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James M. Fenwick

Off Limits

(19 April 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 16, 19 April 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the ETOL.

Everyone, we suppose, has those days when he feels that the human race is one of the good Lord’s poorer inventions. Here we are crawling around on this earth waiting for the day when pinball machine and Beethoven quartet, the New Look and the Old Urge, the Communist Party and the Established Church will all impartially vanish in an atomic cloud. And yet a body continues to run into persons who chirrup, “Socialism won’t work. You can’t change human nature. Who’d want to collect the garbage under socialism?”

We admit the problem. During the period preliminary to the establishment of socialism, before the garbage disposal units now accessible only to the well-off are available to all, garbage collections will have to be made. A friend of ours who reads all the confession magazines informs us that he learned from Dwight Macdonald’s Politics that Fourier, the great utopian socialist, proposed that thirteen and fourteen year-old children be delegated to the job.

We have a better idea. Why not employ all the scoundrels and fools in public life who have made a career peddling filth of all sorts? We’d like to begin by nominating a few persons from the ranks of those who have been contributing to the present war crisis.


First there is John L. Sullivan, the secretary of the navy. This is the character who recently announced that submarines “not belonging to any nation west of the Iron Curtain have been sighted off our shores.” It turns out that “off our shores” when translated from Political English means “in the Johnston-Palmyra Island area southwest of the Hawaiian islands” and “in a vague area defined as ‘off the Aleutians,’ the westernmost of which lies 440 miles from Russian Kamchatka.”

Then there is our old buddy of World War II days, George C. Marshall, now secretary of state. Marshall testified at the same time as Sullivan that the army is “a hollow shell.” This prompted Hanson W. Baldwin, the military analyst, to remark that “the obvious retort of the citizen in this country is an inquiry into the intellectual capacity and administrative efficiency of our military leadership if $10,000,000,000 and $11,000,000,000 defense budgets can buy us only a ‘hollow shell.’”

There is Bernard M. Baruch, with thirty years of war mongering behind him, who recently testified before the Senate Aimed Services Committee that UMT would be useful as a means “of rehabilitating youths with physical and mental defects which can be corrected” ... by such persons as “off-shore” Sullivan, no doubt.

Gen. Eisenhower easily makes the grade by his latest action in accepting membership on the national executive board of the boy scouts, an act calculated to accelerate the militarization of the very young and condition them for the slaughter.


Philip Murray, the head of the CIO, is another. Numerous sources report his as ready to dump – what’s his name? Oh yes – Truman and support Eisenhower for president. Such support would be all that is necessary to ensure the success of the strong Democratic draft-Eisenhower boom which is in the making.

Add to the list Republican senator Morse of Oregon who “voiced deep concern over a threat by two Negro leaders to call millions of their race to a sit-down strike against UMT and the draft.” The threat came from A. Philip Randolph, president of the AFL Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and Grant Reynolds, New York state commissioner of correction. Their purpose, the Negroes said, “is to force an end to segregation and racial discrimination by the armed forces.” This would lead to charges of treason said Morse.

Throw in Professor Arnold Toynbee, who is called as a historian. Toynbee contributes his bit to making the coming war seem more palatable by suggesting that the atom bomb is so horrible it may not be used.

Count in a Mr. A.V. Cleaver, author of a report in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society who contributes to the general hysteria by saying, “... I find it very easy to believe in a future race to establish national bases on the moon ... This means whoever first establishes a working base on the moon will be able to launch infinitely bigger and better missiles than any earth-bound enemy.”

Then last and least there is Col. H.S. Ruth, General MacArthur’s fiscal director. Late last month all American occupation money defaced with political slogans was called in. Most of the slogans, said Ruth, were favorable to MacArthur.



And there are people who think it will be difficult to get garbage collected under socialism!

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