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Truman Leads Vicious Drive Against UMW

(11 May 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 19, 11 May 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

As the power of the 400,000 soft coal miners in the fifth week of their national strike made itself increasingly felt throughout American industry, the Big-Business government last week launched an open drive to intimidate the miners. It aims to force them back to work without securing their demands for safety conditions and a union health and welfare fund.

President Truman on May 4 took the lead in an intensified strikebreaking pressure campaign when he issued a statement which claimed that the mine strike constitutes a “national disaster.” The statement embodied a report of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion.

This scare-head report was clearly designed to throw responsibility for the strike and its economic consequences on the miners. Truman has remained silent, however, about the criminal disregard of safety rules and measures by the coal operators. He has tacitly upheld their arrogant refusal to consider the just demands of the miners.

Among other vital demands, the miners are asking the operators to include in the new contract a specific agreement to put into effect promptly all safety recommendations of the U.S. Bureau of Mines and the various state mine inspection agencies.

Fear “Insurrection”

On the same day as Truman’s statement, a group of Senators representing the wealthy mining interests launched a savage attack on the mine union and its leaders. Headed by Senator Lucas, the senatorial reactionaries frothed at the mouth about the strike being a movement that could “easily become an insurrection against the government.”

Every hypocritical argument is being used to smear the militant miners. The leading spokesmen for the Southern soft-coal operators, former Senator Edward R. Burke, even said over the, radio that “the Lewis strike means continued misery for millions of unhappy men, women and little children in foreign lands whom he has deprived of the coal we promised ...”

Of course, that misery was created by the imperialist war in whose blood-profits the mine owners shared. Moreover, promised shipments of relief coal have been curtailed for months by the Wall Street government.

Neither Truman, the Senators nor any coal operators have yet shed a public tear, for instance, about the 12 new widows and 55 orphans left in misery and destitution by the hard coal mine explosion in McCoy, Va., two weeks ago.

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