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Battle of the Demagogues

(19 January 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. XII No. 3, 19 January 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A hyena, a vulture and a jackal cornered a poor little pig. The hyena said, “Come home with me. I’ll put out some nice pineapple slices.” The vulture said, “Come home with me. I’ll open a tub of delicious sauerkraut.” The jackal said, “Come home with me. I’ll put a big red apple in your mouth.”

This is a fable.

* * *

The election fight this year will have its special name in history. It will be called the Battle of the Demagogues.

We are already being pounded from land, sea and air by all the capitalist candidates for President.

For the next ten months, we will be flattered and cajoled. Our passions and prejudices will be stimulated. We will be lured with glittering promises and persuaded with specious arguments. No lie or deception will be left unsaid that can possibly swing a vote.

This era and this year are especially favorable for demagogues. It is a time of vast social discontent. It is a time of unrest and seeking. The people are edger to listen, ripe for answers.

There is Truman, pride of the Pendergast machine, colleague of Rankin and Howard Smith. He’s anxious for votes and scared of Wallace. So he promises $40 a year more in every pocketbook and peace on earth. It sounds good – except he wants a $40 billion war budget and compulsory military training.

Taft is swinging at Truman in the name of “free enterprise” and against “regimentation,” “bureaucracy” and “totalitarianism.” Mouth-filling words – but not broad enough to cover up the Taft-Hartley Slave Labor Act.

They are joined in the demagogue free-for-all by a past master, Wallace. He plays on the fear of war and hatred of imperialism. This wartime vice-president of American imperialism says he will lead us to the promised land of peace – via a few detours, such as continued occupation of Germany and Japan, the United Nations and “enlightened capitalism.”

Never say what you mean or mean what you say. That’s the slogan of the capitalist demagogues, and we are in for it. Start ducking. That pie in the sky is falling right on our heads. This is no fable.

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