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Emanuel Geltman

On New York’s East Side: Emanuel Geltman for Congress

Vote for a Socialist Anti-War Candidate!

(18 October 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 42, 18 October 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

Few areas in the United States pose the problems of living under the inhumanity of capitalism as clearly as does New York’s East Side which embraces the 19th Congressional District.

There are many books which describe the East Side. There are many articles and surveys – some of them sensible and valuable, others nonsensical and futile – which discuss its problems.

The people of the East Side – the melting pots of a nation, composed of many nationalities – have, for example, wrestled with the problems of housing for decades.

Nobody who was born and has lived on the East Side has to be argued into the need for public housing. Few places need it more. Few communities have demanded it more vigorously.

Nobody who was raised on the East Side could fail to learn about the problems of housing, of EATING, of just plain living.

At every stage of their lives, the people of the East Side – mostly men and women who work for a living – have faced the facts of life under capitalism at their rawest.

Prices, a proper place to live, a decent school for a child – these the people of the East Side know as burning, daily issues of vital importance.

In our campaign, we shall present our answers to all of these great issues: people’s and union committees to force prices down; public housing on a scale that can approach the need without ANY regard for the grasping interests of the real estaters; and so forth.

Capitalist War or Socialist Peace?

But there is another problem with which the people of the East Side, as the people everywhere in the world, are concerned. It is a problem which points at the heart of the real issue – the kind of society we want to live in. A society in which we face constant fear, insecurity and hardship – capitalism? Or a society in which we can live with the richness of human beings who are independent, secure, without fear of living – socialism?

It is the problem of WAR.

We can fight for and win the houses we need. But we do not want them destroyed by the brutal idiocy of war.

Two giant powers face each other across the reaches of the world: the United States and Russia. Which shall dominate the world?

We say: NEITHER!

Russia holds Within the grip of its slave system Eastern Europe, vast sections of Asia, part of Germany.

The United States seeks to impose its own imperialist will on the remainder of the world and looks forward to complete domination of the world.

Every issue before the world is weighed by these powers, and the littler powers which side with them, according to how it serves their purposes.

Starvation, Israel’s right to exist as a state, a human being’s desire to free himself from life in a DP camp – these and many, many more issues are manipulated by the big powers.

The person who is starving wants food, not power politics.

Similarly, people who live in the shadow of war hunger for peace, not fearsome power diplomacy.

The course of the big powers leads to war. Today? No. Tomorrow? No – they are not yet ready. But the day after, the year after, two years after, five years? Yes. For that is the ultimate gift with which the slave system of Stalin and the capitalism of the United States can bless the world.

(And, today, capitalism can offer the prospect of continuing employment of jobs, of production, only to the extent that its economy is based on the anticipation of war – of destruction.)

Neither Washington nor Moscow

There is another course. It is the course of people who say we will submit to NEITHER WASHINGTON NOR MOSCOW.

It is the course of people who strike fear in the heart of despots and tyrants by saying that they wish to determine their own future.

It is the course of people who block the paths of the warmakers by refusing to be party to their plans.

It is the course of people who seek a sane and ordered world which is based neither on the profit motive of capitalism nor on the incredible dictatorship of Stalinism.

How do the candidates stand on this issue? We all know that there is little difference between Truman and Dewey. They serve imperialism and their differences have little to do with the needs of the people.

Wallace? His party, controlled as it is by the Communist Party, serves the aims of Russian imperialism.

Locally, in the 19th Congressional District, the issue is somewhat confused. The Republican and the Liberal Party candidates merely support American imperialism. The leading candidate, Arthur G. Klein, is the candidate of both the Truman party and the Wallace party. He gets a clean bill of health on his voting record from the supporters of American imperialism. And he gets the endorsement of the advocates of Russian imperialism.

Supporting both may make for re-election ... and confusion. It will not advance the desire for peace one iota.

We, the Workers Party, support neither of the Imperialist blocs. We believe that the people can shape their own destiny. We believe that wars arise out of systems in which there are masters and mastered.

We call for opposition to the imperialist designs of both power camps. Neither Washington nor Moscow!

Impractical? Only if you think that it is practical to lose husband and son and whole family in atomic war.

It is decidedly practical – the ONLY practical alternative to the fear of war. It is practical because it points to where the decision can really be made – the power of the people.

Can it be done? Of course. To do it we must understand that the choice and decision can be ours. We must understand the strength that lies in the labor movement. We must seek to use that strength politically and economically.

For this and many other reasons we attach so much importance to the organization of a Labor Party that can speak and act for the people. Aroused, conscious of what is happening and of how we can intervene – that way we can determine the future.

Pile Up Large Socialist Vote

We cannot do it if we wait for someone, some place else, to do it. We must start where we are. We can promote a national Labor Party by working for its creation in the 19th Congressional District.

So we can work for a socialist answer to war (and to the endless insecurity of capitalism!) on our local scale, encouraging the sweep of our ideas into other sections and areas.

A large socialist vote will have tremendous impact. Today a vote of protest, tomorrow it can be a vote of victory.

With it we serve our daily needs. With it we serve our basic, permanent need for a society of comradeship and brotherhood.

There will be three socialist candidates for president of the ballot in the 19th Congressional District – the Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Industrial Government (Socialist Labor) Party. Vote for one of these – a vote for any one of them will be a socialist protest vote; regardless of what we think of the individual programs of these parties.

There will be only one socialist candidate for Congress on the ballot in this Congressional district. Vote for him.

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