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Goldman Speaks Over Radio
for Grace Carlson

Noted Labor Attorney Asks St. Paul Workers to Support
Socialist Program of Write-In Candidate for Mayor

(24 April 1942)

From The Militant, Vol. 6 No. 17, 25 April 1942, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Below is the text of a speech in behalf of the candidacy of Grace Carlson for mayor of St. Paul, delivered over Station WMIN on April 24 at 8:45 p.m.

The speaker, Albert Goldman, attorney for the Socialist Workers Party, is best known in Minnesota labor circles as the counsel for the defense in the recent Minneapolis “sedition” case, which resulted in the conviction of 18 members of the Socialist Workers Party and the CIO, including both Goldman and Grace Carlson.

Goldman’s brilliant concluding argument in that case has been printed under the title In Defense of Socialism, by Pioneer Publishers, 116 University Pl., New York City. It is a 96 page paper-covered book, and sells for only 10 cents.


Ladies and gentlemen:

I ask you to support Grace Holmes Carlson in her write-in campaign as a candidate for mayor of St. Paul because she represents a program which alone is capable of solving the tremendously important problems facing the people of St. Paul, the people of this country and the people of the whole world.

A candidate must be judged primarily by the program he or she represents, and it is the platform on the basis of which Grace Carlson is appealing for your support that you must examine, study and analyze in order to determine whether or not she deserves your support. You must, of course, examine and study and analyze the platforms of all other candidates. Weigh them side by side with the platform of Grace Carlson and arrive at your conclusion on the basis of that examination.

Someone may remark that this is simply an election for the mayor of St. Paul and has nothing to do with any issues confronting the people of the whole world. Someone may assert that all the people of St. Paul are interested in is to elect as mayor a person capable of running the affairs of the city of St. Paul. Such an attitude would be wrong, for in the period of turmoil, in the period of great conflicts in which we live, the people of St. Paul must look upon an election, even for mayor of St. Paul, as a chance to align themselves for or against certain conceptions that the various candidates represent.

The election in St. Paul should not be determined by narrow, local issues, but should be looked upon as part of a great national and international political struggle in which an opportunity is afforded to vote against the world as it exists at present, to vote for a change in this world as proposed by the platform upon which Grace Carlson is running, the platform of the Socialist Workers Party.

The terrible conflict that has engulfed the whole world is a reality from which no one can escape, and it is this conflict which constitutes the background of the election in St. Paul.

To forget this all-important fact is to make a very serious blunder. The war is something that affects every human being whether he likes it or not, whether he knows it or not. Necessarily it affects those who suffer and die on the battlefield and on the sea more than those who stay at home, but whoever and wherever we are, we cannot escape its clutches. The housewife who finds that almost daily her dollar is shrinking by virtue of the increased cost of living; the worker who is urged to give up the extra pay for his overtime; the small businessman who is being squeezed out by priorities – none of them can escape from the effects of this all-embracing catastrophe.

Carlson Demands Workers Control

The statement is made and repeated over and over again that all sections of the population will have to sacrifice. But sacrifice is a relative term. Let us suppose that the man who makes $56,000 a year will sacrifice one-half of his income and the man making $2,000 a year will sacrifice one-third of his income. The first will be left with $25,000 and the second with about $1,340. The sacrifice of the 660 odd dollars in the second case means a thousand times greater sacrifice than the one of $25,000 in the first case.

The undeniable fact is that proportionately the common people will sacrifice infinitely more than the bankers and industrialists. What is more, big business is doing its utmost to shift the burdens of the war onto the shoulders of the working masses. The hue and cry about extra payment for overtime, for work on Saturdays and Sundays, the attempt to put over a federal sales tax are all indications that they who make huge profits out of the war are determined to make the people pay for the war.

As the war will continue, and the probability is that it wil continue for quite a long time, the standard of living for the masses will become lower and lower. We have been warned by persons high in administration circles that the masses must be prepared to live under a standard lower than that which prevailed in the darkest days of the Hoover depression. But remember this: that the persons controlling the 350 corporations that have received war orders amounting to 85 billion dollars will not suffer any by virtue of the war. Their profits will continue.

In 1941 the corporations made a profit of more than 7 billion dollars. If this profit would be taken by the government it would do away with the necessity of any sales tax and it would enable the government to pay trade union wages to all soldiers and leave many billions for other purposes.

There is a great deal of talk about an offensive. There is one already – a real one and gaining momentum. It is the offensive of the representatives of the capitalists in Congress who are determined to take away all the social gains from labor.

The central point of the answer of labor to the offensive taken by reactionaries should be the point stressed in the platform upon which Grace Carlson is running – the point that demands the confiscation of all war profits, and the expropriation of all industries by the government, to be operated under the

control of the workers. Let the government confiscate all of the profits of the corporations and let it set a limit to the salaries which corporation officials are paying themselves and the need for additional taxes on incomes of workers will disappear. The government does not hesitate to take millions of men and send them to fight and die; it should not hesitate to confiscate profits.

And what will result from this war? This is the question uppermost in the minds of every thinking individual. Only 25 years have passed since the United States entered the first world conflict. Must we then look forward to more wars, to bigger and better conflicts? Must millions of lives be sacrificed every generation? It is this question that is the most important of all questions confronting us, and this question cannot be solved except through an understanding of the real causes of the last war and of this war.

Fascism Destroys Workers Rights

The members of the Socialist Workers Party, commonly known as the Trotskyists, have for many years predicted the coming of this war. Were we able to do so because we are more intelligent or more far-sighted? Not in the least. We were able to predict this war because the theory of socialism teaches us that the basis of all modern wars is conflicts between the various nations controlled by capitalist groups struggling for colonies, for markets, for raw materials, for spheres of influence, and by virtue of that socialist theory, we could state definitely that at one time or another, if the capitalist system is permitted to exist, wars must come.

The people of this country and the people of every other country want peace, but their wants and their desires have no effect so long as the present economic order exists. This is our fundamental proposition. It has been verified by the last war and by this war. There are many sincere and honest people who think that by a victory over Germany and Japan, peace will ultimately be brought to this world. But socialists who understand the real nature of war must say frankly and openly that permanent peace can come only when the peoples of the world will unite in a world socialist confederation with the object of producing the things that are required to satisfy the needs of human beings.

In such a confederation no one and no group will be permitted to make profit out of the labor of others. Economic rivalries will be abolished and the cause of wars will be abolished. Permanent and real peace will come only through socialism and it is this fundamental idea which Grace Carlson represents. The millions of honest people who believe that fascism will be destroyed through a victory of the United States and Great Britain, will discover after the war is over that fascism is a result not of the evil mind of Hitler or of Mussolini, but a result of the terrible conditions brought about by the failure of the capitalist system to satisfy the needs of all the people.

Trotskyists Predicted This War

What is fascism in essence? It is the destruction of all the rights and liberties of the working people in order to assure the continuation of the profits of monopolists. Every congressman who speaks against labor, who introduces a bill against labor, is trying to do exactly what the fascists in Germany and Italy have done. When the war will be over, the dreadful economic dislocation which must inevitably result will afford an opportunity for all the demagogues to make an attempt to introduce fascism in this country. They may not call it fascism, but these demagogues will try to suppress all the rights of labor, and I repeat: this is the essence of fascism.

What can assure the defeat of fascism is a government which will socialize all of the industries and operate them for the use of the people and not for profit of the monopolists. Such a government can only be a Workers and Farmers Government.

Against a Workers and Farmers Government Hitler and the Mikado will have no chance whatever. Such a government will arouse the enthusiasm and the initiative of the masses who will feel certain that their sacrifices will bring them and their children a world of peace and plenty. Such a government will also be able to appeal successfully to the masses of Germany, Italy and Japan to throw their rulers out and help establish a socialist world. The German, Italian and Japanese workers will have nothing to fear from socialist governments and they will refuse to support their present rulers.

Grace Carlson stands for the establishment of a Workers and Farmers Government and it is because of this that every worker, every farmer, every man and woman interested in bringing peace and plenty to this world should write in her name on the ballot.

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