[Marxism] FDR and Black America -- "stir up the minorities"

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Fri Oct 14 21:28:02 MDT 2005

I posted this at least once before, but it is short and complements 
Michael Hoovers note on Truman. The Andrew Biemiller who is quoted 
below was one of the leaders of the Left in the Norman Thomas Socialist 

James P. Cannon wrote of this group that at the age of 30 they had all 
the senility of the European social-democracy. (History of American 

 From the point of view of American capitalist politics Biemiller wasn't 
so senile after all. Recall that they were worried about Wallace 
campaign, although they avoid saying it.

This plank is usually referred to as the Humphrey plank. However, my 
reading indicates that Biemiller was the initiator.

Brian Shannon

ANDREW BIEMILLER: Sam said, “Oh, my God, the fat’s in the fire.” And we 
proceeded to have the issue out. Now, while we were waiting for the 
issue to be joined, our old friend Ed Flynn, the leader of the Bronx, 
and really the leader of New York State at that time, National 
Committeeman, grabbed Hubert and me. He said, “You kids are right, you 
know what you’re doing. This is the only way we can win this election. 
Stir up the minorities.” Now he said, “You stay right here with me, I’m 
going to send a runner down.” . . . Well, in those days at Democratic 
conventions nobody really polled delegations, the leader voted them, 
and they voted a unit rule. So we got the solid vote of New York, 
Pennsylvania, Illinois and New Jersey, and we had California already 
buttoned up, and that added to Wisconsin and a few other states that we 
were putting together, is what carried it; and I have always been of 
the opinion that Ed Flynn knew what he was talking about, that it was 
that plank that helped carry that campaign, because it did stir people 
up among the minority groups in this country. 

DAVIDSON: . . . I felt that the Humphrey-Biemiller plank was obviously 
the one that should be adopted; and also, to revert to the question you 
asked a little while ago, I thought it was the best politics. I thought 
that it was best to take a firm stand even though it might mean that 
the South walked out, because we had indications that some of the 
states would. We didn’t know it would be that many.

HESS: Why did you think it was the best thing to do if the South was 
going to bolt?

DAVIDSON: Because what you lose in the South you make it up in the 
North. You would make it up in the heavily populated states. 

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