From The Militant, Vol. III No. 25, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
The National Unemployment Convention is to meet July 4th and 5th in Chicago. If it is animated by a sense of responsible and militant leadership and effective policies of class struggle – if it is not satisfied with noise but embarks on serious organisation and action, this convention can become a protest centre for the mobilization of the millions of unemployed.
The danger is that under the present Party leadership with its erratic hand-to-mouth political practises the convention will develop into nothing more than just another formless mass meeting. It is common knowledge that not a stroke of real organization work has been done to crystallize the unemployed movement since the March 6th demonstrations.
No Signs of Ease-Up in Crisis There are no signs of any alleviation in the economic crisis taking its toll of misery in every city, town and hamlet in the country. The bank discount rate has been sunk to two and a half per cent, the lowest since the war but the successive stock market crashes are assuming the character of a panic. Wheat is selling at a dollar. Automobile production has again registered a decline. Steel production is at 65 per cent capacity. The Commodity price level dropped 4.2 per cent in two weeks. The New York Census figures point to 400,000 unemployed in New York alone. The Annalist Index of Employment is the lowest since 1922.
The Industrial Reserve Army The cyclical crisis has come to add its misery but it must be remembered that it only augments an already standing industrial reserve army – the victims of the technical advance of civilization under the rule of the anarchic capitalist mode of production. Every new machine, every business consolidation, every stop-watch economy for the speed-up, has resulted in fewer jobs. Between 1920 and 1927, the economist Mitchell estimates the number added to the ranks of the unemployment reserve army at no less than 650,000. This is the balance sheet of American “prosperity”. The power that is the greatest creditor state in the world, of the most millionaires of the most abundant resources, the finest machinery, the most productive labor force is the tragic scene of soup-kitchens, flop-houses, corporation charity, park benches and starvation for the working class. In an age when science begins to probe secrets of atomic energy, vast masses of producers must form up in bread-lines. The General Crisis of Capitalism What is the answer of the capitalist government to the unemployed The Hoover brand of mental healing. A Hawley-Smoot Tariff to increase the cost of the necessities of life and assure the Trusts the monopoly of the market. Even the miserable Wagner Bill for the establishment of official instead of private employment bureaux is thrown out of court. At the Senate Investigation into Communist “plotting”, even Wm. Green pleads with his capitalist masters that he will not guarantee to be able to keep the A.F. of L. rank and file in submission unless some small reforms are forthcoming.
The workers must be clear that even were the exploiters willing to grant them without struggle no mere palliatives or reforms could lead out of the blind alley of the antagonisms and contradictions of capitalists imperialism. Partial demands can only serve the working class if they are the starting point for revolutionary class struggle. The only decisive solution of the general crisis of capitalist in the interests of the millions of toilers lies in the international emulation of the Russian workers. Only the revolutionary workers’ state can release the forces of production from the exploiting vise of capital, put an end to industrial enslavement, eliminate the root causes of war and unify world economy.
The Five Year Plan in the Soviet Union demonstrates the tremendous possibilities of planned economy. Despite capitalist economic encirclement, and the threat of intervention, the achievements of the U.S.S.R. stand out in splendid contrast to the intolerable situation in the capitalist world. The undeniable difficulties in the U.S.S.R. and the Five Year Plan are those of isolation, the retardation of the international revolution. The Five Year Plan provides for a total capital investment of 93 billions for electrification and industrial development. It is in the most vital interests of the international unemployed and especially of the American, to demand large scale credits for the Soviet Union. There are always millions of dollars available for war expenditures. There are millions for the Young Plan loans. Demand credits be given that would at once result in the employment of American workers, and their participation in the realization of the socialist Five Year Plan.
The Chicago Unemployment Convention must appeal to the unemployed army with demands that will strike immediate and effective response in the hearts of the workers mobilizing them for the class struggle against the capitalist state.
The power of the imperial plutocracy of America is great. But there is a power greater than theirs and that is the power of proletarian numbers. Mobilize and Organize!
Last updated: 13.10.2012