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Wallace – A Defender of Capitalism
and Supporter of Imperialist War

(18 October 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 42, 18 October 1948, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Sudden conversions invite suspicion. Henry Wallace’s case is no exception. There is a remarkable coincidence between his decision to run for president and his interest in labor, the Negro people, civil rights, etc.

Wallace has already left many footprints in the political sands. We can trace his imprints back through 14 years as Cabinet member, Vice President and loyal servant of the Democratic Administration. That record of 14 years speaks more loudly than the promises of 14 months.

The Fact Book published by Wallace’s campaign committee says that in office “he invariably used this power and influence to advance labor’s cause.” The record proves otherwise.

Through all the great labor battles of the Thirties, Wallace was as silent as the Sphinx, if he ever defended labor, it was the most silent defense ever known. You won’t find a hint of it in airy public document or the public press.

You will find that in 1935 Secretary of Agriculture Wallace tried to sneak out the back door of his office to avoid talking with H.L. Mitchell, president of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, who led a delegation to protest Wallace’s policy of subsidizing Southern landowners to limit cotton production and thus providing them with a pretext for evicting hundreds of thousands of share-croppers and tenant farmers. You will also find that Wallace suppressed the report of his own investigators, who upheld the position of the STFU, on the grounds that the report was “too hot to handle.”

Bad Record

During the war, while he was Vice President, Wallace never said a word against the wage-freeze, the pro-employer War Labor Board, the Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Law. When the Smith-Connally predecessor of the Taft-Hartley Act was pending, a committee of union leaders called on Wallace as President of the Senate to use his influence to block this strikebreaking law. The Unifed Mine Workers Journal of August 15 recalls:

“The report on the Wallace visit was to the effect that Wallace didn’t seem to know what the bill provided or what the committee was talking about, and the committee in turn could not understand what Wallace thought or said.”

Wallace now poses as a champion of Negro rights. We do not recall, however, that Wallace ever protested segregation in the armed forces during the war. And we do have the testimony of Walter White, Executive Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, that the worst conditions of segregation and discrimination prevailed in the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce and that Wallace, when head of these departments, was deaf to all appeals to eliminate the anti-Negro practices in his departments. Wallace had full power to change conditions but refused to do so.

The mere recital of the record – which is evidence enough for the politically astute – will not suffice to convince many ardent Wallaceites. They will argue that Wallace was not in position, while in office, to do much on the issues about which he speaks so loudly today. Or they will grant that the record is extremely unfavorable, but that Wallace has “changed.”

But Wallace’s fundamental ideas remain the same as before. These have not changed. And from the seed of weeds, only weeds can grow.

Wallace’s basic social conception is his complete faith in capitalism. He promises to bring about reforms, to prevent imperialist war, to eliminate the dangers of both inflation and depression within the framework of the outmoded, anarchic capitalist system, It is this fact which belies all his promises and makes them mere demagogy.

When Wallace says he can prevent war under capitalism, he practices a base deception. American capitalism, with its vast and growing accumulations of idle capital, is forced inexorably to seek new fields for profitable investment, new markets, new sources of cheap labor. In its insatiable drive for profits, American capitalism must exterminate all that stands in its path, tolerate no rivals or competitors. War – costly and temporary expedient that it is – is the only prospect. Wall Street capitalism sees for its own survival.

Against this fundamental inner urge of the capitalist system, Wallace counterposes his childish notion that all that is needed to keep the peace is a sensible and cool-headed man-to-man conference between himself and Stalin.

The essence of his plan, for example, of restoring European economy is nothing but a crasser and cruder form of the Potsdam agreement – a cold-blooded division of the world between the great powers, with the peoples of the world as the pawns.

Wallace was for the Morgenthau plan, to gut and loot Germany, the heart of industrial Europe, and reduce it to an agricultural province. Last February, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Wallace proposed “the United Nations plan (to) place the Ruhr under international administration and control by the Big Four – the United States, Britain, Soviet Russia, France,” This program would condemn not only the people of Germany – but of all Europe – to starvation.

Against the assurances of the utopian Wallace that he can secure peace through mere “good will” and “negotiations,” we have the more realistic conclusions of a Winston Churchill who last week declared that war is “remorselessly approaching” and that even if “some formula will be found or some artificial compromise; effected which will be hailed as a solution and a deliverance ... the fundamental danger and antagonisms will still remain.”

To Support War

Moreover, Wallace has already promised in advance, on April 25, that, “If the U.S. should go to war I, of course, would withdraw” from candidacy and opposition to the U.S. foreign policy. Regardless of its foreign policy, Wallace said, he would “certainly” support the U.S. war effort.

And in the same sense, this defender of capitalism would have to support the consequences of the war – military dictatorship, suppression of the rights of the workers, forced labor, conscription, terrible shortages and scarcity, incalculable death and destruction.

In spite of this, there are those who will say that by voting, for Wallace “right now” they will at least be casting a protest vote against war. This is a delusion. By voting for Wallace they will he helping to disorient the people as to the true, cause and cure of capitalist war.

The only genuine vote that will help to build an effective movement against the war is a vote for Farrell Dobbs and Grace Carl-sop,, of the Socialist Workers party – the party that by its actions as well as words has demonstrated that it is dedicated to the mobilization of the working masses for the elimination of capitalism, the breeder of wars.

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