Written: April 1931.
First Published: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 8, 15 April 1931, p. 2.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
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The unfortunate results of the dress strike were guaranteed in advance by the policy of the leadership and were easy to foresee. The Left wing union, already segregated in respect of shop organization, to a small corner of the industry, did not succeed in appreciably widening the area of its control. A few hundred workers – more or less – added to the union rolls out of the tens of thousands in the trade cannot be represented to anybody as a victory.
And even these slight gains in membership – which we have no reason to dispute – are more than counter-balanced by the loss of Left wing prestige which derives inevitably from the whole miserable affair.
Under the blows of the united reaction on the one side, and of criminal misleadership on the other, the Left wing in the needle trades finds itself today in an extremely critical position. The spiritless manner with which the most loyal militants went through the strike in which they had no faith, the lost confidence of the masses which the strike figures tell with cruel emphasis, are stern warnings of a dangerous situation; a situation which has within it the possibilities of a real catastrophe.
In that treacherous manner which ia characteristic of all opportunists, Lovestone-Zimmerman are seizing the occasion to sow panic and demoralization in the Left wing ranks. They are coming out in the open now with their program for the liquidation of the struggle of the Left wing union. They are trying to set into motion a wild stampede back into the camp of Schlesinger.
We warn the Left wing workers against this panic propaganda. And in doing so we have no need to conceal the desperate position of the Industrial Union. That is incontestable. Nor can we doubt that on its present course the Industrial Union is moving, with accelerated speed, toward liquidation – in fact, if not by formal decision. We must recognize that the Left wing union stands now at a point where the odds are unquestionably against it. The weight of the combined reaction presses down heavily upon it, and the leadership of the bureaucratic incompetents supports the reaction, from the Left. But the issue has not yet come to the decisive settlement. The time has not arrived to haul down the banner of the Industrial Union. That cry is the cry of panic-stricken traitors.
Two or three thousand members organized in the Industrial Union, surrounded yet in spite of all by the warm sympathy of tens of thousands of workers in the industry, represent a power out of all proportion to the numerical relation. What they need is a correct policy and a leadership worthy of the name. They need to put their own house in order. If they will do this in time, and only on that condition, they can yet regain the lost positions and conquer new ones. Let the liquidators of the Lovestone camp desert the ship which they think is sinking. The task of the day for the revolutionary fighters is to fix the leaks and keep it afloat.
Last updated on: 14.12.2012