salem, NC in 1943, which not only led to
the recognition of FTAAWU local 22 (which played an important role in the
labor movement and left in the South)and better wages and working
conditions, but also successfully broke down Jim Crow work rules and
discrimination in an unprecedented and ground breaking way.
Another example, closer to my heart, Patrica Ellis, currently a
leader of the CPUSA here in Illinois, lead a successful strike in several
departments of Bell Aircraft in Buffalo NY during the height of war
production, to get Blacks and women equal pay and entry into production and
skilled jobs. She also had the full support of the party (the national sent
in people to help win community support for the strike) and the Daily
Worker. These are not isolated incidents.
I've not heard too many such examples from other groups on the left
of that period no matter how they clamored against the war and the no strike
pledge. As Maurice Isserman (no friend of the CP he) points out in *Which
Side Were You On* the Communists were the most consistent fighters for women
and minority rights, and for promoting women and minorities into union
leadership during the war. And he points out that the unions with strong
Communist influence fought most vigorously for pay wages better conditions
under the war board arbitration.
And further on the fight for equality - While we did oppose A Phillip
Randolph call for a national march, we vigorously fought for Fair Employment
Practices Committees (FEPC) and got them in many of the union we influenced
during the war. And Vito Marcantonio, the only Communist in congress at that
time, was the main sponsor of legislation to establish FEPC by law - we were
never satisfied with Roosevelts executive order, because it could be
removed by the stroke of the pen.
I'm also surprised that you didn't mention what I think is the most serious
of our WWII mistakes - not fighting the internment of Japanese Americans.
Though some like Karl Yoneda did try and raise a struggle, by and large, we
like the rest of the left were quite.
On Browder: This is really shoddy on your part. There was a constant
struggle against Browder and I can't believe you don't know it. He was
expelled. People like W. Z. Foster fought constantly against his right
opportunist policies. Not only privately either, even a cursory reading of
the Daily Worker and The Communist of that period will bear this struggle
out. Browder's speeches themselves are full of contradictory positions
reflecting the struggle.
On WWII itself: It was both an inter imperialist war for domination and a
peoples war againt fascism. The working class and the monopolies had very
different aims and interests in the war. This should not be that difficult.
IE: The US ruling class opposed a second front because they still had dreams
that the Nazi's would bleed the SU dry and destroy socialism. The working
class, and the left fought for a second front because they wanted a quick
end to the war and to fascism. It was after all, as in all wars the working
people who were doing most of the sacrificing and dying.
And the CP did lead anti-imperialist fights in the army. We helped organize
several large actions, rallies and demonstrations of GI's to go home after
the war. While Washington contemplated using the occupying armies after the
war, we were successfully helping to organize to bring them home and to
Lastly: Did we continue to see the class nature of the war and it's
aftermath. Obviously Browder didn't. But again, if you bother to read the
Communist and the Daily Worker of that period you will see that most of the
CP did, for example in 1944 we began to raise the question of allied
attempts to restore the monopolies and their US interests in Germany, Italy
and Japan. We almost alone led the campaign against the Marshall plan which
was essentially to restore corporate and monopoly control in the defeated
That's enough for now - I ain't got time for this right now.
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