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The ERP Program

(3 May 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 18, 3 May 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

With all the millions of words written and spoken in favor, of the European Recovery Program, with the months of Congressional study of the ERP bill and the voluminous text itself, it seems almost incredible that such a slip-up could take place. Yet it is a fact that the bill as passed suffered the omission, in explicit phrases, of its very heart and soul, its core, its fundamental purpose.

You are no doubt surprised to hear this. But it is a demonstrable fact which you will readily accept once certain information is brought to your attention.

We know that leading figures in the labor movement have repeatedly assured us that the bill is designed to “aid the hungry” and so alleviate their suffering as to deprive “communism” of any allure. We have not waded through the huge text of the ERP bill, but we presume it is effectively studded with similar expressions of humanitarian purposes and aims.

But now we have it on sound authority, no less a person than Dwight P. Griswold, head of the American Mission in Greece, that one of the primary purposes of ERP has not even been mentioned in the text of the bill itself, let alone in all the glorification of the bill from radio, press and pulpit.

Your local paper very likely did not carry this vital and illuminating statement by Griswold. It appeared in a special dispatch, datelined Athens, April 13, in the New York Times. We quote:

“Dwight P. Griswold, head of the United States mission to Greece, warned a group of Greek industrialists and labor unionists today that wage increases now would create an inflationary spiral that would ‘bring in communism’ ... He made it clear that such demands contravened the purpose of the European Recovery Program.”

There you have it. Many things are promised by the ERP, but one thing it doesn’t propose is to raise European workers’ wages. That would be carrying “aid to the hungry” too far. Indeed, paying starving Greek workers a little more in inflated currency “contravenes” the very purpose of ERP.

By a strange coincidence, the American workers are being confronted by a similar program, only it’s not labeled ERP. It is frankly the program of the American corporations. They are telling the steel, auto, electrical, meat packing, maritime and other workers here that wage increases would be bad, “inflationary” and no doubt lead to “communism” as well.

Now Philip Murray and other top CIO leaders are wailing to high heaven because the corporations have not acted in “good faith” and are refusing to raise wages in the face of the high cost of living.

Philip Murray is an expert in “good faith.” Like when he and his lieutenants “forgot” to tell the American, Greek, Italian, French and other workers that the ERP bill is not only designed to “contain” communism, but to “contain” the hungry workers from getting higher wages.

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