[Marxism] Fwd: Howard Fast: They Remember Girdler

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Nov 19 17:22:31 MST 2016

For all of this drive and his large talk about "free enterprise," 
Girdler's tactics were toward monopoly. He interlocked with Youngstown 
Sheet & Tube; he interlocked with Jones & Laughlin. He thought and 
talked combine--and he operated in that direction with a ruthlessness 
that bowled over his competitors like tenpins. And when it came to 
dealing with his 50,000 workers, he chose the same tactics of 
ruthlessness and direct aggression.

He liked to refer to himself as a worker, but that was an out-and-out 
fiction; from his very beginnings in the industry he had been an ally of 
management, and then, very soon, he became a part of management.

He entered the industry as a salesman for Buffalo Forge. Then he was 
employed by the Oliver Iron Company. He was an assistant superintendent 
with Colorado Rail, and he held similar jobs elsewhere. But always it 
was over labor or apart from labor. It was Tom Girdler getting ahead and 
using his brains in the best Horatio Alger tradition, while all around 
him heavy-set, heavy-muscled men by the thousands worked long hours to 
turn the ore into metal and to shape it, forge it, tool it. One would 
surmise from his later actions that he had never held anything else but 
contempt for those who worked with their hands.

He was well schooled for the battles of 1937. Jones & Laughlin's 
Aliquippa mills were known as the "Siberia of America." Their company 
town was a place where the few brave union organizers who dared to enter 
faced beatings and even death, literally, at the hands of the goon 
squads. The town was also called "little hell," a fitting name.

Apparently it was a place that suited Girdler excellently, for in a 
space of four years he rose from an assistant to president. After that 
he continued to climb steadily on the irreproachable ladder of success. 
As he climbed, his technique of dealing with the men he employed became 
progressively more ruthless. When the Memorial Day Massacre occurred, he 
was earning $130,000 a year. One might consider his statement that he 
would go back to hoeing potatoes before he bargained collectively with 
his employees as a piece of not-too-original verbiage. At the same time, 
he never gave any indication that the dead men and wounded women and 
children strewn over the Chicago prairie disturbed either his sleep or 
his equanimity.

full: http://www.trussel.com/hf/girdler.htm

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